Morena Baccarin is stunning. Her ethereal features and come-hither eyes are mesmerizing, but don't get distracted by her striking good looks—you might just miss what really makes her standout. Morena’s marvelous command of her artistry is the most captivating quality about her. She has an immense scope; taking you to remote depths of emotion and then making you laugh hysterically. It's no wonder she was nominated for an Emmy in her role as Jessica Brody in Homeland.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Morena comes from a long line of theatrical influencers. Her great-uncle was a renowned Brazilian director and her own mother was an actress in the 1970’s. At the age of 10, Morena and her family moved to New York City so that her father could pursue a job in journalism. It was here that she honed her craft and ultimately trained at the Julliard School for the Performing Arts. This set the foundation for an exceptional and unique career, ranging from Russian theater to a space western drama.
Although she is most known for her roles in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genre, Morena has openly confessed she's never been much of a comic book person. Yet, looking at her dossier of work, you would never have known. Her filmography features some of the most popular titles including Firefly, V, The Flash, Gotham and Deadpool. Even though comics were never quite her thing, it’s hard not to marvel at her craft anyway.
Some may not know this, but you have an extensive background in theater—studying at predominantly art schools and then later at Julliard. Did you always know that acting was in your future?
I don't have a memory of this, but my mom told me that when I was a baby she brought me to the theatre with her when she was doing a nativity play. I was backstage during the performance with the nanny and was crying a lot. My mom went back and brought me on-stage as Baby Jesus. So obviously, I peaked as an actor when I was six months old.
Agreed, nothing could be more prestigious than playing Baby Jesus. You moved to the states at a very young age from Rio de Janeiro. What was that like for you?
The move was very difficult since I was so young and spoke no English! But kids adapt quickly and eventually I became very American. However there is always a big part of me that identifies with being Brazilian, especially when I go to Brazil. I feel the sun, taste the saltwater in the ocean and it feels like home.
You’ve had an incredibly successful career with shows like Homeland, which earned you an Emmy nomination. What was working on this show like?
It was very challenging emotionally as an actor. Those are usually the best jobs, the ones you are just a little scared of. Everyone involved was such a joy to work with.
Claire Danes was actually a classmate of yours. Do you have a behind-the-scenes story you can share with us?
We liked to call each other “wifey.” Being away from our families for long periods of time, we passed the time away by cooking together, going to farmers markets and antique shopping. It was really fun.
If you could imagine yourself doing anything aside from being an actor, what would it be and why?
I literally have no idea what I would do!
We love all of the strong female roles you play, particularly in Firefly, The Flash, and Gotham - to name a few. What is it like playing such compelling characters?
I am always drawn to strong and interesting characters. Those shows have yielded me the opportunity to act in different genres and styles. As an actor, it’s a blast getting to be so different—from evil Adria, to thoughtful Lee.
In the Gotham television series, you play Dr. Leslie Thompkins alongside your real-life partner, Ben McKenzie. What is the dynamic on-screen like for you two?
I love the film noir aspect of the show and our characters get to really play in that. It's so fun and romantic.
Since you’ve already played Baby Jesus, is there any other role out there you still have aspirations to play?
So many! I don't really have one in mind. I just know there is so much interesting material out there.
What shows are you currently binging on? Anything we might find surprising?
Deadpool. It is such a beloved film with a fantastic cast and marvelous storyline. What parts of Vanessa do you find most exciting or difficult to relate to?
She's pretty badass. I feel like I have to give myself permission to behave like her. I kind of want to be her.
Having been to Comicon, we are sure you are quite familiar with 'fandom'. These die-hard fans are known to 'obsess' over a cult film or television show, which you have starred in. What have your experiences been with these super fans?
I have been really lucky with my fan experiences. It doesn't suck to have people telling you how much they love you. Also the fans are solely responsible for Firefly becoming a movie. Of course there are always the ones that go a little too far. For those of you out there listening—yes, a kiss is too far.
The entire world is patiently waiting for Deadpool 2 to hit the theaters. Please, tell us everything… we need to know.
You probably know more than I do!
Working in a fantasy world, you are no stranger to villains and corruption. In the real world, we are in a very tumultuous political climate, what do you think we can do as citizens to save the world?
Be kind to each other. Pay attention. Listen.
If you could have a real life superpower, what would it be and why?
The power to make my kids happy all the time. I know, I know. They need to fall sometimes and get back up. But still, if only I could take all the pain away.