[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Snowpiercer, Season 1, Episode 10, “994 Cars Long.”]
We’ve got Sheila Vand’s episode of Collider Ladies Night coming your way soon, but how about another clip from the conversation? We already shared her memories of working with Robin Williams and Ben Affleck, and her feelings on having character names changed after casting is complete, but now it’s time to put the spotlight on Snowpiercer.
Vand’s character, Zarah, went through quite a bit in Season 1 of the show. After reluctantly boarding Snowpiercer with Andre (Daveed Diggs), Zarah opted to abandon the tail for a better life in third class. Years later, Zarah reunites with Andre and while she does help him with his mission, ultimately she’s decides to betray him again to protect her unborn child.
What’s it like playing a character who turns on the show’s hero more than once? Here’s what Vand had to say about playing someone who makes questionable decisions along the way:
“It’s hard because you can’t ever judge your own character, you know? You have to kind of be on their side. But she has made choices that sometimes I’m just like, ‘Okay, why? Why is this happening?’ [Laughs] But what I do have control over as the actor is the backstory, is the stuff that sort of justifies the character’s choices. For me, the big thing was that she never really wanted to come on this train in the first place and now that she’s here, she’s just trying to find some sense of purpose and I think this baby is what she’s hoping is gonna give her a reason to live, really. And so, that’s something that I could see and I think people can relate to that, of feeling like, ‘Why am I part of this thing? This thing is a mess.’ And she evolves. She continues to sort of do what she needs to do to keep surviving, to not be swallowed up by the intensity of the train.
I tried to just lean into the moral gray of it all because I do like that, but it’s a tricky balancing act as an actor because even if you’re character’s not likable – and also, I’m often advocating in a way to see more ‘unlikable’ women because I think there’s just too much of, ‘Oh, female representation should always be hospitable and polite, agreeable.’ It’s okay to see nasty girls, too. But then it’s hard, because then at the same time, you have to deal with, yeah, there’s people who definitely don’t like Zarah and don’t like what she’s up to. But that’s okay! What’s nice about a TV show is that things can go all over the place!”
Clearly the motivation to take care of the baby is going to play a big part in Season 2 for Zarah, but will that be her sole focus when it comes to moving forward? Here’s what Vand had to say when asked if seeing the tail and third class band together will impact Zarah’s choices in Season 2:
“You start to see that I think right at the end of Season 1. She helps with the revolution. But again, she toes the line all the time, so I feel like she cares less in a way about the grander politics than she does about Andre. I always felt like searching for love, that was the only thing left that she believed in and I feel like once you’ve lost everybody in your life – like all your family members, the world has frozen over, everything you’ve ever really loved is gone, you’re just stuck on this thing – it starts to feel like existential for her. So she continues on the trajectory she’s on in a lot of ways, but I feel like she’s still finding her way in this world and maybe that’s not a bad thing. I can certainly relate to not quite fitting in anywhere and sometimes floundering in that misfit non place.”
If you’re looking for even more from Vand, hang tight because we’ve got that full episode of Collider Ladies Night coming your way tomorrow! In the meantime, check out our recent episode with Umbrella Academy star Emmy Raver-Lampman right here and the episode with Yvonne Strahovski for Stateless here.