You may not know Alexandra Ordolis by name, but if you’re a TV fan, you’ll definitely recognize her face — either as Delphine on Reign or Justine on 19-2. We had a lengthy conversation about her career and what’s coming up for her two most prominent roles to date.
Read our chat below, and watch Alexandra Ordolis this spring on both Reign and 19-2!
Delphine is a fascinating character, and she looks like a blast to portray.
It’s been quite a ride.
I like how she toes the line between religion and the supernatural, exploring the women in history that were healers and midwives.
[Reign] does deal sometimes with the supernatural, but it’s really fun that she gets to embrace that side of things. What’s viewed as the supernatural or the anti-religion side is rooted in a science of its own. Her powers are that she has a lot of knowledge about healing plants and herbs. That was the science of their day, and Reign is fantastic in that regard.
The series also has a lot of great women working on and off camera.
Yes, there’s the creator, Laurie McCarthy, and there’s so much female talent. The actresses on the show are incredible. There are these strong female roles, there are so many women in the writers’ room, and there are a lot of female directors. I think I’ve only worked with female directors on Reign.
They have a really strong thing going completely across the board. It’s great to be in an environment where that is just the way things are done. It’s so funny, as an actor I can’t help but think about those things. When Megan [Follows] was gearing up to direct I was so excited for her.
Do you see yourself directing or writing at some point?
I’m curious about the idea of directing, but I feel like I would need to learn so much more before I would be ready to dive into that. I also feel like learning more about directing must really feed acting. So, it would be fun at some point down the line to explore.
I’ve enjoyed writing in the past, mostly when I was in training. At the National Theatre School, I wrote a women’s show, and at the Canadian Film Centre we produced our own pieces. That was a very exciting process, and something that I would like to try again. That feels more accessible to me at this point than directing does, although, every time I sit down and start writing I hate it. I don’t get very far. I have to keep doing it.
That’s the struggle for any writer, but once you find that groove it’s the best feeling in the world.
I have to somehow reach that point.
Reign has a very engaged fanbase and they are very active on social media. I often see you tweeting during the episodes. Would you say that you’ve embraced that part of that job?
I have to say that beforehand I was like, “Social media’s not my thing.” I was probably one of my last friends to even get on Facebook. I started seeing how our actors on Reign were using Twitter, and everyone talking about it and then I got on it. Reign has a lot of fans that are very active on Twitter. It’s totally new to me and it’s a fun way to interact directly with fans. I’ve been having a lot of fun with it, and Instagram as well. It’s a whole new world to me.
Social media has given fans a look behind the curtain, almost like an ongoing commentary track.
It’s another way for fans to feel involved. I find the shows that I really like and follow those people. I enjoy seeing those little insider and behind the scenes things.
Before Reign‘s hiatus, there was a killer on the loose and Delphine believes that she’s taken on his urge to kill. What are you able to tease about that storyline when the show returns?
I don’t want to give anything away, but last we saw Delphine, she was sure that she was feeling the killer’s feelings and desires. She’s terrified and doesn’t want to act out any of his desires. She’s gone to try and heal herself, and we’ll see the what, the how, and if she’s managed to do this. When we come back, we’ll see how she’s dealing with that.
Your role on 19-2 is very different from Reign, with a difficult storyline that deals with domestic abuse. It’s difficult to watch, but it’s handled with such honesty and sensitivity.
That’s what I really loved when I read the 19-2 script for the first time. I think that’s a real testament to the writers of this show — that they deal with difficult issues in a very honest way. A lot of that is in the writing of it. When I was preparing to play Justine, I did a lot of research on domestic violence. That was one of the challenges of playing her — how to come to this point of really understanding what’s going on for her. When we’re on the outside of a situation like that, it can seem very simple but the fact is that it’s so complex. For me, getting to understand how and why Justine still loved J.M. and cared so much about him was my way into understanding her. Scenes were challenging to shoot and challenging to watch.
That storyline came to a head in the Season 2 finale. What can you tell us about Justine and J.M. in Season 3?
In Season 3, the audience will get to see both Justine and J.M. in different places, which will maybe feel a bit more redeeming for everyone. We’ll see her in about three episodes, toward the end of the season, and we’ll get a taste of what’s happening with her and with J.M.
What is the tone like on set when filming some of the more intense scenes, and does your process change at all?
The cast and crew of the show are so incredible that it really feels like you’re a team working together. It’s when everyone is bringing their A game as you get going, that really lets you go to those places. You trust the other actors. Louis Choquette, who has directed all the episodes that I’ve been in throughout the three seasons, is a wonderful director. I feel a very easy, open, trusting relationship with him, and that really allows me as an actor to go to all those places that Justine goes to.
When you’ve got these wonderful scene partners the whole scene comes alive. Sometimes different actors approach that work differently, and even for me, how I might need to prepare will vary from day to day, from scene to scene. I find that music can be very helpful in letting me find a place where I might need to start a scene from. If it’s a scene with J.M. and Justine together, it can also just be great to just be talking with Dan [Petronijevic] before we go, talking about the theme or just getting ourselves ready.
With these two solid dramatic roles under your belt, do you want to tackle some comedy next?
The roles that I’ve been playing have been more dramatic, and I love them, but I would love to do something comedic. I think there was a little bit of that on Rookie Blue, and I played a real quirky character on an episode of Blue Mountain State that was really fun. I think doing comedy is very challenging in its own way, but it is very exciting.