Arielle Kebbel (Midnight, Texas) knew she had to be involved in NBC’s new police drama, Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector, immediately upon reading the first script. During our interview at the 2019 New York Comic Con, Kebbel explained why she felt so drawn to this series based on Jeffery Deaver’s bestselling novel. She also spoke about taking on a role played by Angelina Jolie in the 1999 feature film adaptation of Deaver’s novel.
Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector, starring Russell Hornsby in the title role, will premiere on January 10, 2020 at 8pm ET/PT.
What was the appeal of playing Amelia?
Arielle Kebbel: “I am obsessed with the movie. I was aware of the book series because I know my dad has been a big fan of the book series by Jeffery Deaver for a while. And then honestly when I first read the script, it was a page-turner. There’s a lot of scripts I love but every now and then – and you never know when it’s coming – there’s that one that comes and you’re just, like, my heart starts pounding. I’m like, ‘Oh my god, this is it. This is it! There’s something here that I just need to do. I need to be a part of it.’
That’s how I felt about Amelia. It wasn’t really explainable…it was just a feeling. I had to just fight for that feeling.
I was away in Vancouver doing a movie and I kept calling every day. I was like, ‘Have they watched my audition?!’ Three weeks went by and I was finally back in LA. I get a call and it was, ‘You’re going in tomorrow morning to meet everybody.’ I remember it was almost perfect that I had zero prep time. I got the call at 9 at night and I had to be there at 9 the next morning. So, it was almost perfect because I couldn’t even think about it; I just had to trust it was happening for a reason.
And when I went in the room, I remember looking at Mark (Bianculli) and VJ (Boyd) and saying, ‘Look, I have no idea who you’re going to hire for this role but I want to say thank you because even just being at this audition is so important to me. I feel so drawn to Amelia. I really want to highlight her backstory with PTSD and multiple anxiety disorders and share the layers of brokenness with her in this very strong person.’ I kind of walked out of the room and I was like, ‘I can’t believe I just said all that!’
But, hey, I guess it worked! It was just something like, hey, if I never see Mark and VJ again I need them to know that they created an experience for me. Without them writing it, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go into that room and bring her to life, even if it was only for a few moments. That, to me, was such a beautiful experience. I wanted them to know that.
I guess my answer is that there was just a feeling about this one through the whole process of just honoring Amelia.”
Did you model your performance in any way after Angelina Jolie’s performance in the feature film?
Arielle Kebbel: “I don’t know that anyone could model a performance after her. I’m definitely honored. I respect her enormously. It was important for me to pull certain character traits from both the movie and the book. I would talk to Mark and VJ like, ‘I think this moment in the book is important. It shows who she is here.’ And the same with the movie.
She’s very masculine in the movie. You know the scene where she is like down in the steam room and he’s telling her to cut off the hands and she’s freaking out and says, ‘F*ck you, no!’ But I wanted to take that theme and put it into my relationship with Lincoln in the TV show. That theme of like, ‘This is too much for me! I’m not your puppet. I’m a human, too.’ And then she stays anyways. She has those moments, she fights back, and then she finds her own way.
Sometimes finding her own way is doing it her own way, which I feel like is something that Angelina does in the movie. So, there are moments like that that I feel like I wanted to bring.”
How would you describe her journey as a person in this first season?
Arielle Kebbel: “It’s a massive physical journey you’ll see, just going from beat cop to detective and what that means in her daily life. She’s never been in an interrogation room. She’s never been on a crime scene. She’s trained her whole life for that – she wants to be in the FBI – but now all of a sudden she’s thrown into this world. And so there’s something about it she really likes and enjoys and gets off on the adrenaline.
There’s also like every single day everything is new. It’s very overwhelming. There’s a lot of moments with both my sister and when I’m in the field where you see me break down. I have an anxiety attack at the worst possible time. Or, I’m promising my sister she’s safe when I know she’s not, you know? So, I think you see the journey with her is that she keeps saying yes and yet she keeps breaking down as well. Sometimes in life you don’t just like keep getting better; it’s literally an up and down. I think that’s what you see with this character and I like that. At the end of the season, nothing is tied up in a pretty bow with her and her emotions.”
- Russell Hornsby Interview on Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector
- Arielle Kebbel Exclusive Interview on Midnight, Texas