Franka Potente Introduces You To 'Copper'
5 Questions With 'Copper' Star
Whether she's a blur of bright red hair, using a scalpel for self-defense, saving a one-man army, or the unofficial queen of 19th century New York, there is a singular undercurrent that ties together all the strong women Franka Potente has played: they're weak.
That is the odd acting choice Franka explained to me when we spoke earlier today about her role as brothel owner Eva Heissen on BBC America's new 1864-set crime series, Copper. In addition to making me understand her way of thinking, Franka explained why she signed on to Copper, why it's good to be a pimp and what you can expect from her upcoming guest arc on American Horror Story season two.
TheInsider.com: What appealed to you about Copper?
Franka Potente: The first thing that drew me in was New York. I love New York and it seemed to be about the birth of New York. I didn't know much about New York before it became New York. My dad is a historian. He always reminds me of how important it is when I read a script that it's historically correct. And with Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson as the creators, I knew it would be. Tom Fontana is an encyclopedia on legs. He knows so much. So I wasn't worried. It's also the story of immigrants, and I can relate to that. I'm an immigrant in America. I'm not a brothel owner, but I'm doing business. It was just interesting and fresh and seemed contemporary even though it's set in 1864, which seems impossible, but I liked that about it.
Insider.com: I totally agree about the contemporary feel. Where do you think that comes from?
Franka: I think you could take Eva out of 1864 and, because she's not as restricted as the socialites of the time, what she does would totally work today. To be honest with you, I have to pay tribute to Tom because with a series like this, the texture has so much to do with how the lead character is done. If I can't relate to the lead character on a show, or don't like the feel of the hero, I'm out. I didn't notice it working with Tom [Weston-Jones, who plays Detective Kevin Corcoran], but watching it, there is a suaveness about this guy that I really like for the character. There's some darkness, he's kind of hunky, has the aura of a rockstar and I really like that for the character. It works for me.
Insider.com: And what about Eva, what attracted you to her?
Franka: She's really a wildcard. With a series, you never know what will happen with your character, but the more you establish that someone is fearless and ruthless and all these badass things, so much can happen. Eva definitely moves up and over and everywhere – she has her fingers in everything. She's like a dark angel, spreading her wings. She's fun and she's dangerous – and of course that's fun to play.
Insider.com: One of the characters asks what Corcoran sees in Eva. How do you see their relationship?
Franka: You'll see it unfold more and more over the season, but they're friends with benefits, f*ck buddies, whatever. More complex layers come later and while I don't think Eva would ever admit this, she's more romantically involved than Corcoran is. They enjoy each other physically, there's some business in there, but Eva isn't working as a hooker any more save for a few exceptions, and Corcoran is definitely one of them.