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Interview with Emma Ishta and Kyle
Harris of "Stitchers" on
ABC Family 5/19/15
These two young people were very sweet and so
enthusiastic about their new show. I hope it's a big hit,
for their sakes. I enjoyed watching the pilot, and they're
both very good in it. ABC Family does not put our names on
the questions, but all of the questions below were asked by
different people like me in the "press". My question was "What is the most unusual thing that you each had
to do on the show?"
ABC Familyís Q&A with Emma Ishta and Kyle Harris
Moderator: My first question is for Emma Ė is it hard to play
Kirsten, having no emotions? Do you ever want to crack a
smile or do so without thinking?
Emma: Yes, it is. Itís definitely a challenge. One of the
things I love playing about her is that she is this
character whoís not necessarily in line with what most human
beings are like and it does change throughout the course of
the season. She goes on this real emotional awakening, so
itís been really fun, but also definitely a challenge to
track her process throughout the season and where sheís at
in terms of her emotional abilities.
Moderator: For both of you, what was it that attracted you to
your part that made you want to do it?
Kyle: I think [for] me personally it was just that youíve got
the super smart guy whoís been sheltered in a lab or a
science textbook his whole life, but whenever heís got his
banter with Kirsten thereís an attraction and thereís a
charm. And yet thereís a one-up battle that happens
throughout the entire season between the two of them and the
comedy mixed in with this whole procedural science sci-fi
jargon that I was most drawn to.
Emma: The main thing for me is this strong female character;
Iím a huge advocate for representations of intelligent and
charmed women in TV as I think we all should be. And to
that, the opportunity to play Kirsten: this incredibly
complex but strong, intelligent female character was really
appealing to me and I also love sci-fi. I love fantasy. I
love Star Wars; I love Lord of the Rings; anything that has
that element in the procedural format, which I think is
great for TV. It was definitely appealing.
Moderator: What can we expect to see from your characters
over the course of the season?
Emma: Kirsten is a computer science grad student and she gets
recruited by this covert government agency to hack into the
brains of deceased people. She has this condition called
temporal dysplasia that affects her in two different ways.
The first way is it affects her ability to comprehend the
passage of time, so every moment to her feels as if itís
always been there, like sheís constantly experiencing dťjŗ
vu. And it also affects her ability to emotionally connect
with herself with her own emotions and also with the
emotions of other people. So throughout the season you see
her become a part of this crazy program and how that affects
her as a human being throughout the course of all the
adventures they go on.
Kyle: Cameron is the head of this Stitchers program that
Kirsten is the subject in and you start to see his process.
As soon as he meets Kirsten, his world is flipped upside
down because now heís got this beautiful girl inside of his
lab that he has to navigate his emotions for, but at the
same time feel responsible entirely for because, as you
learn throughout the season, there are some things that went
wrong in the past in this Stitchers programming and he vows
to never have it happen again. So heís just contemplating
his emotions with Kirsten as are they romantic feelings or
are they actually just overbearing parental feelings in a
way because heís got such a responsibility to protect her at
all costs? You start to see him grow as more of a hero and
guy as she pulls him out to the street and basically takes
the crime fighting into their own hands and thatís sort of
Emma: They really challenge each other and change each other
and draw things out of each other that werenít there before
they met, and interestingly give each other little parts of
their own personality.
Moderator: What are you most excited for the viewers to see?
Kyle: Iím excited for them to see a sci-fi procedural show on
their favorite network that theyíve never seen before. I
think weíre branding a new way for the network and weíre
very proud of what weíve been doing. I think people are
going to be able to relate to these characters and whether
theyíre into sci-fi or procedural or just cool human beings
that are smart and using it in cool ways, I think thatís
really fun. I think itís going to reach out to a lot of
Emma: I completely agree with Kyle. Itís so different for the
network, and weíre excited for the audience base and new
people who might watch the show to see something different
that weíve been working on.
Moderator: What was it like auditioning for Stitchers?
Emma: My auditioning story is funny because I knew about Kyle
before he knew about anything going on.
Kyle: We both auditioned from New York initially.
Emma: So we both went into the original casting director and
they sent our picture to ABC Family and then I flew out to
test in LA. Kyle actually didnít test in LA, so there were a
few other people that had tested for the roles of Kirsten
and Cameron. When I went in, Steve Miner, who directed our
first episode and he also directed the fourth and the
eleventh of the season, started telling me about this guy in
New York that they really wanted and they skipped over his
audition because they didnít necessarily love the beginning,
but then what he did at the end was so amazing. He was
telling me about wanting to get Kyle and how they really
hoped it wasnít too late, so that was interesting.
Kyle: It was great because this entire process I sent myself
via tape to them and they played my tape in the room in LA
and I thought, ďWell, thereís no chance Iím going to get
this. Iím not even there in person. Theyíre just going to
show my tape.Ē But, I get it and they cast us and then
theyíre just hoping that we would have chemistry together.
