Linda Emond, who plays Connie on AMC’s Lodge 49 talks how the True Lodge has changed her, why she’s playing it straight with Ernie and Scott, and what she really believes when it comes to the mysteries of the lodge.
Q: Connie’s back. How would you describe how her attitude toward life back at home has changed – especially now that she’s been initiated into the True Lodge in London?
A: She was running away from her life, in a sense, when she went to London. But I think she also had high hopes about what that time might bring. In a very Jim Gavin-esque turn of events, those high hopes ran squarely into reality. When we first met her this season, she’d just had a seizure, we soon learned she’s got horrible writer’s block, and she told Clara that she thought her mind was melting. Oh, and…she was still very afraid of her looming death.
But her friendship with Clara, the mentoring she received, the strange connection about seizures with the founder of Lodge 49, and that fall into the grave, began to change her dramatically. Nothing like literally lying in a grave to give one some perspective on life and death! It was “a threshold moment”, as Melinda called it.
Also, being initiated into the True Lodge gave her a new and very surprising, to her, connection to Lodge 49 back in Long Beach. And even the beginnings of a new purpose, perhaps? Before this, I think the Lodge was more of a social thing for her: beer (or in her case, whiskey) and friends. It was time to come home, and she feels ready to live again. The question is, how? With whom (if anyone)? And what might the True Lodge ask of her? Lodge 49 feels very different now.
Q: Connie won’t take her blindfold off. Does she really believe this is working to stop her seizures or is she just playing along to maintain some hope?
A: I think the things that happened in London challenged Connie’s sense of who she is and what she should be doing and even what she believes in. Connie has always been such a realist and things in the last years and certainly in London are challenging her ideas of just about everything.
She finds herself at a point in her life when she’s willing to believe in things that might seem unbelievable. The seizures are awful and scary, so yeah, she’ll take a shot at a “remedy” for them. She’s also a journalist, right? It’s in her bones. Where’s the story? Follow the story. So she’s following this weird, wonderful one.
Q: Was it fun walking around on set with the blindfold on?
A: It was great fun, yes. Most of the times that I needed to have the blindfold on, I chose to stay in it as we worked. So for the few hours that we’d be filming a scene, people generously walked me to and from set.
And it was very interesting to not be able to see for a number of hours at a time. Not surprisingly, my other senses perked right up.
Jim Gavin joked that next season Connie would be in one of those deep-sea diver contraptions. So I did a little prank, later in the season, where I did a take of a scene with a deep-sea diver Halloween costume on. He enjoyed that. He’s a goofball. A very talented goofball.
A: She loves those guys. Ernie is a deep soul connection. And Scott is a passionate, strong man with whom she’s had some great, fun times and who she came to rely on in many ways.
But she’s realized, as she said to Clara, that although she learned that she’s “really good at leading a double life,” she doesn’t want that double life anymore. At her core, Connie is a straight shooter, but she’s not been that person for a while. Certainly a part of that has been tied into her fears.
She doesn’t want to hide anything from them anymore and she also doesn’t want to hide from herself and her fears anymore. So that “meeting” with Scott and Ernie is an important first step. Shoot straight. Clear the air. Move forward. She doesn’t really know what to do here. So she just puts it all on the table in the hopes they can all figure it out together somehow.
When Scott says “you’re not making it very easy for either of us,” I think Connie restrains herself from saying, “hey, I’m dying here,” because she really needs to be in a place of living now. So she says what is also true right now: “I don’t care about making things easy for you. I want to make this easy for me.” If that’s selfish, so be it. She’s got to grab onto life and move forward.
Q: In speaking to Blaise, Connie says that she doesn’t believe in all of the stories about the True Lodge. Is that really the case?
A: The realist in Connie finds it reasonable to believe in all of the historical records about the Lodge. As a journalist, she could write some articles, right? She could dig around more. She could follow that story. But she has a very hard time believing in the more mystical, alchemical stuff. However, as Blaise rightly points out: she’s wearing that blindfold.
Look, she’s a member of the True Lodge now and she doesn’t tell anyone. She’s got some secrets. And she’s protecting them. And also, yeah, she thinks a lot of it is bullshit.
Q: Connie is starting to see things with her blindfold on. What does that mean to/for her?
A: She’s been seeing things for a while. Remember the knight on the horse, at Orbis, in Season 1, for example?
But I don’t think she expected to see things with the blindfold on. When that suddenly happens, it’s terrifying and beautiful all at once. She instinctively feels that this is the time to take the blindfold off. Clara told her she’d know when to do that. And then, when she removes it, there she is… in a dumb ol’ storage closet. Another very Gavin-esque moment. Bam. Reality.
So the visions, some related to seizures and some not, continue to be a super weird thing for her. Also scary. Also amazing.
Q: What excited you most about Season 2?
A: A few things: I was really excited to see where Jim Gavin was going to take this thing. I know he has a clear sense of what this story is, where it will go, how it will end, even. He keeps a lot of that to himself until we see it on the page. So it’s very exciting to get those scripts.
He’s an extremely talented and special writer. He’s telling stories about very real things and very real people. And yet, to do that, he mixes in these other elements that defy reality. And he makes it all work.
I was also really excited to see who else might be folded into our group of wonderful actors and who those characters would be. I continue to be so proud to be a part of such a diverse cast with such unusual parts, especially the women’s roles. They are unusual and great. It’s rare to have a show that has this kind of depth and breadth of characters. And at least half of them are insane. And yet real. (Well, we’re all a little insane, actually.)
And finally, I just love the whole ship and my shipmates at Lodge 49. It’s just a fantastically fun, super talented, really hard working, feet-on-the-ground group of actors, directors, producers, crew — our super-duper crew. And it’s a smooth sailing ship. We get it done while having a blast.
I’m so pleased that our audience — and the critics — loves this thing like we do. That’s been very satisfying.
Read an interview with David Pasquesi, who plays Blaise.
Lodge 49 airs Mondays at 10/9c.
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