Before Mireille Enos finished shooting the finale of The Killing this week in Vancouver, she made a pit stop in New York for the premiere of World War Z, in which she plays Brad Pitt’s wife. After being woken up by their two daughters and making pancakes, the family is on their way home, stuck in what appears to be just another annoying traffic jam — until the panic on the streets reveals that something scary is on the way. For part of the movie, Enos gets to fight off zombies and protect the children, and then as Pitt leaves to investigate, she’s stuck waiting and worrying. (If there’s a sequel, she says, she’d like to be “more active and engaged.”) Enos chatted with Vulture about kicking zombies, her feet, and which project has the worst chewing: The Killing or World War Z.
You do Tae Kwon Do, so how much did you enjoy kicking a zombie in the face?
Oh, that was so fun! That was so satisfying! It was like my only super-toughie moment in the movie, and it was really fun.
And you apparently have really powerful feet for your size?
Yes! It’s funny that you know that about me. I’m only five-foot-two but I wear size eight shoes, which is proportionally quite large. Do you wear an eight? It’s actually not a bad size to wear. It’s easy to find shoes, and I can share with lots of my girlfriends. Peter Sarsgaard and I were sitting on set [for The Killing] one day, and I saw him staring at my feet. He was like, “You have almost the same size feet as my wife, but you’re so short!” It was so funny.
Do you feel like there’s a zombie theme going on in your work because The Killing got resurrected?
It must be a theme for me, dead things that come back. Although I think the audience of The Killing would be very surprised if the killer this season turned out to be a zombie, if that’s the route we took. We’d be creepy copycats!
Both World War Z and The Killing address the spectrum of motherhood — in the film, your character adopts a child whose parents were just killed, while on the show, your character has essentially abandoned her child. And Linden gives other mothers a hard time for doing the same thing. How do you approach playing these two very different moms?
To play Karen, I spent one afternoon together with the girls in a house before we started shooting, and we played games and made zombie cookies. I wouldn’t know what goes into the zombie cookie; we just iced them, really. And we would make up songs on set. In the script, one of the girls has an asthma attack. Brad Pitt’s character, who is driving, pulls over to take care of her, and Brad was asking, “Why should I stop driving? If you’re there, can’t Mama Bear just deal with it?” And I wasn’t trying to be funny, I was being serious, but I said, “Because you have super asthma powers.” Brad thought that was very funny, and he made up a song, “Asthma Man,” which we then sang for the rest of the day. [Sings.] “Super Asthma Man, yeah!” And it became a very, very silly anthem for the day. So that was fun. But with Sarah, she’s real torn between motherhood and career. She sees in the other derelict mothers her own failure, I think. And the darkness of the case is starting to wear on her again.
How many inappropriate relationships has she had? Seems like every season, we learn about a new one in her past.
I know! She picks the worst men, right? She really does. Although I have to say that in terms of the actors, Sarah has been with some super-interesting men: Callum [Keith Rennie, who played her former fiancé Rick Felder] and Peter Sarsgaard [who plays death row inmate Ray Seward] and Elias Koteas [who plays her former partner, Lieutenant Skinner] and Joel Kinnaman … They bring in such super-interesting men for Sarah to interact with.
Holder’s prosecutor girlfriend, Caroline [played by Jewel Staite], is someone from Firefly/Serenity. ..
Oh, is that where she’s from? She’s wonderful. She’s a lovely actor. We have one scene together, or a couple of scenes together. We don’t interact a lot.
So you missed the callout to Serenity? She’s looking at Holder’s chest tattoo, and she says, “Serenity, sounds like a stripper’s name.”
Was that true of her movie?
Not exactly. Despite her presence, there are a lot of shippers who are holding out for a Holden-Linden hookup …
Everybody’s rooting for it, huh? [Teasing.] We’ll see! I think any time there’s a man and a woman working together who definitely have affection for each other and understand each other, who understand each other better than anyone else in the world, the next question is, Why not be in love? I think there’s lots of different relationships people can have, but I can also understand why people would at least be curious to see what would happen if they tried.
Does Holder cook for you this season?
He doesn’t cook for me, but he does bring me takeout. It’s not exactly the same.
Too bad. I love it when he’s in the kitchen making those breakfast burritos. Joel Kinnaman could have a spinoff, the Holder cooking show.
Ah! I’ll have to tell him you think so. That’s a really funny idea! I love how he’s putting habanero sauce on everything.
Are you happy there is less chewing this season?
Yeah! Not as much chewing gum. Your jaw gets really sore from that. But I think zombie chomping like in the movie is definitely worse to do, as an actor. The ones in this movie are like scary chompers, right?