Anna Torv spills 8 secrets about Fringe (and playing TWO Olivias)

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Dec 14, 2012, 4:31 PM EST

Call her Bolivia, Fauxlivia or Altivia ... but whatever you call that alternate Olivia on Fringe, Australian actress Anna Torv is thrilled with the developments on the sci-fi series that have allowed her to play TWO Olivia Dunhams in TWO universes.

On tonight's episode of Fringe, "Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?", it's back to Over Here, which means more Fauxlivia and Peter lip action, Newton making trouble and Walter taking over Massive Dynamics. And you better enjoy it while you can. Fringe is headed into several weeks of baseball preemptions, with new episodes not returning until early November.

So to give you a little something to tide you over for the next few weeks, here's eight secrets Torv shared about working on Fringe and playing two versions of Olivia:

Torv wants to play a proper Fauxlivia

"I haven't really had the chance to play the alternate Olivia properly for herself," said Torv. "It's been our Olivia, thinking that she's the alternate Olivia. Then the alternate Olivia pretending to be our Olivia. So it's been a little bit tough to work that line."

Torv admits she wouldn't have minded if the writers had made Fauxlivia a completely different character. "Essentially the differences are subtle there. They both ended up in the same job. They both ended up to the point where they even had the same partners. It's just gentle little shifts."

However, playing the alternate Olivia has given her a new perspective about our Olivia, she said. "What I found has been interesting, how my attitude or how clearly I am now seeing Olivia, which I don't think you [get to] do. I don't think you get those opportunities where you actually get to step back and look at a character from a different perspective while playing the other. ... Because you're playing each—each of them has them has their own impression of the other. They haven't met really properly. So it's been tough, but really fun."

Bolivia is not "bad"

"Obviously we've been following our Olivia and our team for two seasons now. So our loyalties are definitely there. But when you start to see the other side solving cases and interacting and working with each other, you realize that they're both just fighting their own cause. Neither one's good or bad. Neither one is right or wrong," said Torv.

In fact, she believes that each of the Olivias will eventually begin to change her attitude about the other Olivia and universe. "I think that'll come when they both get home. That'll be the test, because that's the interesting part about this, too," she said. "That's hopefully the second half of the season."

When it comes to romance for Olivia and Peter, it's "one step forward and 10 steps back"

"I think that's so fun, the whole Olivia/Peter thing," said Torv. "Of course, you want them to be together. It's set up that way. But what do you do when all of a sudden your two guys end up together? It then just becomes—what? Romantic, drama or comedy? The fact that they've been able to kind of give a little bit of that ... and yet it's one step forward and 10 steps back. I think it's brilliant. Obviously this is an assignment for alternate Olivia, but Peter's a charmer. I don't know what she's going to think after they've been together for a bit."

The Over There and Over Here difference

"It feels very different, even the shooting, the dynamic even on set, because you've got a completely bunch of different people and different kind of ... even the crime scenes are handled differently. It feels very different. There's pros and cons to both sides. I love parts of both sides," she said.

However, popping back and forth between "universes" can be complicated. "You rock up to start the episode in the alternate universe. It's like, 'Hey, how you doing?' to beautiful Kirk [Acevedo] and Seth [Gabel]. ... You love it. Then the episode ends. You're like, 'Aww.' Then, you come back. You're like, 'Oh, that's right. We're back in the lab.' We've got Walter and Peter."

Olivia's liberating role reversal

When it comes to Olivia, Torv admits her character has been more than a little repressed, and that's the way she likes it. "This sounds so counterintuitive, but there's something actually liberating in that. So often you've got the guys that are the quiet, silent types that do all the tough stuff. Then you've got the girls that are all emoting and chatting and talking about their feelings, working out their relationships. I think that that's kind of one of the subtle things that Fringe has always turned on its head," said Torv.

"You've got the woman who doesn't talk all that much, who's extremely repressed, who just goes and does the job, doesn't have much of a life at home. Then you've got the two guys who sit around in the lab, which essentially is the kitchen cooking cookies, and trying to work out where they stand with each other. I actually have always found that side of it really interesting. Why can't a woman be a little cooler in her emotions and a little quieter and a little repressed without it being a huge thing? So I've actually always quite enjoyed that, to tell you the truth."

The similarity between Walter and Shakespeare's fool

Early in her career, Torv did a lot of Shakespeare, and she sees a comparison with her present job. "Shakespeare's stuff is all just 'big themes,' like the most amazing love of your life, or the most scary war," said Torv. "Fringe is like—I mean, I am constantly, essentially saving the world. So I think you just have to buy it or you just have to go, 'I really am.' When you say those lines, 'The shapeshifters are going to destroy our universe,' you have to say it with a straight face."

And there's one other place she sees Shakespeare when it comes to Fringe. "I've thought for a long time the similarities between our beautiful, beautiful Walter. That is what Walter kind of is. I think that the fools in Shakespeare's plays are always wisest and yet always making a joke of it. Yet, you get them down, they're often the saddest. Yes, absolutely the fools. Particularly Lear's fool."

Dogs on Broadway

One of the new bits of entertainment when it comes to Fringe's Over There universe is the little changes, from a double-decker car to a blimp in the sky. So what's Torv favorite Over There-ism? Why, Dogs on Broadway instead of Cats.

"That one's my favorite. That was my favorite because I didn't notice it the first day. No one said anything. Then I went in and then I looked. That really cracked me up."

Why Torv loves Fringe

"I like that it's just so broad. It doesn't fit in any particular genre. I think it's scary. I think it's kind of mystical. I think sometimes we've had episodes that I think are really quite magic. I think there are parts of it that are really heightened. There's parts of it that are really kind of down and dirty. It's got humor and a little bit of romance. The fact that it's so broad in its spectrum and in its stories and that it's unafraid to go, 'Let's just take this leap, shall we?' We all go, 'Yes! Let's!'"

Which universe do YOU like best?