Elisabeth Harnois

Elisabeth Harnois was born in Detroit in 1979 and grew up in Los Angeles. She started acting at the age of three. When she was five she co-starred in the movies
One Magic Christmas and Where Are the Children? In 1991 she starred as Alice in Disney's Adventures in Wonderland series. She received critical acclaim in 2000 for her portrayal of the mentally unstable Kate in Carl Colpaert's Facade. She's also guest starred in Charmed, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Highway to Heaven.
Sci-fi-online.com caught up with her as Point Pleasant: The Complete Series, was due for release on DVD...

Sci-Fi-Online: Can you fill us in a little on what the story is behind Point Pleasant?

Elisabeth Harnois: Point Pleasant is about a small town in New Jersey and how it is transformed by the random arrival of a young girl on the Jersey Shore. She's rescued by the local lifeguard who's the town good boy that everybody loves. And she decides to stay in town to find her mother because her mother is, coincidentally, from New Jersey.

We don't know exactly how she arrived in the water. But she decides to stay in the town to find her mother, and it becomes clear that her presence in the town is creating a change in the energy. And, at the same time, she's discovering that she has the ability to do things that other teenagers can't do.

And this is very much linked to the way that people treat her. If she's upset, a person can get hurt. And through this self-discovery she learns that she is the daughter of Satan. And, of course, she's keeping this a secret from the entire town. Meanwhile, Grant Show comes in as a character who is the Devil's henchman, if you will. He is there to watch over Christina and make sure that she wrecks havoc on this town because this is supposed to be where it's all going to happen.

Satan is supposed to take over, starting in Point Pleasant. And so that's why she's there. It becomes more and more clear as we go on, how she's going to fight this inner anger and this inner evil, but ultimately, she's the daughter of a good person and the daughter of a bad person. And it literalises the idea of the inner battle of good and evil.

SFO: Can you give us some more detail about what happens to the town when your character arrives? You mentioned some changes...

EH: You know, it's not an atypical thing to sort of explore, what lurks underneath the surface of that completely beautiful artifice, that beautiful perfect suburban town. I don't think that when I arrive in town and things change, as I said, I don't think it's anything that wasn't already in these people.

People wouldn't normally act upon it but it's within them. They've thought about it. I think that that's what happens when she gets there, anything that they've ever thought about doing, anything that's tempted them becomes easier to explore. And that's the best way I can say it, without giving anything too much away.

SFO: Would you say that Christina almost acts like a sort of catalyst?

EH: She's a catalyst for bringing up the dangerous parts of people and the subversive sides of their personalities. If anything she's the most consistent of them all. I think she goes into moments where she feels very strong anger or remorse or whatever. She has very strong feelings and you get that. But it terms of her turning on and off, like what you will eventually see later in the season in people is actually almost a Jekyll and Hyde sort of thing.

I think that she's the consistent person that tries to keep everything a little bit balanced, ironically, even though she's the one causing the change.

SFO: Christina herself is pretty kind of screwed up, though, wouldn't you say?

EH: Yeah, yeah. She doesn't know necessarily what the best thing to do is at every moment. I think if this happened to me, and when I was a teenager, I think that everyone would be dead, you know? [Laughs]. Everyone would have exploded [Laughs].

She gets angry because the boy that she has a crush on doesn't tell her initially that he has a girlfriend, and then the girlfriend introduces herself and she's very mean to her. And then in the next scene, they almost die. It's not like she zaps people, but there's this direct linkage between her anger and terrible things that happen.

SFO: Do you prefer playing darker roles? Do you find them more challenging?

EH: I definitely find there's more to do with them [laughs]. I think the projects I've done recently have had this underlying either dark humour or just dark themes. I grew up doing a lot of children's television and a lot of very happy things, and I like the subject matter that allows me to explore my own inner demons.

SFO: There's some pretty mighty themes that are being played with, I mean, the coming of age theme. And the Spider-Man theme of great power and great responsibility...

