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July 21, 2017

Paula Patton on Getting Her Crazy on in the New ABC Thriller Somewhere Between


Paulette Cohn / Parade

Warcraft and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol star Paula Patton heads to the small screen when ABC premieres its suspenseful, 10-episode limited series Somewhere Between on Monday, July 24.

“It was a labor of love for everybody involved, so much that you can’t help but start thinking about ways in which to maybe do a new story or variations on things because it was an amazing experience,” Patton tells Parade.com. “It just had some magic on it, especially for me, so I’d welcome the idea of how could we do it again.”

But before we get ahead of ourselves to the possibility of a second season, in this season, Patton plays Laura Price, a local news producer in San Francisco helping the police hunt down a serial killer. As a result, the killer strikes close to home for Laura, but a twist of fate allows a Groundhog Day-type reset, and she relives the week prior to the string of murders, which gives her the chance to see if she can change fate.

“What I really love is the notion that you can change your fate for the future.” Patton says. “As difficult as it may be or as uncomfortable as it is, you can change your fate, and I love that idea and the power of that and that’s what I really want people to take away from it, is just the strength of them.”

In our interview, Patton also talks about what appealed to her about the project, she talks more about fate, how far a woman would go to protect her family, and more.

Somewhere Between sounds a little sci-fi because of the time change, but it’s described as a thriller.

It is definitely not sci-fi. There’s a surreal element of it, which is this idea that this woman has experienced a great tragedy, finds herself eight days before the tragedy began, and now she’s got a chance to change her fate and the fate of others. So the sci-fi ends once you’re like, “OK, she’s got eight more days,” but everything else from there is real. That’s the chase to the end to see if she can accomplish it.

What about Laura appealed to you? 

I would have to say first it’s the material that I looked at. You are looking at your character when you read something, but, to me, the most important thing is that the overall project is something I’d want to do, that I, myself, would want to watch, and that moves my soul—and it definitely did that.

I was allowed to read the first two episodes and see what this woman was going through, the intensity and what the stakes were. I knew it was going to be really challenging, but I think that’s what excited me, was the idea of delving into them, and also this notion of what happens, who does one become when their back’s against the wall and the animalistic instincts come out in her, and maybe unsavory characteristics as well. That was a fun and interesting thing for me to explore.

So how crazy does Laura get?

She goes there! It will be a bit of a surprise, but she has some animal-like moments and some vengeful moments. I’m not a vengeful person myself, so that was an interesting thing to explore. It’s quite fun in that role. It’s a lot of mystery and murder and trying to figure out who did it. As I got to read more episodes, I found myself getting more and more surprised by where our writer, Stephen Tolkin, had taken it and I felt lucky to be a part of the show. I was like, “Oh, this is better than what I expected,” so it was fun.

You’re a mom in real life, does Somewhere Between make you think about how far you would go for your child? 

Absolutely. I think that there’s probably no one else you can say without question that you would sacrifice your own life for and that changes everything. I don’t know if you ever really, really have that quite like you do for your child, and I think that does talk about who you become when you want to do anything to save them. So you can connect and it certainly helps.

So maybe there isn’t really such of thing as fate, that what happens to us depends on what we do.

In mythology, there’s fate and then there is still that thing that is always there, that humans they can change it, and they know a way how. That’s the magic of life. Although sometimes not accepting your fate, or accepting the life that you have, is another way to say it that isn’t so maybe fantastical as the idea that you might be living a certain life and think, “This is all I have and I’m not going to be able to do any more than that.”

My true belief is that we all have a chance. It might be hard. It might take great tenacity and be uncomfortable but you can do it.

Are you a fan of thrillers? Do you have any favorites?

I do. I love thrillers. I love the genre. I love the idea of how does one get out of it, the chase, the whodunit. I think that audience interaction in thrillers and mysteries is: Can you sort it out before the characters? And I think that that engages you so much more.

Back in the day, Ashley Judd did quite a few of them, like Kiss the Girls, and Denzel Washington does many them, like The Pelican Brief. That’s a great example of a thriller that you’re enjoying the entertainment of, but it also brought to light an important issue. I think that’s what entertainment does best. First and foremost, you have to entertain. Then the second thing is if you can open hearts and minds in some way, then you’ve done something really special. Hopefully, we do that with this.

Somewhere Between premieres Monday, Sept. 24 at 10:01 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.