Previewing NIKITA with Tiffany Hines

Everyone should know by now that NIKITA is one of my favorite new shows this season.  I think Maggie Q is fantastic, love what Lyndsy Fonseca is bringing to the table, and really enjoy the scenes that explore the relationships between people at Division.  One of those people, Jaden played by the lovely Tiffany Hines, showed some strong feelings last week, when she went after Alex in the computer room.

I had the chance to speak with Tiffany about what’s coming up tonight and throughout the rest of the season, as well as why she signed on, and what research she did into the NIKITA franchise in general!

I’m loving NIKITA!
Oh good, you’re watching it, yay!

Of course!  Tell me, what drew you to the role of Jaden, how did you get involved?
I got involved through the audition process.  I was reading the pilot script during pilot season.  It’s a time of year when actors have tons of scripts coming in, one of the busiest times of year for us.  I got the script, and I read it from beginning to end without setting it down once, and the end!  The whole time, I was captivated by the script, and at the very end, obviously, if you’ve seen the pilot, there’s a twist.  I remember jumping up in my bed because I was sitting in my bed when I was reading it, I jumped up, and I said “Shut up!” which I’m sure a lot of people said when they saw it air.  I was in love with this script.  My agent thought I was crazy because he kept sending me these other ones, and I said, yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ll go and do a read for these other ones, but don’t forget NIKITA.  This is the one that I really want.  That’s how it all started, and I needed to go on auditions to read for the role.  I went back a lot of different times. 

I guess what really drew me to Jaden is the fact that she’s not what I would typically play, or what I’ve typically played in the past.  She’s not the nice girl, obviously, she’s the bad girl.  She’s got a lot of layers to her, and I was really drawn to her because of that.  At first, you see that she’s very confrontational with the Alex character, she likes to play around with people, she sees fresh bait, she goes after Alex right away.  Then you also see her later where Alex is talking to her about Tom, and you see a kind of softer side of her.  You can see her armor come down a bit, and you figure out, oh, she does have a softer side, she does have maybe possible feelings for this guy but we don’t know yet.  I really liked that dynamic of the character.

What can you tease about what’s coming up?
They are really going to explore the past, some of the characters’ pasts.  You’ll get to see more of Alex and Nikita and how they came to know each other, and even Nikita and Michael.  And then obviously, the Jaden/Alex relationship will get to a fever pitch level that you may not expect.  You’ll get to see these characters develop.  They do it in the present and they’ll also show the past so you can kind of understand how they got to the point that they are at at Division.

The show is such a past-heavy show, even if they don’t necessarily show a flashback.  There’s almost always a reference to before.  Did you get a lot of background going in, or is it something that you create as you go in with the role?
It started out that obviously, we did the pilot before it was picked up.  At that point, we really didn’t have a backstory at that point.  So everything I created, I created on my own.  And then before we came back to Toronto to film the rest of the season, it was really great.  I thought it wonderful that we got meet with our writers and we got to sit down, they sat down with each of us, just discussed our characters, and discussed where we wanted to go.  I really liked that hands on process that they took with us.  I was able to tell them you know, this is the kind of back story that I did with my character for the pilot, and they were able to say “ok, this is where we’re going with Jaden.”  What I really like about our writers is that they gave me little tidbits but they were really supportive of my creative process and they took notes down of things that I put out there, and then they didn’t give me too much information.  We want it to be organic and I don’t want to play certain things; they may be going in a certain direction and they don’t want me to play certain things or a certain way.  We’ve got some pretty amazing writers.  They like to keep you guessing and they’ve very hands on with us so I think that really helps with the development of our characters.

Had you been a fan, or have you revisited, the other iterations of NIKITA?
Actually, I had seen the Luc Besson film, and if you would have asked me five years ago what some of my top five films were, it would have been in my top 5, that Luc Besson version.  It already had a special place in my heart, this project did, because it was based on that franchise, and then once I had the role, as part of my research, I did go back and I did see “Point of No Return,” and then I did watch LA FEMME NIKITA series that was on USA.  I just think all of them are so brilliant.  They’re all so different, unique from one another, but they all pay homage to this original film that Luc Besson did do years and years ago, and it’s flattering to be a part of a franchise that has spanned across the course of time.  That’s had a following for so many years.  It’s really flattering, it’s exciting.

I think one of the reasons that I liked the pilot is that you do reinvent the story to a certain degree, but you also keep alive the creative vision from Luc’s version.
I think there’s a fine line there because you want to pay homage to the franchise but at the same time, you want to be respectful of the ones that have come and gone.  Especially with the LA FEMME NIKITA series.  This is a show that was one of the first cable shows, I believe, that the fans were able to bring back their show after it was canceled.  These fans are obviously very passionate about their show, and they still love their show even though it’s gone.  Coming after, I think it was really important to, yes, we’re part of this franchise where we’re taking bits and pieces from all of them. I was happy that they went in a new direction with it, and that they didn’t just continue that particular story.  There was so much magic that was created, it was something that people loved so dearly that I think it would have, in a way, been disrespectful, to come in with a whole new cast and try to continue that.  The only way to have that would be to bring those people back.  To have a new cast, we have new people with this.  I think it’s respectful that we went in a new direction.

Why do you think people should tune in to NIKITA?
Definitely for the writing.  I can’t tell you how many times I am sitting in my office and I’m reading a new script, and I’m drinking a cup of coffee, and then I read something and I almost spit my coffee out.  It’s fun for me to read, and hopefully it’s fun for you guys to watch.  It’s got that action that everyone loves.  It keeps you on your toes.  And then obviously with a beautiful lead actress like Maggie Q, you can’t go wrong.  And we also, for the ladies, we’ve got the handsome Shane West.  You can’t go wrong, so definitely tune in, and hopefully, you’ll enjoy watching it as much as we enjoy making it!