Melinda Page Hamilton: Damnation

Damnation fans, you have questions about Connie, the strike boss assassin?  We have the answers in a interview with the actress that brings her to life, Melinda Page Hamilton

Welcome to USA’s latest hit drama, Damnation, where no one’s as they seem.  When a new preacher comes into town, he and his wife bring with them a desire to turn big business on its head and help the little guy.  For more watch the trailer, then read the interview.

Connie, one of the badass women in a show full of badass women, stands out for the fact that she’s a female assassin.  I was able to ask Melinda Page Hamilton who plays her, what she thought about Connie and what makes her tick.  Here’s what she had to say.

How did you hear about this show?

My Agent and Manager sent me the script.

What made you try out for the part?

I loved the writing and I thought the characters were so well drawn- especially the women. I loved that the women defy the cultural “types” that they seem to be. Bessie, a “whore” is a shrewd business woman, Amelia a “preacher’s wife” is the mastermind behind a revolution and Connie “a widow-lady” is a ruthless strike breaker hell-bent on revenge.

 What do you like about the show?

Everything! I love the period. I love the story , I love that it tells the story of a piece of our history that I think is currently quite relevant.

What makes Connie tick?

We get to find out a little more about Connie as the season unfolds but the short answer is “trauma.” When we meet her she is a woman living in the shadows of life, unattached to other people and to the consequences of her actions, emotionally completely disconnected. What’s interesting is to find out why she’s the way she is, watch her have to enter the land of the living to achieve her agenda, and then see how that agenda gets complicated by her emerging relationships to other people.

There’s a lot of strong, smart, savage female characters that we generally don’t see in this time period. Was that part of the appeal?

Absolutely! These women have agency and ambition in a time period where that was not encouraged or expected.

Do we learn more about what drives Connie to kill?

We do…we find out more about her past.

Did you do your own stunts?

I try to! There are limits to what we are allowed to do but we had a terrific stunt coordinator who, if he could find a way to make it safe, would let us do as much as we could.

How long did you have to train to use the guns to make it look real?

I actually grew up shooting guns in Virginia and Alaska with my uncles – and while I hadn’t touched one in over 20 years, we got to spend some time at the firing range to practice and it was amazing to see how much I had retained.

How is this show different from others you’ve worked on?

I would say that as a cast it was one of the closest knit I’ve ever been part of – just a tremendous group of talented, down to earth people and the crew was just as terrific. It was a group of amazingly hard working people who all wanted to make a great show and left their egos at the door.

Why do you think the creator was able to write such strong, amazing women?

Well I know he is married to one! Ultimately I think he’s a great writer with enormous empathy – I think all his characters are amazing. But I am particularly thrilled that the women are so strong and that he hires strong, amazing women writers and directors to boot.

What do you want people to take away from the show?

First and foremost I want people to get engaged with the story.  I think it’s an interesting examination of what makes America tick and the pitfalls and promise of populism.

Is this one of your more demanding roles?

Oh yes.

What’s something about yourself that would surprise people?

Uhhhh…I made a terrific Vegan lasagna for Thanksgiving? I’m decidedly carnivorous – so I myself am surprised that my foray into Vegan cooking was so successful.

Melinda, thanks again for answering our burning questions about our favorite female assassin.  For more on Connie and to learn more about Damnation, be sure to watch new episodes every Tuesday at 10:00 eastern.