If you remain a devoted fan of Charisma Carpenter from her Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel days, when she played the evolving character of Cordelia Chase, you’ll be excited to learn she’s returning to television for an extended arc on The Lying Game — and her character has a few things in common with the high schooler turned higher being. Carpenter recently opened up to reporters about Rebecca Annie Sewell and hinted at the trouble her character will cause.
Rebecca is Phyllis’ (Sydney Barrosse) sister and Char’s (Kirsten Prout) aunt who has been living in Los Angeles for years, running a music company with her estranged husband. As a teenager, Rebecca was awkward and unattractive, which is part of the reason she fled her hometown. As for her motives for returning to Phoenix, “She thought she would go back home and start fresh, to everyone else’s chagrin,” says Carpenter. Having survived a lot of torment about her looks in high school, Rebecca is coming back to a place where not everyone will be happy to see her, especially now that she’s transformed herself. Yet Rebecca seems to want bygones to be bygones. “She’s optimistic. She wants a change. She’s open to befriending those people that weren’t nice to her when she was younger and starting new. I think she comes from a place of confidence and success and she has nothing to apologize for and she’s interested in opening those doors again.”
Don’t expect Rebecca to channel Emily Thorne and seek Revenge, though. “I think what her intention is really is like one of her lines recently to Kristin was, ‘Between you and me, it is really fun to be back and turning heads.’ She never turned heads in the past and she was really mistreated by her peers,” continues Carpenter.
As you may of guessed, Ted Mercer (Andy Buckley) and Alec Rybak (Adrian Pasdar) were among those peers. “They were cruel and mean to me and what that means, I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. They played games on me. Maybe The Lying Game started way before Sutton, I don’t know,” says Carpenter. The ‘80s version of Ted and Alec may have done something terrible to Rebecca, which means they won’t exactly be happy to see the new improved version stroll back into town. “I feel, though, there is very interesting tension between Ted Mercer and Annie Sewell, or Annie Rebecca Sewell. I feel like whenever he’s around, he’s kind of a cold fish and she kind of revels in that,” Carpenter says.
While Ted is squirming under Rebecca’s gaze, Alec is holding his own. “I feel like she has the most chemistry with Alec Rybak, but I think that’s kind of on purpose,” continues Carpenter. Maybe the tension between Alec and Rebecca is the romantic variety and that’s why Thayer Rybak (Christian Alexander) dislikes her. “We don’t know why he’s so resistant because his sister, Mads, is very happy to see me and thinks I’m cool,” says Carpenter.
Growing up with the bullying has informed Rebecca’s character, says Carpenter: “The way she was treated when she was younger affected her in a way that either you sink or swim, and apparently she swam.” Carpenter describes Rebecca as wise, sophisticated, and moneyed up, but perhaps she’s still guarded. “We don’t really know who she has an affinity for, if anyone,” says Carpenter, and then goes on to compare Rebecca to Buffy’s Cordelia: “I think she will tell you the truth. She’ll say enough to make a person uncomfortable which is very Cordelia, but she’s not as blatant as Cordelia. I think she just says enough.”
Charisma Carpenter will guest on six episodes of The Lying Game, staring January 2 with Season 1, Episode 11, “O Twin, Where Art Thou?”