You may know her as Emori from CW’s The 100, or maybe you know her as Detective Poppy Wisnefski on Cracked, either way, Vancouver-native Luisa d’Oliveira has had a passion for acting ever since she was a child, a passion that has transcended into her adult life. Reprising her role as Emori, the feisty and headstrong Grounder that has captured our hearts, d’Oliveira is also taking on the role of Amy Welch in SyFy’s Channel Zero: Candle Cove.
So, how did you get into acting? Was it something that you always knew you wanted to do?
I always loved goofing around performing as a kid, but I never really took it that seriously of course, because what sort of six-year-old takes that kind of stuff seriously. You’re just being a kid. In elementary school, I always knew I wanted to be either an actress or a teacher. But also, again, that’s because when you’re a kid, there’re only a couple professions that you see. You see teachers, you see actors, you see firemen, you see doctors. There’s really only so many things that I think we think about back then, so I don’t even believe that I took it seriously.
It wasn’t until after I went to high school and had all this great time performing that I knew this was something that I actually wanted to do.
How has acting changed your life? Do you get recognized by fans a lot?
(laughs) Actually, no. Very, very rarely; it’s happened a couple of times, which has been really kind of awesome because I have my anonymity and my own life, and then I get to go and play these crazy awesome characters on these really cool shows. I get the best of both worlds.
Speaking of fans, you will be attending the Unity Days Convention in January. Are you excited for that?
Yes! Very excited! It’s going to be my first convention; I can’t wait. They just seem like such a blast. And I’m really excited to connect with all of The 100 fans.
Yeah, there are a lot of people going!
Yeah, yeah! And there’s a lot of the cast that’s going to be there because they’re still going to be in the middle of shooting at that time. So everyone’s in Vancouver.
You star in Channel Zero: Candle Cove. Tell us about the show and your character Amy Welch.
It’s about this man who is traveling back to his hometown after making peace with some pretty horrible events that happened in his past, only to realize that things are starting up again. I play Amy Welch, who is a sheriff’s deputy in this small, friendly town who doesn’t remember any of the events from the past; she was too young back then, so this is all new to her. She is one of the people on the frontline trying to deal with all of the horrible things that start happening.
It’s going to be really, really cool. I’m really excited for it.
How does Amy Welch differ from the other characters that you’ve played?
Amy’s very innocent in a way. She’s so untainted by really many of the horrible things that have happened to a lot of other people around her. She’s fresh eyes, and a fresh heart, and a fresh soul, and she’s the one who starts going through this for the first time but as an adult. She’s more equipped I think to deal with it. It was really nice playing someone with that light of energy.
For example, compared to Emori on The 100, who is a young woman who has been through the ringer. She has been abandoned, had every kind of horrible thing happen to her, and it’s made her so hard. This is why she’s such a good survivor, but even just stepping into the wardrobe and once I get everything on, I feel this weight come onto me. It’s kind of hard to shake it on set. It’s just there. There’s a heaviness in her heart and her soul.
I know that you can’t give away any spoilers about the upcoming season of The 100, but is there anything that you can tease? Season 3 ended on a pretty grim note despite that they had defeated A.L.I.E. Is there any hope in the near future for our favorite characters?
Well, I think as long as The CW keeps ordering seasons there’s always hope, and they will find a way. (laughs) I can say that they’re a very resourceful group of people. A very determined group of people. Even though it always seems that a couple of people, or maybe sometimes even hundreds like when you look back at seasons, they go along the way, in general, they still find ways to survive; even if they lose half of their numbers. Like what happened in season 2.
Yeah, they’re very resilient.
They’re resilient. They’re very resilient.
How do you think Emori’s relationship with Murphy will be affected in the wake of the entire City of Light storyline?
That’s something that they’re going to have to address for sure, because John is going to want to know why on earth Emori was in the City of Light. Again, because that’s a pretty terrible choice to make, but at the same time while some of the characters have chosen to take it others have, like Abby for example, she did it to try and save Raven. There’s a lot of different ways people can be brought into the City of Light, and so John is going to have to find out if Emori’s reasons for going in were something like that or if it was something much more, sort of for herself.
Emori has become a sort of representation for those with birth defects. How does that make you feel knowing that a character you portray has such a significant impact on people?
Very humbled and very moved. That’s a group that does not get a lot of representation on TV at all, so it means a lot to me to be able to represent that for people who don’t necessarily see themselves on TV very often. It means a lot to me. I’m very honored by it.
Is there a character trait or attribute about Emori that you love?
I love her playfulness, because there’s a lot of heaviness about her, but when she feels comfortable, she becomes so playful. And often that’s when she has a goal in mind and when she’s with John. When those two things coincide, there’s just this like fun that comes out of her, and I absolutely love to play that. It’s just wonderful. It’s so wonderful.
Is there anything that you do to prepare yourself for a role? Do you listen to a certain kind of music or read?
Every character is different, but with her [Emori] I tend to more just sit in the mental headspace of her, because there’s a lot of depth to her considering all of these events that have happened to her; all of these events that we haven’t seen on the show, it’s just everything from the past. I just sit in that, and it starts to sort of bleed into me. In the beginning, it took me more work; I would walk around in her mind space, I would say things in her mind space. It was much more physical then, but I’ve sort of tapped into that now and I just have to sit in her mental space and it just comes.
Have you always been a fan of science fiction? Is it something that you’ve always found yourself drawn to?
I’ve always been drawn to science fiction, but I’ve always been drawn to a lot of genres. I think I’ve more found myself drawn into it, which has been really neat, because sometimes as an actor when you’re developing – and I’m still developing absolutely – it’s such a wide, wide world the industry, and you don’t quite know where you’re going to resonate or what resonates with you. So to see something sort of come naturally to you is a really good feeling.
This question comes from a fan on Twitter. What genre would you like to venture into next?
(laughs) I think I kind of am with Channel Zero, the whole psychological horror. And I didn’t even know that I wanted to do it until I got this job and said yes to it. To do a bit more in this realm would be cool. But to be honest, I’m open. Everything is a new adventure.
Final question. Our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us. Would you consider yourself a nerd?
Oh, 100%! Beyond a doubt. Absolutely. I have my video games I like to play, I love my book series, I love my sci-fi. But then again, it’s funny; this is like the cool thing now. Comic Con didn’t used to be cool, but now it’s like the thing to do. It’s so mainstream. It’s so popular.
You can see Luisa in Channel Zero: Candle Cove, which premieres on Syfy on October 11th at 9 pm, and The 100 season 4 in 2017.