Missy Crider is an actress with remarkable depth and talent and one who had already made her mark in Hollywood before she was eighteen years of age. She has had a distinguished career to date, creating many memorable roles in television and film and the ultimate accolade so far must have been in 1999 when Missy received a call from Steven Spielberg. He said he had recently seen her work on ABC's "Strange World" and was so captivated by her performance that he wanted to write a part specifically for her to play a lead role in his new NBC one-hour drama "The Others"

To Millennium fans she is most recognisable as Janette Viti, the tormented soul who breaks free from prison with lover Sonny in order to protect her unborn child. As you can see from this interview, Missy is wonderful and very warm individual and we are indebted to her for taking time from her busy schedule to speak to us.

BACKTOFRANKBLACK: May I take this opportunity to say thank you for agreeing to speak to us and what a pleasure it is to talk to you.

MISSY CRIDER: No problem Mark, it's a pleasure for me too.

BTFB: "In Arcadia Ego" is fairly bold in that it proposes the idea that divinity works miracles through those individuals not readily considered as adherents to a Christian lifestyle. When you received the script did you perceive it as as bold and challenging as I did?

MC: I tend to attract bold things, people, subjects. This script was absolutely bold. The role I played was a challenging role for an actor and that's why I really appreciated it. You know, I consider myself a Christian, though I find that I do not typically perceive Christ’s teachings as most do. Peoples’ fear seems to attempt to cut apart and judge “who” they believe is “worthy” or “fits” their definitions, or the like. I liked this piece because the writers seemed to propose that “Christ” does not limit “divinity” to what peoples’ definition of “a good Christian” may or may not be.

A gay woman has an immaculate conception? Yes, bold is a g
ood word for this. I think that Gandhi summed it up neatly when he said “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians.” No one knows the deep truths that exist in the heart of another. That about says it for me.

BTFB: A charge often levied at Millennium is that it was too dark and somewhat impenetrable for many viewers, how do you stand on this view?

MC: That depends upon the individual. "Many viewers" are why a great many intelligent or brave shows are cancelled. I prefer a brave, loyal, yet tight following, myself. Is not the job of art sometimes supposed to be that it invites us to think, to feel outside of our comfort zones, to ponder our own inner truths and define them for ourselves?"

BTFB: I recently read a review of In Arcadia Ego which stated that "...In Arcadia Ego tackles subjects that are still, somehow, sensitive and pits the cowardice of homophobia against the warmth of requited love..." From an actor's perspective did you perceive the narrative as bleak or could you sense the light that so many fans perceive that other seem to struggle with?

MC: This is a great question, and you know what? I find it an artistic liability to my job if I “judge” a character that I am looking to portray. I do not "think" about what you speak of that much. I find the arc of my character, the arc of the story, the relationships that I must uphold (or not) within it and then I tend to use my "heart" more than my "intellect" when I work. "I" may have many opinions about the story or the subject matter but try to never allow my own opinions or leanings to color or inform what the writer is intending to tell. The fun of it for me is to go, “okay, this is this character’s truth.” Then I do whatever research necessary to be able to understand what may make her tick.

People do not hire me to play “me”. "My" opinions and the people I play have nothing to do with each other. It's quite fun, actually... To chuck everything that I “think” and then to dive in to the mind and world of another. Quite simply, my job here was to read the world of one woman and to understand the world in which she existed in this particular story, and then to find it in me to play her.

BTFB: The relationship between your own character, Janette, and that of Sonny, played by Mary-Pat Green, is so thoroughly believable and rewarding to observe and enjoy. As actors are you afforded much time to develop on-screen relationships or do you simply have to dig deep and hope the chemistry is there at the time of filming?

MC: Thank you for the “believability” compliment. Usually it's the latter. My experience has been that it’s 5am, I have curlers in my hair and a burrito in my mouth under some tent that a crew member set up just minutes before and bam, “Hey Missy, this is Mary-Pat. She is playing your lover today.” We shake hands and then go have a baby a train car...full of straw. I usually have to project onto a fellow-actor that I utterly trust him/her even though we have just met to be able to do brave work with him/her.

