Exclusive Interview with 'Jericho' Star Alicia Coppola
Exclusive Interview with 'Jericho' Star Alicia Coppola
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Amid the fighting, gunplay and vast government conspiracies on Jericho, the romance between Stanley Richmond (Brad Beyer) and Mimi Clark (Alicia Coppola) is a welcome distraction.  The comic foibles of a small-town farmer and a goal-oriented IRS agent is the perfect comic fodder to lighten an otherwise very heavy show.

BuddyTV spoke to Alicia Coppola about the arrival of the second season of Jericho, Tuesdays at 10pm on CBS.  Coppola spoke about the new season, trying to learn sign language to communicate with Shoshannah Stern's Bonnie, and her strong desire for Mimi to hold a gun.  Continue reading for the full transcript as well as an audio clip of the interview.

Hi, this is John from BuddyTV, and I'm talking to Alicia [Aleesha] Coppola from the TV show Jericho.

It's actually Alicia [Alee-see-a].

Oh, Alicia, sorry.

That's quite alright.

I'm certain it's a common mistake a lot of people probably make.

Oh yes, all the time.

So Alicia, what are some of the differences from season 1 to season 2?

We had obviously much less time. Instead of an eight day shoot we were doing a seven day shoot. Pretty much 22 episodes were condensed into seven. I mean jam packed, fun filled episodes where there's something for everybody. I think everything was much, by virtue of it being seven days and by virtue of us putting everything into those seven episodes, it's much tighter. And I think it's going to be a different kind of season. I haven't seen all the episodes, but from what I'm hearing it's possible they're better than the first season, so that's pretty exciting.

Specifically with your character, with Mimi, her journey in the first season was fuller and there was more of a change than most of the characters. Going from this city girl IRS agent to a woman who's very comfortable living on the farm. Where does the second season take that journey?

Well I think you're going to pick up with Stanley and Mimi, we get engaged. That's really exciting, for Mimi to leave what she's known her whole entire life, that urban dwelling and that sophistication of being in a city and all of her family, and come out to Jericho as you just said, and have everything that happens to her in the first season, to now find the love of her life and to begin to start that journey with him. I think it's interesting what you say, that Mimi did make such a huge transition. There was a big arc from where we started to where we last saw her in the first season. I just think Mimi becomes even more fiercely loyal and fiercely tied to that ranch. This is her life now, and this is something that she now loves more than she ever thought that she could.

The second season deals with the federal government restarting, so I was thinking that with that starting she might see her old life as a possibility and go back to that. But she's going to stick to Jericho?

I know, I think that's really, really interesting. You will see that there are certain developments, that Mimi gets a job. But that's really interesting. No, no, it would never even occur to me to go back to my old life, because Stanley is my life now. Stanley is Mimi's life.

Even though it is 22 episodes condensed into seven, since you have the engagement will there be a wedding at the end of the seven episodes?

I can't tell you that.

You can't tell us that?

I can't tell you that. You'll have to watch all the episodes.

Moving to other parts of the show, Mimi has Stanley and she's very involved in that relationship, but she doesn't get as involved with a lot of the other aspects of the show. Are there any of the other actors or scenes or plotlines that you've seen on the show that you were like, ah, I wish I could be a part of that?

Well, actually Mimi does get a little bit more involved this year with other aspects of the show, but of course I would always like to fire a gun. I think that would be really, really fun. I think it'd be fun to see Mimi with a shotgun, sitting on the Richmond ranch porch in a rocking chair with a big honking shotgun. I think that that would be a lot of fun, and I've always said that. How come, you know, because Ashley is usually the girl with all the guys, fighting and everything, it's like Mimi wants to do that too. I want to get out there.

Working with Shoshannah Stern, who plays Stanley's sister Bonnie, Mimi has had to learn a little bit of sign language throughout the first season to be able to communicate. Did you know sign language before, or have you had to learn it with the character?

I've learned sign language with the character. Shoshannah has a wonderful translator named Ramon who basically comes to the set with her every single day. Whenever there is any signing to be done, he and I will get together either prior to the day the scene is being filmed, so that it's fresh in my mind, and then we'll go over it throughout the day leading up to the scene. Then of course he's there for the entire time, watching my performance carefully so that I make sure to do everything correctly. There was that one scene we did, I think it was episode 18 with the chickens, after I killed the chicken and I come in and Shoshannah and I have that scene, and that was all pretty much signed. I had to learn all of that. It's difficult because it challenges everything. When you watch these scenes where I'm signing, I'm actually thinking about my signing and getting it right. As an actor, it kind of really makes you live in the moment.

Playing a character who doesn't know sign language and who's trying to learn it, as an actress who doesn't know it and is trying to learn it, that makes it a lot easier to get into that realism of the character.

Yes, yes, because when you actually see Mimi searching for it and trying to do it, it makes perfect sense because I, Alicia, have no idea how to do it. I think that works. I think that the fans, I think that's something everybody can relate to.

We're all definitely looking forward to the second season of Jericho.

It's going to be so exciting. I'm really excited, because again I haven't seen the episodes, so I am just, I can't wait. I really, really can't wait, I think it's just gonna be great. These episodes are all for our fans. They're all for them.

It's one of those weird situations where the fans are the reason for the second season.

Yes, absolutely they are the reason for the second season. If our fans weren't so ardent in their love for the show, we would not have a job.

-Interview conducted by John Kubicek
(Image courtesy of CBS)

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