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Q&A: Erica Cerra of 'Eureka'

Posted 11:33am on Monday, Jul. 18, 2011

Erica Cerra, a.k.a. Jo Lupo of Syfy's Eureka, is eager to give viewers what they want. The trouble is, when it comes to matters of romance, viewers often can't make up their minds. Cerra is referring to the on-again, off-again romance between Jo, the tough town deputy, and Zane Donovan, the bad boy scientist (played by Niall Matter). "It's quite interesting," Cerra says. "When Jo and Zane got together, the fans did not like those two characters together at all and they were quite vocal about it. But at some point, they warmed to the idea of us as a couple." Then came last summer's plot twist, which sent several of Eureka's characters into an alternate reality, one in which Jo and Zane were not in love. "Now the very same fans are devastated," says Cerra, whose character in the different Eureka, a town populated by geniuses, is head of security of Global Dynamics. "Now the fans can't wait for us to get back together. It's funny how it flipped." The good news — assuming that fans don't flip again — is that the Jo-Zane romance is on the mend. They'll explore forgotten/suppressed feelings in an episode at 7 p.m. CT Monday, July 18.

How cool and gratifying is it to be part of a show that's so beloved by fans?

"It's amazing. When we first got the script, six or seven years ago now, we all had big hopes and dreams for the show, because there was nothing like it on TV. It was really neat and interesting and cool and there weren't a whole lot of boundaries. And it was always fun. But now it's beyond anything I expected it to be. It's amazing to get to do a fourth season, a fifth season and hopefully a sixth season and have people say better and better things about the show. The stories keep getting stronger and the actors are getting stronger too. We're getting really great feedback this season. It's definitely something to be proud of."

Jo is a wonderful character. She is tough as nails. But underneath that hard shell is a soft center. How much fun is that to play? And as an actor, which does it for you more: when you carry big guns and kick butt or when you do character-driven, relationship stuff?

"I love all of it, equally. Each has its appeal. I love doing the tough girl stuff. I get to do a lot of fight scenes and stunts. That stuff is amazing and a lot of fun to do and I try to do as much of it as I can. But then again, to do the character-driven stuff and the emotional stuff, that's what every actor internally wants to do. And I think if I could only do one side of this character, I'd be longing for more of the other stuff. So it's great to have both."

Is there a lot of you in Jo and a lot of Jo in you?

"When I was growing up, I was definitely a tomboy. I didn't wear makeup. I didn't even wear girly clothes. I wore a lot of my brother's hand-me-downs. I played all the sports. I was in martial arts. I boxed. I weight-lifted. I did a lot of boy things. I think the first time I really wore dresses was when I was 23. As I've gotten older, I've become more feminine, gotten more in touch with my femininity. So now when I go to work, it's kind of a throwback to when I was younger and very much a tomboy."

Given how the show celebrates technology, how much of a "techie" are you in real life?

"I am not at all a techie. I don't get any of the science stuff. Half the time, I don't even understand the science-based 'A' plot storyline. I don't even get what's happening. Thankfully I'm not involved in a lot of those storylines. When I am, I really have to do research. I call the writers and ask, 'What the hell is going on?' I like the science stuff. I'm intrigued by it and I'm interested in it. But I don't get it a lot of the times."

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