Soulmates Q&A — Sonya Cassidy (Alison)
Sonya Cassidy, who plays Alison in the second episode of Soulmates, talks about her character's conflicted feelings, the reason Alison showed up at David's home, and why she's drawn to projects set in the future.
Q: What excited you about this script and project overall?
A: I'm a fan of anything set in the future, be it many miles away or within our grasp. There's the potential to play with aspects of life as we know it, and also delve into the "what ifs." That's exciting and thought-provoking. I'm drawn to shows that sow a seed and stay with you after an episode has finished. Soulmates isn't Sci-Fi, but it's just far enough off to stop us in our tracks. At the same time, it reminds us how age-old the highs and lows of love and relationships can be. In all their glory and complexity.
Q: You really have to play two different characters in this show. How did you prepare for that?
A: I didn't think of them as different people. They're not. People/places/situations can have a huge impact on how we present ourselves. Consciously or not. Jodie/Alison is playing a role for a time because she feels she has to. The stakes are extremely high for her. In her mind there's no other option, and the drive to succeed helps her maintain the facade. The adrenaline of the situation provides focus. It all happens very quickly. I'm not sure it could be sustained over a longer period. We're seeing her in the final phase of this utterly draining time in her life. The last gasp for some sort of closure, in a sense.
Q: When Alison and David first hug, there’s so much emotion packed into that interaction. Is she playing it up in hopes of pulling him in, or is she going through emotions of her own?
A: Both I think. That's what I had in mind at the time. She's not some secret agent well-versed in deceiving others. She's driven by pain, grief, and the need (whether we agree with it or not) for revenge. Justice? Most of these stories move effortlessly between shades of white heat and gray. Uncomfortable, all consuming gray. She needs to reel David in, but she doesn't want to. Head and heart are in conflict.
Q: After knowing the twist, it’s interesting to go back and watch Alison's discomfort when she's telling David about her first love, the one that fell in love with her professor. Is she hoping he figures it out in some way?
A: It's a moment where she could have cracked. It could have all come out right then and there. But the wait is important. She's been planning this as best she can to have the biggest impact on his life and be done with it. It's also another way of undermining him, deceiving him. Taking something from him—his trust. There's a rush in that. She shows tremendous strength in that moment, and throughout really. Again, whether we agree with it or not.
Q: Alison shows up at David’s home and meets his wife to ultimately reveal she plans to blackmail him in some way. Why play games when she can just get her revenge?
A: At this point, as things seem to be working in her favor, this felt like an itch she couldn't help but scratch. Who is this person? What's his life like? What does he have that makes him so special? What did her sister see? Also, how far can she push this guy? It wasn't planned. As Alison/Jodie grows more confident, there's an odd satisfaction in toying with David—perhaps more than she initially expected.
Q: AMC fans will also recognize you as Liz Dudley, Dud’s sister in Lodge 49. In both Lodge 49 and Soulmates you play a sister trying to save her sibling. What are the chances?!
A: I know. Maybe I'm going through the "protective sister" phase of my career? It's one I'm happy to indulge. Sisters are wonderful beings. I'm sure my own brother would agree.
Read a Q&A with Sarah Snook, who played Nikki in the first episode of Soulmates.
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