***The following interview contains spoilers for 1.04***
Tonight NBC aired an all-new episode of Quantum Leap
in which Ben (Raymond Lee) leapt into the 1980s into the body of a female bounty hunter, Eva Sandoval. When Ben tried to repair Eva’s relationship with Jake (Justin Hartley), he started to remember his own past, which included his engagement to Addison (Caitlin Bassett), who serves as his hologram and helper during the leaps.
Ben’s memory returning is an exciting change according to Bassett, who recently spoke with SciFi Vision in an exclusive interview. “That is when I think it really starts to open up,” the actress told the site, “because every time he has a memory now, it's just another piece of the puzzle...It allows it just storytelling-wise to happen in the scene in the moment…So, I think the audience will see a much more alive, real, tangible relationship.”
Having worked as an intelligence analyst in the army during which time she earned a law degree, Bassett only more recently transitioned to acting. With Addison being her first big role, it’s been an intense adjustment period, but it’s been a positive experience that she’s grateful for. “I think it's just like starting anything big,” said the star, “Like, when I went to law school, or when I was in the military, you just kind of have to jump in, and luckily, I'm with possibly the kindest, most supportive cast and crew on the planet. So, I just feel so lucky not only to have such an amazing, meaty, complicated, fun, exciting role on a fun, exciting show, but then to have the support of who I have, I'm the luckiest person on the planet.”
One of the difficult things for the actress was filling the shoes of Dean Stockwell, who played the hologram on the original Quantum Leap
. “I think I was pretty apprehensive about [it], and I really had to release the idea that I was, because there is no replacement for Dean Stockwell. I'm so grateful that they didn't try to make me a new him; you can't do it...So, [it’s] really finding but also respecting the fact that the fans want and deserve that aliveness and that humor and those popcorn moments where Dean kind of gets to enjoy where Sam (Scott Bakula) struggles and Addison gets to enjoy where Ben struggles a little. I think in [episode] four you start to see it more as the show develops.”
Other than that, Bassett has had an easy time connecting with the role. “Truthfully, she's been pretty available to me. She's was in the military; that, obviously, is a very easy in for me. She loves someone very deeply and was betrayed by them, which I think anyone who's been in relationships has experienced in some way. She has a team that works as a family. And honestly, that team is very similar to a deployment team…So, all of that felt really at home to me, which has just been, I mean, such a blessing, because it's allowed me not to have to think about it so much, which has allowed me to think about her and make more character choices, because I have to make less circumstantial choices.”
For more on what Bassett had to say about playing Addison, read the full transcript below, and tune into Quantum Leap
, Mondays on NBC. SCIFI VISION: To start off, I know that you did not start out in acting. How did this role happen? How did you get it?CAITLIN BASSETT:
I mean, I transitioned to acting. Probably five or six years ago is when I studying. I went to theater school for three years, and then did the Disney Discoverers showcase and got a kind of agent/manager through that, but it was very much through just the audition. I was a tape. [I went through] the whole gambit. I went through the callbacks and the tests. And thank God for NBC. They took a chance on me, rather than going to an established name. It has to be kind of crazy that you went from not having really done much, though, to having a pretty big role, obviously.
Yes, it's been pretty bananas. The adjustment period has been intense, but I think it's just like starting anything big. Like, when I went to law school, or when I was in the military, you just kind of have to jump in, and luckily, I'm with possibly the kindest, most supportive cast and crew on the planet. So, I just feel so lucky not only to have such an amazing, meaty, complicated, fun, exciting role on a fun, exciting show, but then to have the support of who I have, I'm the luckiest person on the planet. Your character has what you have previously described as sort of like popcorn moments, because you're watching everything happen. But is it ever logistically difficult, because you can't interact with anybody? I have to assume that you have to be careful not to bump into anything, either, because it would show that you're physically there.
Yes, we have to be very economical about where and when we use [the effect that] I go through somebody or goes through me. So, mostly, it's a lot of fancy footwork in the blocking. I just make sure if someone's going to be moving, I find a clever way to get out of their way before they do it. But just as an actor, it is a challenge to have to be in a scene that you're only in for one person. Only one person knows you're there, and the rest of them have no clue. I mean, I think it's really exciting, but it definitely has its it has its challenges, and it has its opportunities. In [tonight’s episode], there is that effect where somebody walks through you, and also you try to touch Ben’s hand, that kind of thing. Did they do anything special for that, or is it just they film it with you and then without you and then they kind of put it together?
Exactly. Okay, I wasn’t sure if there was anything specific that they did. So, other than that, what's has been the hardest part for you overall?
I think I was pretty apprehensive about filling the shoes of Dean Stockwell, and I really had to release the idea that I was, because there is no replacement for Dean Stockwell. I'm so grateful that they didn't try to make me a new him; you can't do it. He was hilarious, and the relationship was completely different, and it was a completely different time. So, [it’s] really finding but also respecting the fact that the fans want and deserve that aliveness and that humor and those popcorn moments where Dean kind of gets to enjoy where Sam struggles and Addison gets to enjoy where Ben struggles a little. I think in four you start to see it more as the show develops. So, that's probably been the hardest challenge, just feeling quite intimidated by the legacy of that role. Obviously, you're not playing the same character either, but was there anything sort of from that you thought about as you created Addison. Was there anything that you kind of incorporated?
Yes, there are. There are things, especially as the season goes on and the temperature comes down just a hair, just in the stakes of like, “what is happening? Where are we? Why is this happening?” As the characters answer more of that, and Addison and Ben can kind of settle in a little, as you saw, that is when I think I started to work in a little bit more of what I specifically loved about Dean that felt appropriate for the relationship, because a lot of it would be completely inappropriate for it. What part of the character have you connected the easiest with, and what part did you kind of struggle to connect with of her specifically?
I mean, truthfully, she's been pretty available to me. She's was in the military; that, obviously, is a very easy in for me. She loves someone very deeply and was betrayed by them, which I think anyone who's been in relationships has experienced in some way. She has a team that works as a family. And honestly, that team is very similar to a deployment team, how close you get to them, and how much you're working with them, and how they become your best friends and your family, sometimes even more than your friends and your family back in the real world, as we call it. So, all of that felt really at home to me, which has just been, I mean, such a blessing, because it's allowed me not to have to think about it so much, which has allowed me to think about her and make more character choices, because I have to make less circumstantial choices. Obviously, you've been asked, and I'm sure you will continue to be asked what time period you'd like to visit, but what I want to know is, on the flip side of that, is there a time in your life that you wish somebody could have jumped in and, I don't know, done something differently, maybe? I mean, obviously, don't go personal, but is there anything you can think of?
…I mean, I think there are always [things]. You know, should I have gotten out of the army sooner? Should I have stayed in the guard? Should I have finished law school? There’re always things about my path, especially a path like mine that was so intensely different at different times, where you think back, and you're like, “Well, it probably would have felt a little better if I had done that, or created a safety net or…” I don't know. But at the end of the day, my path brought me to where it brought me because of how much I jumped in 100% to what I was doing. So, I can't even say that I wish I had made a different choice, because if I had, maybe I wouldn't have given it the the the energy and the commitment that I needed to get me to this role. That's true. Is there a time from your own past though you'd like to revisit, if you somehow had a crazy opportunity?
I think there's plenty probably back when my grandparents were alive. I think that'd be nice. Now let’s talk specifically about [tonight’s] episode. Obviously, Ben realizes and remembers Addison. How is that kind of going to change things?
I think what's exciting about the change is that I not only get the green light to [say], “Yes, we are now in a relationship,” but I can start to talk about [things] because he's starting to remember now. So, we're kind of moving past the, “let's keep everything a secret all the time.” That is when I think it really starts to open up, because every time he has a memory now, it's just like another piece of the puzzle. I don't have to navigate this whole like, “Okay, that's an interesting piece of information I'm going to go tell somebody else about.” It allows it just storytelling-wise to happen in the scene in the moment.
I just filmed a scene yesterday where a big piece of information gets dropped on me, and I get to respond to it like a girlfriend and a coworker, which is nice, instead of having to cover one of those. So, I think the audience will see a much more alive, real, tangible relationship. Also, we just get to start to treat each other like you treat each other when you've been together for a long time. I'm looking forward to seeing that. Do you have a favorite scene so far, up to the end of four that you can think of?
I think so much of four was so much fun. The last scene of four really got me in the moment. I do remember that happening. I don't know if I have a favorite. I had a favorite just to try and tackle was the fight scene, the shadow boxing scene in episode three. Ray and I really worked hard on that, and the actors that shot behind us really worked hard on that. Saying that, you made me wonder, though. I mean, obviously you've had military fight training, but did you do anything for the fight choreography, in order to get ready for that scene?
Yeah, we had a wonderful fight choreographer and boxing coach that Ray and I worked with together. We went to somewhere in North Hollywood and worked together with this gentleman, and he's fantastic. Ray has boxed. He’s incredibly athletic. I obviously have, like a baseline athleticism and some baseline training. So, it was it was really nice. And the boxing coach was loving having us. He’s like, “Oh, you're you guys can do this.” So, we mostly just had a good time. And we're just trying to make it as as real as possible, because Ray and I have high standards. So, we wanted to make sure that translated, and I think it did. What has Addison taught you about yourself?
I actually do have a good, specific thing for this. I was really nervous about that fight scene, because of the pass out, because I didn't want it to look like we're on like a 1920s fainting couch. That was something I was very concerned about, and when I went at it, and I ended up seeing [it], all I did was just trust that in the moment, Caitlin and Addison were going to do this, as best they could. When I saw the final product, when I saw what I did, I was really proud of it, because I didn't peter out; I didn't quit. It wasn't silly. It wasn't ever going to be anything that was going to make women look weak or anything. She just tried as hard as she could until she couldn't anymore, and there was something about that, that I was like, “Oh, that's what I'm going to do. That's what I'm doing for Addison, and she'll fail, but we're both just going to try as hard as we can.” There was something in that, that I started to loosen up as an actor, because I was like, “Okay. We'll just try as hard as we can.”Obviously, this is your first big role, but after this, thinking to the future, do you have a dream role or somebody that you would just love to work with?
I mean, this is always such a tough question, because you feel so lucky. I just feel so lucky to have this. I've always found [that] a very special place in my heart has been television, because I think, especially in particular network television, it comes into people's homes. It comes into their families; it becomes a pillar of how people grow up, and I think that's so special. So, I just feel so lucky to be on the show. I think, if anything else, I grew up on a horse farm, and I was an avid equestrian. So, at some point, if I could be somewhere that looks like New Zealand on a horse with a sword, I think I would have a great time doing something like that. But, but for now, we'll just see what comes, and I'm just so happy to be where I am.