Molly Parker: 'Lost in Space' heroine, villain 'two sides of same coin'

By Karen Butler
Molly Parker stars as Maureen Robinson on "Lost In Space." File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
1 of 2 | Molly Parker stars as Maureen Robinson on "Lost In Space." File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Deadwood and House of Cards alum Molly Parker said her Lost in Space heroine, Maureen Robinson, might be more like her nemesis, Dr. Smith, than she cares to admit.

"We are pretty evenly matched," the actress recently told reporters at New York Comic Con about the Lost in Space villain played by Parker Posey.


"In some ways, these women are two sides of the same coin," Molly Parker said. "They are both really ambitious. They are both really competent and self-sufficient and able and smart. One of them thinks she is doing everything for all the right reasons and the other one is clear about her selfishness."

Season 2 of the space adventure -- a remake of the 1960s TV show by the same name -- is set to debut on Netflix on Tuesday.

The show follows aerospace engineer Maureen, her husband John (Toby Stephens) and her children Will, Penny and Judy (Maxwell Jenkins, Mina Sundwall and Taylor Russell), as they escape a catastrophic event on Earth to become interstellar colonists, only to be attacked and thrown off course. Smith is an imposter on-board who sabotages the survivors' attempts to be rescued.


"She's a classic villain," Posey said of Smith, further describing the character is also an "outcast and an outsider."

"Back in the beginning with the Greeks and Shakespeare and all that, the villain is a victim of the fates and gods and they grapple with being a bad person and having these instincts. They are broken people. They look at the brokenness and don't quite understand it," Posey explained.

"They can't quite comfort themselves and have this sense that is sociopathic, but she is positive in her way of thinking and this justice that she wants is skewed. But really she wants what all villains want -- love from her family and acceptance within society."

Posey -- whose credits include Best in Show and For Your Consideration -- appreciates how the Lost in Space writers have tried to give Smith depth by explaining how she became who she is.

"You get to feel for the villain. That's great. She's not just this killing machine," Posey said. "My job is to empathize with her. She's a fun character. She gets to be part of a family. She gets to act out all her troubled past."


Characters who create conflict serve as catalysts for change and help restore balance in stories by inspiring heroes, she added.

"You get to be epic, big and grotesque, in a way," Posey said of playing the baddie. "When I come on in the first episode of Season 2 -- just the look on Molly's face when she opens the door and sees me. ... We're really fighting now. The stakes are there. It's adrenalized and energized."

Parker's scenes with Posey were among her favorites to film.

"The family is in a situation where they are safe and they should probably just stay where they are and Maureen just can't," Molly Parker said. "There are fun scenes with Parker where we are really up against each other."

Because they are trapped together on an alien planet, the Robinsons can't simply banish Smith once they realize she is evil.

"Jail is a room next door and we have to be the jailers," Molly Parker said. "It's very complicated. And Parker (Posey)? I could watch her all day every day. She is absolutely the most inventive actress. She can make something out of absolutely nothing and she does it every day. She is brilliant."


Show-runner Zack Estrin teased what fans might expect from Season 2.

"In flashbacks, we get a little more Dr. Smith insight," Estrin said. "We will get to further develop the relationship we saw in Season 1 with her sister [played by] Selma Blair, who was great to have with us and we wish her good health," Estrin said of Blair who is battling multiple sclerosis.

The show also will explore the tension between John and his stepdaughter Judy; why and how the Earth was destroyed; and what Maureen traded to get Will aboard the spaceship when he initially failed to qualify as a passenger.

"The 14-year-old sci-fi nerd part of me wants to say the action-packed robot fight scenes [are what I liked best], but really, the heart of the show is the family," Jenkins said.

"It's the relationship of the Robinsons and Don West (Ignacio Serricchio) and Dr. Smith and all the other people who they interact with. How the family reacts to different scenarios is what really interests me about the show."

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