Peta Wilson Interview

La Femme Nikita

This is an old interview from around 1999. Not certain of the source anymore.

Peta Wilson Talks to Prevue (now TV Guide Online) by Lisa Coleman. Peta Wilson took time to talk about her life on and off La Femme Nikita. We also gave her a chance to answer the critics who say the show is too dark and to talk about being an action star.

Prevue: What is your favorite aspect of La Femme Nikita?

Peta: I’m working, I’m learning and I’m gaining knowledge. I’m a person who loves to learn. I’m working in a very nice environment with good people. I’m learning a lot. That’s very important to me. And getting paid is nice too.

Prevue: What is your least favorite aspect?

Peta: No balance, I’m working so much, nine months a year. That’s a long stretch. I’m not able to see my family when I want since they’re in Australia.

Prevue: What’s it like being a female action star?

Peta: I don’t think I’m an action star. I just do it. Its quite strange being recognized a lot. They don’t prepare you for that in drama school. Sometimes people have this preconceived idea or notion of what they think you are like when actually it’s the character you play, it’s not who you are at all as a person.

Prevue: Do you feel any pressure of being a female role model?

Peta: No, I feel if one is lucky enough to be identified with that it’s a big thing to take on. I’m not Ghandi; I’m just an actress. Let’s set that record straight right now. I’m an actress. If people respond to the character I play, then that’s wonderful. If I’m able to make them think a little bit different within their own reality though my medium of acting and emotions, then that’s great. I’m an actress; I’m not Ghandi or Mother Teresa. I do feel a responsibility in this popular culture, since we are so visual, to shine a light on certain situations. If I can give back to the environment, to society that voice, that attention that is needed to bring a problem to the forefront, then that’s great. I think we all need to do that.

I think that in the popular culture, we get back what we give 3x3x3. Not just donating money to charity, but to bring attention where it’s needed. I feel a responsibility to do that. I love acting, I’m employed and getting paid for it. I’ve always tried to be a giving person; I was always getting involved, even before I was an actress. If now, I can shine a brighter light now, so be it.

Prevue: Do you have a favorite charity or cause?

Peta: Street kids, because the kids of today are the adults of tomorrow. We, the geriatric set may control the world today, but the kids will be taking over soon. The street kids don’t have a role model and I think that is important. Everyone needs someone to look up to.

Prevue: What’s your favorite episode?

Peta: I like different episodes for different reasons, it’s hard to say. I like some of them for my work in them; I like others for the message within the show. It’s really hard to pick just one. I really liked the last three episodes of this season because of the guest star. I like some because of the director, some because of the work my co-stars and others for the guest star. It’s so hard because I like them all, even though I try to make each one different. I’m always trying to add something different to my character.

Prevue: What do you say to the critics who say the show is bleak and no nonsense?

Peta: I don’t think I’m qualified to answer that. I’m just an actress. I come and do my job and do the best I can doing it. I think my ego is hurt when someone says that, but I have nothing to do with the way the show is shot. I don’t feel responsible for that. But I would also say, why don’t you guys lighten up? It’s just television. It’s just a little bit of entertainment. If we spent six months preparing for just one episode, like the movies do then I would have a much different answer. Someone writes the episodes and a month later they’re done. Come on, we’re not going to appease everybody. So just lighten up and enjoy it for bit of entertainment that it is. You can’t through your life worrying what other people are going to think and a critic is just one voice.

Prevue: What’s it been like to develop Nikita over the past two seasons?

Peta: Well, I’m not the type of actress who says, ‘Oh, she would never do this.’ I look at the script and say, ‘Okay, I don’t think she would do that, but if she had to, then how would she do it?’ I make every day a challenge. I think everyday, ‘What am I going to do here. How am I and how would she?’ It’s a constant thing, an ongoing process. I make myself open. She grows as I grow; I’m not locked into any one thing.

Prevue: Do you have any input into the storyline at all?

Peta: If something isn’t working, we’ll have a conversation, a dialogue and come to some sort of compromise. We all work together. It goes through so much; it gets washed, washed and washed. It’s hard playing the same character over and over. I try not to get bored, because if I’m bored you’re bored.

Prevue: What’s in the future for Peta Wilson?

Peta: I don’t know, I wish I had a crystal ball. I have all sorts of dreams. I want to help my family, I want to produce. There are a lot of different things I’d like to see happen. Maybe some directing, a show about my family, my childhood. I want to produce projects that may not be a commercial success but need to be seen.

Prevue: What would you like to say to your fans?

Peta: I want to thank them most graciously. I’m very grateful for the positive energy that they produce and put out there. It protects me from the ones who aren’t so kind. I really appreciate the fans who stand beside me. That positive energy is why the show is the success it is.

We wish the show and Peta lots of positive energy in the future.

Category(s): La Femme Nikita

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