Anne Winters has done her share of dramas, comedies, and thrillers, always looking to broaden her acting experience regardless of genre. Her latest challenge is science fiction as the newest crew member Ensign Charly Burke in the Hulu series The Orville: New Horizons. The 13 Reasons Why star spoke to Bleeding Cool about joining the Seth MacFarlane (Ed Mercer) series, joking around with co-star Scott Grimes (Gordon Malloy), and other projects she has her eyes on.
Bleeding Cool: Did it feel a little intimidating when you first decided to tackle science fiction?
Anne Winters: Yeah, a little bit. I did a lot of YouTube studies on space and my character has this ability to visualize things four-dimensionally, very smart. So I was very much trying to do as much research as I could getting into the role. Once I got on set, I felt so at home with everybody, it just kind of became a family. I would say going into it, it was a little bit intimidating. I was nervous, especially with all the numbers and things. You have a lot of lines that are very exact with words that I can't even honestly tell you or remember, but I looked up before I played it on screen.
BC: You said that your character Charly has some abilities. Is there anything you could expand on or preview of what we can expect?
Winters: She's the only one in the first episode that has the ability to basically save a life. I guess that says she's really needed on this Orville ship and she's trusted with a lot of responsibilities going forward, with different adventures and things like that. Other than that, she is at the front of the ship. So she's sitting next to Gordon the whole time, which was a blast to film.
BC: What was it like dealing with those initial nerves & did any of the cast help with it?
Winters: On my first day on set, I had two of my most difficult scenes. To be honest, I was very much in my head, like going in to do a job exactly kind of like my character is. Even though I get nervous, just personally, nerves actually really fuel me. I do my best under pressure. So I probably didn't even really talk to a lot of people on my first day. I was coming in like, 'I need to kill these two scenes.' These are two of my biggest scenes for this episode and I was focused. After I got that kind of done, then it was just a little bit more fun. Other than learning how to fly the ship, which Seth taught me my first day on set, just pressing the buttons, making it look real, even though it's literally like a fake keyboard that they make look real on with CGI, which looks incredible. Other than that, Scott [Grimes] just eased my nerves by making me laugh. At times when I wasn't supposed to laugh if anything, he made it a little bit more difficult to be serious on set. That's what I would say about him. He's funny.
BC: The research that you talked about, did it include Star Trek? Did you grow up watching any of the stuff or was it just a crash course for you?
Winters: [It was] a crash course. I hadn't watched 'Star Trek' or 'Star Wars'. I didn't know anything about space jargon, literally anything like that. Far from that, actually, which is why I wanted to take it on, I thought it was fun, but there was this guy named Andre [Bormanis] that was able to be kind of the behind-the-scenes of writing all of the facts to make sure that they're scientifically correct. I would call him periodically to ask him about different scenes if I didn't truly understand it and he would kind of put it into layman's terms to where I could understand really what I'm getting at. That was really like a nice resource to have. I really appreciated them having that person to be able to call.
BC: What have you found that some of the previous things you've done before that may have helped you through filming this season of "The Orville?"
Winters: Gosh, that's kind of a hard question because you learn just by experience. So just me being on set for 11 years and acting, doing different roles, having to make new friends, work with different people with different ideas, different experiences. You're just constantly kind of learning. There's not really, one thing, it's more just to be kind of malleable on set and to kind of be able to go into a new workplace and assess the atmosphere and dove into what that kind of world that they're putting on. I like to on my free time when I'm not actually on camera doing the scene. I like to spend a lot of my time watching from behind the scenes with the director and the producers to kind of see how everything works. That I will say gives me like a crash course in all of the jobs that are on set and that's probably the best learning experience from any set that I've been on is watching kind of video village and seeing the behind the scenes work.
BC: What other genres are you interested in tackling next?
Winters: I want to do something with Marvel or something with being a superhero of some sort… or a villain with some sort of superpower. I love doing action. I love doing my own stunts. I love the following with a crane and like all the action scenes that I got to do a little bit with 'The Orville', so I'm excited about that. Something like that, which is something I've never done. Beyond that, I just look at every single script that comes my way or any opportunity as a new challenge and if it looks to me as something I've never done before, that's where I want to go. I want to have a very diverse profile of my acting ability because I feel like I can do anything.
The Orville: New Horizons is available to stream on Hulu.