On Monday September 10th, I had the opportunity to talk to Conchita Campbell, who stars as Maia Rutledge on the hit USA series The 4400. As the first person abducted and with the ability to foresee the future, Maia played a very prominent role in the series’ first season.
The 4400 centers around 4400 ordinary people being mysteriously abducted and returning all at once through a ball of light, only to discover that they now possess extraordinary abilities. Now only 11-years old, Conchita reflects on being a vital part of promoting the first season, the pilot episode, and what to expect for this season’s finale.
Matt Basilo: First off, let me just say that it looks like you’ve grown about two feet since the beginning of the series.
Conchita Campbell: (Laughs) Yeah, probably.
MB: During the first season, might consider you the poster child of the show as far as promotion goes. What was it like playing such a prominent role in a heavily promoted new series?
CC: You know what, it was great to play Maia on The 4400. She is such a fun character to play, it’s so much fun to play a character that’s been abducted and then returned 60 years later. I think it’s pretty cool how you know that that something like that probably couldn’t happen. I think it’d be a lot of fun if that could happen, but you really have to use your imagination. It’s great playing Maia.
MB: A lot of people probably don’t remember that technically your character is the oldest, since she was the first person abducted.
MB: With the ability to foresee the future, your character has to make a lot of vague comments about future events. Do the writers ever let you in on what exactly is going to happen?
CC: You know what, the writers really don’t tell anybody what is going to happen. It’s always really secret and everything. You really have to guess at what is going to happen, and when you get the script, it’s so much better if you really don’t quite know what’s going to happen when you read it, and you’re like, “Oh, well that’s what they’re doing with my character next.” They keep everything really secret.
MB: Does the lack of knowledge make it more difficult for you as an actress?
CC: No, not really, because I mean I do still have my schoolwork and stuff. It’s actually better, really, if you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, because in real life you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. If you don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s actually better because then you can capture how you would act in real life.
MB: Maia shares most of her scenes with her mother Diana. Which characters or actors on the show would you like to work with more?
CC: Well, I would like to work with everybody more. I couldn’t single anybody out. Everybody is great. Working with Jackie McKenzie (who plays Diana Skouris) is so great, and when I do have scenes with other people to work with, we have so much fun that I wish I could have more scenes with everybody (laughs).
MB: Since the beginning of the series, Maia has matured a lot with understanding her abilities. In the first season she’d tell people their future without any sense of how it might impact them, yet this season we saw her lie about a vision in order to prevent a war from occurring. Do we see more of growth throughout the rest of the season?
CC: Well, you know what let me think
MB: We actually have the season finale airing this Sunday here in the U.S.
MB: So what can we expect from the episode?
CC: When I read the script for the finale, I loved it. It’s so great. So many exciting things happen. It’s really exciting. What to expect for is excitement. It’s really great.
MB: In last year’s finale, we saw Maia get into the thick of things when Isabelle attacked The 4400 Center. Will your character be involved in the carnage that is rumored to occur in the season finale?
CC: You know what . Hmmm (laughs)
MB: You probably can’t say.
CC: I don’t want to give away too much, you know?
MB: You don’t have to answer.
CC: It’s not that I don’t want to answer you, it’s just that I don’t want to give away too much (laughs).
MB: I understand. Well obviously Maia has a pretty incredible ability, but if you could have anybody else’s ability, which one would it be?
CC: From the cast members?
CC: Well, that’s a pretty hard one. Hmmm, that’s a hard one. Probably Patrick’s (Flueger, who plays Shawn Farrell) ability to heal people by touching them.
MB: I think I’d choose that one as well. Do you have a favorite episode of the show?
CC: I loved all the episodes, but I really liked I loved the pilot, I thought it was great. I loved all of them, but I think the pilot was my favorite.
MB: You did an episode of Supernatural, is that right?
MB: Are you a fan of the sci-fi genre?
CC: You know what, I like to watch sci-fi but I’m more into kid’s shows and stuff. When I watched a couple of episodes of Supernatural I thought it was pretty cool, because I like scary movies and stuff. You know the episodes of Supernatural are freaky and stuff, so it was fun to watch. I like sci-fi shows, but I’m more into kid’s shows and stuff.
MB: What are some of the shows you like to watch?
CC: Well basically the shows on the Family Channel. Like 8 Simple Rules, Life with Derek, Hannah Montana (Laughs)
MB: Outside of acting, what are some of your hobbies and interests?
CC: Well I like to go hiking, I like to hang out with my friends. Basically normal kid’s stuff.
MB: With your schedule, are you able to attend school or do you have a teacher on set? How does that work?
CC: Well I normally go to a public school, but when I’m on set I have an on set teacher, Rachel, and we have so much fun together. I know when I’m going to be on set the next day, so I tell the teacher at school so I can get the work for the next day. And when I’m on set I have to do school work for three hours. So I work on set, and then when I get back to school I’m where everyone else is.
MB: Well it’s nice that it seems everybody is understanding.
MB: Are there any future plans or projects that you’d like to share?
CC: Well I would love to do some sort of adventurous or scary movie. I really like scary movies. During the summer I was in Europe so I wasn’t really doing anything. So basically there’s nothing right now, but I would really love to do some sort of adventure or scary movie.
MB: Well you have a lot of time to take advantage of that. Where around Europe did you go?
CC: I went to Poland. My mom’s from there, so I went to go see my family and friends. My friend has a horse there so we went horse riding.
MB: Oh, very nice. Is there anything else about the show or anything else that you’d like to talk about?
CC: I think we’ve covered everything.
MB: Well it’s been a great season so far and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the finale. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me and I wish you luck with everything.
CC: All right, thank you, you too!
– Season 4 of The 4400 airs on the SPACE network in Canada on Wednesday nights at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT time.
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