Shane West Says Closeness Will Cause Confusion on 'Nikita'
by Bryan Cairns, posted Apr 21st 2011 7:00PM
Actor Shane West is out for blood. More precisely, it's his character Michael, from the popular CW series 'Nikita', that's on the warpath. After targeting the man he believed responsible for his wife and daughter's deaths, Division's top operative discovered his boss Percy ordered the fatal hit. His world shattered, Michael has turned to his former student-gone-rogue, Nikita, to take down his powerful employer. Having just arrived back in Los Angeles after wrapping in Toronto, West spoke exclusively to TV Squad about playing spy, nicknames that stick, and the new Michael.
With credits that include 'Once and Again', 'ER', and 'A Walk To Remember', you've always played characters with a bit of an attitude. What's it been like portraying this bad-ass spy on Nikita?
This is unique for me. It's kind of like being a kid again. You go to work, play spy, look as mean as you can, and hope it comes off believable. That's the generic excitement of doing a role like this. But what's so great about portraying Michael is he's such a layered character. He has so many issues going on and it's fun to create something out of that, especially with a character that doesn't smile much!
Recently, there was an intense fight between Michael, Nikita, and Owen. How much of that is actually you?
That all has to do with Maggie Q. She's very firm about the production of this show and the quality. Our stunt director is amazing. They really put together this Bourne Identity feel with the action sequences, which has thankfully been all the actors. We haven't required many stunt doubles unless it's absolutely necessary or someone is jumping off of something.
Viewers have dubbed Michael and Nikita 'Mikita.' Is that flattering and what keeps their dynamic interesting for you?
Well, I'm a fan of the original film and I've seen a few episodes of La Femme Nikita with Peta Wilson, who I ironically did 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' with. The Femme Nikita series truly started a potential love relationship between Nikita and Michael. I enjoy that tortured-soul element. They haven't loved many people in their lives. They've had a lot of tragedy and when they found each other, things weren't necessarily correct then. It may have been the right time for Nikita, but it wasn't for Michael. To have that great love story in a world of chaos is always intriguing to fans and intriguing to me as a viewer of that genre.
And I think they coined that 'Mikita' term 10 episodes in and that's amazing. Now they say Shane and Maggie are 'Shaggie' which I've heard a lot about too. The support of the fans in one year is mind-boggling to me and so appreciated. We love all the 'Mikita' stuff . We're even thinking of ways of possibly getting that into a script as a joke, like some character goes "What are you guys? Mikita?"
Nikita and Michael have a different way of approaching every scenario. Are they on the same page now? Does Michael completely trust Nikita?
I think he does. He has let his guard down now. Who knows what's going to happen in season two. What Maggie and I want to build to is this is quite possibly the love of their lives. Even though they are different people, they are one and the same. The trust is going to be there, but where the problem is going to arise will be the fact they look at things completely differently. It's not going to be easy. There will be a lot of conflict and I think it's going to be based on the differences between the characters.
One item they do seem to agree on is keeping Alex in the dark about Michael switching teams. How will that continue to complicate matters?
Alex is going to find out very quickly. I believe it's in the very next episode, because we have to. I'm really excited about the remaining season. I've been happy all year, but these last few are just a roller coaster that doesn't stop. You'll quickly see this new dynamic between Michael, Nikita, and Alex as they begin fighting together against Division. But the very next episode, things start going haywire. As soon as you feel you have a grasp or handle on it, the very next episode completely changes it. By the season one finale, it will be nothing like it was in episode one.
How is this new-found information about his boss Percy affecting Michael?
It is very personal now because the flood gates were opened. Now that Kasim is gone, Michael has gotten his revenge and opened up to Nikita. These are things he's been burying for God knows how many years, really. It's a whole new Michael in that sense. He's going to be a little more raw and a little bit more emotional. By opening up that can of worms, it's leading him to a role he doesn't know very well. He's never been this close to Nikita and that's going to cause a lot of confusion for the next year.