Aline Elasmar is best known for her work on UnderCover and Lifetime’s hit new series UnREAL. We had the pleasure of chatting with Aline yesterday to discuss Shia. Read our interview below, and follow Aline on Twitter.
Happy birthday Aline! We have to ask what would Shia give you as a present?
“Oh my god. Probably a headache [laughs]. I love her, but…”
What was your audition process like for UnREAL?
“Funny enough, I had gone in initially about the end of June. Almost two weeks later I just get a text message from my agent that’s like, “You’re testing.” I hadn’t heard anything. I was like, “Wait, what am I testing for?” She’s like, “UnREAL.” My test was actually on my birthday last year. My birthday was a Tuesday last year. I found out on Friday that I got it and I had to be in Vancouver in a week. It was really crazy but so exciting.”
Did you audition for Shia?
“Yeah. Initially she was named something else, but yeah. It was the only role that I’d gone in for.”
Are you a fan of reality TV?
“I wouldn’t say that I’m a huge fan. I have this horrible thinking where I’m like, “Well, if I don’t call in and vote then I’m not really watching.” I tend to like the kind of talent-based reality shows. I love So You Think You Can Dance and I watch The Voice sometimes. I watch the ones where the people are so talented. It’s so outside the realm of what I could do, I’m in awe of them.”
Does being on UnREAL make you want to actually be on a production team for a reality series? Do you want to see what it’s really like at all?
“If even 1/10th of what happens on UnREAL is true, I’m going to stay very far away from it for my own sanity [laughs].”
Do you personally have a favorite Everlasting contestant?
“I do. I couldn’t help it. I love Faith. Breeda Wool was just so good. From the first episode, I was like, “Oh my God. I love her.””
Now that we know that Faith isn’t interested in Adam, who do you want Adam to choose?
“Shia’s last girl was Maya, the awesome Natasha Wilson, but of the girls left I think I would go with Anna.”
Shia and Rachel obviously are rivals, but what is your off-screen relationship like with Shiri?
“I actually really love Shiri and I think the feeling is mutual. She and I actually got to have some time where we would just sit off to the side. It’s so funny. I went to dinner a few times with her and her little girl, Natalie, who’s adorable. We talked about sort of everything else but the show. Real estate and buying houses and growing up. Not just with Shiri, but everybody on the cast, got really close. I felt really lucky.”
Is there anybody from the cast that you wish you had more onscreen time with?
“Absolutely. I don’t have a single scene with Freddie Stroma who plays Adam. There’s one scene where he’s like, sitting. When Mary’s doing a direct to the camera interview and I’m kind of in the background. I never got to actually exchange lines with Freddie.”
Obviously we have to talk about Mary. What was your reaction when you got the episode 6 script?
“When I got cast, there’s a little tiny part of me that thought I was the comic relief. You know, in the first episode, Quinn kind of put Shia down a little bit. Shia has a whole thing about, no, those are my boobs. I just thought that stuff was going to be really funny.
By the time episode 3 rolls around with the whole Roger/Maya incident, I was like, “Oh, no. No, no, no. That’s not the case.” When I got episode 5 and 6, I was like, “What is going on? What is happening? I cannot believe that she would go this far.” It’s not surprising, right? People will do … There are few limits to what we’ll do for what we want.”
Did they tell you prior to getting the script for episode 6 that this is kind of where the story was going? Or was as it a complete shock?
“It was a complete shock. I remember being around the table read and Freddie closes the script and looks at me, goes, “You’re a monster.” I was like, “Oh my God.” Ashley Scott they did tell. They told her initially so that she had an idea of what was going to play out because that was an important piece of information about the character, that she’s bipolar. They told Ashley what was going to happen.
I remember the first night that I had gone to dinner with everyone, Ashley just kept looking at me. At one point she just shook her head at me. I was like, “What?” She’s like, “They told me something tonight. Your character is not nice.” I was like, “Okay.”
Going from that, did the writers tell the actresses “Hey, you’re here for one episode” or “Hey, you’re here for the long haul.” Do you know if anyone got a head’s up?
