Exclusive Interview: The Lying Game’s Charisma Carpenter Talks Season 2, Intrigue and Homeland

The ABC Family series The Lying Game returns today for a second season of intrigue, drama and damn lies, to the joy of the fans of the series. With so many questions swirling after the shocking season finale, TV Equals was very fortunate to catch up with series regular Charisma Carpenter who plays the mysterious Rebecca Sewell.

During the chat, the wonderfully charming Charisma went into some details about her character, the upcoming season and her TV watching habits. Check out what she had to say below and don’t forget to tune in tomorrow at 9/8c for the premiere of The Lying Game on ABC Family.

The season finale was insane. Did you know from the get go this would come about?

Charisma Carpenter: I knew that I was her mom from the get go, but I didn’t know how it would be revealed, or that it would be as dynamically written as it was. That was an awesome reveal. ‘Hi, mom,’ and the way that Sutton delivered it, or the way, I should say, Alexandra Chando delivered, ‘Hi, mom,’ is awesome. Then I think the beginning of season two starts with the reveal that they are working together, and then when did they start working together and why was Emma not included. All of that stuff starts off the new season.

With so many plot twists and reveals throughout the season, do you prefer to know all the facts about your character beforehand or do you like to be surprised like the rest of us?

Charisma Carpenter: I think I like to decide. Usually at the beginning of the year you have sort of lunch with the creators and they sort of walk you through what they’re thinking about, if they know what they’re thinking about, and ‘How do you feel about this and you do you feel about that?’ And then I did have questions, like, ‘Well, who is the dad,’ and that has changed.

Sometimes if you ask, or if you know, there’s no real point in knowing because it can always chance, and then also, for me personally, I’m really sort of…like if Chuck [Pratt Jr.] starts going into an area that I really think my affect my performance, I’ll say, ‘Okay, don’t tell me that. I don’t want to know that one,’ because A) I don’t want to have an interview and mess it up. I’m a chatty Kathy [laughs] and I like to talk, and so I get into danger sometimes, and I don’t ever want to do that.

So I’m very cautious. ‘Don’t tell me, because I don’t want to spill the beans. Don’t tell me because I don’t want it to unconsciously leak into my performance.’ And also it’s more fun to sort of not know, and then I can just stay one track, I have one goal. Then I can just sort of scene by scene sort of break it down.

If I’m performing something in a way, like, ‘Let’s not go that direction. Let’s keep it real grounded. Don’t be as menacing with that, or angry, or why don’t we go this way with it and be real sincere.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s a brilliant direction.’. So it’s more fun to not know. Then I think it’s simpler as an actress to keep your motives clear and clean.

What can you tease, without revealing too much, about the second season?

Charisma Carpenter: I think we don’t know who is behind getting Alec in jail, being arrested. We don’t know if he wants to kill her. We don’t know who this new person is. I mean, we know, but who this new person is and what secrets he has and how will that affect everyone on the playing field as it is, the landscape as it were. Will Emma ever find out? How will she find out? Just all kinds of stuff. It’s like every episode there’s a reveal.

Do you feel that the second season has a different tone or energy to it compared to the first one?

Charisma Carpenter: Yeah. It feels like the stakes are higher, and it has a more urgent taste because so much is at stake, and then you’re learning secrets, and then your mind is going because you’re like, ‘Oh. Well, how is that going to go over with so and so?’ So it feels more urgent, is the best thing that I can say. I also feel like there’s more of an adult storyline, which I think blends well with the kids. There’s a good amount of each. There’s something for the kids, the youngsters, and then there’s something…and I think the storylines among the adults are attractive enough where even the youngsters want to know what’s going on with the parents because it has a direct impact on the kids.

Chuck and everybody on the writing team has done such a great job of leaving those relationships and making both of them relevant. So it’s not like there’s a clear line or a differential…what’s the word? There isn’t this two storyline, like, ‘This is the kids storyline and this is the adults storyline,’ and then the kids can tune out when the adults are on and the adults can tune out when…like, they’re all involved and interacting with each other and relevant to each other and impacting each other’s characters. So I think that is the real genius behind the show.

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

Charisma Carpenter: Oh my God, there’s so many choices. There’s so many choices. I have like five favorites. I’m obsessed with ‘Homeland.’ I watch it all the time.

‘Californication’ has been my favorite ever since the first season. I have auditioned for ‘Californication.’ They need to find a spot for me immediately. I just want one scene. I don’t care. I just want to be a part of it, because it’s just my kind of show. It’s just so naughty and irreverent and witty and fun. I love ‘Shameless.’ I mean, these are shows that are on my DVR without a doubt. ‘Sons of Anarchy,’ I never miss an episode.’Downton Abbey.’ I don’t miss an episode. It’s on my DVR.

There’s so much good television out right now, it’s ridiculous. It’s crazy.If had to pick one, Homeland. I love Howard Gordon, so I’m partial to ‘Homeland.’

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