Actress Karin Konoval is already well known to observant X-Files fans. She played Madame Zelma in "Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose" in Season 3, but her terrifying portrayal of Mrs. Peacock in Season 4’s “Home” put Karin high on the list of the best guest actors to be on the series.
Fans were delighted to learn that she would be returning for a role in Season 11, but would anything be able to top Mrs. Peacock? If you’ve seen “Plus One,” you know that answer is a resounding yes. Karin played not one, but four different characters in Chris Carter’s wild episode. The characters of Little Judy, Evil Judy, Chucky, and Evil Chucky are funny, startling, and downright scary.
After seeing the episode we wanted to know more about how these characters came to life and we know you did too. We put a call out on Twitter for fan questions and chose the best for Karin to answer. She shares how the roles came together and some wonderful behind-the-scenes moments as well.
Karin, you were amazing in this episode (as always!). I'd love to know, of the characters you portrayed in Plus One, which did you find the most challenging? And which was the most fun? -Amy (JolinarSG1)
"All “four” of them were great fun to investigate and play! Before my casting in the role(s) was confirmed, I was asked to do a “sort of” audition taping of each Nasty and Nice Judy, and Nasty and Nice Chucky, and was given a scene for each. So I worked for a couple of days quietly at home learning the sides and discovering for myself each as distinct personalities - psychologically, physically, vocally. Chris Carter’s writing is so good it pretty much gave me everything I needed to know, so from just learning the words each spoke I was able to quite easily find their natures."
"Nice Judy as a terrified small voiced personality sort of approaching the world sideways, Nasty Judy full of confidence in herself and approaching the world head on in a take-me-ya-know-ya-want-me way, Nice Chucky just relaxed in himself and not bugged by anything, Nasty Chucky like a live wire ready to bust at any moment and who hates everything. Finding each of their physicalities led to how I voiced each in a natural way. Which also led naturally to how each looked, and so how I dressed for the audition taping (which had to be effected with fast quick changes!). So for Nice Judy I just flattened my hair down a bit and held a blouse tight closed at my neck throughout the scene, for Nasty Judy I opened up the blouse and showed lots of cleavage, boushed up my hair and added lipstick."
"For Chucky I just greased my hair back, drew on more eyebrows and added a mustache, and played the switches between nasty and nice energetically. It was such fun! What was wonderful is that what I discovered for myself in working on the characters alone at home is exactly what Chris Carter and Kevin Hooks and the entire creative team in wardrobe and make up allowed me to do through the filming. The brilliant SFX artist Bill Terezakis did very minimal effects for me as Chucky, allowing me to simply act the role. He didn’t even want to put a wig on me as I’d expected would happen! So the Chucky make up was artfully simple and precise: my hair greased back, eyebrows thickened with a pencil, a mustache, side burns, a slight prosthetic added to each of my ear lobes so they would be more manly, and a light dusting of 5 o’clock shadow. That’s it. And wardrobe created a fab gently padded undergarment to give my upper body more manly bulk. It was all just wonderful fun, and I can’t really say that any part of it was challenging! I just loved it. Seriously."
Karin, I’d love to know what your favorite part was about not only coming back to The X-Files world, but getting to play two characters. Your performance was outstanding!!! -100000forXF3
"Thank you very much! Regarding playing multiple characters like this in the same episode, I just LOVED it. I love the challenge of interesting roles, and in something like this the coolest challenge was having to switch energetically between four different ones, carry the integrity of each throughout. Coming back to The X-Files was a joy, and being with everybody who works on it, creative team, cast and crew. My favorite part was…..the whole thing!"
If Karin could choose a role to play in a future episode of The X-Files, taking on another new character, what would it be? -hamsinthewest
"That’s a fun question! Well frankly, I’d be delighted to come back to The X-Files, or work for/with Chris Carter or Glen Morgan or Kevin Hooks, in just about any role they’d like to have me in. When you’re working for/with such amazing gentlemen and artists, every opportunity is a joy. Now that said, I confess I had such fun playing Nasty Judy and Nasty Chucky that I could go on playing them both ad infinitum. I would relish playing some version of Chucky in other things, he really developed a life of his own in my mind. I’d like it if he had a series! Re new characters in general: well, next up on my wish list would be getting to do something musical on film or tv. Having spent years in professional musical theatre it would be kinda cool to bring that full circle and do on film/tv."
What is the hardest part of your job , while you were working on The X-Files? - Sheila (macgyvergeek)
"Um….nothing! Truly, I mean it. This job was joy from beginning to end!"
My question is how tough was it to play two very different personalities in the same episode? Were they filmed on the same day? -Tina (TJWizards)
"I’ve answered in a previous question about the challenge of playing the different personalities, so I’ll refer you to that answer above, but in answer to were they filmed on the same day? No, thank goodness! Of course much of that has to do with location filming, because of course Judy was in the hospital and Chucky was at his house, and at the prison. But did I film nice Judy and nasty Judy scenes in same day? Yes, I think so once or twice. And of course Chucky transitions from nice to nasty right in the middle of one of his scenes."
Chucky felt like a cross between Gaff on the original Bladerunner and Al Swearengen on Deadwood, topped off with a Michael J. Anderson-esque voice. Were any of them influences for your character? -Luke Soroko
"No, honestly there were no influences on my portrayal of Chucky beyond what I discovered for myself in Chris Carter’s wonderful writing of him. See my answer to one of the earlier questions where I talk about my process for discovering each of the four personalities -- it was such a fun exploration, and just me in my living room at home, and the script!"
