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Published on March 30th, 2012 | by Ernie Estrella


Q & A With Fringe’s Blair Brown – The Nina, The Meana, and the Massive Dynamic Between Them

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It’s Fringe Friday and to mark a new Fringe episode, we’ve got this quick Q&As with Blair Brown who plays Nina, head of Massive Dynamic. In support of Fringe Social networking use the hashtag #CHANGEYOURWORLD starting at 8PM EST, building towards tonight’s episode.

Could you talk about your alternate version of Nina?

BB: I had always wondered, ‘Where’s my alternate?’ It eventually came along and they were discussing what she should be, ‘She should be a crazy woman, a bag lady, and so out there because she’s so controlled. Then I get these scripts and they say she looks the same, she talks the same, and I thought, “bummer.” [Laughs] And then I got that one script, where I went, “Yyyyes! I get it now. And that is the fun of it. The last eight scripts of the season are very surprising. Then there’s another version of Nina that comes along that’s quite unusual. She’s has a wheelchair, but she can move around. That’s all I’ll say about that. So I’ve had fun in several weeks.

EDITOR’S PICK: Read our Q&A With FRINGE’S Josh Jackson and John Noble AKA Peter and Walter Bishop

Do you ask for clues to help you and your performance?

Sometimes. It was not clear when the scripts first arrived, with good and bad Nina, who was who. So I had to literally ask, Where are we? If it wasn’t Faux-Olivia, it was Olivia. What’s the deal? The guys are very good about clarifying about some small points, but beyond that I don’t want to blow the fun for making it harder. Actors have a terrible habit of trying to simplifying things. So if you knew that, we’d telegraph it. The hardest part of playing the alternate, the same, was not wanting to telegraph, ‘Pay attention, I’m not really who I seem’ and I thought. ‘You must not do that. You have to play it exactly the same because that’s the fun for the fans.

EDITOR’S PICK: Read Our Q&A With FRINGE’S Agent Lincoln Lee played by Seth Gabel

What’s the biggest difference you see between the two Ninas?

In the original timeline, there is the Bishop-Bell-Nina nexus, Nina’s of the generation where women weren’t allowed to be those kinds of scientists. So she was that helpmate, as a girlfriend perhaps to both of them, we’ve never been sure about that. But she was the one that understood it, which is why Bell left her the company and to look after Walter. She’s had a full life, an interesting life.

Bad Nina, who we call Meana, was thwarted. There was no William Bell. There was no Bishop that brought her into the cold and Jones did.  You have a woman with a chip on her shoulder, and who is bitter. She wasted resources. Meana is really untrustworthy, I wouldn’t trust good Nina either, [Laughs] but I think Meana’s like a rat in a cage. I’d watch out for her.

So many of our current technology and gadgets are being inspired by Star Trek, or Star Wars, have any of you on the set looked at some of what’s conceived on the show, and wondered if years from now we’re going to be using some refined version of the Fringe technology?

Oh, interesting. Wouldn’t that be amazing? That would be so cool, very, very cool. I’ve always wanted to keep pushing as far as we can in that way. Originally in the pilot, Nina’s desk was a full computer screen. It was this big, thick, and plexiglass where Nina could just wave her hand. That technology existed but it wasn’t available, and then again there’s this business with the arm and nanotechnology sending soldiers in that are going to be able to do that. It’d be great if we could explore that. But you know we have so much story to tell and that’s the trick. Now you have characters that are really invested in complex narrative but they bring in as much as they can.

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