26 October: Georgina Haig Praises the ‘Brave Move’ Made in ‘The Bullet That Saved the World’

Extra warning here — please turn back if you haven’t watched FRINGE yet. You won’t want what happened ruined.

We good?

Oh boy.

FRINGE suffered arguably one of the biggest causalities of the series thus far in “The Bullet That Saved the World,” as Peter and Olivia’s daughter, Etta, was gunned down by Windmark. (That poor family cannotcatch a break.)

In light of her character’s death, I spoke with FRINGE’s Georgina Haig (Etta) about her time on the show, when she found out about Etta’s death, what kind of reaction she’s anticipating and more…

When did you learn this was going to be Etta’s fate?
Georgina Haig: I didn’t know until quite close to filming. All I knew at first was she was back for a bunch of episodes, and I didn’t know what that meant exactly, but I was sort of trying to guess. And then I spoke with [FRINGE showrunner] Joel [Wyman] and he explained to me the story arc of those four [season 5] episodes, and I just thought, “Oh.”

It’s almost like a little mini-film in a way. It happens so fast: they’re reunited and they’re bridging all these gaps and a whole new gap is created. It’s terribly sad, but a brave move in terms of storytelling.

What kind of reaction are you expecting from viewers when they see her death?
GH: I thought it was going to air last week, so I was Googling “Etta death.” [Laughs] But because of baseball, it got pushed back. I’m really curious to see what people think. I think the main thing is people aren’t expecting it.

I think it’s going to be a real shock, because they’ve really set it up, like FULL HOUSE, it’s all happening. The Olsen twins are back with the family. It’s really set up that this is the team to stop the Observers and instead, they create this whole new emotional situation for the parents and Walter. I think they knew people wouldn’t expect it and that’s part of the reason they said no, we’re going to do this. I don’t know what people are going to think! Hopefully they’ll be a little bit sad! Hopefully they’re not too angry.

Etta also got really sweet moments with both of her parents in “The Bullet That Saved the World” before she died. Do you think she died at peace?
GH: Yeah, and that wasn’t something I discovered, really, until we were filming it. It’s not completely clear in the way it was written exactly what she’s feeling when she dies. But amongst all the violence and blocking it out in rehearsal, it became clear to me that she’s at peace in that moment. She’s not fighting anymore. She’s thinking about the fact that she’s finally been loved. She’s at peace because she’s been loved and she’s thinking about her parents and she’s not fighting with Windmark anymore and she’s not blocking her thoughts. She just lets him feel that. And then she goes, in peace.

And she takes out a lot of Observers in the process, too.
GH: [Laughs] Yeah. That bit isn’t so peaceful. That bit is kick-ass.

I mean, there could be an argument made that she was one of the toughest characters FRINGE has had — in many ways, she was ruthless. What kind of challenges did that bring for you as an actress?
GH: In a way, that stuff is taken care of because it’s written she shoots someone or she tortures someone. It’s there, versus having to play the vulnerability amongst the toughness, to kind of frame the dynamics of it. To make it believable this person could be on the one hand, ruthless, and on the other hand, fragile and able to open herself up to embrace new love and stuff like that…it was more about being able to find the contrast in that.

Speaking of playing Etta, I know you spoke with Fox about watching some of their YouTube recaps of the show before you auditioned. Was there anything in particular you were trying to draw from your on-screen parents? You were remarkably convincing as the child of Peter and Olivia.
GH: [Laughs] Everyone keeps saying that! It’s sort of not something I thought of consciously, which sounds weird. I guess auditioning for it, I watched stuff on YouTube; I didn’t actually watch tapes of the episodes because I didn’t have that much time to prepare. So I just watched the recaps on YouTube and clips of them, and went, “Okay, they’re my parents, this is the world.” And approached it from there.

And then before [season 5], I watched all of it. [Laughs] Like, hundred of episodes of FRINGE to recap and be in that world and be around them. And I wanted it to be subtle. Subtle but there, I suppose, because she hadn’t grown up with them. But I think mannerisms and quirks, you’re born with them. Born with similarities to your parents, you don’t learn them. Yeah, I guess it was more subconscious. [Laughs] It’s not like I studied Anna, but I guess I subconsciously did because I watched her so much!

Do you have a favorite Etta moment that you’ve filmed so far?
GH: I’m not sure, really. I really liked the scene with [on-screen dad] Josh [Jackson (Peter)] and I in the lab…there was so much there: dealing with the loss of a parent figure until she met her parents and then she found her parents again. And then having to suppress the feeling and then go and torture someone [in “In Absentia”] — it was an interesting conflict to deal with and I just like working with Josh on that scene and how we worked out how to do it.

I like doing the action stuff. [On-screen mom] Anna [Torv (Olivia)] helped me out, because I’m like, “Am I holding the gun right, Mom?” [Laughs] She’s like, “All good.” I loved doing the tender moments against the craziness. Moments with [on-screen grandfather] John [Noble (Walter)]. And the scene with Anna and we’re talking about the moral dilemma of torturing people, that was really interesting to do: trying to tell Mom what my world is now and trying to get her to understand. That was challenging, that scene, but really interesting to do.

Do you have a lot of unresolved questions about Etta?
GH:
 I guess I created her history in my head. Whether or not that’s the right history, Joel could turn around and say, “Actually, this is what happened to her.” As an actor, you get told a certain amount of information and you have to create the rest.

I guess my question would be if something happened in the future, where would they take the relationship from here? If she hadn’t had died, what would the dynamic have been between them all. And I can’t really say much, because I don’t want to give away the rest of the season. [Laughs]

Right. I assume you can’t say anything about whether you’re returning…
GH: Right, I mean, it’s FRINGE. Anything can happen. That’s what everyone keeps saying. But they always keep the actors in the dark, too. I keep emailing John [to ask], “What are you doing?!” [Laughs]

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