In leading up to it, CarterMatt spoke with the actress behind Cara in Violett Beane all about the journey to Paris, what Cara takes away from her time there, and also her story when she eventually makes it back home.
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CarterMatt – I remember talking with you a year ago, and it was back when everything was so nebulous and it still wasn’t clear how the show would do. Now that it is clearly successful and you’re back for another season, is the feeling on set different?
Violett Beane – Yeah! With the viewership that we had last season, coupled with the fact that we had such a great response and that we have a full [22-episode] order this year, it definitely boosts morale. It sort of justifies the hard work we put in, knowing that people are really taking something away from the show and we’re able to brighten people’s day with our episodes. That shows on our set and we’re really grateful to be able to do that for another year at least.
When people do approach you now after season 1, do they try to give you all their theories on who is running the God Account or something in that vein?
Having worked in New York and LA, there’s definitely a big difference in the people who come up to you and say they like your show. Because New York isn’t really an industry town, there’s less of a mirage around it! They’ll just say ‘keep working!’ and then they’re gone (laughs). They’ll scream from their car and drive off. In LA, it’s more like ‘how did you get into the industry? What can I do?’ — it’s an interesting difference.
No one’s really given me their theories — they mostly just tell us how much the show means to them and then they’re gone. That’s very sweet.
Oh, and I’m sure that even if they did tell you theories, you couldn’t validate them. I’m sure the writers haven’t told you too much about any of the big answers.
We don’t know much before the episode shoots. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t really tell them much.
I remember last season that Cara was going to Paris, and I initially thought ‘oh, that’s great. They’ll probably make a great stoundstage for it.’ But then, you actually went to Paris! When did you find out that was happening?
We talked about it last year, because Bryan [Wynbrandt] and Steven [Lillen], the show creators, were like ‘we really want to film outside New York. It would add this aspect to the show.’ The shots that we got were gorgeous and they really make the difference.
I found out a couple of weeks into the summer, where they said ‘we’re actually going to be going to Paris and shooting for a few days and we’re going to get a lot of exteriors’ — a.k.a with the Eiffel Tower in every shot (laughs). I swear, on the page it was like ‘and we pan off the Eiffel Tower.’ You gotta know we’re in Paris! It was really fun.
When we got back, our set designers did a really good job of turning one street in Greenwich Village into the outside of Cara’s Paris flat. They take all the signs down and put up the [proper ones for Paris] and hung up street lights. It was so cute! As a matter of fact, these two tourists from France walked by and were like ‘what was going on here?’. It was a really funny experience.
I think something that was really important to Bryan and Steven was not to have Cara go to Paris and come back the same person. What you sort of see over this arc with Cara being there is that her story kind of changes. You realize that her and Miles are on these separate missions and paths. They combine and clash at one point in a later episode. She comes back a different person.
The day-to-day of keeping up a long-distance relationship can be really difficult, even with people who have the feelings for each other that Miles and Cara do. In addition to any possible changes, will that take its toll?
I think anytime you’re having to do a long-distance thing it feels like you’re not as close as you once were. But, I think it can also make the heart grow fonder and I think that if they can make it through this, they can make it through anything.
God Friended Me really does love the long-distance relationships. Just look at Rakesh! Can Cara call him up and ask for some pointers?
(Laughs) Yeah, him and Jaya have not been able to get together and work it out. There is an interesting storyline for the two of them coming up this season.
When Cara goes to Paris, it seems clear that Simon Hayes is not responsible for the God Account — yet, she’s working on a book in part about him. What role does he play?
She writes stories about people, and not about their accomplishments — she’s having a hard time breaking these walls down that Simon has put up his whole life. She does break some of them down and they have some really good discussions. Actually, someone from Cara’s past makes an appearance and the three of them figure out what path Cara should be on. It’s, in the God Account way, an idea of hope for everyone that’s there.
The idea of writing a book itself is just really challenge — just to keep something coherent going for that long is hard. Will there be struggles just with the process of it?
Yeah. There will be struggles with the book, and there will be struggles with her job. She was fired before she left, and when she comes back to New York, she’s finding it harder to pick up where she left off than she thought it would be. I’m hoping that we get to see a comeback story for her. There are new people who have filled in and she’s not as highly regarded there as she was when she left.
There was that big cliffhanger at the end of last season with that mysterious character Joy arriving. Even though Cara is in Paris, how much will she be aware of what’s happening?
She’s kept in the loop, and actually the path she’s on in Paris does coincide with the path that the God Squad is on in New York. That’s kind of fun.
Joy is a great character. She’s a lot of fun — I love how they wrote her and how Jessica Lu played her. When we first pick up in episode 1, Miles hasn’t been able to find Joy — the first call of duty is to find her, and figure out how she fits into this. If the God Account is reaching out to Joy, is it done with Miles? That’s his internal monologue. Has it moved on from me? Am I done with this? He’s looking at this throughout the start of the season.
Are there any particular stories you would like to see explored as the show moves forward?
I would like to see more scenes with Cara and her family. I think there’s still a lot to divulge in that regard. Everything isn’t perfect and fixed. So far in what we filmed there’s a little bit of it, but I’d like to see more of what we could do with that. I love working with Rachel Bay Jones — she’s so talented and we could do some fun work together.
How much do you think Cara is driven up the wall by the God Account mystery? Would she be on some level okay not knowing, just because she’s helped so many people?
I think Cara, as opposed to Miles, she’s a lot more of a believer in the sense of ‘things are meant to be’ and ‘things aren’t just coincidence.’ That’s what she has always brought to the table. There is always a fun juxtaposition between the two. She’s sort of okay with it — she is getting great stories out of it. She’s not completely selfless in her act. One thing that I have noticed so far in this season is that because of the Joy character and because the God Account has reached out to other people, the God Squad has turneed their focus on why it has chosen Miles and why it brought Cara to Miles as opposed to who is making it happen. That’s still something they’re in search of, but they’re kind of focused on why and also if there are other people beyond Joy out there who are being contacted.
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