Elizabeth Mitchell is one of the hardest working actors in the industry today. Many of you may know her from her role as Dr. Juliet Carlson on the pop culture phenomenon LOST. She’s also appeared in series such as Revolution, V, E.R., Law & Order: SVU, The Expanse and The Good Doctor.
She also had a standout performance in the second season of the MTV hit series The Outer Banks. She will also be seen in the upcoming Netflix series First Kill. Today, we will be talking with her about her new movie Witch Hunt, which will be released on October 1st.
Witch Hunt follows Martha (Mitchell) and her daughter Claire in a modern-day America where magic is real, and witches are persecuted by U.S. authorities.
We sat down with Elizabeth to talk more about Witch Hunt, what it was like to work with a mostly female cast, her upcoming Netflix series First Kill and her thoughts about LOST seventeen years after its premiere.
Pop Culture Principle – Witch Hunt is directed by Elle Callahan. Did the fact that a female director was heading up this project play a part in you signing on to the project?
Elizabeth Mitchell – 100 percent. I was a huge fan of Gideon Aldon. I think that Gideon led me in and then I fell in love with Elle the first time we spoke. She was definitely someone that I wanted to work for. She is such a talent and I have no doubt that she is the future of movie making. She is one of those directors to look out for.
Elizabeth Mitchell – She is hugely collaborative, but also, she was very much in charge. She took charge of the set; she took charge of her actors and her crew. She wasn’t someone who was pushed aside so that everyone could have their say. It was her set and then we got to come to her with things and she absolutely would collaborate with us.
But as the boss, and this is such an important thing, gaining the respect of your cast and crew is almost the first step for a director. To have us to respect and trust her as we completely did, that was all her. You can give your respect and trust, but it has to be earned and she more than earned it and then we were all on board and then it was incredible.
Pop Culture Principle – You’ve played some really strong female characters in the past. Can you tell us about your character Martha and how she fits in the scope of characters you’ve played in the past?
Elizabeth Mitchell – I have my heroes and I have my villains and this character is definitely one of my heroes. She is one of those people who pretends to be one thing so that she can kind of save the world and that’s how I saw her. She puts on a face of being just like everybody else and in the background she was doing the scariest thing you can do because of what she believed to be right. I really enjoyed her and found her to be a hero among us.
As far as how she compares to my other characters, I think so many of the characters I’ve played are after things and wanting to be good but continue to fail and I think that’s what makes them so interesting. This character was a really strong person making good choices when no one is looking trapped in an extraordinary situation.
Pop Culture Principle – The film has mostly female characters and very few male characters which is rare in film today. Can you tell us what it was like filming with a mostly female cast? Did you have a different vibe on set?
Elizabeth Mitchell – I loved working with all women. I found it to be very collaborative, but I also loved the stories that were told and the vulnerabilities that came out. Without a man around to change the dynamic, it a sort of felt like a sisterhood. There were a lot of things talked about like bullying, sexual harassment, situations of feeling uncomfortable as a woman and what it’s liked to be an actor in a male-centered work environment. We were able to talk about these things in a very safe and loving way. We were just thinking about what it felt like to be in this sort of matriarchal world for a little while.
I think there was a lot to be said for the safety and the joy that it brings. I don’t think that any of us are going to say that we are only going to work with women from now on because the joy of having men around is obvious, but we liked it. There was a lot of vulnerability that was expressed and some great team building.
Pop Culture Principle – The film explores some very topical issues that are parallel to what is happening in our society today. Do you hope this film gives viewers a difference perspective and allows them to hold up a mirror and look at their own views and prejudices?
Elizabeth Mitchell – Yes and I can’t say it any better than that! 😊 That’s exactly what it is supposed to do and that is the hope. The hope is that through entertainment we can open people’s eyes and through entertainment we can allow people to see themselves in a way that isn’t so scary that they shut down and stop listening.
