So what exactly does happen when Liz Ortecho (Jeanine Mason) is hit with a massive dose of a spray she created for aliens? Well, we’re about to find out.
The next episode of Roswell, New Mexico finds Liz trapped inside a mindscape — and this one has a theme: It’s the Wild West! And if that’s not crazy enough for you, there’s more than one Liz! Behind the camera, star Michael Trevino (who plays Kyle) is bringing it all to life with his directorial debut.
EW spoke with Trevino about crafting the hour (which you can watch an exclusive clip of above).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I know you’ve directed a short, but how long has directing been something you wanted to do? I remember you talking about shadowing directors on The Vampire Diaries.
MICHAEL TREVINO: I’m really happy you say that because yes, that is part of my journey here. Ever since Vampire Diaries, I’ve been shadowing and paying attention and had interest. But I made it more of a point since the pilot of Roswell, that if the show went for a few seasons, I was going to ask if I can get a shot at directing. Since the pilot, I’ve been shadowing Julie Plec and then all the guest directors. And luckily, I shot a short film after season 3 and proved that I was not going anywhere and that I was still just as serious. [Laughs] And finally, I think they’re like, “All right, we’ll give them one.” And they gave me a shot here in season 4.
Michael Moriatis/The CW Michael Trevino directs the ‘Wild Wild West’ episode of ‘Roswell, New Mexico’
You have no control over what episode you get, right?
I mean, it was episode 409. But as far as the story line, when they’re breaking story and what episode’s going to be about what, no. I had no idea this was going to be what my episode was about. And I think when we got closer to the date, I was getting nudged by the writers and by Chris Hollier, our showrunner, saying, “This one’s a big episode.” I was like, “Are you sure you want to do that?” [Laughs] I guess they trusted me. But I’m so grateful that the writers gave me so much in this episode.
So many Roswell episodes look similar. What was your reaction to getting to do something so different?
What a gift — and also what a challenge. And so, like you do starting off, you ask for help. I leaned on my department heads and the first AD and our director of photography. But luckily, this isn’t me stepping onto a set of a new show and not knowing anybody. It’s a family and everybody’s so supportive and has your back and wants to be there for you. And I couldn’t be happier.
Did you go into this episode with a list of classic Western shots you wanted to incorporate? Where’d you look for inspiration?
I will say that my grandfather was huge into Westerns, and one of his favorite movies is The Searchers. And so I can remember months leading up to this, watching that film, because it was my grandfather’s favorite movie. And just getting in that genre, just watching those movies and seeing how that feels and what that’s about. I just tried to find something that was interesting. I feel like the episode plays a little playful. Because it is a mindscape, it is kind of a make-believe circumstance. And so I think we thread the line there of, okay, it is serious, but at the same time, this is kind of fun and wacky.
Michael Moriatis/The CW Shiri Appleby, Michael Trevino, and Jeanine Mason on the ‘Roswell, New Mexico’ set
You also had a massive task of having your main actor play multiple characters. What was it like working with Jeanine?
Well, Jeanine is such a talented actress. She obviously has Liz down, and it was just about playing Liz in this world where now she’s in a mindscape and these are all the people in her life, but they’re kind of different. But I know it was very fun for her to play the outlaw Liz because it’s such a departure. It’s good versus evil here. And so it’s the complete opposite direction of the character she usually plays. But I have to say, those were difficult days because the scenes are so heated and it’s her acting opposite herself. She had a friend flying in from New York to play outlaw Liz to read lines against her because we needed to have somebody who can keep up with her and really deliver these scenes with her. She’s the real MVP of the episode because to play two characters…. I mean, to be the lead of the show, working every day and you ask that person to play two characters in one episode is a huge ask. And she came through for me so prepared, so ready to go. She’s just such a pro.
You also get to direct Jeanine and Shiri Appleby together. What was that like for you?
Yes. Shiri is part of the family already. She’s directed two episodes for us, so we’re all familiar with each other. But yeah, it was a full circle moment because I was shadowing Shiri when she did her episodes. And then her coming back now and me directing her, it’s a great feeling. And I’m just so happy that she was able to make her debut in my episode. And yes, we have the two Liz’s together. We have the OG Roswell veteran and we have Jeanine Mason here holding it down for us now. There are very special scenes between them and I hope that fans get a kick out of that.
Michael Moriatis/The CW Jeanine Mason and Michael Trevino on the ‘Roswell, New Mexico’ set
The last thing I will ask you — because I have to — is what can you tell me about what’s coming up with Kyle and Isobel [Lily Cowles]?
I’ve been waiting many, many seasons for them to finally come together and be a couple. But then to get great television, we’ve got to bring people together just to tear them apart. And so we’re going to have a bit of that. There’s going to be a lot of outside circumstances that bring these two together, as much as they pull them apart. But because this is our final season, I think we have a nice ending to both of these characters. We’re not done yet. We’re going to revisit this in a big way and it’ll be nice. Put a nice little bow on it.
Roswell, New Mexico airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.
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