Exclusive: Hulu’s Battleground Series Star Alison Haislip Talks Upcoming Episodes, Being Ali & Getting on Community

Ali - Alison HaislipThe West Wing meets The Office and you have an idea what Battleground, one of the first original scripted series on Hulu, is all about.

If you are a political junkie like myself, then Battleground is a must see and if you are already watching it, then you need to read what series star Alison Haislip, who plays the resident internet guru Ali, has to say about today’s new episode, the rest of the season and other interesting details.

Check out what she had to say below and don’t forget to watch Battleground exclusively on Hulu (New episodes come out every Tuesday. Jump to the end of interview for the latest episode).

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I just got to watch episode six of ‘Battleground.’ It’s going to be a big one.

Alison Haislip: Yeah, so episode six is when I think we really get to see the kind of darker side of campaigns and the fact that bribing actually happens in a not so subtle way. In episode six, at the very beginning of the series that’s the first shot you see, from that night, from primary night.

I remember that shot.

Alison Haislip: This is finally I think when it all comes together for the audience, when they realize that they’ve been watching up to this point and from here on out it’s a mystery.

What can you tease about the mystery?

Alison Haislip: I will say that we have seven more episodes after this [laughs]. So, obviously something continues in our campaign. The show doesn’t end after episode six.

I think that episode six ends in a way where you think we might finally be in the clear and then come episode seven you realize that we’re absolutely not. We think that we got over the biggest hurdle and then there’s a wall in front of us. So, things just continue to get more convoluted and interesting, and actually this is the part in the series where when I was reading the whole script, it fascinated me how many tricks went into campaigning.

When I finally got out to Wisconsin I was able to talk to J.D. [Walsh] and was like, ‘Where did you come up with all these ideas?’ He told me that it’s a combination of him working on the Kerry campaign and he watched a whole bunch of documentaries and read a whole ton of books and that everything that happens in our series is something that actually happens in campaigns. This isn’t Hollywood trickery or something like that. People actually do these bribes and there’s actually such a thing as voter suppression.

Tell me what characteristics of Ali that you like the most?

Alison Haislip: As soon as I read the character I just knew that she was me. She lives online. She constantly has an iPad or a laptop in her hands. She communicates via Twitter and things like that. She is a text guru. In the other half of my career I’ve somehow managed to make that my job as well. So, Ali is basically me without all the sunshine as she is a little more jaded than I am.

A lot of the humor in the show comes from the interaction between you and Jordan T. Maxwell. Can you talk about that relationship on the show?

Alison Haislip: It starts off with Ali just thinking Jordan is an absolute idiot. She’s like, ‘I can’t believe I have to share an office with this guy. He’s just a moron.’

But then she starts to see the humor in him and realizes that he can be a source of entertainment, much how Jim sort of eggs on Dwight in ‘The Office’ to get a kick out of it. That’s what Ali starts to do, and then you’ll see that as the series progresses, because of this relationship that she started with him that starts with the circle game in episode four.
I’ve got friends now who at parties will be, like, ‘Hey, Alison,’ and I look over and they’re totally playing the circle game with me. I’m like, ‘Damn it. I’m falling for my own tricks.’

There’s a point where it definitely grows into much more of a friendship between Ali and Jordan. Myself and the actual Jordan on set were talking about the fact that we both love ‘Community’ and we really see a Troy and Abed opportunity with Ali and Jordan. So, hopefully as the story continues you’ll be seeing a lot more of that.

A lot of the characters on the show get interviewed individually, but you and a few others haven’t been. Is there any significance to that?

Alison Haislip: That’s actually exactly what I asked when we started shooting. I went to J. D. and I said, ‘Why isn’t Ali in the interviews? Am I dead? Is that what happens?’ He said, ‘No. Ali doesn’t care about politics.’ I’m not a part of this campaign because I’m a political junkie, but I’m a part of the campaign because it happened to offer the kind of job that I wanted. Ali could be doing this job at a corporation or for a record label or whatever. It didn’t matter what the actual setting was. It was just the job.

J.D. said to me, ‘I bet Ali doesn’t even go out and vote.’ She doesn’t care about politics. So, she’s not doing the interviews most likely because she doesn’t care about the documentary. Who knows, that might change. Coming up we might see Ali start to grow and begin to care about this kind of stuff, but at this point, no. There’s nothing controversial about the fact that Ali isn’t in the interviews.

What’s the name of the show you’re going to have on The Nerdist Channel?

Alison Haislip: Right now it’s called ‘Four Points’ with Alex Albrecht. He and I will be doing it. Alex came up with the concept of the show and he said he wants to make it ‘Chelsea Lately’ for nerds. So, the idea is maybe a roundtable discussion with him, myself and two other panelists and it’ll be four different points of view on various nerdy topics that we bring up for the day. But very loose and casual and hopefully funny. Nothing too structured. Basically we want to sit around, drink and talk.

You seem to be going in a few directions with The Nerdist Channel and doing ‘Battleground.’ How do you see your career and what you want to do?

Alison Haislip: Acting is my passion. That’s where my heart has always been. That’s why I live in L.A. I happened to trip into the job at G4 that really was able to kind of play on my strengths about the fact that I am a nerd, a geek and I am actually in to all of that stuff. I never knew that was a job that I would be good at. I was very successful at it.

By no means am I going to ignore that path that I’ve taken. I definitely want to focus on things that feel good to me. I’m never going to host just to host, if that makes sense. You’re never going to see me hosting a home decoration show because, lets be honest, I can’t do that. I’m never going to host a cooking show because I can’t cook. But if it’s a kind of nerdy, geeky thing that comes my way then absolutely, and then in the meantime I’m going to be acting my little face off.

If you could guest star on any other TV show, which one would it be?

Alison Haislip: When ‘Lost’ was on TV I said that I always wanted to be on ‘Lost’ and then I realized, no, I didn’t because I never wanted to be on a show that would spoil it for me. I never wanted advance information on ‘Lost.’ I wanted to be able to enjoy each ‘Lost’ for myself. So, part of me says that I’d love to be on that new show ‘Awake,’ but no. I think that’s the same thing. I don’t want it to spoil it for me.

One thing I would absolutely do in a heartbeat is something on ‘Community.’ I already mentioned that, but actually two weeks ago Joel McHale accidentally tweeted me in a Community tweet. He meant to tweet Alison Brie and instead tweeted me. Twitter was obviously correcting him on the mistake and so in response he tweeted out, ‘Spoiler alert. Alison Haislip is replacing Alison Brie on “Community.”‘

And the Twitter-sphere exploded. People were either A) so upset that Alison Brie was going to be leaving the show or B) so excited that I could potentially be joining the show that it put the idea in my head, like, ‘Maybe I should now go on the show as Alison Brie’s evil twin,’ or something like that. If that ever got played out I would credit it entirely to Twitter.

We’ll start the campaign now. PutAlisononCommunity.com. There it is.

Alison Haislip: There’s probably a Facebook page that’s been started for that.
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The new episode of Battleground is now available on Hulu. For your convenience, we have embedded the latest episode below: