Monday, May 14, 2012


By James Colt Harrison

ABC’s The River leading actress Leslie Hope was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She chose to attend St. Michael’s University School way out in western Canada at Victoria, British Columbia. She has married twice, and her current husband is cinematographer, producer and director Adam Kane.

She made her first movie in 1981 in Canada and got a big break in 1987 when cast in the gigantic TV miniseries production of War and Remembrance with Robert Mitchum.  She did a six episode arc on the popular Knots Landing (1986) and continued acting on many hit series such as Party of Five, Chicago Hope, The Outer Limits, and House. She made new fans on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but achieved her greatest fame as Teri Bauer on Keefer Sutherland’s hit series 24.

This past season Hope has starred as the wife of Dr. Emmet Cole (played by Bruce Greenwood) in The River. With the first season about to be released on DVD, Miss Hope sat down for interviews and ABC-TV has provided the material for this discussion.

The paranormal thriller The River follows the story of a world famous wildlife expert and TV personality named Dr. Emmet Cole (played by Bruce Greenwood). When Cole goes missing deep in the Amazon; his family, friends and a documentary film crew set out on a mysterious and deadly rescue mission to find the doctor. It’s a perilous journey that will take them deep into the unexplored reaches of the Amazon River; a place where nature is cruel, magic is real – and nothing is what it seems.

What can you tell us about your character’s relationship with her husband, Dr. Emmet Cole, before he went missing in the Amazon?
There are suggestions that the relationship between Tess and Emmet wasn’t completely solid, but it’s clear that they are nothing without each other.

One of the interesting things about The River is that all of the characters have some kind of flaw. With that in mind, how much does Tess want to find her husband?
I think she undoubtedly wants to find him. However, I don’t think she knows exactly what she’s going to do with him when she does. Some of the cast members have suggested that in the writing of the show, guilt is somehow a motivating factor for Tess’s journey to go after her husband. I prefer to think of it as love.

The River is described as a paranormal thriller – but how scary can a series become on a primetime TV?
I thought exactly the same thing when I first started work on The River. I had no idea that you could create something scary for primetime TV. I also thought you couldn’t do much complicated character work on primetime either, but I think these guys are trying to reinvent things.

How does The River set itself apart from other supernatural projects?
There have been a number of comparisons between The River and Lost. I’ve also heard that The River shares more with The X-Files and Poltergeist than it does with Lost. All I really know is that we are a character-driven supernatural thriller.

To fund the mission to search for Dr. Cole, your character agrees to let the rescue be filmed for a documentary. How does she deal with having cameras around all the time?
It’s an interesting set up, but Tess has an advantage because she is someone who is used to being around cameras. She’s worked on a show with Emmet for many years, so the cameras are not as invasive as they are for the other characters.

How does the format affect things for the cast?
As an actor, it allows us a tremendous freedom because we don’t have to perform for a lens; we’re literally captured wherever we are. You don’t have to serve it up quite as literally as you usually do in a straight drama where you’re playing to a camera. It offers a lot of opportunity to be more natural or a little less contrived than usual.

What was it like to shoot in exotic locations for the show?
We shot the pilot in Puerto Rico and then we moved to Hawaii. I couldn’t wait to live in a little house on the beach, as I’d never done that before. It was very, very exciting and very fun.

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