Leslie Hope on ‘The River’

The actress talks about her current show on ABC and looks back at her exit from "24."

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

At the Television Critics Association panel for "The River," Leslie Hope lamented how she lost her gig on the successful "24" thanks to, spoiler, the first season finale. When I ran into her that night at the cocktail party, I reminisced with her about the late Mrs. Bauer and looked ahead to her adventure with real documentary cameras on "The River."


CraveOnline: A show like "24" was so much set in L.A., how different is it to film a show not only set somewhere else, but shot in Hawaii pretending to be South America?

Leslie Hope: A place like Hawaii is just rife with spirits and burgeoning nature that you can’t overcome no matter what. L.A.’s had a lot of the life ground out of it, right? It’s covered in cement, there’s freeways everywhere, there’s cars everywhere. It’s a totally different experience to be in Hawaii.

And yet, the reality is we’re all away from home, the actors, to be there. So in our isolation, it all came together as I think a stronger group than we would had we been shooting in L.A. You don’t go home at the end of every night like we do in L.A. We kind of are all together, not that far apart.

CraveOnline: When you’re actually handling the camera, how much extra responsibility do you feel to get the shot?

Leslie Hope: Tremendous responsibility. It’s a kind of stress that you don’t really experience if you’re just acting, but the plus side of it is, I think it makes the camera more of a character in the show so it’s a more immediate feeling when you watch the show.

That being said, I had to do a scene where I was shooting Paul Blackthorne. I pick up the camera and my character wears reading glasses. So there we are shooting at night, low light and I couldn’t really quite see the monitor because I’m not wearing my reading glasses. You’ll see when you see that episode, Paul’s a little soft.

CraveOnline: Since it was so disappointing to be killed in the first season of "24," do you come in like, "I am going to make this someone they cannot get rid of?"

Leslie Hope: Well, that’s why I made that deal with Michael Green. I can’t say that. I wasn’t disappointed to be killed off "24" as much as, I mean, I thought it was a great ending to that first season. When you see the alternate version we shot, there’s no question that my character should’ve been killed.

CraveOnline: Yeah, they all walk off happily.

Leslie Hope: Yeah, right? But it was sad for me to leave that particular group of people and in was so enjoying working with Kiefer and Stephen Hopkins, it was sad to say goodbye to that, but I thought it was great TV.

CraveOnline: How gratifying was it that it made such an impact?

Leslie Hope: It’s kind of neat, right? I must tell you, I didn’t really understand that until there was an end of "24" party with the final season and they invited the entire cast and crew from all the season to go to the party. I did not realize until I went, until I walked the red carpet, the impact of that show. It was not until then, and it was a big deal.

CraveOnline: That death was what let the audience know anything could happen on that show.

Leslie Hope: That’s right and again, ratcheted up the tension of it. And as our bosses have been very careful to remind us on this show, it’s called "The River." It’s not called "Tess Cole." It’s not called "Emmet Cole." It’s called "The River.’

CraveOnline: Did you get to be more of an action hero on "The River"?

Leslie Hope: A little bit but I get to have both. I get to be incredibly strong and determined but with huge emotional arcs. So Bruce and I have been talking about it a lot today saying it’s almost operatic in how big the feelings are, how big the scares are. Some days I would go, "I don't know if I went a little too far." But you sort of have no choice.

CraveOnline: How do you feel about the scene in the pilot where you’re screaming at the monster in the pilot. Was that too far or far enough?

Leslie Hope: You tell me.

CraveOnline: I was just wondering what are you actually looking at in that scene?

Leslie Hope: Well, good question. That particular episode is about Corpo Seco which is an invisible spirit that’s bitter and enraged. I’m fighting that force of that spirit, so the reality is wind machines and a lot of noise, but the joke is supposed to be that it’s this powerful spirit force that I’m railing against.

CraveOnline: How much do they tell you about your character before you started? How much do you need to know before it’s revealed?

Leslie Hope: Well, I needed to know what the driving force of this character is, this overwhelming love that she has for her husband. So that’s all I really needed to know is that it was a truthful emotion that was driving me. That was this big, big love and that at the risk of even my son’s life, I would find him. Everything else, didn’t matter what came my way. As long as I knew I loved Bruce Greenwood which isn’t hard to do, I felt like I was well set up.

CraveOnline: I have to say I still remember Men at Work and phrenology. How often does that come up?

Leslie Hope: Not as much lately. You’re the first person in a long time. I obviously started to think about it a little bit with Charlie Sheen being in the news so much lately. Nothing but good feelings about him and that experience. Yeah, the phrenology scene, kind of wacky.