What was it like to work opposite two actors / characters that you worked with twenty years ago? - PuppetMulder
"Oh I had such a good time with David and Gillian, in all the scenes. David in particular nearly cracked me up on several occasions in our Mulder/Chucky scenes. He has an ironic twinkle in his eye that is always there, and a fabulous sense of humour, and I really did have to bite my lip more than once while we were filming not to “break Chucky”. It was wonderful to be back working with both of them, a complete honor and joy."
Was this role more difficult than that of the mother of the Peacock family? - Mimie (MimiTrouvetou)
"No, not at all! Playing Judy/Judy and Chucky/Chucky in "Plus One" was a complete joy for me, just a really fun four-part character investigation that I found a delight from beginning to end. Playing Mrs. Peacock was in fact very hard! The largest reason for that was I found it incredibly difficult to be trapped in the sort of coffin box they made for me to be under the bed -- I’m quite claustrophobic and it took all the courage I could muster to stick with it and not panic. That was the hardest part of playing Mrs. Peacock."
Do you remember your first audition for The X-Files? Can you share a bit of that experience? - EK (s2artca)
"I don’t remember my audition for the fortune teller in “Clyde Brookman’s Final Repose” but I do remember my audition and three callbacks for Mrs. Peacock in “Home.” When I got the audition sides for Mrs. Peacock and read “woman with no arms or legs who lives under a bed” I thought, now how on earth do I audition for that??? So I did what I’ve often done for auditions for extreme sounding characters: I put on black spandex from head to toe, pulled back my hair, wore no make up. Then I just imagined for myself, how might I communicate if I have no arms or legs, what have I got to work with? Just shoulders, head, face, voice, eyes."
"So in the first audition and the subsequent callbacks I just held my arms to my sides, basically tried to mentally erase any sense of my body from the shoulders down (no hand or arm movements, nothing), and went as deeply into Mrs. P as I could. The voice I found for her came only from my throat, like all the effort for speaking was from the shoulders up, and once I found her voice I could “call her up” as it were and find her energetically in myself. I don’t remember the actual time in the audition room for the role, but I do remember sitting on the floor in the hallway outside before each audition and callback, repeating over and over to myself: “I’m hungry. I’m ready. I’m hungry. I’m ready.” The Mrs Peacock mantra!"
I understood Karin always wanted to play a man - why? and how did she work on getting into character? - Vered (veredgf)
"When I was working with Glen Morgan on his show "Intruders" a couple years back, I think he half-jokingly asked me what would you like to do next and I half-jokingly replied, well, I haven’t played a man onscreen yet! But I meant it -- while I’ve played a wide range of characters onscreen and onstage, including now a mature male orangutan in the three POTAS, this is my first time onscreen playing a man. I don’t know why I wanted to do it, I just did! And it was really fun. Would love to do it again."
Karin, you played many characters beyond gender.(ect: Planet of Apes) I guess it's a challenge for you. Could you tell us about that? And nice to meet you in Dirk Gently, you are a real queen on the show. - Nam Myoung-Hee (worrynet)
"Thank you for appreciating Dirk Gently! Yes, it was real fun to play Frija Dengdamor through Season Two of that whacky cool wonderful show, I just loved it. Re the range of characters I’ve had the chance to play, I’m just really grateful for that. It’s wonderful as an actor to get the gift of challenging, interesting roles. Playing Maurice in “Rise,” “Dawn,” and “War for the Planet of the Apes” was one of the most challenging and rewarding roles I’ve ever undertaken, deeply meaningful to me, and asked more from me as an actor than just about anything else I’ve ever done. I’m very proud of my work as Maurice, and being part of the POTAS."
Did you improvised any line or action for your characters? - Ana (astrogea)
"Hmmm --- I can’t remember anything in particular like that, though we were having great creative fun all of us throughout so there was probably lots of spontaneous action, moments, that arose through filming, though we never deviated from Chris Carter’s script. But I do remember one naughty thing I did during a take one day: the moment when Nasty Judy pops up at that window making a huge ugly face and scares Scully and the nurses on the other side of the door? Well the first take we went for some little demon got inside me and I popped up into the window and barked “I’m hungry! I’m ready!” (a throwback to Mrs Peacock). Kevin called “cut!” and everybody laughed and then I behaved myself in the following takes…..."
Can you share the funniest outtake/story from your time on the "Plus One" set? - TheRobbinsGang
"The whole thing was such fun I remember laughing at many things throughout. But one thing I really enjoyed was the day of the Dookie throwing --- and I’m such a bad thrower there was no point in getting me to do it, the walls would have been Dookie covered in ten seconds. Kevin wanted the Dookie to land in a precise place and pattern on the window, and the props master was tasked with Dookie throwing. So I sat in bed as Judy and watched him throw Dookie, take after take, and we were all laughing. He was really good at it! Kevin asked for more and more precise landing for the Dookie and he got it!"
Thank you so much to Karin Konoval for taking the time to talk with us! Follow her on Twitter @KarinKonoval and be sure to check out her wonderful body of work outside The X-Files including War for the Planet of the Apes, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, The Exorcist, Intruders, and many more.