In the next episode of The CW series The Originals, “An Unblinking Death” (Episode 19), Cami (Leah Pipes), who is desperate to help her uncle Kiearan (Todd Stashwick), insists on an unconventional treatment, but her good intentions lead Kieran to a violent episode. Meanwhile, Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and Elijah (Daniel Gillies) disagree over the best way to handle the Crescent Wolves, and Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) learns a surprising piece of her family history from Marcel (Charles Michael Davis).
During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, actress Leah Pipes talked about being the only human among the supernaturals of New Orleans, where things are headed with Cami and Kieran, how happy she is with the way her storyline has evolved, the most surprising story reveal for her character, how Cami isn’t safe with Marcel or Klaus, that she’s constantly worried about the fate of Cami, and her reaction when she read the season finale script. Check out what she had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
LEAH PIPES: Cami doesn’t have a lot of leverage. All she can do is be kind to everyone, and hopefully that keeps her alive. Her leverage is her kindness. It could be worse. She could be Davina. That seems to be the person they use the most, as leverage. Cami is just trying to be a good person in a supernatural world.
What can you say about Cami’s relationship with Kieran, and just how bad things are, at this point?
PIPES: At this point, Cami is going to try absolutely anything to keep her beloved uncle alive. She is not going to give up. That’s what you will see in this next episode. It was a great episode for me because, at no point, does Cami act like a victim, and I really respect that in her. It’s a heartbreaking episode.
What was it that originally attracted you to this show? And now that we’re almost to the end of the season, how different have things turned out than you expected them to?
PIPES: When I first read the pilot, I really thought it was wonderfully written. I didn’t actually read it until after I booked it, though. They didn’t release the script. But, I trusted Julie [Plec]. I knew her work, and I have so much respect for that woman that I was eager to work with her. And then, when I read the pilot, I realized what wonderful hands I was in with all the writers. I first thought Cami was just a love interest for Marcel and Klaus, and I was happy with that. I’m so much happier, though, with what has actually happened for Cami. She is not the love interest. She has her own storyline and she has a lot on her plate. She has learned a lot about this world through her own family suffering, unfortunately, but she has not given up on her morals and her values. I really respect her as a character. It’s been really fun for me to play. I can’t gush enough about my job.
One of the great things about this show is that none of the female characters are ever reduced to being just the love interest.
PIPES: That’s true. It’s so nice to have a showrunner that’s a woman because she writes very complex female characters. That’s so much more fun than being just a pretty girl who men fawn over. Well, that’s pretty nice, too. But, it’s nice to play someone complicated. I think all of us girls feel that way, when it comes to the show. And it’s not just Julie, it’s all of our writers, who are so talented.
There have been a number of big reveals this season, some in regard to your character and her family. What has been the most surprising story reveal for you?
PIPES: That’s a good question. I actually think the biggest surprise for me was that when Cami was at a low point, she decided that it was a good time to sleep with Marcel. I did not see that coming. I thought Cami was a goodie two-shoes, and it was really great and fun to see that Cami is not actually a goodie two-shoes. She’s got needs, and she’ll fulfill those needs with a hot man. You might as well let loose with Marcel. If he’s willing, then go for it. For that scene, I specifically said, “Let’s make this all Cami.” She just basically attacks his face. She’s drunk and she just attacks his face, and he goes with it. There was no stopping her because she wanted it pretty bad. I thought that was fun. It was a really fun scene to film, and it was a really fun way to reveal that Cami has got flaws when it comes to men. It ended up not working out for her, in the end, when it came to Klaus finding out and getting upset with her, but what are you gonna do?
Do you think Cami is better off seeking an ally in Marcel or in Klaus?
PIPES: I don’t think it’s safe to make either one an ally. I really don’t think it’s advantageous enough to seek an ally in either one of them. She genuinely cares for both of them. Because of that, they both have laid down their swords when it comes to Cami. She isn’t trying to better herself by caring for them. She just genuinely cares for them, and genuinely cares for a lot of people. It was the same way with Davina. Davina said, “Do you want something from me? Is that why you’re here?” And Cami said, “Okay, I do want something from you. I thought you could help with my uncle’s hex. But, that isn’t why I’m here. I’m here because I genuinely care for you.” And I think that’s the relationship that she has with the two boys, too.
Do you think that’s why they’re both drawn to her so much?
PIPES: Yeah. She gives them hope in themselves, to see someone care for them in such a way and to see good in them. She makes them a better vampire.
Every time Cami takes a step forward for herself, Klaus seems to come in and push her three steps back. Do you think that he could ever manage to not do that? Can she ever benefit from her uneasy friendship with him, or will he just always stick his foot in it?
PIPES: He’s going to have to go to a lot more therapy before he stops sticking his foot in it and ruining everything for everyone around him, including himself. That’s Klaus’ M.O. He’s such a damaged man with ego problems and family problems and emotional problems, it seems like the only problem Klaus doesn’t have is money problems. He’s set on money.
How many times have you genuinely been worried about the fate of your character when you’re reading the next script?
PIPES: Constantly! I really love my job and I really love being on this show, so I try to be really nice to everyone and continue to tell everyone how much I love being here. But, it would be nice if it was revealed that Cami was actually a supernatural creature that was all-powerful and can’t be killed. I would just be a complete asshole to everyone. No. I am happy with Cami’s vulnerability because that makes for such an interesting, compelling character. She is a good and vulnerable human who relies on her good nature to appeal to these supernatural creatures’ gentler side.
If she had the opportunity, even for just a day, to become a vampire, a werewolf or a witch, do you think there’s one that she would find herself more drawn to?
PIPES: I think she’s seen the dark side for all of these creatures and has no interest in becoming any of them. She’s seen the result, which is having enemies. It’s not a happy life. I think she’s more interested in having a happy life as a human being than being a powerful creature. But for me, personally, as Leah Pipes, I actually think the witches are pretty cool. They have really cool outfits, and they’re a female-driven clan. So, I would choose a witch. But, that would be me. I don’t think Cami would.
Without giving anything away, what was your reaction when you read the season finale and learned how things would wrap up for the story and your character?
PIPES: It was satisfying for a second. Questions were answered for a millisecond before all new questions cropped up. And then, I just couldn’t wait for Episode 1 to come out. And then, I read Episode 1 and there’s a whole new set of questions. You’re never going to go, “Oh, and that’s the end of the story. And they all live happily ever after.” That’s never going to be the end of any episode. But, I can tell you that we all were freaking out. For the next however many episodes are airing, it’s going to be one thing after another for all of us, and I’m so excited for everyone to watch.
The Originals airs on Tuesday nights on The CW.