Over the first 10 episodes of Continuum‘s first season time travelling kick-ass cop Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) has seen her fair share of action scenes – but while the character has a bullet proof suit and energy shield, the actor doesn’t.
“I was fortunate because entering into the show I’d had extensive practical experience with fight scenes and weapons and things from when I was in Alias, GI Joe,” reveals Rachel Nichols, talking exclusively to SciFiNow, “and I’ve always really liked having physical roles and so in my downtime I’m not one of those people who goes and completely stops working out and eats whatever I want – I stay in shape.
“So when the ink was dry on the contract – I think it was before Christmas last year – I was in pretty good shape, and then you on set and we have a great stunt team, we have a stunt double on the show who I’ve worked with for years. Yeah, learning fight scenes is like learning a dance, you do it step by step and then you string them all together. Often the steps seem familiar, you know – throwing a right hook, a side kick – the steps are familiar and then you put them together in a different order, you learn that dance. It definitely takes work but I’ve been fortunate enough to only need to do some fine-tuning, not really learn an entire new skill set.”
It’s not just that Nichols is good at kicking ass – which is what you’d expect given her roles in Alias as analyst/agent Rachel Gibson, in GI Joe: Rise Of Cobra as all-round bad-ass Scarlett, and in 2011’s poorly received Conan The Barbarian as novice on the run Tamara – but she loves it too.
“I love to do as many stunts as production will let me,” says the actor. “I love to carry a gun and I love to fire empty rounds in a scene – I’m very zealous about all that, and yes if you go for it balls to the wall, 100% then yeah! I’ve got some scars, I’ve got some scars from Conan, I’ve got some scars from GI Joe – nothing major. I’m quite grateful my parents made me take dance lessons for the first 12 years of my life, because I was quite clumsy growing up and I’m certainly still clumsy today – so I can’t imagine what it would have been like with the training.
There’s no shortage of awesome action scenes in Continuum – but that in itself isn’t remarkable. Instead Nichols joins the likes of Buffy Summers, Sydney Bristow and Olivia Dunham, as one of sci-fi and fantasy’s capable action heroes, level-headed pragmatists and positive female roles models.
“It’s been great,” Nichols admits. “I enjoy the idea of a very strong central female character, which is why when I read the script I loved it within the first five pages – and I thought, I have to do this. This is one of those opportunities you rarely see on TV for a strong female character – I have young followers on Twitter, I have followers my age on twitter, all over the world, actually.
“I don’t know how the people in Russia and Singapore got Continuum, but they have fans in those countries as well! It has been really nice – when you read the pilot you love it, when you’re shooting the show I loved all the people I worked with, when I started seeing dailies and little snippets I thought the show was fantastic, and then the show goes to air – and that’s when you never know. You could put the most work into something and everybody think it was brilliant, and then nobody watches it? Or you use the spaghetti theory and throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and suddenly it’s a big hit! So you just put this product that you love in the hands of fate and destiny, and hopefully viewers watch it and luckily the did.
“It is nice when you get a mother who writes ‘Oh my God we love this show, we love to watch it together.’ And that’s cool, that just tells me that I’m doing my job and the character’s a good role model and the show is something that parents are willing to let their children watch – which I absolutely think they should, given some of the stuff that’s on TV today.
“It has been very, very nice to get feedback from women who excited about the show and want to see more, absolutely!”