Mary-Pat was so supportive to me during that birthing scene, she may never know how much I appreciated that. It is huge to feel that energy, that someone has your back when you have a lot of heavy material to attack that day. She had great ideas, I remember. Mary-Pat is a fine actress and I am honored that we were able to work together in this piece.

BTFB: The closing scenes of the episode are particularly traumatic to watch but yourself, Mary-Pat Green and Lance Henriksen gave such confident and assured performances despite the content. Juliet Landau also portrayed a traumatic birth scene in the third season of Millennium and commented on the need for trust between those on set during filming scenes such as these, Kristen Cloke echoed this sentiment regarding a traumatic scene of her own. What are your feelings with regards to such things?

MC: I think I spoke too soon in my answer above regarding trust, eh? Yes, yes, and yes. I use visualization, as I picture that everyone around me who is working hard in the crew, the camera team and my fellow-actors are “all there in an energy of support for each other.” I literally close my eyes and picture that at the beginning of my work days. It usually works!

BTFB: You have worked in some incredible productions during your career and with some indisputable talents but the one we are most interested in is Lance Henriksen. We are constantly awed by thy esteem and regard his co-stars hold for him as both an actor and a man. How do you recall your time filming with him?

MC: Lance and I worked on the film “Powder” together years before we worked on that episode of “Millennium”. I find him to be a decent, kind, smart, warm, awesome human being. He has such a rugged tenderness (which adds up to “sexy”, if you ask this gal...wink. Ha!) that is felt by his co-stars and audiences, I know. He is very dedicated to story and also creates a relaxed tone on set for others. I adore Lance.

BTFB: I believe the role you portrayed in 'The Others' was specifically created for you by Stephen Spielberg. What is the experience like to have such a luminary describe your work as captivating and how do you recall your experience in that show?

MC: Wow. “The Others” was such a gift in my life. I could write about it for days. The experience of Mr. Spielberg offering me the role of “Satori” in his show was simply one of the rare highlights of my life! I was beyond honored. I loved working with Julianne Nicholson, Bill Cobbs, Gabriel Macht, John Billingsley, and Kevin O’Connor. Our cast had a funny, unique chemistry that just felt like family to me. Those were fun days.

I think if that show came out at this time, it would have a much more supported chance at staying on air for longer than it did. That show was a class act. I will never forget how much fun I had with that subject matter. I miss that cast sometimes. Dearly.

BTFB: Shortly before Millennium you starred in "Stand Ins" which is a fantastic independent movie and one I have seen many times. Did you and your fellow actors enjoy the opportunity to recreate such iconic screen looks as Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis and Jean Harlow?

MC: Oh my goodness, it was a blast. I love the “melody” in the delivery of voice from that time period, such as 'you put two and two togethahhhh, you could come up with somethin', stringbean!' and colorful proclamations such as that. I adore the dress, the unmistakable style, the funny exaggerations, the drama. It was all so very delicious. I had fun playing “coy” and “flirtatious” at once.

I wish we women were still so bold, so brazen, so colorful and to wear hats and gloves and wink and such. I mean in dress, speech delivery, that sort of thing. It was a colorful time.

BTFB: What can fans of yours expect from the future and the continuing career of Melissa Crider?

MC: I am attached to a few independent films at this time. Right now, I am going to college after 17 years of doing the day in/day out grind that is the life of an actor in Hollywood. I am majoring in journalism, minor in psychology. Also, I have a biopic that I am working on with a friend but not on any sort of 'hollywood clock.'

BTFB: And now the bit that everyone dreads....

Click to open image in a new window!

BTFB: Our thanks to you for taking the time to talk to us!

MC: Thank you so much! Fun stuff.

Please leave any comments and thoughts you would like Missy to see in the comments section here!

