Actress Charlotte Sullivan is keeping with the trend of Rookie Blue actors who are now playing vastly different characters from the ones they spent six years portraying on the cop drama. Sullivan does this by guest starring on Thursday’s episode of Saving Hope, where she plays social worker Elizabeth Grant, the victim of a horrific acid attack that disfigures her face. Grant’s attack will also cause new Hope Zion resident, Dr. Cassie Williams (Kim Shaw) to question whether or not she can remain objective in an episode that’s also directed by Sullivan’s husband, Peter Stebbings.
Sullivan recently spoke with The TV Junkies about tackling a new, and very emotional role and what it’s like working with her husband. She also discussed the fun coincidence of guest starring on an episode that also features Rookie Blue alum Travis Milne.
The TV Junkies: So Elizabeth Grant is definitely not Gail Peck.
Charlotte Sullivan: No! Definitely the complete antithesis of that character for sure.
TTVJ: Was that one of the big reasons to do the role?
CS: Well my husband directed it, so I think it was nepotism at its finest. It’s really quite funny because our track record for working together, especially when he casts me–he’s only ever cast me as like crack-addicted prostitutes or burn victims. I’m not really quite sure how he thinks of me, but he certainly keeps me in mind for the opposite spectrum of who I am. It was my husband that suggested me for the part and that’s how I got it.
TTVJ: Because a ton of the Rookie Blue family is involved with Saving Hope as well.
CS: Yeah, they are amazing. Essentially when I went to work on Saving Hope, it’s the entire crew from Rookie Blue, and it’s amazing and I felt so comfortable and so loved. Then in bringing my baby to work, I never knew where she was because half the time the crew had her, and they are like ‘transport has the baby,’ and I’d be like ‘where’s the baby now?’ And they’d say ‘oh the writers have her.’ So there’s an incredible amount of love over there. I love those people and have a very strong affinity for them.
TTVJ: It’s a pretty fun coincidence that Travis [Milne] is in the episode too.
CS: I know! What are we the ghosts of Rookie past?
TTVJ: Were you disappointed you didn’t get to share any scenes together?
CS: Very much so, but I did get to see him on set. Actually, this is a funny story because they put us in these assigned trailers to get ready every day, and sometimes they move us around and you don’t get the same rooms. I was in full burn regalia and Travis hadn’t seen me yet, and the previous day this one dressing room had been mine, so I wasn’t really thinking and walked into his room and laid down on his bed. Travis walked in and hadn’t seen me yet and he screamed so loud like ‘Oh my God! What did you do?’ He was so freaked out, it was funny.
TTVJ: His role is so completely different.
CS: Very much so and I think both he and I–you want to make sure you’re not dipping into those characters [Gail and Chris from Rookie Blue] because they are associated with those people. They made a point of making them drastically different from our Rookie personas.
TTVJ: I feel like I always have to ask you about your hair, so is that why you went with the dark hair here?
CS: It was more just wanting a change from the over-processed, bleached-out situation that’s been my existence for the last two years. It’s just being a girl and wanting to mix it up. I know three months from now I’ll be craving purple. [laughs] It all just depends on the mood.
TTVJ: All jokes aside, this is a very emotional role. How did you prepare yourself for that?
CS: Well obviously the first thing you do is research online. That was a hard one, to look at those images of victims of acid attacks. I watched a documentary on one particular girl out of the U.K. who had this happen to her by a jealous ex-boyfriend, and you can’t even really imagine what set of mindset or person you have to be to do this to someone. It really is one of the most insane acts of brutality.
TTVJ: There is more to her than initially meets the eye, so what can you preview about her story?
CS: Her role in life is a social worker, so she deals with a lot of people that have these negative upbringings, and she tries to inspire and be a force of happiness and escape for a lot of kids that have a shitty deal. The boundaries are crossed and she starts to have feelings for a particular client. He’s obviously not a mentally stable individual and does an act of insane brutality towards her because he can’t have her and disfigures her for life.
TTVJ: Peter is also directing Orphan Black this season, so any chance we can get you cast on that?
CS: Oh God that would be a dream! What has happened to Tatiana [Maslany]–I did this Rising Stars program with her a couple years ago at the Toronto International Film Festival–that girl is beyond talented. It would just be a joy to be on set and see the behind the scenes of that, and the fact that Peter gets to do that is a really, really cool thing and he’s honoured to do.
TTVJ: Don’t they have a need for a crack-addicted character with purple hair?
CS: [Laughs] Yes, that would be really beautiful.
TTVJ: Can you share with us if you’re working on anything at the moment?
CS: I’m just doing a movie of the week. We’re just on Week 1 and it’s hard trying to do this for the first time since Saving Hope with my baby.
TTVJ: How are you treating everything surrounding Rookie Blue at this point given there seems to be no news about its future one way or another?
CS: I’m in the same boat as everybody else. We don’t know anything. I don’t know, I wish I had an answer for you. It’s weird and I’d like to hear something.
Are you excited to see Sullivan in such a different role? Get a closer look with pictures from the episode, including behind the scenes shots, here. Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts.
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.