Tess Cole (Leslie Hope) is probably the strongest woman on the Amazon. The character from “The River” has endured any number of horrors already, including being nearly drowned, all in the name of finding her husband.
As the show readies for its season finale on Tuesday (March 20), Hope talks about her character’s strengths and flaws, how acting is different versus on typical dramas, what fans can expect in the episode and what Season 2 might bring.
Here’s what she said:
On her character, Tess Cole: “[She’s] a woman who starts driven and determined with a core belief that her husband is still alive. And completely defined by her love for him and the fact that her family cannot be truly complete and she can’t be complete unless he has this man in her life.”
On any concerns that Tess has, both for the safety of the crew and regarding the mission: “She does have moments of doubt, but only privately. I have to believe at some moment…she can’t help but feel she’s done something terrible by putting all these people in this situation…[But] she has to believe that he’s still alive to go this far with all these people. She has to be unwavering in her commitment to do it.”
On how acting on “The River” is different than typical TV: “We’re being filmed at all times, not only by these surveillance cameras…but we’re being photographed by actors who are holding cameras…It’s an entirely different way to relate as a performer…In the best sense, you never relax. So you’re always on…it’s like filming a play. Which is great, because the tension stays ratcheted up.”
On what viewers can expect in the season finale: “What Tess faces…is worse than anything that’s happened so far. And she’ll do anything to unwrite that history…Someone is shot…and the killer is on the boat.”
On how Tess’ behavior might damage her relationships with other crew members going forward: “There’s a been a bit of a push back from people [saying], ‘Who does she think she is? She’s doing all these terrible things.’ And I feel like that’s how all big things get done. You do blow past people’s feelings and you do push past what you know better of…Should we be so lucky to have a Season 2, I think there’s going to be hell to pay in that household because she did risk her son for her husband.”
On what a Season 2, if there is one, might bring: “I don’t know that the show can sustain with the ‘scare a week.’ But I think these characters can sustain, and I think that’s what’s interesting with the possibility of a second season is all these little triangles have been set up.”
“The River” airs on ABC at 9 p.m. ET.