Mark x


T.L. Foreman said... August 21, 2009 at 8:57 PM

An absolutely fantastic interview and Missy I thank you for taking the time to do the interview. Your performance was truly amazing during In Arcadia Ego, easily one of the standouts of all 3 Millennium seasons. It's truly an honor to see such great work on the screen. Continuted success in your career!

David said... August 22, 2009 at 5:40 AM

Wonderful interview Missy, you seem like such a warm and thoughtful person and considering you'd only just met Mary when you went to shoot those scenes it is one hell of an incredible achievement.

How right you are about ""The Others"", NBC should have supported that show more than they did. Broadcasting it out of sequence didn't help as the storyline made little sense and then shunting around in the timeslot. It was a great shoe and deserved more support, as did Millennium.

Lovely to hear from such a lovely gal.

Here's to the future.

Carmen said... August 22, 2009 at 6:48 AM

Go Missy! Loved the Ghandi quote and how right you are. A little love and compassion to all wouldn't hurt and you see to have an abundance to share,
In Arcadia Ego is my favourite episode from the whole series and the ending is so bold. Around that time most shows liked to end on a happy ending but Millennium never tried to 'make it all better again'.

It would have been nice to Jannette and Sonny to have walked off in to the sunset with their baby but so much braver that didn't.

Congratulations on such a heart rendering performance.

Jósef K. said... August 22, 2009 at 7:44 AM

Another great interview.

It amazes me how much personality pours out of these text interviews.

This was an enjoyable read.

Thanks to both Mark and Missy.

Cheers from Iceland!
- Jósef

JoseChung said... August 22, 2009 at 10:45 AM

Wonderful interview, what a wonderful woman. As far as the best episode endings ever I think I will go with In Arcadia Ego. We go from the joy of the child being born to Janette bleeding to death and Sonny getting gunned down for reaching for a gun that wasn't even there. Talk about a roller coaster ride.

Well done Missy and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Viivi said... August 22, 2009 at 11:57 AM

Brilliant interview, brilliant actress. Thank you so much, Missy, for your time and for being such a wonderful inspiration for many.

Mark Ducker said... August 22, 2009 at 12:34 PM

^^^^(I think that means replying to four posts above, of it doesn't then I've explained it :))

Could agree with you more. I first wrote to Missy back in February and she has been crazy-busy ever since and we have exchanged emails along the way and her personality just leaps from the page, it is an absolute delight to read anything that she has written.

Unlike others I haven't seen The Others and I would very much like to but based on what I have seen I can firmly conclude that Missy is an outstanding actress. Sometime people are actors, sometimes they are artists and I really do consider her in the latter category.

My favourite moment in 'Arcadia' is when Sonny turns to Janette and says "'re all lit up like a Christmas Tree..." and do you know what, suddenly she is. A defiant performance and a gem of an episode.

My thanks to Missy for everything.

Darlene said... August 22, 2009 at 2:06 PM

Great interview, and I am so impressed with Missy's spiritual insight. The quote of Gandhi says it all. The interview just wasn't long enough.

I haven't seen "The Others" either, and now I especially look forward to seeing it someday soon.

Missy, thank you for giving us some of your time.

TwoLeftFeet said... August 22, 2009 at 6:31 PM


The prize for most emotionally affecting scene in Millennium most certainly goes to this one, from In Arcadia Ego. The old heartstrings are really tugged hard, as we breathlessly watch Janine try to deliver her baby. But, while this is well-done, the genius of the scene is in its finale. We have the rug pulled completely out from under us as both of the women who we have been pulling for so hard wind up dead.

Missy should be so proud of everything she gave to this episode, she was in the zone, so beautiful throughout.

What's The Others by the way?

Anonymous said... August 22, 2009 at 6:36 PM

Missy Crider! Wonderful and gorgeous actress! So good in The Others too.