Emma: We didnít read together or anything.
Kyle: But when we met each other, I was thinking, ďYes I can
work with this.Ē It was great! I think thatís what people
were attracted to from the very beginning is the chemistry
that me and Emma just initially have. Its funny -- we were
thrown into it because when we shot the original pilot, we
were both from New York. They both put us up in a hotel room
right next to each other. For around ten days straight, we
didnít leave each otherís side and it was perfect and it
worked out so well. And itís crazy that itís been almost a
year to the date since we started working together.
Emma: By the time the show premieres it will have been a year
and two days after that we started filming the original
Moderator: What is the most unusual thing that you each had
to do on the show?
Emma: I thought of a good one, but Iím not at liberty to say
Kyle: Most unusualÖaside from the everyday technical jargon
that we have to spit out and believe as truth because the
technology doesnít actually exist, so you flip through the
script and youíre wondering what crazy word are we going to
come up with this week.
Emma: Something thatís been unusual for me throughout this
entire process is CGI, especially the stitch stuff that I
do. Weíve done a lot of green screen work and weíve done a
lot of imagining to stuff thatís happening when itís special
effects. So thatís been interesting because youíre basically
in your own world and you donít have a lot to react off of
--- youíre creating or pretending that all of this stuff is
going on around you, all of this crazy stuff, having things
fly at your head and itís not really happening. So thatís
been really unusual and interesting and I think itís a
really cool part of the show. Also the tank, let me just
throw that out there. I do spend a lot of time in the tank.
Kyle: Yes, like a six-hour day in the water.
Emma: A number of hours at a time, itís kind of unusual, you
get pruney like youíve never seen a prune before, but itís
good. They take good care of me in there [laughs].
Moderator: Whatís the most challenging part about playing
your character so far?
Emma: I think for me itís tracking Kirstenís emotional
evolution as she goes through the season. Every time sheís
stitched into somebody elseís memories, she feels what they
felt and it reconnects pathways in her brain, so that sheís
able to reconnect with her own emotions, and that affects a
person. Imagine spending 23 years of your life or since she
was 8 years old, not really feeling anything, not really
connecting. Now all of a sudden you have these really strong
emotions pouring at you. So I think the hardest thing for me
has been tracking her journey as she evolves into an
Kyle: Cameronís relationship with Kirsten and knowing that
ultimately she is slowly learning about herself and feelings
and what it means to have sympathy and whatnot, but yet heís
still enamored by her and finding himself falling in love
with her. But he knows at the end of the day thereís no hope
because she doesnít really know herself yet, so why is he
contemplating his feelings for this person that doesnít
really even really know the idea or the emotion of love. So
itís a constant battle of why do I even waste my time with
thisÖyet I need to because itís my lifeís work at this
point, so juggling that.
Moderator: Do you guys have any secrets or hidden talents or
anything that happened behind the scenes when you guys were
filming the episodes that you would be willing to share with
Kyle: I fall at least once an episode on the stage [laughs].
Emma: I am an exceptionally talented cleaner. Iím very good
at it. Kyle can sing beautifully; heís spent a lot of time
in musicals. I can sing also, not maybe quite as well, but I
can sing. Whatís been going on on set? We laugh a lot out
there. All of us have a lot of fun.
Kyle: If they ever release a blooper reel, it could be more
entertaining than the show itself [laughs]. Just based off
the amount of time that Iíve fallen on my face andó
Emma: Kyle has trouble going up and down stairsó[laughs].
Moderator: Is the technical jargon challenging for you guys
Kyle: Yes. You look at it and youíre thinking, ďoh, this is
the procedural aspect of the showĒ when youíre just sitting
there spitting out information that itís just all plot and
all back story about what happened in the crime and what
happens in the lab and where do we go from here. And thatís
the hard part of the job. Iím on a procedural show and weíve
got to give information, where the audience might just want
to get to the chase.
Emma: We have a lot of banter and a lot of back and forth and
the dialog is very fast, so itís sort of difficult learning
the jargon that we have. But once you find a way to make it
all make sense to you, as long as you understand what youíre
saying, then it becomes a lot easier.
Kyle: Weíve got to come across as confident in what weíre
saying like this is our everyday lives, and meanwhile in our
heads weíre wondering what this even means, I donít know.
But Iím going to say it with conviction.
Moderator: Is there anything else you guys found to be a
Kyle: The schedule. You have these long days and you come
home and youíve got to memorize information for the next
episode. Itís an amazing job, and itís a great job. You
definitely have to put the work in because itís not easy
dialog to memorize with it being a sci-fi procedural aspect
of a show.
Emma: You really have to have your head in the game. We spend
a lot of time learning lines together between scenes,
learning lines for the next day or running lines.
