For the three main characters in USA Network's new series Falling Water, the stakes are high as they search for answers to their waking-life problems in the dream world. Burton (David Ajala) seeks his missing lover, Taka (Will Yun Lee) searches for answers about his catatonic mother, and -- in perhaps the most devastating twist -- Tess (Lizzie Brocheré) sets out to find a son who no one believes ever existed.
USA Network spoke with Brocheré about her character, a professional trendspotter living in Brooklyn who knows with every fiber of her being that she once gave birth to a baby boy. While she searches for her son, Tess soon realizes that her dreams may not only hold the answer to her personal quest -- but also the fate of the world. We learned some other cool things about Tess' jounrney -- and Lizzie's as well!
She started acting when she was two. Yes, two!
The French actress cut her teeth, possibly figuratively and literally, when she was only two years old. Her mother was a casting director, and when something called for an all-nighter with a baby, Lizzie's mom figured her own kid could just do the gig!
By the time she was 19, Brocheré met her American agent. Though she's done dozens of French productions, she's only now on the rise to American audiences, thanks to her pre-Falling Water roles in FX's American Horror Story: Asylum and The Strain.
The dream sequences in Falling Water are way more touchy-feely.
The story in Falling Water straddles both the dream world and the waking world. For each, Brocheré has to approach the acting a bit differently.
"There's something that in reality makes her super paranoid," Brocheré told USA Network. "She doesn't trust anyone. She's almost uncomfortable all the time, like a fish out of water. The dream world is the only realm where she can be less guarded, let herself just explore things. She can finally swim... it was more sensorial for me to act those strange [dream] sequences because suddenly I would smell. I would feel. I would touch. They would never touch in the real world."
Shooting scenes without your co-stars can get a little lonely.
Since the premise of the show is about three strangers who slowly start to realize that they're all part of the same dream, Brocheré shot many of the scenes without the other two main actors, David Ajala (Burton) and Will Yun Lee (Taka).
"You do shoot by locations, and so it's pretty rare when you really share a location at the beginning," Brocheré explained. "When we did cross paths, it had that kind of rare feeling of kinship. Like, 'Yes! You're here too!' It was always really good, but really brief... When we finally end up [together] -- because little by little we do have scenes and come in and our paths do connect -- that was such a relief. Suddenly you're not alone."
She just went to her first Comic Con!
After a season of American Horror Story and two seasons of The Strain, you'd think that Brocheré is a Comic-Con pro by now, but she only just attended her first con this past weekend in New York City.
"I'm a big genre fan in general, so it was so good to be with people that are so excited," the actress said fondly. "It's such a good crowd, and it made me want to go to San Diego so bad. The costumes are amazing!"
Brocheré also ended up with a one-of-a-kind NYCC souvenir: "I got a hand-painted figurine of myself!"
She lost her voice shooting the birth scene in the pilot.
The Falling Water premiere opens with an intense scene of Tess delivering a baby, which helped give the character's voice a little grit over the next couple of days.
"We were shooting it through all angles," Brocheré recalled. "I wasn't given much direction, so after the third shot of the same scene where I'm screaming my head off, I was like, 'Do you think I need to be screaming all the time?' and they were like, "Yeah, just scream all the time on every take." I'm like, "Okay. I'm going to do it," but suddenly I started losing my voice and it was the first day of filming. For the next three days, I had no voice. It was really funny. It gave Tess an even more broken voice than I have."
Falling Water taught Brocheré how to recall her dreams (and some of them are in the show).
Not everyone is a 'good dreamer.' For many of us -- if we remember our dreams at all -- they're gone within a few minutes. Brocheré, who was in the category of those who can't remember what dream we just had, it took about a month of 'training' to become a vivid dreamer. She started reading books on the subject and within weeks was able to remember her dreams and even influence them with lucid dreaming.
"During the show, it was super-intense. I would email [executive producer Blake Masters] once a week almost, saying, 'I had this dream. I was doing that and that,' and sometimes, he incorporated them into the show, which is fun."
Tess is on a journey to trusting herself.
Ironically, the character who has the most natural gut instinct as a professional trend-spotter is the least sure of herself in Falling Water.
"Throughout the season, what's been so interesting is that she doubts so much," Brocheré of her character. "You know something's true, but you can't prove it, and people tell you you're crazy."
Will anyone start to believe that she had a baby? The important thing is that Tess stops caring about whether or not they do...
One co-star in particular made her laugh -- a lot!
Funnyman Zak Orth joins the cast as dream scientist Bill Boerg, and brought a welcome dose of irreverence to the set of Falling Water.
"I loved working with Zak," Brocheré said, laughing. "It's good because Tess can be so intense, and the whole show is so intense. It's good to have Zak there to make jokes... I almost want to do a comedy with him afterwards instead of just being so intense next to him!"