In the new drama series CONDOR, which follows the theme of the film “Three Days Of The Condor,” an intelligence analyst finds himself in the crosshairs of a vicious government conspiracy that leaves him running for his life and with no one to trust. When everyone you thought you knew is suddenly dead or intent on killing you, there leaves virtually no one to turn to. Fortunately, there is a good reason this particular analyst was hired by the government in the first place — he can out-think them and outsmart them — if he can find a way to keep moving so that he has time to strategize a way to fight back and clear his name. In an exclusive interview, co-star Mira Sorvino previewed her tantalizing role in the thriller series CONDOR and whether her character may be friend or foe.
What attracted you to this particular project?
MIRA: I got this project around this time last year. We shot it over the summer in Toronto from end of April through September. It’s a terrific project. It’s so fascinating. So well-written. So nuanced. So timely. Everyone in it is really richly developed. My character [Marty Frost] doesn’t show up as much in the first half. You have to kind of stay with the show to the end of the season, and then she really has a very powerful third act. [She’s] not in the first episode. I was sent the first few episodes, and then Jason Smilovic and I spoke, and talked about his vision for where he was going to go, and the exciting-ness of the things that were to come. They are very exciting. Have some wonderful scenes, wonderful work that I was excited for. I’d never done this kind of character before. She’s not what she seems. You think originally that she’s gonna be one way, like she’s gonna be one of these hard-ass CIA chiefs who’s given up all of her humanity and femininity and vulnerability in order to exist in this dog eat dog sort of man’s world. That’s not really who she is, although she may seem that way at first. You realize she’s very passion driven, and there was a line in one of the scripts where he, Jason [Smilovic] has her say, “I cried every day for two years straight after that.” So she woke up every day and cried. So that’s the depth of her feelings. She’s got this broiling-sea of emotions that kind of propel her towards her options. She’s not so much ideological as she is emotionally driven, by very deep, deep feelings. Personal feelings. Each character is driven by something different. So you’ve got some characters in the story that are driven by patriotism, some that are driven by evangelical Christianity, but kind of perverted, not really pure I would say. For some people, it’s personal power. You know, everyone has it different. Some people for money. Everybody is doing something wrong, but for different reasons and as you watch them, you feel that they’re all fairly grounded. Like you may not agree with what they’re doing, but damned, if they’re not organically based in where they’re coming from. And they’re all surprisingly human and you have empathy from most and fascination for others. And even Max Irons character starts off as a complete innocent, kind of naïve, wunderkind of the computer world, intelligence gathering, and then he is put to the test in ways that make him certainly bend, if not break his moral compass at points. And it really asks these huge questions of all of us: “What would we do in extreme circumstances?” We have codes that we’re willing the break, in honor of a new code, in honor of survival. It’s fascinating, very well written.
CONDOR is, as a political thriller, one of the fastest moving ones that I’ve seen in quite a long time. That makes it kind of fun and as an entry point for the viewer, because we’re not given a lot of information.
MIRA: The information is sort of fed to you in doses as you go. But it’s certainly not ever top loaded. You got to stay with the excitement of the show to be discovering things.
Does your character Marty catch up quickly or is she constantly having to race to see what’s really going on?
MIRA: She catches up pretty quickly. She’s an old hand at this. I mean, she was a high level CIA operative, who has studied with the best of them, Bob Partridge [William Hurt], and was his mentee and understands how the machine works, understands all of the dirty secrets and is sort of looking out for herself in that world of cut-throat people. It’s a very cut-throat world.
What do you like about this character?
MIRA: I liked her complexity. I liked that she wasn’t readable in the beginning, and that she has dimension and emotional range and you know, she was a fascinating person. I wasn’t necessarily always happy when I was in her skin because she is not happy. There is a lot torturing her. She’s a tortured person. And those things became kind of dark to play after a while, and made me sad. And so I was kind of happy to be done with the season. You know, I was just like, “Okay, I can take Marty off, like a jacket.”
Some of your recent roles have been a little complicated and dark, I mean, you came off Intruders for BBC. So how comfortable is that for you to take on those sort of layered, darker personas?
MIRA: It was so funny because up until INTRUDERS, I don’t think ever played someone that I couldn’t unqualifiedly say was a good person. And neither of these people can I unqualifiedly say — either the INTRUDERS character or this one — they’re not like, yay she’s the really good person. But even Max Irons, who plays the role inspired by Robert Redford’s character, you couldn’t say purely he is a good person at every moment.
And the choices Joe Turner [Max Irons] makes, it makes you question his motives quickly.
MIRA: Yeah, he is thrown into a tank of voracious sharks and he takes a woman hostage fairly quickly, and utilizes her for his needs. And it’s not the most pleasant encounter.
