Fact: Annie Wersching makes everything she’s in a whole lot better. Need proof? See Fox’s long-running smash action-thriller 24, in which she played Renee Walker— “just the coolest chick ever,” she says—who matched wits and quips with none other than Mr. Jack Bauer himself, Kiefer Sutherland. See The CW’s hit-show The Vampire Diaries, in which she played a deliciously antagonistic 200-year old vampire named Lily Salvatore. Or see Amazon’s super intense police procedural Bosch, in which she plays the single best law-enforcement officer-slash-surfer since Keanu Reeves chased Patrick Swayze across the beaches of L.A.
Currently, the St. Louis native is starring in Marvel’s Runaways as Leslie Dean, an alien from the planet Majesdane (just roll with it), while working on the second season of NBC’s terrific time-travel drama Timeless. Here Wersching talked to Best Life about the brilliance of 24, the utter Hollywood domination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and why there’s a new, post-Harvey Weinstein air in Hollywood. And for more great Best Life interviews, check out our chat with rising star Andy Favreau.
So you’re in Marvel’s Runaways. Could this potentially crossover to something bigger in the Marvel universe?
Apparently, Runaways is connected in the whole grand scheme of things, but for the most part, we’re going to be in our own world—the world that we’ve created. But to know that there is the possibility that somehow—some way—I could be walking along in a scene with Spider-Man is pretty cool. [Laughs] But it’s pretty cool to be in any part of this universe that’s taking over.
You’re a mother. How do you navigate being a parent who’s on the road for long stretches?
I think my husband and I are pretty good at finding the balance. I worked in Atlanta for a bit, and I took the younger one with me. The older one stayed back in L.A. It can be exhausting but you have to make it work. I made sure I came home even if I had only a couple days off.
FaceTime is a miracle-worker. When my oldest one was little and I was working on Dallas, I would hide something around the house. Then, when I would talk to him, I would give him little clues about where to look, and try to make the fact that I was out of town an exciting thing. You don’t want them to hate mommy’s job.
It’s probably easier to explain mommy’s job when she’s on television.
Yeah, although they are just now starting to be able to understand what I do. When they are small, it’s just confusing.
You played Renee Walker on 24. That’s a show that feels like it was ahead of its time.
I was a huge fan of that show before I was on it. We’d have friends over and watch it every Monday night before the binge thing. Looking back now, it does feel like it was ahead of its time. Not just the real-time storytelling aspect of it, but the way they would kill of main characters.
Now every show does it, but when 24 offed Teri Bauer [Jack Bauer’s wife], shows weren’t doing that ever. It had such an appeal and special quality to it that nothing had at the time. Now, the market is saturated with high-quality storytelling.
Are people in the entertainment industry talking about sexual harassment and Harvey Weinstein as much as it seems like they are?
It really does seem to be on everyone’s mind right now, and rightly so. It’s unbelievably amazing that people are being held accountable for things. To be honest, I’ve been in Los Angeles since 2001, and I’ve never had anything close to a situation like that. The crazy thing is, even my husband is like, “Really? Is there something you just don’t want to say?”
It’s really sad that people now think something like that has happened to everyone. But the conversation is very prevalent right now, and hopefully the beginning of a new way of living, working, and respecting one another.
How’s the #MeToo movement changed life on set?
I think because I’m already immersed in the shows I’m on, I don’t feel like I’ve seen anything immediately in front of my eyes. But the air in general feels different. People are way more careful, even in an innocent way, about how they joke around with people, or what kind of pictures they take.
I’m a big behind-the-scenes photo taker and there were a couple moments from Runaways where I was like, “I don’t think is appropriate.” It was just silly, innocent stuff, but it felt like it could be taken the wrong way. It’s those little things that you have to pay attention to, but nothing huge yet, other than the general vibe.
What’s next for you?
We started season two for Timeless. That was in Vancouver last year, and now it’s in LA, so back-to-back jobs starting one after another in Los Angeles. It’s way too good to be true.
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