What do a grieving single mother, a fallen superstar photographer, a career criminal's kid brother and a mysterious runaway have in common? ABC's new drama from Lost cocreator J.J. Abrams, premiering tonight at 10 pm/ET, explores the Six Degrees of separation that unknowingly tie the aforementioned Manhattanites to each other as well as others. Playing the secret-filled girl on the run is Traffic's Erika Christensen, whom TVGuide.com spoke to on a somewhat "six degrees"-esque occasion.
TVGuide.com: Hey, you know what's really bizarre? Are you ready to hear this?
Erika Christensen: Yeah, I'm ready! I'm so excited! Is it a "six degrees," small-world moment?
TVGuide.com: Kind of. You and I last spoke almost exactly a year ago, to the day. Regarding Flightplan.
Christensen: That is wild. Wowww.... [Laughs] Maybe I'll talk to you in another year?
TVGuide.com: At that time, you said you had "just recently been considering doing some [television]" and look where you are now.
Christensen: And look where I am now. That's wild.
TVGuide.com: You definitely have one of the juicier roles on Six Degrees, as this "runaway" lording over a mysterious box.
Christensen: [Laughs] Yeah, it's really fun. We have a great staff of writers, and talking to them about it is so funny. "Hmm, what will we tell you, what will we not...?" [We're now filming] the sixth episode, and a lot of secrets are being revealed to the audience about what this girl's been up to.
TVGuide.com: Anything that has been surprising, even to you?
Christensen: No, nothing surprises me anymore about the character I play. [Chuckles] But I definitely think that viewers will be surprised. It's exciting, because she's this dichotomy on the one hand she's a very private person, obviously, who won't give you much about her life before now....
TVGuide.com: Yeah, she has these wild-child moments, but then retreats into a corner.
Christensen: Yeah, she's at odds with herself because she really is a fun, loving person who wants to engage people and build relationships and fall in love the things everyone wants to do but she thinks, "Hmm, maybe it's better not to."
TVGuide.com: I read somewhere that it's not very long before we find out what's in the box....
Christensen: Where did you read that?! [Laughs] I cannot confirm or deny!
TVGuide.com: Hurley's numbers are inside, aren't they.
Christensen: [Laughs] Yeah, Hurley's numbers are inside the box.
TVGuide.com: Is the plan to tease a hookup for your and Jay Hernandez's characters, a will-they/won't-they thing?
Christensen: I think so. There's a good setup [for their possible romance], and you can definitely see chemistry between the characters. I watched the pilot again [Tuesday] night at our premiere, and I'm very impressed with the new cut. It's even much better than the first time I saw it.
TVGuide.com: In my "fall forecast" blog, I named Six Degrees as one of my two favorite new shows.
TVGuide.com: Seriously, by the end of the pilot I found myself caring about, and really invested in, each of the characters.
Christensen: Isn't that amazing, too, because there are a lot of us, and there's a lot going on. You know I have to ask, who's the other [favorite show]?
TVGuide.com: Men in Trees they're both ABC, at least. Are you a fan at all of your very important lead-in, Grey's Anatomy?
Christensen: I am, although I'm not the most educated fan. The coolest thing that's happened recently is that we stole [Grey's exec producer] Peter Horton from them, which is great. He's a huge asset to our show [as a consulting producer]. The actors have all been getting along really well with him, and he's had something to add to our set. We're like, "Stay here!"
TVGuide.com: Are you up to speed enough on Grey's to have an opinion on who Meredith should choose, Patrick Dempsey or Chris O'Donnell?
Christensen: I'd choose Patrick Dempsey. [Laughs] But I know Chris, and he's awesome.
TVGuide.com: You've never called New York City [where Six Degrees films] home before. How have you been settling in?
Christensen: My goal when I got here was to kind of make my life here I wanted to find "my" places, where I could know the owners of the restaurant and find "my" laundromat, "my" whatever and that's really easy to do. The hard thing might be to choose [among them], because there are so many good choices. But I'm making headway, for sure.
TVGuide.com: You had an interesting little film, The Sisters, tiptoe into theaters last spring. It didn't get much play, but....
Christensen: The dialogue was interesting, and the actors were incredible.
TVGuide.com: What was it like working alongside the varied likes of Maria Bello, Eric McCormack and Elizabeth Banks...?
Christensen: Chris O'Donnell, Tony Goldwyn, Rip Torn, Mary Stuart Masterson... it was insane and really wonderful. They're all truly inspiring people because they're unique, and they each created these great characters. I was blown away by watching, for instance, Alessandro Nivola play this slightly dorky guy, which was so clever and subtle. We all got along famously.
TVGuide.com: Having played "the nice one," Fiona, did you ever get the pat on the back or the extra first-class cookie you hoped for?
Christensen: I've gotten extra conversation when I'm bored, which is pretty wonderful, actually. "Oh, you played one of us!" I'm like, "Yeah! How are ya?"
TVGuide.com: How do you think Fiona would fare against those Snakes on a Plane?
Christensen: [Laughs] Fiona would kick some ass. Myself, I would have been fine [working with snakes]. I have few fears ones that I've discovered, anyway.
TVGuide.com: Now that you have a hot new TV show, have the lad mags come sniffing around for a pictorial?
Christensen: I think my publicist knows better than to even tell me about them.
TVGuide.com: You wouldn't pose in all your finery?
Christensen: [Chuckles] I do, every day but not for them.
TVGuide.com: OK, here's my proposal: Scarlett Johansson is getting a bit too big for her britches, if you ask me, so would you like to be the new object of my quasi-stalkerish affections?
Christensen: That is one hell of a question. Um, I don't think I have much choice, if I am, so I'll certainly take it as a compliment.
TVGuide.com: Erika, it's been great talking to you. Good luck with Six Degrees, I really hope it does well!
Christensen: Fingers crossed, I think we will!
Send your comments on this Q&A to: email@example.com.