Last week, The Divide arrived on our screens with a thought-provoking. emotionally wrenching story that all started with Christine Rosa. To get further into the story, we sat down with the woman who brings Christine so beautifully to life: Marin Ireland. Here's what the Tony Award-nominated actress had to say about co-leading this complex and challenging series.
Even though she's one of the show's two main protagonists, Christine is far from likeable; in fact, on multiple occasions, she's been downright infuriating. Was her character's thorniness ever a concern for Marin? "It never is," she said, "because honestly, to me, it's so much harder if somebody told me 'Could you play a person who's really, really likeable?' I would not know what they meant by that.
"I'm so grateful [for her]. They've written a character who's immature in a lot of ways," she continued. "She's got a lot to learn. She feels that she's the one in the right and she [knows] the right way to do things...because she feels that she personally has more invested and a deeper understanding of what these issues are than anybody else does, because of her life and her dad. So that tips her over into this self-righteousness."
"What's excellent about that is it sets her up to learn lesson, and to fail, and to get into sticky situations...I love the fact that I can feel free to push all of those [aspects] as far as they need to be pushed."
Personality isn't the only challenge in playing Christine. Her passion for her work leads her to sometimes speak at a tremendous clip, and she's not using small words. We asked Marin what it's been like to deliver The Divide's mouthfuls of dialogue. "I'm lucky, I guess, that I came from a theatre background, so I'm used to learning big swathes of text," she commented.
"But Richie [LaGravenese] also writes for actors. He writes us big things to say that aren't in every TV show. There are a lot of times when you're running it through, and you're finding the musicality of it. I was so grateful, always, to get so much to say...and this stuff is, it's a real specific challenge.
"When you have to learn a big piece of text like that, you can't just look at it the day before," she said. "You have to really put the thought into it. You have to build the connective tissue between the lines in order to retain it. And that gives you a different authority over the speech, and it gives [you] a different pleasure and satisfaction in delivering the speech, because you're invested in the lines in a different way."
Needless to say, a role this unflinching and technically complex can't be played by just any actress. What makes Marin so brilliant in the role is that she presents Christine in every possible dimension - admirable one moment, off-putting the next, vulnerable the one after that - and has the experience to rise to the challenge of the material. She disappears into the role. Just listen to what The Divide co-creator Tony Goldwyn had to say about her during our interview.
"From the moment we created the character Christine, I wanted Marin Ireland," he told us. "She's an actress I've really admired, who I knew socially, and who I was dying to work with.