Radha Mitchell Shifts to TV

Celebrity Q&A, Featured Article
on March 6, 2013
RED WIDOW - "Red Widow" stars Radha Mitchell as Marta Walraven, Wil Traval as Irwin Petrova, Erin Moriarty as Natalie Walraven, Sterling Beaumon as Gabriel Walraven, Lee Tergesen as Mike Tomlin, Jakob Salvati as Boris Walraven, Mido Hamada as FBI Agent James Ramos, Luke Goss as Luther, Jaime Ray Newman as Kat Petrova, Suleka Mathew as Dina Tomlin and Rade Serbedzija as Andrei Petrova. Based on the Dutch series "Penoza," "Red Widow" teleplay is by Melissa Rosenberg. "Red Widow" is executive-produced by Melissa Rosenberg, Howard Klein, Endemol Studios and Alon Aranya. The pilot for "Red Widow" was directed by Mark Pellington. The series is produced by ABC Studios. (ABC/SERGEI BACHLAKOV) RADHA MITCHELL

I was surprised to see Radha Mitchell in a TV series after doing so many movies. Why the change?
—Denise Heston, Vancouver, Wash.

While it is true that Mitchell, 39, has some great film credits, including “Finding Neverland,” “Man on Fire” and “Phone Booth,” among others, after she read the script for “Red Widow,” she agreed to do the role because Marta Malraven, who is the Red Widow, is pretty much her dream role.

“I feel like exciting characters are on television right now, so this opportunity to really explore a character within the complex aspects of what a story could be was very interesting to me,” says the Melbourne, Australia-born actress.

“I’d always been very interested in Luc Besson’s character ‘La Femme Nikita,’ and I know this doesn’t directly relate, but she was this character under duress that discovers all these qualities in herself and all these strengths. That was pretty much the character that I’d always thought was iconic and I would have wanted to explore if there was one last question in my career.”

“Red Widow,” which is only eight-episodes long for its first season, is the story of a stay-at-home mom in posh Marin County, who is forced to take over the family drug business to support her family when her husband is killed.

Mitchell began work on the ABC series after completing work on the films “Fugly,” “Gus,” “Silent Hill: Revelation 3D,” “Big Sur,” “Bird People” and “Olympus Has Fallen,” so even though she had been working hard, it didn’t quite prepare her for the faster pace of television production.

“I’ve normally had a little bit of time to sort of marinate and sit with a script and imagine, learn my lines basically,” she says. “Whereas this, you get the script, you learn it and then next thing you know, you’re shooting it like two days later. So the pace of that was somewhat liberating and a little bit frightening at first.”