EH: Absolutely. Oh, yeah, it's definitely comic. It's got the antihero/superhero theme going on, which I love. I love the idea that I'm an antihero and yet somehow have these supernatural-superhero abilities. It's cool.

SFO: There's also a lot of iconic imagery used...

EH: Yeah. The eye, the 666. There's a lot of religious imagery as well. I think that they are using iconography to pit good and evil against each other. And what most people identify with good and evil [laughs. These are icons that we can relate with these general ideas. But I'm sure we might get into some trouble for that.

But if anything, we're very respectful of all of that iconography and when we use religious imagery it's normally as a representation of the good. It's not anything sacrilegious and that's where it's tricky because the 666 is, that's the sacrilegious side of it all. I mean, if you're gonna say sacrilegious or good versus evil.

SFO: What do you think about the show will appeal to audiences in the UK?

EH: I wish I understood the UK audience [laugh] I don't understand the American audience. No, I think it'll be similar things that make it appealing to them. I think that you have this fun, sexy, romantic debaucherous behaviour, and you have teenagers dealing with problems that teenagers deal with. You have adults dealing with problems that adults deal with. The great thing about storytelling is that when you're dealing with supernatural themes, you can take these real problems and bring them to a whole other level.

And really have fun with them, you know? I mean like, the idea of exploding something when you're really angry. Everyone knows they've thought about hurting someone when they've really hurt. No one acts upon that, but that's the fun thing about this show, we can deal with these ideas and these themes on a whole other level.

And I think that people will live vicariously through me in a way, and I think that'll be appealing. And then they'll feel bad later [laughs]. It'll deal with guilt [laughs].

SFO: You were talking about having done children's shows in the past... Point Pleasant is pretty racy...

EH: Some of it's pretty racy, definitely pretty racy. I think, my mom'll be a little bit nervous, but [laughs] I'm grown up, you know? It's time to, to deal with some subject matter that I relate to, [laughs] that I've dealt with. And, it's nice to feel like I've been able to make that change in the work that I do. You need to move forward, and I think this is definitely moving forward - even if it's racy.

SFO: What's that been like to film?

EH: What's the racy stuff been like to film? Well, it's never, [laughs] it's never something you're like, all right, let's go do this, you know? You definitely discuss it and it's choreographed and there's a respect for space and, fortunately the people I'm working with are all very sane, intelligent and respectful people. Especially the person that I have to have a lot of the intimate scenes with.

We're good friends, so it's fine. It's good and depending upon the director we normally work it out very well, specifically what we're gonna do, and it's been good [laughs].

SFO: The character, Boyd, what could Christina's relationship be like with him?

EH: I think it's gonna be really complicated. I think that she knows that he's a force to be reckoned with. He's someone she's going to have to keep an eye on. It's one more problem that she has to deal with 'cause she knows that not only does she have herself to battle, she has to battle this person who's trying to bring out the worst in her at every given moment. And she knows that she may have the potential to control him because she's the daughter of Satan.

She's just working for him. She's got to figure out how to wield her power in a way to control him. She lets him know that she's not gonna take any of his crap, if you will.

SFO: It's a very cinematic piece as well, where do you think it really kicks off? At what point do you really think people are gonna get locked into this show?

EH: I hope from the moment it starts, but I know that there's usually a point in the narrative where you really latch on to your characters and you feel a bit of alignment with them or, you have a sort of a bond with them. And I think that'll happen with each of the characters at different moments.

In terms of the narrative as a whole and the piece as a whole, I think it happens once Christina, my character, realises that she has affected some change and that she may have possibly caused some damage. And she has to figure out what all of this means. And it all sort of spirals into the reason why I stay. And the reason why everyone's life gets a little bit more complicated. So I think hopefully that's when people will latch on because that's when they are suppose to [laughs].

SFO: Thank you for your time.

(c) TM 2005 Twentieth Century Fox and its related entities. All rights reserved.

With thanks to Sylvia Brendel at DSA

Point Pleasant is released to own and rent on DVD from 20th Century Fox on the 23 January 2006

Order this DVD for £22.99 (RRP: £29.99) by clicking here

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