They try to cushion it, but watching it, I though, “if that happened to me and somebody did that, I would not feel good about that.” It’s not right to just co-opt a person for your survival.
MIRA: Whether it’s life and death circumstances or not. So, yeah, that was challenging. [Joe] quickly becomes cloudy as to whether or no the might be the hero he though he was initially. The other thing that happens really quickly is there’s a lot of death toll. There’s a lot of bodies piling up fast. That’s the great thing about the show, or not depending on your perspective, you as an audience member never know who long somebody’s going to live or what they are capable of doing. They’re not precious with their characters, anyone could be on the chopping block, so I think that’s kind of exciting about it.
Were you worried that, coming into it, perhaps your character could be suddenly gone? Because that seems like the sort of show it developed into.
MIRA: [Laughs] I think that that was apparent from the get-go.
So you knew the heightened risk there. Well, for you personally, what did you enjoy about working on this project?
MIRA: Working on it. The good writing. Working with great actors. Being in sunny Toronto for the summer. Actually it was very beautiful. I brought my kids up there, and we did a lot of nature-y things outside of Toronto. I went tubing with my son at the Elora Gorge, which is this beautiful river that you can rent a tube ad go down a couple of miles on the river. We went hiking, found waterfalls — did ever kid-friendly activity possible. Jason [Smilovic] and I took our families together to the Expo, which is the big Canadian, its seems like they have a World’s Fair-ish, but it’s more like an amusement park. It’s like the annual fair that comes around but its giant and in the heart of Toronto. We took our kids down these slides together. I just love working with intelligent people. I love the timely topical-ness of this story — this looking behind the curtain at a few power brokers — who may or may not have some larger purpose that could be good for other people in mind. But, mostly, they are sort of acting like they are God. I mean they’re all playing dice with other people’s lives and on a grand scale. So I think that apropos of what’s happening in our world today.
That’s true. It is eye-opening because it does sort of reflect what we’re seeing in the news and it’s all a little alarming.
MIRA: And in this story, the power-brokers are creating news, completely fake news, feeding it out to the masses. And that is what jeopardizes Joe Turner’s next character so greatly is that everyone in the world thinks that he just murdered 11 people. And it’s the intelligence agency that puts that out there.
Kind of raises the hairs at the back of your head a little bit. You know it just makes you wonder, what things that we have come to believe are true?
MIRA: [Laughs] You know, it makes you doubt the moon landing, and who’s responsible for 9/11? I mean like, if you really start questioning all of that and peeling back layers of the onion, everything is suspect. I think it’s telling you, don’t underestimate the power of individuals within institutions to completely alter the course of history based on their own agendas.
And very few people at that, it doesn’t take that many.
MIRA: Haha. No.
If you were to describe one aspect that might be considered female empowering from the show, what would you say that is?
MIRA: There’s actually a lot of great female characters in it and there’s. I felt like my character is intelligent, cunning, violent, passionate, vulnerable, and powerful. And all of those things make her different from the typical sort of side-kick woman in a show. There’s also a house wife, who ends up being really crucial to the plot, who is, she’s not really a housewife. She seems like a housewife, but then you discover she’s actually a doctor. And then her medical skills come in handy, but she also really steps up and starts taking over a kind of resistance type activity when no one else will. There is an amazing hit-woman who is actually a sociopath. There’s another wonderful character played by Christina Moses that my character has a lot of interact with, who’s a young lesbian woman whose girlfriend is killed in that first raid where those 11 office members are killed that were working in the same computer lab as Max [Irons]. And her quest is to sort of figure out what happened. She’s not sure if she wants vengeance or just discovery. But so there are all type of wonderful characters that are doing things that may cross gender norms. I mean I’m sure the are a lot more modern than woman would be if we were in the past iteration of the story.
This is nice to have a spy thriller have so many women who are put into these positions that are key and powerful. What would you say audiences are going to appreciate about this show?
MIRA: It’s very exciting. Very fast-paced. Full of unbelievable twists and turns, but with really big import. You know, the big things underneath it are huge. The stakes are very very high, and all the actors are compelling because they all hold their screen. So, you know, people are going to get really invested in it and not be able to wait until the next episode.
To see if Joe Turner, our hero on the run, can find anyone to trust when it seems like everyone is out to betray him while there is a target on his back, be sure to tune in for the premiere of CONDOR on Wednesday, June 6th on Audience Network available on DirecTV. To see special clips from the show and get further information throughout the season, you can follow the show on Twitter @CondorATT. Then o see what else Mira is up to and where her next adventure takes her, you can follow her on Twitter @MiraSorvino.
CONDOR Trailer #1:
CONDOR premiere teaser:
CONDOR Trailer #2