The new CBS dramatic thriller Intelligence tells the story of Gabriel (Josh Holloway), a high-tech intelligence operative enhanced with a super-computer microchip in his brain. As the first human ever to be connected directly into the global information grid, he can hack into any data center and access key intel. With an elite team, headed by Director Lillian Strand (Marg Helgenberger), Gabriel and his partner, Secret Service agent Riley Neal (Meghan Ory), fight to protect the United States from its enemies.
To promote the show, actress Meghan Ory spoke to Collider on the L.A. based set for this exclusive interview about how she went from Once Upon a Time (she played Ruby/Red Riding Hood) to Intelligence, her secret desire to be a bad-ass, why Riley is such a great character, how this science is not too far in the future, how she thinks she’d do with a microchip in her own brain, and what she’s most proud of with the show. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
MEGHAN ORY: I was greedy! It came along. Once is such a great show. There are so many different things that happen, and they can only tell so many stories in an hour. Because this is an ABC/CBS production, it was still under the banner of ABC, so I think they wanted to allow me to do more. I loved this show when I read it. I thought it was really exciting and unique and cool and different. Everybody just came together and was like, “Yeah, go do it!”
What was it about Riley that appealed to you? Did you have a secret desire to be a bad-ass?
ORY: Uh, yeah! Don’t we all?! Riley is such a great character. She’s so strong and independent and tough, but also sensitive and compassionate and warm. She’s just such a complex, rich character. As a woman, to be able to play somebody right alongside all the boys is pretty awesome and hard to find and really fun to play. I was really excited.
Was it important to you that this character do her own fair share of saving?
ORY: And that’s one of the things I also really liked about Once. It’s not the damsels in distress. From the beginning, it was the princesses rescuing themselves. And this is the same sort of thing. It changes the conversation about women in media, too, which is really cool.
Were you drawn to the technology aspect of this, or is that something you need to research and educate yourself about more?
ORY: What’s funny is that my husband and I watched this documentary on Ray Kurzweil, who’s a scientist, called Transcendent Man. It’s basically about him being this scientist and inventor who invents things based on technology that’s going to be available in the future. It’s not there yet. It doesn’t happen right at the moment, but he’s like, “This is gonna be possible in 10 or 20 years.” And the whole documentary is him talking about singularity, which is the merging of man and machine, and how they’re going to be able to put robots in our blood, so that we can regenerate our cells and never die and be immortal. I watched this documentary a year or two ago, and then I read this script and I was like, “Oh, my god, this is so crazy!” They had nothing to do with each other. I don’t know if (show creator) Michael Seitzman has actually seen that documentary, but they talk about chips in the brain, and that kind of stuff, as being a possibility. The science is not too far in the future, which I think is really cool.
ORY: Oh, my god, it would be crazy! I think we all think about it, now that it’s in our minds with the show. You’d be so overwhelmed, all the time, with all that information. You’d have sift through stuff while all of this stuff is coming at you. But, it would also be amazing because you would know everything. Literally, you would have Wikipedia at a thought.
Now that you’re almost done shooting the season, is there an episode that you’re most excited about or most proud of?
ORY: This is going to sound corny, but all of the episodes are so good. We keep getting the scripts and we’re like, “What this happens?!” We’re all pretty excited and into it. I love Episode 2. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful. The thing that’s so great about this show is that there’s this cool technology aspect and all this great action, but it’s really, really heartfelt. These characters are real people who are going through all this stuff and dealing with it. Gabriel is trying to figure out how to deal with life, with this chip in his head. He’s the only one in the world that has it. I love that human aspect of the show, as well.
Intelligence airs Monday nights on CBS.