Ali Larter on ‘Legends’ & ‘Heroes Reborn’

Ali Larter is back on television, after taking some time off to release a cookbook.

TNT’s “Legends” cast Larter as Crystal, a CIA agent tasked with monitoring Martin Odum (Sean Bean). Crystal thinks that Martin is cracking and is a danger in the field. After a “Legends” panel for the Television Critics Association, Larter hung around to talk to reporters about her new show. “Legends” airs Wednesdays at 9pm on TNT.

CraveOnline: Who are Crystal’s allies on “Legends?” She certainly doesn’t trust Martin and she doesn’t seem to trust authority either?

Ali Larter: One of the interesting arcs that we go through in this season is that Crystal is someone who has embraced the rules. She believes that through following the rules, she’s succeeding. As the season goes on, and Martin who obviously doesn’t approach work that way or life, it’s really a struggle for her. It frustrates her, it angers her and she sees casualties. She sees mistakes when you don’t follow the rules. She likes when the numbers add up.

One of the things we explored in watching her is seeing how things don’t always work out as you hope when you do follow the rules. By the end of the season, she’s open to approaching things in maybe more of a mischievous way or going behind the scenes and learning the truth about things and uncovering stuff without following the rules. It’s almost liberating in a way. It’s almost like taking the blinders off of Crystal and freeing her a bit and letting her get out in the races.

Has she not seen all those movies about people who break the rules and win the day?

Talk to David Wilcox.

Will we see any cracks in her guard?

You see it a bit in episode one, you see her break which for me, they don’t usually have those scenes in television shows. We have to fight for those. People like to, I think, keep people in this steel cage and for me, I’m always fighting to show as many sides as possible. Just the tolls of the job, the pressures and what I want to watch is these characters going home. I want to see how they handle it at the end of the day, and you get to see some of her vices and what she does to deal with the extreme pressures of her job.

When do we delve into Crystal’s past with Martin?

[In episodes] six and seven you start to see a bit of that and they bring in my father, which is a very complicated relationship. I was really excited about that, that it wasn’t just some kind of cliche story of something that happened to her or this or that. It’s really more of a human story and something I think people can relate to with any parent. So I think that that was something interesting to see, and also what we revert to when we’re around our parents. So you take someone like Crystal who has this high powered job and always dealing with men in these situations. Then you see her in a different light which is interesting.

You had taken a bit of a break. What was it about “Legends” that brought you back to TV?

It’s so funny. I feel extremely lucky that I get to live a big life. Within that, I mean that I love acting and acting in a drama is my sweet spot. It’s where I love to go. It’s my favorite place to be, especially a drama written like this with really interesting, complicated characters. David Wilcox has done a great job of weaving this through and the mythology of the whole season. So I was super excited to do that. I need the balance of working with my cookbook and I’m actually developing a cooking show, because I’ll do this for five months and then I want to go do that for four or five months.

That’s also the other side of me, and when you think about even the show and identity, there are many faces that I have and I don’t want to just be an actress. I love developing recipes. I love cooking. I love sharing things and inspiring different people to entertain and take on maybe different things that they were challenged by before. I just find so much joy in cooking and I love it, so that’s really fun for me to balance that. Then being a mom, being able to do that, being a wife, being a daughter. There are so many different faces and those are things that I need to explore instead of just being thought of as an actress.

Is it also appealing to do a shorter season?

Without question. I’m a sprinter, not long distance and for me a 24 episode season is not something that I’m interested in doing. There’s just not enough time at the end of the day. There’s something about the size of this that allows the stories to stay really strong. The actors are still talking to each other by the end of the season. We’re all still really excited to be there and now we’re ready to have a little break. If we come back, we’re coming back in six months so it’s not actually that long. That’s what I really hope. I hope that we get a chance at a second season.

The dream for me would be to have that stack of scripts and be able to really get the nuances in there. One of the challenges always working in television and I learned this on “Heroes,” and it’s forced me to relinquish more control, because it’s not doing a film where you get to plan everything out. There’s a lot of moving parts within television. There’s new scripts coming in. There’s new pages every night and you need to be free and you need to have trust and go with the flow. That’s something that we’ve had to do this season. Our scripts are coming in the day before sometimes.

Have either NBC or Tim Kring reached out to you about doing the new “Heroes?”

I haven’t heard from anyone. It’s so funny, everyone’s talking about it and I wish them the best. I think Jack Coleman is doing it, but I’m on a show so I wouldn’t be able to do it even if they wanted me to.

It’s going to be a limited series, so could it be a guest starring thing?

Possibly, if they let me. This is almost like the old studio system. TNT and Fox will tell me what I get and don’t get to do.


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