Megalyn Echikunwoke, The 4400
A lot of strange things have been going on during this season of USA Network's The 4400
(Sundays at 9 pm/ET) and, more often than not, grown-up newborn Isabelle is at the heart of the mysterious matter. Doing our best impression of a diligent NTAC agent — at the risk of falling prey to one of Izzy's lethal choking maneuvers — TVGuide.com prodded the enigmatic beauty's portrayer, Megalyn Echikunwoke
, for scoop on the back half of Season 3.
TVGuide.com: OK, I've thought long and hard about how to phrase my first question, and here it is: What the hell is happening on The 4400?!
Megalyn Echikunwoke: [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Seriously, what's up with Isabelle? Who is she? What is she? What is her plan?
TVGuide.com: Or do you find yourself asking those same questions?
Echikunwoke: Basically! [Laughs] They don't really reveal anything to us, except episode by episode, so we're just as curious as our audience. We read the scripts and are like, "Oh my god!"
TVGuide.com: Like a lot of other fans, I was rather surprised to see her rendezvous with Dennis Ryland last week.
Echikunwoke: Right, right... well, I guess you could expect a bit more of that.... [Pauses] I don't know if I'm allowed to say anything! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Yeah, we run into that a lot with you 4400 actors.
Echikunwoke: But on a more abstract level, Isabelle is really kind of a product of her own sort of power.
TVGuide.com: At this point, does she know what her agenda is, or is she still feeling her way around?
Echikunwoke: She knows... and she doesn't know. It's like having a child with no parents, or a child with a lot of money with no parents. You'd go crazy, spend all this money and buy crazy cars and just be out of control.
TVGuide.com: How did executive producer Ira Steven Behr and the gang pitch the role to you? Did you know what to expect?
Echikunwoke: In the beginning, I was so curious and really nervous. How do you approach this type of character? She's a woman but she's a newborn; she's powerful and learns practically at the speed of thought; she's telekinetic.
TVGuide.com: How did you and Patrick Flueger get past the "ick" factor of Shawn bedding young, young Isabelle?
Echikunwoke: Quite easily! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Are you bummed that Izzy's on the outs with Shawn right now?
Echikunwoke: No, because I think it's kind of exciting. That was an obvious turn for the characters, and doing the less obvious is always more interesting. Maybe they'll get back together... perhaps under much darker terms.
TVGuide.com: Were you as sad as I was to say goodbye to Garrett Dillahunt's Matthew?
Echikunwoke: Yes! [Sighs heavily] He was so good — such a great character and such a great actor. And he was so funny, one of the funniest men ever. And hot!
TVGuide.com: We're about halfway through the season. What can you tease about the remainder of it? By the end of this season will we know for certain who Isabelle's allegiance is to, what her true agenda is?
Echikunwoke: Yes, you definitely will. In "Graduation Day" [which aired July 9] there's that scene with Isabelle and Tom, where Tom comes to see her with this syringe and says, "I'm supposed to kill you." He starts asking her all these questions and she says, basically, "I was told that I was sent to eliminate the 4400." That was a very pivotal and revealing scene. But really, Isabelle has humanity in her. She's a child, an innocent.
TVGuide.com: So even though she may have been told her purpose, she may not want to kill the 4400.
Echikunwoke: She doesn't want to. But sometimes people are not in control of their fates.
TVGuide.com: Have you been shooting scenes with Billy Campbell [returning late this season as Jordan Collier]?
Echikunwoke: Oh, yes. Jordan and I shall meet and... it might not be pretty.
TVGuide.com: Is Jordan surprised to see Isabelle all grown up, or did he know?
Echikunwoke: Jordan has been through a lot since we saw him last. [Laughs] But he knows. He knows a lot.
TVGuide.com: What do you remember most fondly about your first acting gig, the TV-movie Peter Benchley's Creature?
Echikunwoke: That was probably one of the best summers of my life. It was so completely foreign and fantastical to me because I grew up on a Navajo reservation, which was sort of like a mini Third World.
TVGuide.com: Right, and Creature wasn't some quiet drama but a splashy special-effects thing.
Echikunwoke: Right! It was this crazy thing. It was almost like walking around in a dream. I was like, "Oh my god, I'm acting in this TV thing with the guy from Coach [Craig T. Nelson]!" I got to go to the West Indies, St. Lucia.... It was amazing.
TVGuide.com: As a huge 24 fan, I'm kicking myself that I didn't remember that you played David Palmer's daughter, Nicole, during Season 1!
Echikunwoke: Oh, yeah. Totally forgettable! [Laughs] She had been raped, and the son was accused of killing her rapist.
TVGuide.com: Is it nice to have been the kid of one of TV's most-beloved presidents?
Echikunwoke: It was short-lived, but it was very cool. I think they had wanted to develop that story line more, but it was such an ambitious show, especially in the first season.
TVGuide.com: Did 24 ever try to get you back?
Echikunwoke: I think so, yeah. In the second season it was rumored, "Oh, we might want her." but....
TVGuide.com: It is kind of weird how Palmer's kids kind of just vanished. But in the upcoming season, [SPOILER ALERT!] David's brother is president, and Nicole is Wayne's niece, so you could return. Who knows what fresh trouble she's in now?
Echikunwoke: Hey! Who knows what she's doing?
TVGuide.com: Has The 4400 opened up new doors for you?
Echikunwoke: Yeah, it's been good. There's lots of stuff going on and people are seeing the shows.... I haven't really played a character like this before, with a big dark side. I haven't been able to play anyone with any kind of darkness, which I have longed for! If you've seen me before it's always been light and bubbly... and relatively boring! [Laughs]
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