TV playtime is over for Dollhouse's Joss, says Olivia
Dollhouse star Olivia Williams has said that creator Joss Whedon has been so scarred by the cancellation of his show that he may shun television entirely in the future.
The fantasy drama/actioner about pleasure puppets served as a vehicle for his Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Eliza Dushku.
It suffered through two seasons of uncertainty, beset by rumours it would be axed after the first then finally being dropped by Fox after the second.
It was another early cancellation blow for Whedon after his space western Firefly was ditched with only 11 episodes aired of the 14 that had been produced.
The remaining episodes of Dollhouse series 2, which is running on Sci-Fi with the finale on March 9, attempt to tie up all the loose ends in a story arc originally intended to evolve over five years.
Olivia, who will next been seen in the Roman Polanski directed thriller The Ghost, which opens in cinemas on April 16, said she would be happy to be one of Joss's go-to actresses for other projects but doubted whether it would be on the small screen.
"He writes beautifully. He wrote all my scenes because he was the only writer who could do the English thing without me sounding like I had a rod up my arse. We got on very well. But I don't think he will ever do another TV show because he was so burnt by that experience.
"I was disappointed (by the cancellation) because it was hurtful. Not knowing every day when you showed up whether someone was going to come in and unplug the lighting while you were speaking is not an experience I want to repeat."
When she first took the role Olivia, 41, was worried about how she would cope artistically with such a (potentially) long term commitment and whether she would continue to be challenged by the role of Adelle DeWitt, the steely but stylish head of the LA Dollhouse and puppet-mistress of its actives.
"I think it is tough when you sign up for a five to seven year contract. I had never done that before and after the first three episodes I thought 'have I got to do the same person again?' I have always changed character, done something for a couple of months then moved on. I thought I'd have to dig deep to keep this person alive over a possible five years."
However, because of its premature ending, character development was put on fast forward.
"When we realised we were going to be cancelled Joss shoved more and more in.
"Everything that was going to happen over seven years happened in about an episode and a half. So I became an alcoholic, recovered from alcoholism - goody, baddy, goody baddy, goody - which was such fun to play.
"I had two great periods of five months in LA playing a character who got to wear fabulous clothes and (I) only had to work three days per week. I can't imagine a nicer job in terms of lifestyle, so it all worked out very well for me."
In The Ghost she plays a similarly intelligent and articulate woman. Ruth Lang is the forthright wife of a former British PM (Pierce Brosnan), who is much cleverer than her husband but who lacked the people skills necessary to succeed in politics herself.
"I do see parallels," she agrees. "Except as Adelle I was dressed up to the nines, lovely lighting, lovely designer outfits, There was a lot about Adelle that was about presentation. How she was perceived was extremely important to her whereas Ruth doesn't give a toss about how she is perceived and doesn't really have a clue about clothes. She is dressing to be comfortable or practical.
"The only time she puts a bit of lipstick on is when she is trying to get information out of the ghost writer (Ewan McGregor). I think Adelle is a cleverer politician whereas as Ruth is hopeless politician but a very bright and alarming person."
Olivia and her husband Rashan Stone, who is also an actor and playwright, based themselves in LA while she was filming Dollhouse and their daughters, Esme and Roxana, are still enrolled in school there.
She says they are waiting to see where their work takes them next before they decide whether and where to relocate.
In addition to her TV work and The Ghost, she also squeezed in roles as a teacher in An Education and playing Ian Dury's wife in Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll
"The theory is I am going to take a break but I love working and the next person who comes up with an abrasive, intelligent woman I shall snap it up
"How lucky am I? I mean look at the range of that in a year. Women of my age have every right to complain that they don't get good roles, and the amount of times that women of my age say 'your dinner's in the oven, honey' and I haven't said that once.
"My husband is an amazingly supportive person and fortunately very good at raising children, so that is good."