In what was perhaps the least likely redemption story "Outsiders" could have told, the 10th episode of Season 2, "Strangers in a Strange Land," showed viewers a new side of Haylie Grimes (Francie Swift), the public face of the coal company trying to evict the Farrell clan from Shay Mountain.
Putting her face-to-face with the truth about life with the Farrells turned out to be a sobering moment for Haylie -- as was the realization that there are those in her company willing to poison and kill the Farrells to get them off of the mountain.
Screener spoke to Swift about the major shift in Haylie after experiencing life on Shay Mountain, what happens next for her character and the joy of getting outside of her acting comfort zone for the episode.
Let's look back at last week's episode. We finally see Haylie out of her comfort zone, and it's an eye-opening experience for her. Likewise, as an actor you were removed from your comfort zone -- acting on an office set with the city cast -- and spent the episode filming on the mountain. Can you talk about that experience?
That was so much fun as an actor, and as a character, to play around with. As an actor, I had never been up on the mountain before. I had never experienced any of that first-hand, so it fed into Haylie's wonder and discovery of it all.
It was really fun to take a character I felt like I knew pretty well from the first season, and put her in a completely different environment, where her normal coping mechanisms were completely inadequate. That's always a fun discovery process, seeing what happens to Haylie when you strip away the corporate office and the suit.
I think also they gave me great stuff to work with. In life, it's so much easier to do the wrong thing when you don't have to personally face the people it's happening to. I think it's very easy for Haylie to focus on doing her job really well, and getting it done... To have to confront the human ramifications of that, it's a whole other ballgame.
It really gives Haylie an entirely different dimension. In looking at her actions before, did it never occur to her what could be happening?
Yeah, I don't think it ever occurred to her. As far as she's thought it's, "Oh gosh, they don't have toilets? I can move them somewhere that would have toilets and they'd be so much better off." That's her mentality. I don't think she got any of the complexity of what life is like, and why in the world these people would want to live up on the mountain.
I think it's fairly easy to oversimplify things -- we live in a time where everybody prefers to have the point of views that they've built up stronger over time, rather than see someone else's way of looking at life. And I think that's kind of a dangerous way to look at the world. That's very much where she was, seeing things from her point of view, and her job. Then, to have to go up and confront the complex reality of someone whose agenda is different than yours, and has a different way of interacting with the world -- it's very humbling.
Seeing her learn what life actually was like up there was fascinating. The moment where she pulls out her phone to take photos of their version of school was such a nice moment of realization for her.
Exactly! This is a lifestyle and a choice, not necessarily people who don't know any better. There actually is some merit. Perhaps they got it right, perhaps there is something about the rhythm of life on the mountain. Maybe they are onto a better lifestyle. That would never have occurred to her any other way than getting up there and seeing it, the way she does.
"Outsiders" airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on WGN America.