Interview de Summer Glau by The Chicago-Tribune
Summer Glau probably didn’t think she’d be known as one of the most butt-kicking girls in Hollywood when she was dancing ballet as a small child. The Texan and current “Arrow” actress is one of the most recognized faces in the science fiction community, with roles in shows such as “The 4400,” “Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles,” “Dollhouse,” “Alphas” and, most notably, Joss Whedon’s small-screen “Firefly” and silver-screen “Serenity.”
I was able to catch Glau on the way to the airport before flying to Vancouver to film more episodes of “Arrow” and discuss her upcoming trip to Louisville and maturing as an actress under sci fi god Joss Whedon.
Have you ever been to Kentucky before?
I’ve flown over it and always dreamed of going there and can’t wait. My fiancé and I are planning on staying there at least a week and just road tripping all around.
I love horses. I love farming. I want to be out in the country. I want to eat my way out of Kentucky! That’s my plan so far.
I just want to get on the road and be out of the city and drive around and enjoy Louisville and soak up some of the local culture. My family’s driven through there and they’ve said that the people are incredibly warm and fun and welcoming. So I can’t wait!
Last year your co-star on “Arrow,” Stephen Amell, came to the Derby and did the red carpet. Have you ever thought of coming?
I’ve always wanted to. I love horses!
Aren’t you from Texas? The southern charm of Kentucky probably isn’t too far from what you’re used to.
I am! I go home as often as I can and we still have my parents down there, so we plan to move back at some point. It’s a huge part of who I am. I didn’t realize it as much until I left. I knew I loved Texas but it wasn’t until I traveled around a lot that I realized how Texan I was and how much I love to be out in the open. But the difference with Kentucky is that blue grass. I can’t wait to see that!
Well I hate to tell you, this but it’s not actually blue…
What do you mean? I’ll be devastated. (laughs)
Let’s talk about Wizard World coming up soon.
I’m doing a few (conventions) and I really love working with Wizard. I have a lobt of fun with their guests so I’m trying to get out as much as I can.
Is there anyone that you’re excited to meet?
Well, I can say that my biggest fangirl moment of all time was the first time I met Marina Sirtis from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” When you are an actor, you tend to meet people that you watched on TV, and there’s always a surreal element to it. But then there are moments when you see somebody and you feel like you lost control of your senses and you find yourself saying things you didn’t think you’d say or doing things that you didn’t think you’d do. I had a flip out when I got to meet her and the rest of the cast of “Next Generation,” and I got tears in my eyes because I watched that show all the time with my parents when I was a little girl. It was my way of sneaking into their room at night. I would say I just wanted to watch the show with them to sleep in a real bed. So I was really attached to her, I really admired her and seeing her in person was so cool because she was just like you would have hoped she would be.
Would you say you’re a Trekkie?
Well, especially for “Next Generation” in particular. That was the one I was attached to because I watched it when I was a kid, but I love all of them and I’m just a huge fan of the genre in general. These events are such a cool opportunity to meet people that you are a fan of and to meet people who are a fan of what you do, so you can thank them in person for supporting your career and letting me do what I love to do.
Do you have that one actor or actress that you would love to work with?
Oh my gosh – countless. I love Cate Blanchett. She’s one of my favorites. She did “Lord of the Rings” and I just think she’s beautiful. I like Viggo Mortensen a lot. Christian Bale. Meryl Streep.
You’ve been part of some of the biggest cult classic shows such as “Angel,” “Terminator,” “Firefly,” “Dollhouse” and now “Arrow.” What is it about the sci-fi genre that keeps pulling you back in?
Well, I think in the beginning it was working for Joss Whedon. I had been out in L.A. for maybe a year. Then I went in and auditioned for Joss and he noticed something in me that he wanted to work with. It was a very special connection. I grew up dancing and being a ballerina and living in my own imagination, and my mom used to read a lot of science fiction and fantasy to us when we were kids. I had a really big imagination and I think that’s what connected me to sci-fi. I think that’s what Joss saw in me, too. When I started working for him, I learned so much about being an actress because that was my very first job. Then I found (out), and he tried to explain this to me, that the sci-fi fans are incredibly loyal and loving and want to see you again and again and really appreciate your art. So then I found that I would get cast in more and more of these roles and I feel like there’s a lot of opportunities for women in sci-fi.
Do you still keep in contact with Joss Whedon? He’s one of those directors that does like to reuse the same actors in multiple roles, which is great as a sci-fi fan.
Yeah, he’s amazing that way. He’s supported me through all my developing years as an actor and really gave me a safe place to make mistakes and try things, and I’ll be forever grateful.
Well, speaking of Joss and sci-fi, do you think fans will ever get to see you in the Marvel Universe?
My fingers are always crossed! He does have a lot of actors to try to fit in there and want to work with him, but I’d run right back if there was ever something that he felt was right for me.
Speaking of comic books, you play the lead, Oliver Queen’s business partner, Isabel Rochev, in CW’s “Arrow.” How is that going?
I’m actually on my way to the airport right now and I’m flying to Vancouver today, I just finished an episode and now I’m shooting another. There are some pretty big things happening with my character coming up that I’m excited about.
“Firefly,” “Serenity” and “Terminator” were all very physical rolls for you. Will we get to see any action from your character?
Well, I don’t want to say either way. In the beginning when I signed on to do this roll, I thought, “Well, I’m guessing they’ll want me to throw down, because that’s kind of one of my things!l I’m gonna get up there and they’re gonna have me do some fights.” But when I got there and I went in to some of these wardrobe fittings, they had me in these beautiful dresses and jewels and high heels, and I thought “Whoa, this is really different for me,” and they kind of got a kick out of it. They were like, “Yeah we put Summer Glau in high heels and made her show a different interpretation of a strong woman.” But they have told me not to get too attached to it because it might change. And I won’t say but there’s gonna be some pretty surprising moments for Isabel in upcoming episodes.
Anything you’d like to close with?
Just thanks for having me and keep your restaurants open!