Photographer: Karolina Turek
Make-Up/Hair: Brei Zellinsky
Stylist: Karolina Jez
Leah Gibson grew up in Victoria, Vancouver. She’s made appearances on TV in Psych, Tin Man and Supernatural and on film in The Cycle and Watchmen. Her current projects include playing Nettie in the upcoming film, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, as well as a role in the indie film, Indie Jonesing. Leah currently has a recurring role as Emmanuelle on Caprica. For more information see her facebook page and twitter account.
The Caprica Times: What was it like to play an avatar?
Leah Gibson: It was so much fun! It was liberating, and mysterious, and empowering, and incredibly exciting. Liberating in the sense that Emmanuelle is not confined to the normalcies of regular human behaviour, and her motivations at first seemed to be driven by a need to assert herself as the dominant force. I felt as though she was ‘in it for the thrill’, and thrived on playing her power, but I could also sense from the beginning that her protective nature for Joseph was somehow rooted in genuine affection. So it was incredibly exciting in that sense- experiencing her thrill for the game, but feeling instinctively inspired to protect Joseph at the same time. I experienced her as a sort of predatory black widow—hungry and feisty and sexually charged. I knew that whoever she belonged to in the real world had selected her as an extrapolation of dominance that he or she hungered for in reality. But I could also sense that this person cared for Joseph very much. The secret of Emmanuelle’s real identity was such a delightful mystery, but those two qualities were very evident to me.
The Caprica Times: Did you find it strange at first not knowing who you were in the real world?
Leah Gibson: I loved not knowing. I felt confident that I understood her intentions and I knew that her stance in V-world was likely very much a departure from who she vesseled in the real world, so I enjoyed playing her strength and lucidity in the V-world without questioning the nature of her inhabitant’s real essence. I will be honest though, at one point there were rumours flying around set for a few weeks that she might be the avatar for Sam Adama. And I will never forget, one morning Esai and I were in the transport van on our way to set and he turned to me and said, “You know, it might be a good idea for you to start taking notes on Sasha’s performances as Sam, so that you can start playing some of his ideosyncracies in Emmanuelle.” That didn’t instinctively sit with me though… and thank heavens I didn’t take his advice, because Emmanuelle might have read a little ambiguously!
The Caprica Times: Once you did find out that you would be revealed as Evelyn, did it change the way you portrayed Emmanuelle?
Leah Gibson: The final discovery made so much sense to me. That she had always cared for Joseph and felt a need to protect him was clear to me from the beginning. Following my discovery of her real identity, it suddenly became quite clear that Emmanuelle’s meetings with Tamara revolved around her intentions to connect with her, and were charged with the need to reach out and offer a sort of maternal guidance. Evelyn’s affections for Joseph in the real world were channeled into Emmanuelle’s empowered stance and instinctive role as his female guide in the V-world, but the integrity of her essence conflagrated when she sat down with his daughter and faced the young girl who she implicitly cared for with such affection.
The Caprica Times: Is it difficult to “share” the role of a character with someone else?
Leah Gibson: It’s very interesting. All of us as individuals have different sides to our Selves—public and private persona, the Selves we are proud to share with the world and would like to exhibit at the best of times, and inversely, the Selves we keep hidden from the public eye. I believe V-world is an enticing escape for Caprican citizens because it offers the freedom to indulge in behaviours that may be contrary to the Selves that are most socially acceptable. In that sense, “sharing” this character is very interesting. Emmanuelle may be the personification of Evelyn’s private persona— both Selves are rooted in the same person, yet Emmanuelle extravertedly embodies the inversely projected characteristics. Her intentions with protecting Joseph are the dominant driving force between the two Selves- the common ground underlying both Evelyn and Emmanuelle- as is revealed in Emmanuelle’s maternal connections with Tamara.
The Caprica Times: The reveal of Evelyn made her seem like a villian. Do you think that her actions as Emanuelle were devious?
Leah Gibson: I don’t. Though she exudes a femme-fatale charisma in the V-world, I think it’s clear that Emmanuelle is fueled with the best intentions in protecting Joseph. The fact that she wanted to hide her true identity from him is evidence that she wanted him to make discoveries in the V-world for himself, and find closure over Tamara’s death on his own ground. That speaks powerfully about her affections for him.
The Caprica Times: Were you comfortable with all of the violence surrounding your character and Joseph?
Leah Gibson: To be perfectly honest, I would have had a more difficult time with the violence had the scenes been reality-based. Knowing the violence was taking place in the V-world, and – strangely – knowing that Emmanuelle knew she wasn’t really ending a person’s life but merely ending their play in the game made me more comfortable with the violence. To understand a character’s intentions as an actor, I feel it is essential to receive and accept different perspectives without imposing judgment on them. I found it much easier opening to Emmanuelle’s and Evelyn’s justifications of violence in knowing that SHE understood it was exclusive to a false reality.
The Caprica Times: In the podcast for End of Line you recieved great accolades from David Eike, an executive producer of Caprica. He mentioned that your role in the second half of the season is very important. Is there anything you can elaborate on regarding that?
Leah Gibson: Oh my goodness, bless his heart. Thank you Mr. Eike! What an honor. There’s not much I can reveal… except that Evelyn/Emmanuelle’s intentions become much more clarified and firmly rooted as the story progresses… I love the movement forward.
The Caprica Times: What was it like to boss around Esai Morales who plays Joseph Adama?
Leah Gibson: Well that was the best part of playing Emmanuelle! That, and the boots of course. (giggles) Esai and I hit it off right away, from the first day we met on set—we have always had a really wonderful rapport with one another. He was kind and incredibly warm, and so very much fun to play around with. And there is nothing more satisfying than playing the role of a strong, empowered female, who gets to kick the butts of minion men! Esai was full of advice and opinions until the camera started rolling, and then it was me kicking him into gear!
The Caprica Times: Was it hard to visualize the atmosphere of V-World while acting?
Leah Gibson: It was fun. It was like playing pretend to the max. Not every acting role grants that sort of freedom. We would be doing a take and director Wayne Rose would yell, “Ok, now there’s a great dirigible looming over you, and it’s going to shoot—duck!” And we would duck for cover, and imagine it passing, and feel so relieved.. And the set decs on the show were so amazing, that the dark and gritty surroundings of our set felt completely daunting and dirty and perfectly believable. It was like stepping into a different realm altogether.
The Caprica Times: In a world that looks so urban and dirty how did you keep looking so sharp?
Leah Gibson: How kind of you! For that I have the amazing hair and makeup team to thank—Emmy Award winning Rebecca Lee is truly incredible at what she does. I would step into the makeup trailer early in the morning as a sleepy looking Leah, and as soon as Rebecca put my lashes in place and lined my red lips, I would look up at her and she would say, “There she is! There’s Emmanuelle!”
The Caprica Times: Were there any special moments you shared on set?
Leah Gibson: We were filming on Esai’s birthday , and he was completely spoiled. I baked him a pie, and Alessandra came to set with a great big birthday cake, and we all sang happy birthday to him and dug into this massive cake in between takes. Everyone went out that night singing karaoke, and showed up the next morning with hoarse voices! Cast parties were so much fun too. We all love to dance, so the dance parties last for hours!
The Caprica Times: Would you like to say anything to the fans of Caprica?
Leah Gibson: Yes- thank you for your love and support! And we’re just getting started with our story, so get ready for what’s on the way… xxoShare on Facebook