Katherine McPhee & Elyes Gabel – Scorpion – Comic Con 2014
Interview By: Lynsey Tamborello
Q) Was working with the real Walter intimidating?
Elyes Gabel: You do feel a responsibility, but It’s not so much intimidation. One great thing about Walter is he’s very open to talking about everything, apart from the things he can’t really talk about. It’s not the fact that he’s trying to show you how intelligent he is. It’s more of the fact that he’s disseminating. He’s explaining things, but to a heightened intellectual and very quick processing degree. He’s a computer, just flicking through.
Katherine McPhee: Also, just conversing with him when you’re trying to figure out how quickly he’s processing things and what exactly he’s thinking about me or the person he’s in a conversation with like, “Do you think I’m really stupid?” When I first met him, I was drinking too much coffee. I was bouncing off the walls and he said immediately that I was ADD, within like 30 seconds of meeting me. Because I would ask him a question and before he could finish answering, I would ask him another question; which is something I do in real life.
Elyes Gabel: He is very open to talking with you, especially about his character. I wanted to know about his childhood because a lot of what we’re motivated to do stems from traumas in his childhood So, I asked him some questions and he was so honest about his parents and why he essentially made the choice to be left-brained rather than right-brained. And I asked him if there was some particular situation that made him do that and he explained to me that there was, going back to his childhood. And it wasn’t a really emotional decision it was just him deciding there was no safety in him making inconsistent decisions. And it almost permeates the way he looks at love in a way and he’s thinking, “Why get hurt when you can be safe and have a lot of money?” And you can fall in love, but the thing is there’s danger in that, isn’t there?
Q) Katherine, we just saw you in “Smash,” and this is a completely different type of show. What made you both want to play these characters?
Katherine McPhee: One thing that drew me to this part is that I’ve never played a mother before. Not to say Karen wasn’t a real character on “Smash.” I think she started as a more well-written, but I wouldn’t say that they continued to write her in a way that played to her strengths. I think this new character is more multi-faceted, just speaking from the “selfish-actor” point of view. Now I feel like I’m playing more of a woman, someone who is really self-sufficient and who takes care of her son and has a lot of responsibility and a lot of things on her shoulders. I felt like a real character with a lot of different possibilities. I’m not a mother, but feeling like there’s something wrong with your child and not be able to fix it. And than this man, Walter, reveals to her that her son isn’t so much a challenge but a genius child. That opens up a lot of possibilities, a glimmer of hope. And he relates to this boy and someone who is shut out of the world. And I represent to the audience the world of high EQ. And then there’s this whole action side that I thought would be really great to be able to do.
Elyes Gabel: I was really attracted in a strange way to playing. I like consistent characters and choices, but here I am playing somebody who doesn’t have the ability to communicate with somebody else. Essentially, the biggest personality trait that the pilot suggests Walter has is an inability to empathize. To be able to communicate that is an exciting challenge because you’re like, “Why do I care about this guy if he doesn’t have the ability to communicate?” You have to find the conflict in that.