Heather Hemmens on ‘Roswell, New Mexico’ and How Much She Knows about Her Character Arc

     April 20, 2020

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In the next episode of The CW series Roswell, New Mexico, entitled “Sex and Candy,” Maria (Heather Hemmens) pushes forward with her investigation into her mother’s disappearance. But when Alex (Tyler Blackburn) accompanies her to the home of a mysterious boot maker (David Anders), things take an unexpected turn and Maria finds herself with a new perspective on what matters most.

During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actress Heather Hemmens previewed the episode and talked about her character’s emotional journey in Season 2, how much she’s kept informed about the story and character arc, that Maria is a character that holds a special place in her heart, finally becoming a part of the Scooby Doo gang, why it was time for Maria to get let in on the show’s big secret, the dynamic between Maria and her mother, and Maria’s relationship with the Ortecho sisters.

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Image via The CW

Collider: Last season we really only got to know Maria through her relationships with other people, but this season, we’re really getting to know other sides of her. What have you most enjoyed about the journey that she’s taken in Season 2?

HEATHER HEMMENS: Well, it’s really an emotional journey. All of the discoveries, as she becomes part of this Scooby Doo gang, are just so shocking, and it’s one right after another for Maria because she has a lot of catching up to do. So, for me, it’s been playing all of the emotional sides of betrayals from her friends, and further actually losing her mother, as her mother goes missing. It’s not just mentally losing her mother now, but physically. So, the revelations are huge, and I love how Maria grapples with that.

At the start of the season, how much are you told about the overall arc of the season and about your character arc, specifically? Are you given broad strokes? Are you given details? Are you mostly in the dark, until you get each script?

HEMMENS: It moves along. At the beginning of the season, the writers’ room is still figuring their thing out, so it’s broad strokes. And then, as the season moves along, the story starts to pull together and we’re in the loop on that, as much as we can be. (Showrunner) Carina [MacKenzie] is very collaborative, and she likes to fill us in on things, get our opinion about it, and see if it sits right with us or not. I feel like she takes that into consideration quite a bit. It’s a collaborative effort, but the writers’ room has all of the brilliant ideas. Most of the time it’s us just going, “Oh, yes. Wow. Love it.”

When I spoke to Carina MacKenzie about the season, she had told me that there’s nothing that she’s asked you to do that you haven’t done, with total enthusiasm. Is that how you are with every character that you play, or is that because this character, in particular, holds a special place in your heart?

HEMMENS: I would say that it’s a couple of things. I love this character. It definitely has a special place in my heart. But also, not every job has been as interactive as it is, working with Carina. Whether I’ve been hot or cold about it, either way, it doesn’t matter ‘cause you’re expected to show up and do your job, and that’s okay with me. But I do like the atmosphere that I have on Roswell. It’s very good for my own creative juices . . . Thankfully, I’ve felt supported on every set that I’ve been on, but that doesn’t mean it’s always been welcome for creative input. I’m really happy with Roswell because I get to explore that and my creative thinking, as well, getting to bounce ideas off with the writing team and the directors.

One of the most important relationships and in Maria’s life is obviously the one that she has with her mother, and it’s a understandably a scary situation for her, not having any answers. What can you say about when we might start to get some answers?

HEMMENS: Well, this season really explores Maria’s family history, which reveals a lot about Maria, in the present day and her relationship with her mom, and also where her mom came from. There’s some really shocking moments, later in the season, about where Maria has come from and developed her abilities. Things start to really make sense. That’s something that I feel like, ever since the pilot, we’ve seen Maria’s psychic abilities, and now we finally get to explore that a little bit further. It’s really fun to finally do that.

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Image via The CW

It’s hard to get away with keeping a secret as big as the actual existence of aliens, so I’m glad that Maria finally found out and is aware of what’s going on. As the actress playing the character, does it feel more satisfying to have her aware of that, and are you happy that she knows that now?

HEMMENS: I am. It was about time. I loved the suspense that we built up, with her not knowing, because it was this fun thing to play like, “Is today the day that she’s gonna find out? Is today the day that Michael slips up and tells her the secret?” That was really fun, but I think it was in a timely manner that she is now in the loop. Everything feels right on time. It’s really fun because, as soon as she finds out, she takes off running with that information and really gets aggressive about her part in the whole thing. She joins the Scooby Doo gang. Maria is not one to sit back and relax. When she knows that chaos is happening, she gets right into the fray.

What can you say about what we’ll continue to see, in coming up episodes, between Maria and the Ortecho sisters, with Liz and Rosa?

HEMMENS: Maria was really upset with Liz for being a bad friend, in lack of a better term for it. She was just a straight up bad friend. The thing about long friendships is they stand the test of time. You get mad and you’re able to say, “You really hurt me and I’m pissed at you,” but you move on. And so, we’ll see Maria move on from that, through the rest of the season. She is always gonna be there for Liz and Rosa, but now Maria has her own drama, and that’s what’s really fun for me. Now, she’s not just dealing with Liz’s storyline. Maria has her own stuff going on, that she needs to focus on, and we see her really buckled down with her newfound reality.

Roswell, New Mexico airs on Monday nights on The CW.

Television