Michelle Fairley has made another show-stopping TV exit—only this one had fans cheering and laughing instead of screaming and crying. On Monday’s 24, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) threw Fairley’s drone-hijacking terrorist Margot Al-Harazi out a fifth story window after she dared to give him some sass-talk. (Plus she was handcuffed, which made it even better). But for Game of Thrones fans, the scene evoked some freaky deja vu: Margot watches her son get killed by Bauer before she’s killed herself, echoing Catelyn Stark’s “Red Wedding” fate. Below, Fairley talks 24: Game of Drones—and also addresses the Thrones fan uproar over a certain “LS.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Your character has been killed off again! What’s that about?
Michelle Fairley: I know, I think every character now has to have some sort of demise.
When you hit that part in the script, and you realized Margot watches her son die before she’s killed, what was your reaction?
There are parallels—it’s a mother and a son, and the son goes before the mother. But I knew the arc of this character; I knew she would meet a nasty death. There were various different versions of [the] interaction between her and Jack before they settled on the final one. You read the script from the character’s point of view—from Margot’s point of view, she went out fighting, right up to flying out that window. But it does make me laugh.
It made me laugh too. I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to, but it played really funny.
Yeah. Absolutely. If only she had been a Houdini and got rid of those handcuffs! But she’s not a super human, unfortunately. But it was great fun to shoot. It was an intense, physical little bit.
It’s odd that your one scene with Sutherland is basically him throwing you around the room and then out a window.
You just knew after the whole series of keeping Jack away from her, that once she finally did meet him he was going to have the upper hand.
Did you have fun playing the sinister master villain?
I absolutely loved it. You don’t play a villain thinking she’s a villain. She was a very passionate, intelligent woman, and was 100 percent devoted to her cause.
Your performance made all the warm feelings I had toward Catelyn Stark vanish. You were so cold—even your eyes seemed cold.
The thing with her—she was always thinking ahead. She’s a cold strategist. The eyes have to look like there’s something going on. It was great to play that. And she’s not giving anything away. She’s a very controlled woman, with her body language too. It was trying to keep her really tight, trying to show that level of complete and utter control.
We thought your character killed the president for awhile, and she certainly was a horrible mother. What kind of reactions did you get?
There was just no level that this woman would not go to in order to achieve her goal. There was no hesitation. She was so devoted, she would do whatever it took, and that surprised people—she literally had no limits. Usually those sort of people, because they’re so passionate and scary it makes people nervous. Especially as a woman and mother, what she did goes completely against her maternal instincts.
[Note: The following exchange contains a much-discussed spoiler from George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books, which are the basis for HBO’s Game of Thrones]
You couldn’t have missed the online furor over the lack of Lady Stoneheart in the Thrones finale. Were you surprised by that attention?
I actually haven’t seen any of that. I don’t look that stuff up. I avoid it like the plague. I was totally unaware.
There was a lot of online conversation. I heard third-hand that you were basically told that it’s not likely to ever happen. Is that accurate?
Yeah, the character’s dead. She’s dead.
Do you have a preference at all—do you think Catelyn’s arc should end where it ended, or would you be into the resurrection idea?
You respect the writers’ decision. I knew the arc, and that was it. They can’t stick to the books 100 percent. It’s impossible—they only have 10 hours per season. They have got to keep it dramatic and exciting, and extraneous stuff along the way gets lost in order to maintain the quality of brilliant show.
What’s next for you?
A couple things. I’ve been doing other jobs while doing 24. I want to keep working, as long as it’s exciting and stimulating and engaging, I want to keep doing it.