ThunderPerfectMind said... August 23, 2009 at 5:03 AM

So utterly glad I found you and so utterly glad I found this interview. I am a jaded, yet persistent Millennium fan who has such fond memories of this show, both good and not so good (the cancellation) and I'm delighted it lives on in this way.

In Season 1, one of the not quite as enjoyable episodes was the one revolving around a teenage mother writing her child a letter while she and her boyfriend went on a multi-state crime spree. Entitled "The Wild and the Innocent", it feels completely out of place today when viewed within the Millennium universe in total. While it may seem easy to add "In Arcadia Ego" to the tiny list of failed instalments of this show, this narrative had the good graces to keep the storyline linked to the theological, not the sentimental. There are some very good things about the episode (the acting is fine (especially the charming Miss Crider) some of the information we learn is disturbing), but everything boils down to the miracle of birth and the purity of children. For a show that has spent relatively little time focused on such foundations, it requires a lot from the audience to buy into the entire 'Immaculate Conception' resolution. "In Arcadia Ego" is not Millennium at its most memorable, but it does represent a decent attempt at keeping the wee ones in the apocalyptic picture.
It would have been nice to hear more from Missy, she genuinely reeks of being one of a kind.

Count me in, let's bring Frank back.

Libby said... August 23, 2009 at 7:34 AM

A wonderful and fascinating interview. Thank you so much, Missy Crider, for taking the time to explain your approach to your roles. I love to hear how people actually become their character because to me it seems so difficult, especially given the brief amount of time for preparation for a TV show. Both you and Mary-Pat Green were so believable, and that heightened the sense of tragic unfairness of what happened to your characters.

BlacksBabe said... August 23, 2009 at 10:38 AM

Missy is great, what can I say. Loved her in Mullholland Drive and she was very good in 24. Will have to keep a look out for ''The Others'' I'm another one that hasn't seen it.

Laurent. said... August 23, 2009 at 12:10 PM

Wow she really seemed to appreciate doing the interview!

Good job guys! You found a great balance between MM-related subjects and her whole acting experience.

Vanyusha said... August 23, 2009 at 1:23 PM

Very good interview and a very nice lady. I can't wait to see what the future brings for her and for Millennium. Thank you.

M. R. Sellars said... August 23, 2009 at 7:57 PM

Great interviews, as always! :)

Graham Smith said... August 24, 2009 at 5:04 AM

Thank you Missy, what a wonderful insight into how you approach difficult scenes! I was almost right there with you in the railway carriage holding your hand!

I also loved your role in Peter Benchley's The Beast too, one of my all-time favourites!

Thank you again and good luck!

Tobias said... August 24, 2009 at 1:02 PM

Ah The Beast, I forgot about that one. Missy was indeed very good in that. In Arcadia is one of my favourites, the acting is some of the best on offer from the guest cast in Season 2. Great interview and glad I found it.

Mark Ducker said... August 25, 2009 at 4:36 AM

I SO thank you, Mr. Mark Hayden... That interview was so much FUN.
Just seen the following response from Missy over at our Facebook page:

The best questions I have ever had about work. I thank you so much, and for your warmth and over-all good vibes to all. I am so honored. That feedback wowed me and made me understand the depth of what you guys have begun here. God bless and bless that Lance, eh? YES.

Warmest always,

Laura E. said... August 25, 2009 at 5:40 PM

Thanks so much for this! I've been a fan of Missy's ever since I first saw her on "Millennium", and I was a *huge* fan of "The Others". She was lucky to get such a great role in such a well-written episode, and then to be able to tackle "The Others", thought it unfortunately had such a brief run. I agree about the timing being a little wrong for that show -- in the lull after the surge of supernatural interest "The X-Files" caused, before "Ghost Whisperer" and "Medium" brought back that desire for the mysterious. I still have it recorded on some really low quality VCDs... this has gotten me in the mood for it, so maybe it's time I broke it out and had a re-watch! :-P

Thanks again, so much, Missy! I haven't broken into film work yet, but I'm a Theatre costumer, so maybe we'll work together someday. :-)

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