'Resurrection's' Samaire Armstrong on Season 2's "Immediate" Payoffs, 'The OC' Memories

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Samaire Armstrong

"A lot of things will be resolved," the actress tells THR about her ABC drama's upcoming episodes

Samaire Armstrong promises that Resurrection viewers won't have to wait long to get plenty of answers in the show's second season. 

Armstrong, who plays Elaine on the ABC drama, told The Hollywood Reporter that its upcoming episodes will test her character's resolve. "She had to come to terms with the acceptance that that part of her life is now done," Armstrong said about Elaine's dad Caleb disappearing.

The 33-year-old actress, known for roles on such wide-ranging projects as Dirty Sexy Money, Entourage and Sons of Anarchy, also discussed how Elaine's "survival mode" affects the character, whether she felt close to The OC's core castmembers during her time on that show and why she credits her hair for landing her career-affirming recurring role on The Mentalist.

What can people expect from Resurrection's new season?

I'm so happy that, on our show this second season — first of all, so happy we get a second season — payoffs will be immediate and consistent, which I think is a really cool tactic to keep the audience interested. The show blossoms in a way where it gives you answers, but then it also creates more questions. A lot of things will be resolved, but then it will bring up a lot more questions. 

How will Caleb's disappearance affect Elaine moving forward? 

Elaine having had her dad disappear and then having to come to terms with being okay with it has definitely defined her role in this world that we're living in, in Arcadia. She's one of the only ones that has had someone actually disappear, whereas some people might die and leave their bodies there and then return again. She didn't get Jacob — she didn't get that family member that's just so awesome and everyone wants to be around them. She got some jerk of a dad — hoping that it would be something wonderful; turns out, it wasn't. 

What do you like about playing Elaine as compared to other characters you've played?

Elaine, in particular, as opposed to, say, even Anna from The OC, and a lot of the characters that I tend to play, are a little bit more — I don't want to say the word "neurotic," but that's the first word that comes to mind. I guess it's like an energy thing — most of the characters are a little bit more frazzled and full of life and maybe [have] a lot of questions. With Elaine, it's like she's had to take care of business, handle the household and make sure that they can continue living under this roof. It's very survival mode, and that's probably the biggest difference. 

How did you get your start in the industry? 

I always wanted to be an actress — I had some family that would do some extra work during summers. So I was going to the University of Arizona, and I was going to be a theatre major. The summer between freshman and sophomore year, I decide to go out and see what it would be like to be an extra. I had been doing theatre my whole life, but I kind of thought going and getting a theatre degree was a moot point, considering, literally, my whole life, every year I was on stage. It was like, 'What can these people teach me that I don't already know?' [Laughs.] But what I really wanted to do was film and television.

I went out to Los Angeles and did a bunch of Saturday morning TV shows as an extra, and I kept getting the same response, which was like, 'Why aren't you trying out for these parts?' And it was very reaffirming, like, 'Okay, I'm not going back to college.' It took a little bit of work and time and dedication — thankfully, I had the support of my parents, who basically looked at the next four years as if they were helping me go to college.

We've heard that not every actor with a recurring role on The OC felt particularly welcomed by the show's core cast. What was your experience like?

That wasn't my experience only because I actually knew Rachel [Bilson] before I started working. I knew Adam [Brody] before I started working — we had attended a really cool acting class together for a while. I think it's a daunting situation to come onto any set that has a rhythm going, and you're basically trying to find your seat at the lunch table. I will say, we were all very young, and there's that, too. Social skills are kind of lacking at that age, I think. 

Besides Resurrection, is there a role in your career that you look back on particularly fondly? 

The Mentalist is absolutely a great experience for me for several reasons. It was an interesting time in my career because it had been a few years since [ABC's soap] Dirty Sexy Money had gone off the air, and I wasn't really finding a rhythm in what I was looking for. Oddly enough, I always feel like I have a shift in my career a lot of times when I change my hair. It was before the colorful hair phase, but I just had this feeling like I really wanted to dye my hair bubble-gum pink. And I was like, 'I just have a feeling, if I do this, I'm going to book something really awesome.'

Reluctantly but thankfully, my team agreed with me, and then I booked this arc on The Mentalist as a streetwalker, to put it politely. And this character had such a great arc. And they were so awesome and such an amazing crew and cast. It really taught me a lot about professionalism and what it means to be good at your job. 

What do you like most about working in television?

I love television because it's actually quite close to theatre in the sense of the audience response time. In theatre, you do something, and people are either booing or cheering you on immediately. And in television, you're still getting that feedback, which as an actor, I like to receive one way or another. I want to feel how it's going. I love watercooler talk — I first found out about watercooler talk when I was on The OC, and people were talking about it, and they were talking about what they watched that night. They couldn't believe that so-and-so did this, or, 'Did you see that happen?' 

Resurrection airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

Read more 'Resurrection' Scores Tony Winner for Major Season 2 Arc (Exclusive)

Email: Ryan.Gajewski@pgmedia.org
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