Actress Elizabeth Mitchell said in a recent interview that she was surprised that fans of ABC's Lost mourned the death of her character, Juliet.
During the course of three seasons, Juliet had become one of the show's most compelling characters. Still, why was Mitchell taken aback by fans' sadness?
"I was really surprised!" Mitchell said when I asked her about that in a recent phone interview.
She said that in her acting process, she focuses on integrity and making sure that "I believe what I'm saying and how I'm behaving."
"I never, ever think about, 'Will someone like it?' " Mitchell said. "If you think about that, you get into all kinds of trouble. I just created the character based on what I think is true. I was completely shocked that what goes on in my brain might be interesting to someone else."
Though she had a lot of sympathy for her character, Mitchell said, she thought Juliet had some prickly qualities. The enigmatic doctor wasn't exactly warm and outgoing like Hurley (played by Jorge Garcia). But Mitchell gave her character a great deal of depth and shading.
"You wouldn't necessarily want her (Juliet) as a friend, but you definitely wouldn't want her as an enemy," Mitchell said.
Even though Juliet could be ruthless, she had a core of pain, compassion and selflessness. She was always thinking about how to protect those she cared about or how to save her ill sister.
"That's who I felt she was," Mitchell said. "She loved who she loved, yet she was able to do things without remorse."
So, does Mitchell have a message for Lost fans who are mourning Juliet?
"Oh, my God, yes!" she said. "Thank you, thank you, thank you so much. It's because of you that I got to play this beautiful, amazing, complicated woman. ... I firmly believe that because fans embraced her, that's the reason I got to play her" for as long as she did.
Juliet and Erica, Mitchell's character on V (also on ABC), are decidedly different, she said.
"Juliet is so still. I knew exactly who she was all the time," Mitchell said. "Erica is so messy; she is so much more human. She's more like me."
Erica, who is leading the resistance against the alien Visitors led by Anna (Morena Baccarin), has "a tremendous amount of personal demons," Mitchell added. "She's not that great with talking things out."
Part of the appeal of V was the prospect of seeing two complicated, smart, devious or heroic (depending on your viewpoint) women engaged in a very tricky, high-stakes battle.
"That's what drew me to it, 100 percent," Mitchell said.