Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
0

US TV Interview

'Perception' Rachael Leigh Cook: 'We go further down the rabbit hole'

By
"[If] you're sick of being able to guess who the killer is by the second act, give us a try" - that's what Perception actress Rachael Leigh Cook told Digital Spy when we asked what sets her new crime show, starting in the UK tonight, apart from the likes of Bones and Castle.

Perception certainly does sound like a pretty unique take on the old procedural format, focusing on brilliant academic Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack) who helps the FBI with some of its most difficult cases while trying to keep on top of his schizophrenia.

Cook plays the former student who recruits him, a role that she claimed made her feel "tougher" and like "a card-carrying member of MENSA"...

Rachel Leigh Cook in 'Perception'

© TNT



So can you tell our readers a little bit about Perception?
"Perception is a show about a really brilliant professor of neuroscience played by Eric McCormack who is recruited by a former student of his named Kate, played by myself, to help the FBI to solve crimes where there's a lack of physical evidence and a new approach is needed. And he comes in with his unique knowledge of behaviour and phycology in the mind and tries to crack things from that angle."

Can you tell us a bit about the relationship between your character Kate and Eric McCormick's character? Is it tense, is it tender?
"My character is a really ambitious agent who has had a few career setbacks and is always trying to prove herself, so she takes a chance by bringing him in and is often having to explain his sort of occasionally strange behaviour.

"That's an important point, the twist of the show is that while he's an expert on the brain, Daniel Pierce is a highly functioning schizophrenic so it's one of those difficult position, heal thyself situations."

Is it possible there may be a romance developing there?
"Yeah, they definitely have tension. My character is established as having a crush on him when she was his student and I think she believes that it has gone, but things come to light throughout the show that make her realise maybe it's not.

"But she's also coming out of a difficult separation so she's technically still married and Eric's character is very much mentally unstable, so they have a host of ideas of what could happen."

Rachel Leigh Cook in 'Perception'

© TNT



In Perception Eric's character suffers from schizophrenia and paranoia - were you concerned coming into the show about how such a sensitive subject as mental illness would be portrayed?
"I think if I had any concerns it might be that it was portrayed too sensitively. We needed to communicate that every case of schizophrenia is very different, a lot of people who have it have different levels of functionality within the disease.

"I didn't want them to sort of treat it too lightly or as if it wasn't that serious of a condition, it is an incredibly serious affliction and the later episodes of the show certainly show the darker sides of Eric's character's mental state."

Would you say the idea of Perception is to try and enlighten people about schizophrenia?
"I'm not really sure to be honest with you. Someone who knows so much about the brain and even knows so much about his own condition not being able to manage his own thoughts, feelings and sometimes actions [is] a really interesting concept.

"I'm glad that they're exploring it because, maybe not where you are but here [in the US] I'm sure, it's even still a misconception that schizophrenia means having multiple personalities, which is [the case for] a really small percentage of [sufferers]."

Will we see a more darker or mysterious side to Kate come out?
"I hope so, that would be pretty neat. I think that she has a whole lot of backstory that would be fun to explore within episodes. We haven't really dug around in... many of the characters except for Eric's because we need to focus on him.

"But I have a lot of fun playing Kate and as for a dark side, who knows, she's certainly willing to get involved in some hairy situations."

Rachel Leigh Cook in 'Perception'

© TNT



Did you ever feel as though your character might be overshadowed by Eric's, seeing as the focus is on him?
"I don't see his character as overshadowing mine because there's no show without his character. I think we're a good crime-solving duo however unintimidating we might be in real life.

"I was telling somebody the other day that I'm pretty upset that Numbers is off the air because we are [now] officially the least intimidating crime fighting team on television. So yeah, pretty bummed about that, but not really. It's good fun."

I'm sure you pack a punch really...
"A tiny punch."

Your character is one of the few people who really understands Daniel - did you and Eric spend a lot of time together trying to get their dynamic right?
"We immediately had a good rapport and I wouldn't be surprised if that wasn't part of what helps me get the role. In terms of practising and being comfortable with each other, we tried to spend a bit of time hanging out, rehearsing as much as possible before the pilot, but really that's just something that comes with time.

"Certainly by episode two we were getting along famously, but I think that our dynamic as the characters started to get flashed out [got] better and better."

Perception is largely about human behaviour. Would you say it looks deeper and has more substance than your average crime drama?
"We certainly have a lot more twists and turns. We'll take you further down the rabbit hole than any other crime show I believe on the air right now. [If] you're sick of being able to guess who the killer is by the second act, give us a try.

"The best thing about the show I believe is that you can inadvertently, while being entertained, learn something about psychology that is really obscure and fascinating... you don't have to be a card-carrying member of MENSA to watch our show, but you might feel like one after you've caught a couple of episodes."

Rachel Leigh Cook in 'Perception'

© TNT



Did the show do anything to give you a better understanding of people? Did you learn anything from it?
"I definitely feel I've got more knowledge of severe mental conditions, but even more than that it helped me to feel more confident just in my day-to-day life. Maybe it's a false sense of empowerment from my fake gun or something, but I feel a little bit tougher just walking through the big world."

You guys have recently been picked up for a second season in the US - could you feel while working on Perception that it would be a hit?
"I wasn't sure if people would be ready for another unlikely crime-solver show, because we're very much aware of shows like Bones, Castle, The Mentalist where someone solves crimes and they're aren't necessarily qualified to do so.

"The creators and myself and Eric all really enjoyed the shows and we think that Eric's character is incredibly different from those. I wasn't sure if people would... be able to stay with us, but luckily people have been."

Are you okay with the comparisons to Bones and other shows like that?
"Yeah, I mean the reason that I'm even able to reference those shows to you is that they're successful. I've read a bunch of other procedurals that didn't really grab me from a character angle.

"I think being willing to go there as it were and represent someone with schizophrenia really sort of pushes that envelope just that bit further."

Perception begins in the UK tonight (October 3) at 9pm on Watch.

You May Like

Comments

Loading...