In the next episode of Lost Girl, we are about to learn a whole lotta stuff about the newest addition to the gang, Tamsin … and we get to meet an old colleague and mother-figure, played by none other than Linda Hamilton! Before this Tamsin-centric episode, it’s only fitting that we chat with the remarkable lady behind the beautiful and bitchy Tamsin, Rachel Skarsten! I was lucky enough to interview her the other day, and she not only filled us in on “Delinquents”, she teased a bit of what’s to come for the rest of Season 3! Here’s our conversation:
I recall seeing you on set last fall, and at that point, we didn’t know much about Tamsin at all.
I know. I was just this mysterious character.
How much did you know about Tamsin when you signed on to Lost Girl, and did you realize how important your character would be to the overall story arc this season?
Not at all. To be perfectly truthful, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. In terms of the character, Jay [Firestone] had sort of told me his vision for her, but not necessarily how that would play out in the season. But also on a grander scale, I had no real idea about Lost Girl in general. I’d seen the show a few times and I knew about Lost Girl, but when it premiered this season and was trending #1 worldwide on Twitter, I thought “Oh my goodness, what have I got myself into. This is huge!” I had no real idea it would be like that so it’s been a trip.
Did you have any prior knowledge of Valkyries and the Norse mythology that’s been explored this season?
Well, my father was born in Norway and my whole family on that side still lives there. It’s funny because before we started shooting, I was in Norway. I came back from Norway and two days later I was on set playing this Valkyrie. I actually grew up with Norse mythology and I knew quite a bit about Valkyries so that was fairly easy for me. When I first signed on, I’m not sure if it said it was a Valkyrie, it just sort of talked about her being a Nordic beauty and then I learned that she was a Valkyrie. I learned all of these things as I was reading the script. I came in for the second episode and it was really busy, I didn’t have a chance to sit down with the producers since getting the part and really discuss everything. They’d fill me in a little bit with, “Tamsin’s a Valkyrie and she has a crazy past” while other things were going on and I’d incorporate that into my character. Finally, around episode 5 or 6, I got clued into what was really going on. I learned along with the audience what Tamsin is.
I know this next episode is a big one for Tamsin, and has the amazing Linda Hamilton as guest star. What was it like working with her?
It was an honour, and I truly mean that, to work with someone like Linda Hamilton. She’s not only Linda Hamilton of countless movies, I mean Terminator was made before I was born but I have seen it and I knew who she was. She is a truly fascinating and authentic person in real life, and very kind. You never know when someone has this huge career behind them how they’re going to be. I wish I could say all actors are lovely people but that’s not always the case. She just came onto the set and was one of the most lovely actresses I’ve ever met. To watch her work and talk to her about things and learn from her was such a great experience. I feel somewhat guilty that I got to have it because I just sort of float into Lost Girl in the third season and get to work with the coolest guest star.
What can you tease about “Delinquents”?
We’ve seen Tamsin, especially in her relationship with Bo, have a deep animosity but she also sways back and forth between what I think could be a potential true friendship. There’s something that’s going on there that we’re not fully aware of in terms of the motivation for that relationship. Tamsin sort of flip-flops between animosity toward Bo, and a great affection and protective quality for her. There are very specific motivations for all of those things in Tamsin’s past. This episode, and especially Linda Hamilton’s character Acacia, really are going to represent a turning point in terms of Tamsin and how she proceeds in that relationship with Bo. We were never quite sure before if they’ll be friends, why Tamsin is here and why she is being so mean to Bo. After this episode it will become quite clear. However, Tamsin’s choice, which Acacia comes to force her to make, I think the audience will assume they know what choice Tamsin is going to make, and then see something totally different. It even surprised me, to be honest.
That sounds so exciting! Season 3 has been my favourite so far and I have to say I love how seamlessly they introduced your character into the storyline.
[The writers] did a wonderful job. I’m a TV fan and you grow to love the core cast of your favourite show. Sometimes when I’m watching TV, I’m like, “Who’s this new character? Get off the screen, I don’t care about you.” I was a little nervous coming in and I didn’t know how the fans would react and Jay kept saying, “Oh, they’re going to love you. They’re going to love to hate Tamsin. It’s going to be great.” I was reading these scripts and Tamsin is such a bitch and I was like, “I don’t think they’re going to love me at all!” I’m being so mean to Anna in the beginning, and everybody adores Anna in real life. It ended up being such a blessing. Lost Girl has been a wonderful experience.
I noticed a lot of fan reaction to your character. There are some that admitted it took time to warm up to Tamsin, but also a lot of people who really liked what she brought from the beginning. What is it like joining a series with an established, dedicated fanbase? Were the fans mostly welcoming to you, or did you feel you had to prove yourself a bit at first?
Twitter is really the best way for me to be able to see what the fans are thinking, and of course some people write in letters, and it was really a very warm reception. Even people who didn’t like Tamsin loved that they didn’t like her. As the weeks have gone on, and like all relationships, people have gotten to know Tamsin, and there has been this overwhelming response to her. I feel so humbled by it. It’s funny, people will tweet “Oh, I love Tamsin’s one-liners,” and I’m thinking that they’re not my one-liners, they’ve been written for me. I have to give credit to the writers for creating this amazing, strong, empowered female character for me to play which is so rare. And sure, she’s beautiful and bitchy, but she’s also broken and loving and tragically, beautifully flawed and I love that about her.
I know that you can’t really speak about Tamsin’s fate on the series and whether you’ll be back for the fourth season, but I’ve really noticed, especially over the past week, that a lot of fans on Twitter really would love to see Tamsin return in Season 4.
I know. It’s very, very sweet. Actually, these hashtags that people make, like #bringtamiback, or there’s one for my eyebrows, #TamsinsEyebrows, that’s my favourite actually. You always want people to say come back for another season rather than kill that girl off.
I just saw a new hashtag earlier today, #tamxiety …
(Laughs) I love them! The smarts that some people have to come up with these things, they make me laugh almost every day.
All I can say is that the season finale is going to blow everyone’s mind and everyone is going to have theories on what’s going to happen and it’s going to be the exact opposite.
That sounds fantastic! Before we wrap, I wanted to chat about some of the other characters that you’ve played. This isn’t the first time that you’ve portrayed someone with enhanced abilities. I really loved you in Birds of Prey as well. Is there something that you particularly enjoy about those types of characters, or does it have more to do with how a character is written that really draws you to a role?
My mom calls me “The Queen of Sci-fi”. I’m not quite sure what it is about those otherworldly roles that find me, or that I tend to find or fit in to, but there definitely has been in my career this overarching theme of having superpowers. Perhaps I just put it out there that I wish I could actually have superpowers. The two characters – my character from Birds of Prey and Tamsin – while they both had superpowers, they were very different women. I don’t know what it really is about those roles but I will tell you this … I feel very lucky to be able to play them because not only do I get to play these women that were from this past that we were unsure of, they seemed broken yet were incredibly strong and courageous and took risks. I love that about them. But then I also got to play around with a superpower, so that was a lot of fun for me, too.
I’d like to send a very special thanks to Rachel Skarsten for taking the time to chat with us. And fans, you will not want to miss Rachel in this episode! “Delinquents” is up first for Canadian fans, airing tonight at 9pm on Showcase. US fans, you can catch it tomorrow night on Syfy at 10/9c.
Photo Courtesy of Showcase