A key moment called for Henstridge to knock De Caestecker unconscious with a fire extinguisher, an act she rehearsed repeatedly…Despite the practice and the extinguisher’s soft, rubber material, Henstridge was convinced she would hurt De Caestecker. Throughout the day she practiced bumping people on the back of the head…to make certain she could sell the gag without hurting her victim. When it came time to shoot, Henstridge still was hesitant to hit De Caestecker with the necessary force. After much coaxing, she took a good swing and sent him crumpling to the ground in pain. It was a brilliant moment of acting. Ever the prankster, De Caestecker enlisted the help of the on-set makeup team to creative a massive bruise on the back of his neck and feigned injury for most of the next day. A distraught Henstridge fell for the ruse completely.
Henstridge: When we first went into the audition, we got very little information. We got that they kind of came as a duo, and that Simmons was a biochemist and she was incredibly intelligent, but that’s kind of all I got. That she was young and intelligent. And then you just get the script, that’s specifically for the auditions.
Loeb: We didn’t want to use a scene from the actual pilot for a number of reasons. One of which was that as executive producers we didn’t want to be sick of the scene by the time we were going to shoot it, and we were seeing hundreds of actors from Toronto and London and New York and Australia and Los Angeles… Joss wrote a scene specifically for the audition — basically, the two of them in a very close, trapped space, and they’re going to die. We saw each of them individually, and then we picked pairs. I think what it really speaks to is that Elizabeth and Iain, in their very first reading together, had a kind of chemistry that we weren’t going to be able to manufacture; it just happened. They’re very different sorts of people, and that magic happened right away, and just made it sort of easy.
- from a Wired interview last fall (x)
Joss Whedon writes women particularly well. What could you feel reading his character?
Just that she doesn’t apologize for anything. She doesn’t apologize for being intelligent or strong. She never references that “Oh, by the way, I’m also a woman” and that’s great. That’s the way it should be. In an ideal world you wouldn’t have to fight for it or excuse it or explain it in any way. So she’s just a well rounded human being and she happens to be a female.
— Elizabeth Henstridge talking to Crave Online last fall (x)