Women banning together and sticking up for one another is something we’re seeing now more than ever. It’s not a new concept, but in so many films and TV series viewers are used to seeing cattiness and the mean girls excluding and degrading other girls, especially when the story is set in high school. That’s not the case on CBC’s new drama series Burden of Truth, which returns from the Olympic break Wednesday, February 28 at 8 p.m. ET. While Burden does focus on corporate attorney Joanna (Kristin Kreuk), who has returned home to the small town of Millwood, it also centers on the story of several high school girls who are banning together to support one another through some very difficult times.
joanna has returned to Millwood because she quickly noticed that something was making local high school girls very sick. Together with her former classmate Billy Crawford (Peter Mooney), the pair have started investigating the real reason behind the sickness. The case hits especially close to home for Billy because his niece Molly Ross (Sara Thompson) is one of the sickest girls. In this week’s episode “Witch Hunt,” the high school principal prevents the sick girls from attending prom, so they decide to throw a prom of their own.
The TV Junkies recently caught up with actress Thompson, a native of Winnipeg, to talk at greater length about Molly and the opportunity to work on Burden. “As soon as I got involved with Molly I fell in love with her. I connected with her on so many different levels and felt there was no other option than to be her,” said Thompson. She shared why she especially relates to what Molly is going through, the disorder that causes seizures and twitching, and what it was like working with and learning from Kreuk and Mooney. Finally, Thompson discusses Molly’s relationship with Luna (Star Slade) and why she loves being a part of a show that portrays girls supporting and sticking up for one another.
The TV Junkies: One of the things that’s nice about the show is that it really lets us into the lives of the younger characters and their stories. Was that something that drew you to the project, getting to play that somewhat Friday Night Lights type story with these girls?
Sara Thompson: It definitely was part of what drew me to the project. Being able to showcase a journey of dealing with and overcoming trauma as a young woman was an honor. I relate rather close to Molly and the rest of the girls’ obstacles, so it was important to show other young women how strength and hope can come from the power of uniting with one another.
TTVJ: Did you do any kind of research for the role regarding some of the symptoms and health issues Molly has to face?
ST: I watched a documentary dealing with something very similar. This was mostly for physical and vocal research. I also did a lot of research on Tourette syndrome and epilepsy, but Molly and I have a very similar story. When I was around the same age as Molly, I was diagnosed with epilepsy, and also suffered from tics quite similar and didn’t know why or from what. So I drew a lot of the physicality and mental headspace that Molly was in from my own experiences and journey to shape her as a character.
TTVJ: Billy obviously has a huge stake in this whole battle given that Molly is his niece. Will we continue to see more of those familial interactions between she and Billy, and what was it like to work with Peter to build that relationship?
ST: That situation is rather high stakes for everyone. Billy and Molly are indeed very close, but that doesn’t change the fact that Molly is a frustrated teenager. When stress is high, emotions go flying and the people who suffer the most are the ones closest to you. Peter was fantastic to work with, and the dad jokes he would tell set the proper tone as the “older brother/father figure/uncle.” We actually created a little handshake that we would do before all our scenes together. As insignificant as the shake was, it got us into character right away, maybe eventually it will make it on the show.
TTVJ: With there being a lack of LGBTQ representation on TV, it’s nice to see the way that Burden of Truth handles Molly’s storyline and her relationships with Luna and her family. Is that responsibility something that you discussed with the writers and producers prior to tackling the character?
ST: For me, Molly is a girl in love. No matter to whom or what gender. There was no big reveal or stress surrounding the subject of Molly’s sexuality, and that is what I think is so special about how Luna and Molly are portrayed in the show. They’re just a couple of young lovers trying to find a path in a confusing stage of life, but who are still certain about their love for each other. I am happy I was able to contribute a story of LGBTQ love through Molly and Luna’s experience.
TTVJ: It seems that Molly and Taylor (Anwen O’Driscoll) have moved past the issues and are becoming friends. Will they continue to get closer and what’s ahead for that relationship?
ST: Taylor and Molly are a perfect example of young women relating, empowering and supporting one another. They put their differences aside and strive to find light in the darkest of times. Burden of Truth does an amazing job of portraying the message that we are not alone in our struggles. I think now more than ever it’s so important for women to stand together and find strength within each other. I feel lucky to show the story of Taylor and Molly, because the harder their struggle becomes, they continue to battle as a team.
TTVJ: As a younger actress early in her career, I imagine it was a great opportunity for you to get to work with someone like Kristin Kreuk. What was it like getting to work alongside her and what were some of your takeaways from the experience?
ST: Kristin is such a blast to work with! We were always giggling and making jokes on set, but she is also the most professional. I couldn’t even begin to try to learn some of the dialogue that she has on Burden. Kristin taught me many things including line learning techniques, how to cry on cue, and even how to clap with one hand. She’s a woman of many talents.
TTVJ: Do you have any upcoming projects that we should know about and keep an eye out for?
ST: I can be seen in the upcoming film I Still See You alongside Bella Thorne and Richard Harmon. It’s about a post-apocalyptic event that leaves the world inhabited with ghosts. I play Janine who is Ronnie’s (Thorne) best friend from childhood, and she’s always been more interested in school gossip rather than the severity of the circumstances they are in. Another exciting project I’m honoured to be a part of is a film called Nomis.It stars Sir Ben Kingsley, Henry Cavill, and Alexandra Daddario. I play Julie, a victim of abduction.
What do you think of Molly and the girls’ story so far on Burden of Truth? Sound off below!
Burden of Truth airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBC.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.