The actress discussed the individuality of her character, the importance of her being a part of a franchise like National Treasure, her plans, and many more.
Mira Nair directed the 10-episode series premiere from the screenplay written by the original writer Marianne and Cormac Wibberley. Disney series stars Lisette Alexis as Jess, Catherine Zeta-Jones (Privion and Hermit); Zoya Reed (Fisala/Acerian) as Tasha, Lyndon Smith (Parenthood) as FBI Agent Ross; Alex Austin Walker (The Girl’s Act) as Liam;Jagged Little Pill as Oren; and Jordan Rodrigues (The Girl as a Feather) as the Flaather.
Tudor Leonte: We’re recording this interview during the holiday season. What’s your plan for those days?
Lyndon Smith: What am I going to do? I’m going to meet my parents and brother. They live in Florida, so I am going to leave for a few days to see them. Then I go to Costa Rica for New Years Eve with some friends. I have never been to Costa Rica. We’re very excited. It will be fun and fanciful soon.
That sounds extraordinary. I looked at the Instagram stories, and you seemed to like Negroni Sbagliato. Do you plan to have a few things for New Years Eve?
Oh yes. Negronis, like one of the most expensive cocktails of all time, aren’t you? Since that moment I have never tried the Sbagliato version, and obviously, we have never seen that famous clip. Wait, and went out with Prosecco? It sounds amazing. That was the first one I’ve ever made last night, and it was really good. I think it’s a lot of fun. I have a White Negroni before and it is very important to say that it was my third novel.
I agree. That is good indeed. I would like to discuss with you cocktails and other delicacies, but we’re here, to discuss some points of the National Treasure: The Edge of History. How did you finish the role of Ross?
I read it in September of last year. My father’s grandfather says that once I heard a concert, I was like a national treasure. I didn’t know they had to make a series of these. This is pretty exciting. I know the fanbase is always wanting a second movie and I believe that a show is very modern and exciting. People like to watch and read video shows as they are so much he was kind of like, and he was like, Oh my gosh. This is genius. I would like to be a part of that. I like having the juggernaut Disney Plus behind the show. I wrote a story for him like everyone else and then it was not my chance that I heard it for a month. Then the first episode I got a call from the Wibberleys and Mira Nair, who will the director, wanted to talk about Zoom. I didn’t know that I was in the discussions about this anymore. They had an amazing meeting. They explained what they wanted to do with the characters and the show. I was hooked immediately, so I had to do it. And then, since then, the offer was officially extended before Christmas. That was, and I bought a very good Christmas present last year.
I can guess it was a pretty Christmas present. I was a kid when the National Treasure arrived. I remember very much that I was a kid. I want to ask you whether you watched that movie as a teenager or did you watch it later in your life?
It is so funny. I’m the one who hadn’t seen the movies before he got the job. Everybody loved them, and grew up with them. I, of course, knew the National Treasure movies, like everyone knows them, but in reality, I didn’t see them when I got my job. I remember wondering, it’s been 15 years, are these movies going to be halted? Because sometimes you’re back and eat those movies from your childhood, and I wonder whether that’s okay. I like them. I thought they were so charming. I thought that they were so fun. I liked how they saw history as a treasure hunt. History is the star of National Treasure, right? Yes, we all like Nick Cage. We like to see him run around Philadelphia, but history is the character of a lot of people. To achieve this learning exercise with action and romance and humor, it is no wonder they were so successful. It’s a really interesting ride. Like what isn’t to love? I loved the number of generations. Children liked that, parents liked that, and grandparents loved that. I hope to remember the origin of the fan base and get some new treasure hunters in this show.
In Episode 2 fans first meet the character, and then she says she wants to make an impact. I want to hear from you a bit about her background and his backstory.
OK, I really like this character. She feels like a woman who grows up. She is a young woman who is very ambitious and focused. I think she always felt like a little something to prove it to be a woman in a very man-facing job like that. She got up for the grinds and went top of her class at Quantico. He was given a super high-end job immediately after that in DC and made a mistake. She’s made one mistake and got kicked down at the Baton Rouge field office. Essentially, they said, We’re not going to fire you, but we’re going to go to the DC office, the pinnacle of what it is to work in the FBI to a sleeping town in the backwards of Louisiana. She gets there and is like an underdog.
She was essentially to rebuild her professional reputation. And that was a really cool jump point for me to feel like youre somebody who is on the right road now. To celebrate the respect of your peers and the respect of your bosses. She is in Baton Rouge. In the first few days jess and Tasha are in the midst of a box they say a relic, and there’s a treasure hunt, and people are kidnapped. Agent Ross goes naturally, Get out of here. That’s a joke. It has to be sloppy then and he could not shake it. Maybe there’s something more, maybe the kids are telling the truth. Maybe she was too hurry and forced them to go out the door. Perhaps she didn’t listen to them because they’re children. When we talk about this episode, I never want to give the poor to children.
I say kids, they’re young 20s. Often times an adversity is brewing when a youth brings information to an old man. In the same way as most agents who hear her, she is a fraud. These kids never go out without the agent Ross. Then agent Ross goes, I missed something. There is something going on here. She starts the hunt for treasure, by itself a step behind her, knowing whether her real friendship is or not? Who is this Billie character played by the incomparable Catherine Zeta-Jones? Why does he keep in the mail? Agent Ross has a lot of treasures she owns that are run by the kids.
