You have built a reputation for playing strong women…are there any traits with Justine in The Strain that you’d like to have in real life that you find very useful?
Samantha: I would actually say that what’s been so refreshing for me on The Strain is that my experience, at least in the last ten years of my work, has been that, I wouldn’t say that I played pushovers, but a lot of the characters that I’ve played have been defined by being someone’s wife, or someone’s mother, or someone’s partner in some way.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but as a woman, I have to say that what’s been really exciting for me in playing Justine Faraldo is that I am, in fact, there as a woman who’s standing on her own two feet, who has a history and a past and is very strong.
So that’s really actually been really refreshing for me. In fact, when I first started, I thought “what feels different?” Oh wait, I’m not playing someone’s wife or mother. I’m a politician, and I’m there to be a strong woman and to be unapologetically strong and calling bullshit on all the bureaucracy and hypocrisy that she sees.
I have to say, that has actually been incredibly new and refreshing for me. I would say with every character that I try to find my commonalities with them, as well as my differences to see where I can pull immediately from my own experience. It’s a universal theme, but I think that we all have loved ones that we would do anything for. I don’t know that I would go to the extremes that Justine does, but I have family and friends that I love very much, and I would want to protect them if something happened.
In that very sort of universal human theme, I can relate to that. Then, as a woman, or generally speaking as a human being, in this political climate, there are no shortage of injustices in the world to be outraged and indignant by. So, certainly in that first scene…it was a lot of fun for me to come in and think about various politicians I might like to have words with and channel some of that energy.
You’ve done quite a lot of science fiction and horror work. Would you say that you’re quite attracted to do [those projects]?
Samantha: It just completely happened by accident, but I have to say, what I’m finding in the sci-fi sort of genre world, because it isn’t actually a world that I was drawn to when I was younger, and it is something that sort of developed. I mean, obviously, there is great interest in those spaces these days. I think there’s sort of a renewed fervor for sci-fi and genre and horror.
I think what I’m learning about the genre is how rich they are with metaphor about society, and that it’s talking about things greater than just what you see on the surface. Not only in circumstances but in human beings. The templates that are being created are really rich.
I’m seeing really rich, interesting characterization. As an actor, that’s all you could hope for. So, it’s interesting, and it’s not by design at all, but I seem to be becoming someone who works in genre a lot, and I’m really enjoying it a lot, and the special effects are fun too.