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Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. Especially when there’s a war on. But Lisa Howard’s Lili Marquette is right in the thick of things
from TV Zone #111

IN THE 1976 motion picture Network, actor Peter Finch opens a window and shouts out the famous line, "I'm as mad hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" In the hit syndicated television series Earth: Final Conflict ex-Marine Captain Lili Marquette feels like doing the same thing when an alien race called the Taelons arrives on Earth and extends the hand of 'friendship'. While most humans are enamoured of the creatures and thankful for the miracles they perform, some, like Marquette, suspect the Taelons are harbouring a far more sinister agenda. As a member of an underground movement known as the Resistance the captain has pledged to drive the aliens from Earth.

Like her character of Lili Marquette actress Lisa Howard is a bundle of enthusiasm and energy in real life. She has enjoyed playing the captain during the programme's first two seasons but longs to reveal more about her. "It's been fun keeping Lili mysterious and having the viewers wonder about her rather than immediately laying everything out on the line," says Howard. "I know who she is as a complete person, however, so it's sometimes frustrating for me to play only parts of her.

"I was afraid that the audience was going to get bored," continues the actress. "First of all, they're not going to know who she is and by the time they find out they're not going to care. I've had to trust them [the show's producers] a lot, but, God, the creative team on this show is so spectacular that they're easy to trust. I have enormous respect for them and they've crafted this character quite nicely."

Video Star

Howard had heard about a new Gene Roddenberry project six months before casting for Earth: Final Conflict began. She subsequently became busy in Los Angeles guest-starring on several television sitcoms which included a recurring role as Judd Nelson's spoiled high-society ex-wife Margo in the comedy series Suddenly Susan starring Brooke Shields. When her agents sent her a script for a new one-hour Science Fiction series being filmed in Canada she declined, preferring to stay in California and continue her work there.

"My husband and I had just bought a house in Los Angeles so I really wasn't interested in going back to Canada for an extended period of time," she recalls. "When the Gene Roddenberry project came along my agents just assumed I wouldn't be interested so they never bothered to send me a script. Kevin Kilner [Captain William Boone] is a friend of my husband's and we had met socially on several occasions. Last May [1997] my husband got a call from Kevin who said, 'Gee, I'm looking at all these tapes of Canadian actresses for a part in this new series. Why isn't Lisa's tape in here?'

"Kevin got me on the phone and said, 'Please, won't you just read the script and think about it?' I said, 'OK, but I'm really not interested'. Of course, once I read the script I knew I was in trouble because I really liked it but it still wasn't enough to convince me to audition. Kevin knew his ace in the hole would be [executive producer] David Kirschner, so he arranged for all of us to go out to dinner. David is such a compelling, creative individual that you want to drop everything and work with him and that's exactly what happened."

Lisa Howard talks about the death of Boone, the new look for Earth: The Final Conflict's second season, the arrival of Kincaid and much more... Plus The new leading man of the series interviewed: Liam Kincaid, played by Robert Leeshock – All in TV Zone #111

Steven Eramo
 
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