'Torn Between Two Lovers' -- Sonya Walger of 'FlashForward'
Take three hot Brits, stir well and whaddya get?
Ratings -- or so ABC hopes, and they might not be wrong in this.
On the hit Thursday sci-fi drama "FlashForward," Sonya Walger ( 'Lost") plays Los Angeles surgeon Dr. Olivia Benford, who's married to recovering alcoholic FBI Agent Mark Benford ( Joseph Fiennes, "Shakespeare in Love") -- the two are pictured together below -- but in her two-minute-plus blackout vision of the future, she was having warm, squishy feelings for a total stranger ( Jack Davenport, "Coupling," "Pirates of the Caribbean"), who has turned out to be the loving dad of one of her kid patients.
Olivia, though, shares her experience with the whole human population (OK, almost all of it), which blacked out simultaneously and got a quick glimpse of the world on a day in April, 2010.
As a loyal and supportive wife, Olivia doesn't want to believe that her flash-forward will come true, and Walger is keeping an open mind.
"No, I haven't decided at all (if it will happen)," she says. "I just play each scene and each script as it comes. All of us, at some point wonder how it would inevitably dictate your behavior to get a glimpse of the future, especially in a way that felt so real, that wasn't just a fortuneteller in a tent predicting something, but in a way where you actually physically, experienced it and smelled it and tasted it, where it was palpable to you -- how very compelling that would be."
Interestingly, of the three British actors involved in this potential love triangle, only one of them -- Davenport -- gets to use his native accent.
"I'm not bothered at all," Walger says (using her own British accent). "I've been here for eight years, so I'm so used to playing American characters that it's strange to use my own accent. I'm not remotely bothered by it.
"I don't even hear it (when Davenport) speaks. I really don't. I don't hear the difference anymore."
It is interesting to have an American drama with, not one, but three British actors in leading roles (and a fourth, Dominic Monaghan, late of "Lost," has just joined the cast, but he's not another potential lover for Olivia -- at least not yet).
"I know!" Walger says. "It's extraordinary. I keep waiting for immigration to come and confiscate my green card, but I think it's working."
Even though Britain is a relatively small country, and Hollywood is a pretty small professional community -- and the cast of "Lost" probably do get together at lunch -- Walger says, "I'd never met any of them. I'd never met Joseph or Jack or even Dominic. Yes, very strange."
Asked what her biggest "FlashForward" challenge is, Walger says, "I'm going to say, the medical stuff weighs on me a huge amount. There are operations I have to do, and I've loved it, absolutely loved it.
"They've been some of the toughest things of my career, knowing exactly what to ask for and when to ask for it, with a team of people looking to me to get the scene right, and incredibly expensive prosthetics, fake blood everywhere and all of that.
"Just on a practical level, that's been one of the most challenging things, but it's interesting."
On the flip side, the doctor costume is a breeze.
"The scrubs are fantastic," Walger says. "You can breathe in them and let your tummy hang out. It's wonderful. I love my scrubs."
At the same time as she's juggling surgical instruments and wearing jammies to work, Olivia is worrying that her husband will fall off the wagon (he was pretty liquored-up in his flash-forward) and that she'll wind up throwing over one handsome brunet for another.
(Jack Davenport, left)
"It's wonderful," says Walger. "I love playing women that have a lot going on. It's reflective of life as we live it. None of us is able to deal with just one thing in our lives. It's interesting that Olivia is so determined to steer this course, against all the odds, swimming against the tide.
"She's trying to be a mum, trying to be the best doctor she can be, trying to be the mentor of interns, trying to be wife to Mark but still trying to be honest and upfront about what she's going through, but at the same time sensing that there are things he's not telling her.
"She's a really rich character with huge demands being made of her. I love it."
What if newlywed Sonya Walger had a flash-forward in which she was with a man other than her husband, writer/producer/playwright Davey Holmes?
"I'd be devastated. That's why I really empathize with Olivia. I'd be absolutely devastated, and I'd be doing everything I could to not let that happen."
But, is there any handsome fella whose appearance in said flash-forward might tempt Walker to feel slightly less guilty about forbidden fruit?
"Only my husband," she says.