Kyle: Trying to find the tone of the show, just like any
show, itís just finding your legs and if theyíre jokes and
theyíre serious moments and itís ďhow do we play this; how
do we want to play it.Ē No one really knew because we hadnít
had an audience reaction, but we were just trusting our
instincts and going off of our show runner and whatever ends
Emma: Itís just one of those shows that has a bit of
everything. It has humor and it has drama, so definitely
finding its voice, and finding what all of the charactersí
voices are together and what Stitchers is going to be to
people. It takes a while for it to get into synch; that was
interesting as well.
Moderator: Whatís it like to be a part of the ABC Family big
Emma: Our first experience meeting everyone was at the ABC
Family upfront, which was about a month ago now; and
everyone else in all of the casts were so welcoming and so
friendly. They saw us standing awkwardly there like the
newbies and they really came over and were very kind.
Everyone who works at ABC Family has also been very kind and
really supportive and very communicative and itís just been
a wonderful experience.
Kyle: I think its great! Itís definitely a cool group of
people that regardless of the network we work on, I would
choose to be friends with them outside. Itís cool that weíre
all in this family, if you will, together and I think weíre
all standing for a good thing and hopefully
representingóyouíre role models in a sense to the people
that watch it.
Moderator: If you could stitch back in your life, which
memory would you go to?
Emma: Iíve been asked this question before and Iím going to
say the same answer I said then. Iím going to say my wedding
day. It was full of joy and laughter and love and there was
rain. And people were dancing barefoot in the rain and mud
everywhere and it was so unifying and wonderful and if I
could experience that again, I would in a heartbeat.
Kyle: I think for me itís probably getting the phone call
that I got this job because thereís that actor who didnít
really think this would necessarily be a possibility, but he
was going to try anyways. So many times you come home from a
long hectic day on set or whatever and you want to complain
about itÖ but youíre like ďa million people would kill to
have your hectic day, so remember that this is a blessing
and that we get to do what we get to do.Ē Iím very thankful
for that. But to go back and look at that excitement and
that enthusiasm of me getting that phone call to keep
driving forward as hopefully the show progresses and
continues for seasons to come. I havenít had a wedding, so I
really couldnít say much [laughs].
Moderator: What are your favorite and least favorite things
about your characters?
Kyle: Favorite and least favorite, I feel like my least
favorite thing about Cameron is that heís a control freak
and I catch myself doing the scenes thinking Iím so
annoying, just calm down. I personally am very chill and
relaxed and go with the flow and whatever happens happens
and that is not his motto at all. Heís like ďNo, no,
everything does not happen for a reason. It happens because
I planned it that way and thatís why it happened.Ē So
thereís lots of times when I think, ďOh man, I donít know if
Iíd be friends with this guy.Ē [laughs]
I apologize to my cast mates for being so anal retentive
sometimes - thatís Cameron. But my favorite thing is playing
opposite Emma. Iíd say not to give her too much credit, but
sheís a great person and she makes it easy to come to work
with. I think itís been a really cool journey and I canít
wait to see what happens.
Emma: Absolutely ditto. Kirsten, least favorite is hard to
say because I think when youíre playing your character, you
have to embrace and love everything about them even the
negative things. There are definitely things about Kirsten
that are abrasive. I think something that I dislike about
her as a human being or maybe what I wouldnít want in my
lifeÖis she can be a little condescending, a little
I donít know if I would necessarily choose her to be friends
with. I give Cameron a lot of credit for choosing to duke it
out with her.
I also think thatís part of what makes her and makes her
unique. My favorite thing about her is how smart she is, how
unashamed she is to be herself. I really love that.
Moderator: Was there any one or another character from
something else that you were inspired by for your characters
in this show, or did you just take everything straight from
Emma: I definitely pulled from a lot of different resources
and thought a lot about different people who have similar
character traits to Kirsten in trying to pull and create her
character. There are a couple of examples, I would say
Gillian Anderson in The Fall, which is a BBC show and itís
available on Netflix. She did such a fantastic job with this
woman who is incredibly complex, has this incredibly complex
inner life, but doesnít give too much all of the time and I
definitely was inspired by her performance. I think sheís
incredible in that show, and obviously she starred on
X-Files, sci-fi, itís great.
I also really love Robin Wright in House of Cards and even
though I donít know that the characters are super similar in
terms of the choices she makes and how deliberate her
character is, I definitely was inspired by that as well.
Kyle: Iíd say this in a nutshelló Sherlock with Benedict
Cumberbatch. I just sit and watch Sherlock and Watson traits
that they both have that are both Cameron in a way. Sherlock
is this headstrong guy, he knows whatís going on, and heís
got this passion. He knows whatís happening and then you
have Watson, whoís the side of Cameron that when he leaves
the lab and heís following Kirsten in this way and theyíre
wondering ďwhat are we doing, we shouldnít be here,Ē the
crazy neurotic side. I watch that show and take both of
their traits as characters and wrap it into one as Cameron
and that was helpful for me to watch and say ďokay, I like
the way these guys think.Ē Thatís the intelligent level that
Cameron and the rest of the Stitchers crew is at -- being
prodigy geniuses that are always one step ahead of everyone
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