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Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

"Intruders" in BBC America. Credit: Cate Cameron, © BBC Worldwide Limited "Intruders" airs Saturdays on BBC America at 10 p.m.
Credit: Cate Cameron, © BBC Worldwide Limited

Just who do you think the people around you are, anyway? That’s a question that BBC America’s new show “Intruders” answers in a fairly unnerving way: The show centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Star Mira Sorvino calls it “really chilling, and in some way really believable.” She plays Amy Whelan, a woman who disappears for a few days and then returns acting totally different. It may seem unbelievable, but as Sorvino says, everyone has seen “when a darker side of someone comes out and you feel like you never knew that person at all, like that was a different face they were showing you.”

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That’s the problem facing Amy’s poor husband Jack, an ex-cop who just wants to figure out what’s going on with his wife. “The role has this real range to it so I get to play this sort of soft, vulnerable side and then this much stronger, kind of Machiavellian, amoral but passionate person,” Sorvino says.

It’s the first series regular role for Sorvino, who says she turned to TV because of the rise in quality she was seeing. “I think there’s no real divide anymore between film and television, and especially on the cable networks,” Sorvino says. Moving to TV also offered the chance to grow with a character. “Over 80 episodes, you can really mine the depth and breadth of a role in a different way than you can in a movie,” she says.

The show’s focus on immortality is a pretty natural one, Sorvino thinks, because a fear of death is pretty universal. “No one wants to die, and everyone would love it if there was an answer that didn’t involve permanent midnight,” she says. She also pointed out the multitude of elixirs, quests and strange practices used throughout history to try and prolong life. Even as a person of faith, she says a curiosity and fear about what might come after is hard to avoid. “Even if you believe that there is something beyond death, no one’s kinda come back from there and laid it all out and made us feel assured that, ‘OK, don’t worry, this is how it goes,’ so I think that’s why immortality will always remain a topic that people will be interested in.

“Intruders” will also examine some of the tougher questions a person might face over an infinite life, such as what family means after all that time. “All those things that a human cares about, if you could control living on and on and on, what things would have to be foregone? Or what things would you fight to keep?” points out Sorvino.

Getting answers
"Intruders" is at heart a mystery show, so we tried to get Sorvino to spill a bit about what happens later on, but she's mastered the art of tantalizing caginess. What can be teased about later in the season? "It's shocking. There's all kinds of shocking stuff. Like things that don't usually happen in TV," promises Sorvino. What kind of things? "I can't say what those things are, but there's a lot to keep you coming back week after week. No one is as they seem."

Or wait, one character seems to have multiple people controlling her body. Will we see that with other people as well? "I can't answer that, but I'm not going to say no," Sorvino says. Let's break it down to a more basic level. Is Amy Whelan a good guy or a bad guy? "I can't really answer that either. That's a complicated question, as you'll see as you watch the whole season." So maybe viewers will think Amy swings back and forth on the pendulum of good behavior? "Well, I think they will think Amy is a good guy. That's all I'm going to say," says Sorvino with a laugh.

 
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