Bringing her immeasurable talent and layered performance to the Syfy horror series CHANNEL ZERO, Luisa D’Oliveira is mesmerizing to watch. This comes as no surprise of fans of her work in the CW’s apocalyptic series THE 100 or the Canadian drama series CRACKED. Whether portraying a conflicted police detective, a warrior survivalist in the future, or a determine sheriff’s deputy, Luisa shines.
In an exclusive interview, Luisa talks about the joys and challenges of working on CHANNEL ZERO and previews her return in the upcoming season in THE 100.
What drew you to the role of Amy Welch and CHANNEL ZERO?
LUISA: She immediately felt familiar, like a friend to me. I felt I just got how her brain worked. I liked her quirkiness and it was good sitting in her shoes. I knew right off the bat that I wanted this role.
How would you describe who Amy is and how she fits into the spooky goings on related to Candle Cove?
LUISA: Spooky is an understatement! Amy’s the only one without emotional baggage in this painful and terrifying mess since she was so young when the first murders happened in Iron Hill. She’s able to be the necessary fresh eyes and ears as events escalate.
Does working on a show like CHANNEL ZERO creep you out? If not, what is the appeal for you?
LUISA: Watching psychological horror scares me to no end! But working on it was fantastic. When a show is so heavy on the psychological element, as an actor it’s very meaty material to sink your teeth into. It forces you to work from a very deep, personal place, and sitting in that place is extremely rewarding creatively.
What was it like working with Fiona Shaw and Paul Schneider?
LUISA: Wonderful. They’re really lovely people. They both had huge respect for the work and for the rest of the cast and crew on set, and it was part of the reason this was such a special experience. They have some really excellent scenes together on the show, and watching that happen in real time (which I did secretly) was like watching a master class.
Were there any challenges in working on this project?
LUISA: There were two big challenges. The first was because we block shot the show, which is essentially shooting all six episodes at once, everyone had to be extremely prepared. As actors, we had to anticipate scenes we hadn’t shot yet and that’s always difficult. The second challenge was the elements. We’d be fighting the light, the mosquitoes, poison ivy and even heatwaves, which kept everyone so sweaty. When we shot the scene in episode two where Eddie’s body is found, the craziest thunderstorm I’ve ever seen came right on top of us. It was so violent that we had to temporarily shut down production for serious safety issues. But it was epic. One of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen, followed by calm purple skies and a double rainbow.
What did you learn from this experience, as a person and as an actor?
LUISA: I learned how incredible a creative experience can be. It was truly something special. Everyone worked hard to help everyone do great work and it shows. It was like a symphony of creativity. I wish I could do it again, and again and again!
What has been the funnest part of working on CHANNEL ZERO?
LUISA: The people! We had a blast on set and off. It felt like summer camp but with the most creatively satisfying work.
Was it hard transitioning from the posy-apocalyptic world of THE 100 to CHANNEL ZERO and back again?
LUISA: It wasn’t too difficult. Once a project is done, I tend to package it up in my mind and put it in my rear view. Amy and Emori are so different, it was fun switching between them. I got to put Emori away, find Amy and have a blast with her, and then rediscover Emori again.
How would you describe the relationship between Emori and Murphy in THE 100?
LUISA: I think they’re kindred souls. They’re each other’s safe place in a world that has given them so much pain and turned them into such cold survivors. I think they recognized that in each other when they first met, even though that didn’t turn out so well for Murphy at the time.
Is Emori going to be able to look past Murphy’s dalliance with Ontari in Season 3?
LUISA: And is Murphy going to be able to look past the fact that for some reason Emori took the chip?! They’re definitely going to have to address both of those things one way or another. Wherever they end up, we’ll see what they value most and what they can or can’t forgive.
What was the craziest thing you remember doing in Season 3 of THE 100? And what was the funnest thing you got to do?
LUISA: Craziest thing was definitely in episode two where Gideon almost choked me to death. John DeSantis is a huge dude. I have never fully realized how small I was until I was hanging in the air, eye level with him with the ground very far below me. Driving Emori’s awesome boat was the most fun! Feeding Richard fake-but-convincingly-real rats was the second most fun.
What is the best part about working with Richard Harmon?
LUISA: From day one we had great working chemistry. We almost have this unspoken shorthand where we understand what each other needs, or where we’re going in a scene. We just instinctively work really really well together and it’s awesome.
What do you feel you have learned from working on THE 100?
LUISA: How much work and focus it takes to convincingly bring a post-apocalyptic world like this to life. The never-ending attention to detail is why it’s so real. There are so many layers that have to come together.
Who would you like to work more with on THE 100 if given the chance?
LUISA: Some of the awesome women on the show! So far, the only major people we know Emori’s had in her life have been her brother and Murphy. Emori’s a very strong, very capable young woman. I want to see what it looks like when she meets some of the female powerhouses on this show. Imagine her working with Clarke (Eliza Taylor), or butting heads with Raven (Lindsey Morgan), or becoming friends with Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos)! I’d also love to work more with some of Emori’s fellow Grounders and see what that looks like, since we know they see mutants as freaks and leave them to die. I’m guessing there’d be a lot of fireworks there.
What is Emori’s mindset like after getting freed from A.L.I.E. (Erica Cerra) finally at the end of Season 3?
LUISA: Emori’s borderline terrified when she gets unchipped. She has some pretty deep rooted issues with grounder society. Here she finds herself in the throne room in the capital city Polis, the literal seat of power for the society which rejected her and saw her as a sub-human that should be killed. So yeah, she’s pretty freaked. She’s in full survival mode.
Do you have any other upcoming projects that you can share? What’s next for you?
LUISA: I’m excited for the fans to see Season 4 of The 100! We’re still in the thick of filming. It’s the biggest project on the horizon at the moment. Aside from baking my first loaf of bread. That’s happening tomorrow, so wish me luck!
To find out how the CHANNEL ZERO horror tale concludes, be sure to tune in for the final two episodes on November 8th and 15th at 9:00 p.m. on Syfy. Then look for Season 4 of THE 100 to return in 2017 on the CW for the next chapter in the Emori-Murphy romance as the nuclear warheads are about to fall.