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Jennifer Ferrin Talks Hell on Wheels [EXCLUSIVE Interview] 

Photo Credit: James Minchin III/AMC
Photo Credit: James Minchin III/AMC

[Warning: General spoilers for season 4.]

There are no shrinking violets on Hell on Wheels, and this season, we’ll get to dive a little deeper into the world of one of those independent women, Louise Ellison, who’s now Cheyenne’s newspaper editor. That’s a bump up from last year, when Louise found herself as a stringer assigned to the railroad camp after a romantic liaison took a bad turn. We chatted with Jennifer Ferrin about what to expect from Louise in season four, and her recurring role in the new Cinemax series, The Knick, which premiered Friday.

“Last season, we didn’t get to see a lot of her personal life or go deep into her story. This season, there is going to be a bit of a cracking open,” she says. “The audience will get to know more about her and see some other sides of her that people didn’t expect.”

Eva is in a bad way as the season begins, so we asked if perhaps Louise and Eva might reconnect, and Ferrin said no, not specifically. “There’s always an opportunity for women to band together, but there’s not a huge connection [between them this year],” she says. “Eva’s journey this season is that she’s a wanderer…she’s searching.”

Ferrin is most excited about going toe to toe with new cast member Jake Weber. “We’re going to see some exciting fireworks. Jake is amazing . I’m been a fan of his, and I’m so excited that he’s playing Campbell,” she says. ” He’s an incredible actor to work with. The two characters are intellectual and stubborn, so there’s a meeting of minds…but not. They definitely have quite a lot to debate and butt heads about.”

Ferrin had previously worked with showrunner John Wirth on The Cape, and he wrote a role for her on Falling Skies. “When this role came about, we’d been talking and he called and told me this something he’d really like me to do,” she recalls. “I had been a fan of the show. I remember auditioning for the pilot and it was such an incredible script.” She couldn’t remember which role she’d read for, pointing out, “When you’re fan and you watch it, you can’t picture anyone else. It might have been Eva. I’ve auditioned for a lot of whores. [With Louise], it ended up all being really being perfect.”

When she was cast, the role was always intended to have an arc vs. a set number of episodes. “When you’ve got so many different amazing characters, the writers don’t always know [how they’re going to use everyone],” she says, “but they’ve come up with some incredible things for Louise this year.”

Ferrin is enjoying Louise’s new fixed office set, and says the details ares breathtaking. “It is such a beautiful set. So well done. The details are unbelievable. I have an incredible printing office and printing press,” she praises. “Our set designer, art department, and props department [have done amazing work]…I’ve spent time between takes and filming and looking at all the details. I’ve got three different presses that are authentic. I believe it was all built from the ground up.”

Photo Credit: James Minchin III/AMC
Photo Credit: James Minchin III/AMC

She adds that Louise’s wardrobe helps create the character, especially with the stop-and-start nature of production. “Any amount of wardrobe, or the set or the ambience that can keep you in that world informs the character so much…and the time period,” she points out. She shared that she was able to switch up a little bit of Louise’s clothes this season. “I decided since she is somewhat of a liberal and a working woman [that] she could go with a variation on the traditional corset [and the costume department agreed] so I greatly appreciate that.”

The set outside of Calgary helps with the 19th century feel of the show. “It’s so beautiful where we film,” she says. “It’s down in this sort of ravine and every single day I drive in, I’m floored and taking pictures…canola fields and yellow against the blue sky. It really does feel like another time.”

Ferrin most loved working with Colm Meaney last season. “All of the interactions with Durant are so great. On paper, they’re great, but to do the scenes with Colm, who has become one of my favorite people in the world…I just adore him. He makes me laugh, first of all,” she says fondly. “I never know what he’s going to bring, but it’s always interesting, and it ups my game and entertains, and brings out the best in Louise. l loved everything we got to do last season.”

She is also looking forward to some upcoming developments, about which she couldn’t share specifics, but she did tease, “There are things coming that we have yet to film that I’m super excited about. Its going to be another side of Louise that we haven’t yet seen and it’s going to be very exciting.”

Aside from Hell on Wheels, we can also catch Ferrin over on Cinemax in The Knick. “That show is incredible. I play the former girlfriend of Clive Owen’s character,” she says. “He was just the loveliest human being. So charming. When the cameras roll, you just see that incredible charisma and power on film. I think I did three episodes this season [and the door is open for season two]. ” Since it’s a period piece, she’s back in period garb, but she laughed that it wasn’t exactly as restrictive as HoW, telling us, “I had some pretty unconventional wardrobe situations and I will leave it at that.”

Hell on Wheels airs Saturday night at 9/8c on AMC. The Knick premiered Friday, August 8th on Cinemax at 10/9c.

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