Zap2it: Sci-fi used to be something of a boys club. Are those days over?
Laura Mennell: Pretty much, yes. Being younger and seeing shows like “Alien” and seeing Sigourney [Weaver], a woman, just get in there and be so strong and get involved in the action was so great for me. The nice thing about it all with the sci-fi genre is that you’re seeing more and more of women getting to play interesting, meaty characters.
Zap2it: How did you prepare to play “Alphas” Nina?
Laura Mennell: Since her ability is more of a hyper-hypnosis, if you will, I did things like trying to research hypnosis through YouTube or videos of Derren Brown on the subway, just a lot of odd little things here and there. It’s actually amazing what I found there, which is fortunate if you are working in TV, because everything is coming at you so quickly. The Internet in itself is just an easy tool to get quick access, which is great.
Zap2it: Is it challenging trying to portray a power that is cerebral instead of physical, like superstrength?
Laura Mennell: Yeah, channeling Nina’s ability to push and having it be more cerebral is interesting and complex. Nina is able to home in on certain neural pathways in the brain that are vulnerable to suggestion and uses that to manipulate people to do whatever she wants. There’s this immediate, intense connection with those she influences and just the idea of being able to do that, of having so much power over people, is pretty incredible.