I love how she can be very resourceful and even defy orders if she believes she’s right. How much do you like about her?
I just loved the fact that she had the emotional intelligence to go, so you should stop taking a step back. This is all the facts on the table. It is these words. This is their way. But then she may go, life is difficult and nuanced and people make decisions in a way that we don’t necessarily understand. She knows that these kids probably break the law, but she doesn’t go criminal. She went, What’s the story? You can do more than get into sight. I love how she looks in line with her colleagues, and she is perfect at her job. I just thought that was really a dynamic. We’re in this page.
Is there any particular line, scene or situation you liked that involving your character?
The first episode is in Episode 2. You know what is so funny? I don’t think it was actually the final cut but remember that there was that line that informed everything about agent Ross. For me, when it’s late, everybody else has left the office. My boss walks back into his room and goes, Ross, what is your job? and I said, The apartment is a couch, a TV, and a refrigerator. I’m basically only going to sleep. When I read that, I was like that girl. She can do her job with this office without doing that anymore because she can’t let anything go. That’s Alex. She is so tired, she doesn’t wake up when she thinks there’s a story there. I love a line and the kind of truth I know for me.
That’s a pretty cool line. And yeah, I didn’t hear it in the episode 2.
I don’t think that made it, which I was like surprised. It is something that resonates with Lyndon. I don’t know if the audience would have picked up that, but for Lyndon that was like the character’s attitude.
Speaking of Lyndon, how would you be reacting if someone breaks into the room right now and tells you to look for hidden treasures?
I would like me, Let’s leave, let’s get there! I was the youngest of the children, so he thought he had to run baseboards to see if something was going to unlock. I’m not joking. I remember that my grandma had very squeaky tile in his old home, and I would be on my feet and knees trying to do what it seemed like to draw up the tiles, to see if there was a treasure in the wall. I thought I always thought I was going to find a treasure as a kid. By age sixteen, this obsession became the basis of vintage hunting. I like going to antique stores, auctions, and yard sales. It was very interesting to find things that people don’t know what they are and then they get rid of them. I have so many little treasures I’ve found here in thrift stores. You must see, if somebody could walk through the door right now and said it was like, Treasure?. Let’s grab your shoes.
I expected a similar answer.
I mean who would say no, Hey, there is a treasure.
A lifetime adventure. Is there somebody on the line who bonded?
The whole group got very close. The guy who plays my love interest, you’re going to meet in episode 3 of the first episode. He’s known as Tommy Savas. He plays this coroner who agent Ross teams up with because nobody in the FBI really will help him. He enlists this very funny, quirky, and cute coroner. He became very close with us. We just like to blow it off, like the chemistry was there. He seems like my brother from another mom. We had a nice time. The agent from Ross-Dr. grew up. Zeke’s dynamic. I think that its really fun.
I’ve only seen four episodes but still haven’t wanted to spoil them. Perhaps you could talk to us about your journey throughout the series.
It’s so hard to talk about Ross’ journey in the series because she’s very directly linked to spoilers, especially towards the end. What I can say is that in the first few episodes, you don’t really know if Ross is from the side of Jess and Tasha, or Ethan and Oren. I don’t know if you’ll be behind them or who will be a new ally. We’re all allying, and it’s good to have friends in high places. What better way to have than an FBI agent, watching your back if you break up the law? I will say that in the summer, the agent Ross began to work a little more closely with our treasure hunters and helping them.
I’d like to hear from you about your plans for 2023.
Oh, hopefully were going to go back and shoot Season 2. All that we waited is listening. I imagine to find out about the new year early. Hopefully, my plans will be focusing on National Treasure Season 2, but this is the only thing I really focused on now. Since I feel like a play, I am looking forward to getting back to theater in the meantime. I mean, I’ve got started on the stage. I’ve got the best theater in LA, so I might try and do that in the meantime. That’s the easiest way to learn. It’s the best way to refresh your skill levels. Maybe season 2 will begin shooting later in spring.
Your franchise year 2022 has been the year of 2022. The National Treasure, Fear the Walking Dead. How’s your experience relating to those franchises, and are you willing to try another franchise or pursue another one in 2023?
If you’re looking for a franchise, it’s really a great idea if you have enough fans. The world’s already established. You get to come in and like to live in this amazing thing already started. Yes, from the point where Madison re-awakened to the story by Fear the Walking Dead, everyone was waiting until the next moment. It was really, really special to be part of that. Obviously, fans have been wanting this extension now of National Treasure for years, so for me it’s great to make it up to that. Franchises are amazing. Disney has the helm of a ton. I would like to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe a moment ago. I would love to meet someone at one of the Star Wars exhibits. I loved Andor, I liked Mandalorian. It’s really a gift to become a Disney employee now. If I work with a company, I will go work with this. They do this with so many franchises I want to do so. If any of them are watching Make me a Marvel villain, I want to be a villain.
I wonder if that’ll happen next year. Lyndon, do you have last messages?
I just want people to see them. I can’t wait to hear the immediate feedback. I love that you get two episodes to start to really get your teeth in our re-imagining of this. I hope it is something people’s watching with their families on the holidays. Enjoy all that. That is amazing, but not popcorn. Maybe you will learn something along the way, but you gonna probably laugh. You definitely will be investing in the treasure hunt. You’re going to do that with us in real time. I really liked what it was like seeing the reaction. I think that I’ll be doing that a lot of times.