Elizabeth Mitchell – Well, the role of an executive producer for an actor is usually not all that involved, but I did love knowing more about what was going on. I loved knowing what was going on behind the scenes and I loved having a bit of input here and there. I found that Elle was going to be collaborative with everyone because that is her way. Having a little bit more information and being in position with a little bit of power is always a great thing if you use it wisely.
Pop Culture Principle – You recently appeared in the second season of the hit Netflix series Outer Banks as Carla Limbrey. Can you tell us a little bit about what it was like working on that show?
Elizabeth Mitchell – The young actors on that show are incredible and they are so talented. They were so welcoming to me, and I felt like I was an honored guest. What a wonderful thing to have that ability to be on a hit show and be so humbled that you welcome other people with open arms.
Jonas and Josh Pate are the showrunner and our director, and they were such a joy to collaborate with and their vision is so good. They let their actors do the work. Those young actors created those characters and created that feeling that they all have. They work at it all the time and have so much humility and grace the way that they walk through the world, I just can’t say enough about them and really enjoyed my time working with them.
Pop Culture Principle – There hasn’t been an official announcement of a third season yet, but if the show does come back and your character comes back, do you have any ideas of where you would like to see the character go in the third season?
Elizabeth Mitchell – Oh gosh, you know I always hope the same things for my characters. I hope that something happens to them to open their eyes, especially my bad characters. This character is old money, she’s incredibly entitled and she’s sick and will do anything to heal herself. She doesn’t believe that other people hold the same importance that she does and that would be so interesting to me if something were to happen that opened her eyes to the fact that how she feels because I don’t think she knows it and she just assumes that’s who she is in her life. She needs a mirror, and she needs a mirror badly. I don’t know how you come back from killing your half-brother. I don’t know how you come back from when we make those choices and how do we redeem ourselves in life. I’m really sad for her because that was one of those things were life will never be the same again. Who knows, maybe she will be one of those people who endlessly try to make up for all of it.
Pop Culture Principle – You will be starring in the upcoming Netflix series First Kill. Is there anything you can tell us about your character and the series?
Elizabeth Mitchell – So, First Kill was super fun. I play a 500-year-old vampire named Margo and she has this amazing husband named Sebastian, played by Will Swenson, who is a Broadway actor. So, there are the vampires and the hunters and it’s a bit like Romeo and Juliet, but it’s more Juliet and Juliet. It’s the two families that are pitted against each other. Aubin Wise is kind of my counterpart. She is in Hamilton right now on Broadway and she brought it and Will brought it. Even just being around these amazing actors was an absolute pleasure. It was so much fun! 😊
Pop Culture Principle – LOST recently celebrated its 17th anniversary of its premiere. The show is still talked about today as much as it was when it originally aired. Why do you think this show still resonates with fans?
Elizabeth Mitchell – I was obsessed with that show like many others and that made it really weird to actually be on the show! 😊 I was so tired from just having my son and I was just so immersed in my work, however I knew that the show was something incredibly special and I knew the entire time. I had a feeling about the show, and it really didn’t change anything because as I said I was too tired to give it any kind of thought. Every time I would go to work, I knew how special that show was. I am still grateful for every minute, and I didn’t take it for granted. I knew it was something extraordinary and it was.
Pop Culture Principle – One series that I think doesn’t get the credit it deserves is Revolution. Your work and Tracy Spiridakos’ work on the series were standouts to many who watched the show. Can you talk about working on the series and its impact on television?
Elizabeth Mitchell – They should absolutely bring that show back! I think that in today’s world of Netflix and Amazon, the show would have continued for a while, and I think it was a real loss. That series was so good! I loved working with Tracey and Billy Burke!
A huge thank you to Elizabeth Mitchell for talking with us. Her film, Witch Hunt will be released on Friday, October 1st!
**Witch Hunt photos courtesy of Momentum Pictures**
**Outer Banks photos courtesy of Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix**
**LOST photo courtesy of ABC**
**Revolution photo courtesy of NBC**