She saw her boss and mentor lose his life due to a Headless Horseman, had to team up to fight off evil with a breeches-wearing man who’d never eaten a donut, and most recently, incinerated a corpse witch with centuries old dynamite, but Lt. Abbie Mills is still standing and going strong on Fox’s fall hit “Sleepy Hollow.”
“I think a lot of people are watching and they’re kind of responding and following her journey because they’re sort of like, ‘What would you do? How would you exist in these circumstances?’” actress Nicole Beharie, who plays Abbie, told Access Hollywood.
“And it’s honestly a lot of fun,” she added of making the show.
The new series teams up Nicole’s Abbie alongside Brit Tom Mison’s Ichabod Crane as the two witnesses who are fighting to stop the apocalypse. Each week brings another challenge for the cross-centuries pair, who’ve had to scrap with the supernatural — a Horseman, a demon in the mirror and even the reanimated Andy (John Cho), who came back to life in Episode 2, to fight for the dark side. Abbie has the added challenge of giving Ichabod, who last walked the earth in the late 1700s, a crash course in modern inventions. And, in our new interview, Nicole addressed everything from Abbie’s caring, informational Post-Its on lamps and showers, to where the Headless Horseman has gone.
AccessHollywood.com: Can we talk about John Cho, who plays Andy, being back on the show? First of all, how fun was it to keep that secret (that he wasn’t out after the pilot)?
Nicole Beharie: We’re sort of in a tunnel. We are shooting in North Carolina, away from everything. As far as keeping it secret, it wasn’t really a lot of work because we’re working like all the time, like insane, crazy, crazy, crazy hours. But he’s amazing. He’s a lot of fun. We’ve seen him do a ton of different things and this is like a complete 180. Like really? He broke his neck; it’s backwards; what’s going on? And he’s a bad guy. I can’t give any spoilers [but] it gets more interesting as far as his character’s concerned. … I’m a huge fan of his as well as Clancy Brown, who plays Sheriff Corbin, who appears and reappears and dies and comes back and all that kind of stuff.
Access: Speaking of Sheriff Corbin, it was a ‘Lost’ like twist when we got to see him at the desk in Episode 2. Would you like to see him continue as her mentor in any way, shape or form?
Nicole: Abbie’s definitely at a loss for what’s happening at the moment. Because Corbin is sort of in on it to some degree and she’s discovering that, he definitely helps to guide her throughout the season and put little bits and pieces together.
Access: At this point, how do you think Abbie feels about all this stuff. Is it good because it makes her childhood makes sense or is she hoping someone slipped something in her drink and she’s going to wake up and it was all a dream?
Nicole: I know right? It’s like the red pill or the blue pill. What do you do? I feel like it’s a bit of like the absurdity of life. I think everyone feels that way and I think that’s what’s pretty cool about it and that’s what people can relate to. Even though this is like a big fantasy picture and it’s really out there, everyone’s had the moment of like, ‘Is this really happening? Is this my life? Am I seeing this? Is everything that’s happened to me before preparing me for this moment?’ And I think that’s kind of where she is. She’s figuring out what it all means, but is really skeptical about a lot of it at the same time.
Access: Abbie seems like she’s got a tough side, but then we saw in last week’s episode she’s the kind of woman that puts Post-It notes on lamps and in showers (so Ichabod could figure out how they worked). What did you think of that? It showed her softer side without her having to be all warm and cuddly.
Nicole: She cares. She didn’t come from a really frilly, touchy-feely background, but she’s a good person and ultimately, she’s kind of his caretaker. He has no idea what’s going on in the world around him in this day and age and she’s just trying to help him become acclimated to the whole thing. And I love that you noticed that, though. It wasn’t like a scene like, ‘Oh, poor Crane. I’m gonna do this for you.’ She just did it and that was it and there’s not a whole lot of discussion about it. It’s like, ‘Here’s the clothes.’ He chose not to wear [them]. Whatever. But, you know, it’s just kind of like cut and dry even though it’s coming from a really loving place.
Access: At least he bathed though, which is awesome, because back during Revolutionary times, they didn’t bathe that often. So that’s probably been more pleasant for you in the car.
Nicole: (Laughs) And, you know, Tom is actually really serious about embodying that kind of thing, so he actually won’t shower for like weeks.
Access: What do you think about their relationship — Abbie and Ichabod’s — especially since he started probing her about her ex, Luke, in Episode 2?
Nicole: I don’t know. I think right now, what I love about it is, it’s not a romantic thing. It’s sort of like they’re figuring out what it means to be with someone from a totally different world, a different time and all that. … Like, following the exact same path and trying to defeat this monster, stop the apocalypse together, with a different vernacular, different tools at their disposal. So I kind of feel like that’s what they’re figuring out right now. I don’t know that there’s much more happening, but who knows.
Access: So tell me about Luke. We know he’s handsome, a veteran, fairly manly, not good with the jokes. What are we gonna get from him going forward?
Nicole: (Laughs) You seem to have filled in all the blanks on that one. I think that they had a decent relationship, so I guess figuring out why they really broke up and what’s going on and the town of Sleepy Hollow has like a ton of secrets, so I wonder if Luke has any secrets.
Access: Speaking of secrets, where is the Headless Horseman and when is he coming back?
Nicole: It’s so funny, my sister called me and she was like, what happened to the Headless Horseman… Every episode is going to be a little bit different. Headless — I mean, in the first episode we were basically able to put him in like a purgatorial state, so he’s in limbo right now. I don’t know when we’ll be seeing him again exactly, but we will. That’s all I can probably say.
Access: Katrina Crane said in Episode 2, that in order to start this whole thing, this army has to be born and you guys incinerated the first one. So are we going to be facing those sorts of people (creatures) as it goes along?
Nicole: I think we’re going to have like a bevy of demonic forces coming at us. I think the forces that be, the powers that be, will sort of unleash whatever tools they have to stop us from succeeding and the Headless Horseman is just one of them really.
Access: So, Jenny Mills — the ‘uber demon’ (as Tom calls him) is in her mental facility patient room. … What are we going to see going forward? She can kick a**, which is helpful, but their relationship has to be hard, right?
Nicole: Yeah, they have sort of a caustic, they have a tough relationship and there’s a lot of history there. It’s going to be really interesting to see how that unfolds and how Jenny plays into it, because she obviously knows some things. The Mills sisters are both pretty tough and it’s hard to get powerful women in a room in any way, you know what I mean? So I think that’s gonna be interesting to see.
Access: I noticed the ladies really like Tom (who plays Ichabod)? Is that weird for you because maybe you’ve seen him do something ridiculous and embarrassing…?
Nicole: No, he’s actually a gentleman, so they have every reason to love him (laughs).
Access: Ok. Is it going to his head yet, all the attention?
Nicole: It was born in his head (laughs). No, I jest, he’s a lot fun. He’s a sweetheart and yeah, the ladies love him. He’s a gorgeous guy and he’s so much fun to work with so more power [to them].
“Sleepy Hollow” airs Mondays at 9/8c on Fox.
-- Jolie Lash