“I actually don’t know. I suspect that they might have simply because we filmed in Vancouver, and people were doing things like subletting apartments and stuff. I actually am not 100% sure because I think it changed a lot. I think in the writer’s room they would go back and forth between who was going to stay, and who was going to go.”
Can you tell us a bit about what’s coming up for Shia?
“I will say that, and I think it’s pretty clear at the end of episode 7, that she’s really unsettled about the way everything went down. She says to Quinn and Rachel, is this all you care about? This show? I think it’s not the last we see of her. I’ll say that.”
Can you confirm if Shia’s going to be here for the rest of the season or is that a spoiler?
“It is a spoiler, and all I can say about the world of UnREAL is it never works out like you think it’s going to. Whatever you think is going to happen is not going to happen and something else will come in and shock you.”
UnREAL was renewed, which is amazing. If you were Shia’s boss, would you hire her on for another season?
“I would simply because right now I feel like Shia holds the keys to the kingdom. Right now everything is tied up with a pretty little bow on it, but if Shia says anything…[laughs]”
What character would you want to play if you were not Shia?
“I don’t know if I should admit this about myself, but I am actually a lot more like Quinn in real life than Shia. I think Constance is incredible.”
Has there been a line that Quinn has said that you’re like, “Ah, I wish I said that?”
“Yes, many. I think there’s at least two or three every episode. I think one of my favorite Quinn lines. I can’t remember which episode it is. Oh my gosh. This is so hard. This is like Sophie’s Choice. She had the one where she was like, “Don’t tell me how to play with balls. I know how to play with balls.” There was something about pub lice that just cracks me up [laughs].”
As a cast you guys are really interactive and you live tweet every week. It’s incredible. Have you had a favorite episode to live tweet?
“My favorite episode is … I really love episode 7 just because it’s kind of everybody at the top of their game in dealing with the situation. It was one of the hardest to film, but it’s probably my favorite. I would have to say that I’m still kind of in love with the pilot and I could watch that pilot over and over again, that first episode.”
If you weren’t live tweeting would you be watching the show and watching yourself, or is that something if you didn’t have to live tweet you wouldn’t do?
“You know what? That’s a really great question. I have never liked watching myself. I find it very awkward and I get super judgmental. This show is so not about me and it’s so about this world. I am so impressed with the other people’s performances that I’m a fan. I watch every Monday, regardless of live tweeting or not.”
Besides UnREAL, what is another television obsession of yours?
“Okay, I have a top five. Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones. I’m obsessed with HBO when it comes to things like Game of Thrones, Rome, The Wire. My favorite comedy EVER hands down is 30 Rock. I quote it far too much in real life and people look at me like I’m insane.”
As an actress is it more fun to play that comic relief character that you thought you were or the dark, tormented person that Shia’s kind of become?
“It’s super fun to play comedy just because it’s a good time. However, Shia has been such a cool character for me because she is really different. I am incredibly analytical and probably a little bit of a worrywart. When a problem arises, I tend to think of every possible solution and what the outcome would be.
Shia acts solely on impulse. She gets an idea in her head and says, “Yeah, okay, I’ll do that.” As opposed to thinking, ‘If I switched out these pills, x, y, or z could happen.’ I’m so cautious that somebody would out that fear of retribution until this moment. That was really exciting for me.”
You’ve gotten a few hate tweets, because of what happened with Mary. How do you feel about that?
“I love it! I think the reason I love it so much is because one, it’s not like people are specifically saying, “Aline I hate you.” They’re referring to the character. If a character had done something that was really horrible and heinous and nobody had a response to it, that’s where I feel like maybe we didn’t communicate it correctly. I would feel like I didn’t do my job right as an actor if people weren’t having this palpable and potent of a response. Do you know what I mean?”
“Because people are so invested and because they care so much, to me it’s a huge compliment. Every time I get a hate Tweet I try to re-Tweet it and favorite it because I think it’s awesome that people are so invested in the show and they’re really taking sides.”
I know that some actors have talked about this before, but are they specifically saying Shia we hate you or are you getting some of those that they can’t tell the difference between the character and you?
“That’s a great question. There have been a couple people that have been like, “I hate the character so much that I have to remind myself you’re a real person.” Again, I think it’s awesome. To me, it’s a compliment. It’s a pat on the back of like, people believe it.”