In the television series “The Gates,” actress Marisol Nichols plays Sarah Monohan, the wife of the new chief of police of a gated community where some of the residents are not at all what they seem.
Since its debut in June, the show has introduced viewers to a number of supernatural characters including vampires, werewolves, witches, and demons.
Nichols, 36, whose mother is of Spanish and Mexican heritage, is best known for her TV work on “Resurrection Blvd.” as well as her role during Season 6 of “24.” She has also starred in films such as “Vegas Vacation,” “Scream 2,” and “Big Momma’s House 2.”
During an interview with me, Nichols discussed the popularity of TV shows like “The Gates” and why it’s not just another vampire series.
What was it about the character Sarah Monohan in the “The Gates” that made you want to be a part of this show?
As a mom, I could relate to the character. I liked that she was more than just a TV mom, too. The character was written in such a way that she wasn’t one dimensional. It was a lot to create and play with.
How much do you feel the reason “The Gates” was created was to benefit from other popular TV shows and movies featuring vampire and werewolf subcultures?
Well, surprisingly “The Gates” was created before “True Blood.” Either way, I think it’s perfect timing. I know that TV shows are not just whipped up. It’s often a long process. “The Gates” was no exception. However, the fact that we’re capitalizing on that [is] awesome. Whether ABC picked us up because of what’s happening right now, it was independently done.
What do you think it is about these monstrous story lines that intrigue so many fans, specifically the vampire and werewolf pairing?
I think that it’s like any science fiction show. For me personally, I like the idea that there’s something else out there other than ourselves. When I was a kid, I used to look up at the stars and wonder about other planets and wonder about where we came from. The sci-fi genre understands that element is inside all of us.
Do you think it will be hard to compete with TV shows about vampires and werewolves on cable TV that have the freedom to be more sexually explicit and graphic?
I don’t think that just because something is sexual and graphic necessarily makes it better or worse. Otherwise every slasher movie would be No. 1 at the box office regardless. I think people tune in because of the story. “True Blood” is good because of writing, story and character, not because of sex and violence.
So, why should viewers choose to watch this vampire-themed show? What makes it different from the others?
Because it’s not just a vampire show – it’s not just about that. But it’s amazing how much people focus on that. Let’s keep in mind this is a community of supernatural beings, vampires being one. That has not been done before. People can compare it to vampire shows all they want, but they’ll just be disappointed.
You were a major contributor on the series “24” during Season 6 and on “Resurrection Blvd” back in 2000. Is finding another “home base” on TV one of the ultimate goals in your career?
Being on a hit show that people care about is one of many goals that I’d like to achieve. However, it comes down to the work. For me personally, doing work that I’m proud of is the most important thing. People see it and other people like it and get behind it. That’s the ultimate goal, whether it’s in film or TV. I don’t want to be on a hit [show] that I’m not satisfied with artistically or integrity-wise. There are shows out there that I wouldn’t want to be a part of that are huge hits. At the end of the day, it’s about the work.
How did you stay motivated to pursue work in this particular medium when shows you were on like “In Justice” and “Blind Justice” were cancelled?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, there’s always the next one. You do the best you can with what you have. If that one doesn’t pan out you get back on the horse again. You have to keep creating. If this one doesn’t go, you’ll see me on another horse.