When you are privileged to have a lot of money growing up, your formative years can be tough to get through. Now imagine going through the most tumultuous time of your life stuck on a train with your conniving, calculated parents. Did LJ Folger ever have a chance at a normal life?
Annalisa Basso’s LJ is an up-and-coming schemer with a lot of time on her hands–it’s natural that she would get into some trouble. With virtually no one her age on Snowpiercer, LJ is given the dangerous freedom to do whatever she wants with almost no consequences. The introduction to her character is a great misdirect–we think she’s just a bored teen, but we soon learn how selfish and desperate she is already at such a young age.
Basso and I talked about LJ’s loneliness, her true feelings about her parents, and whether she will be able to change her ways in the second season.
Awards Daily: What do you imagine LJ’s life was like before her family got on Snowpiercer?
Annalise Basso: I think she got everything she wanted. She was spoiled but she was very alone. Her parents are very cold even though her father babies her and spoils her. She lived her life very isolated from everyone and it wasn’t a childhood that was filled with love.
AD: I kept thinking about how lonely LJ must be. There were moments where I was looking for other people around the same age as LJ, but I couldn’t see anyone.
AD: When she got on the train, there was no one she could bond with.
AB: And Eric was her only friend and they had an abusive relationship. She’s alone and she’s given into these feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. LJ is a great representation of what it looks like when you give up.
AD: Yeah, it’s a lot sadder than what it appears to be on the surface.
AD: Kerry O’Malley and Vincent Gale play your parents and they are just so cold and think they deserve the best no matter what. Is there anything that LJ likes about them? What does she actually think of them?
AB: She’s afraid of her mother and she knows how to manipulate her father. They’re less parents and more like competitors.
AB: They’re still competing on the same team. They all want power. Instead of father-daughter or mother-daughter, it’s a team sport almost for them. Whatever it is or whatever it’s called, it’s not healthy.
AD: You’re kind of a modern Veruca Salt.
AB: Oh, yeah! A psychotic version of her for sure.
AD: Do you think she learned how to manipulate people because of her parents or is that something she picked up to survive her own loneliness?
AB: This is a cop-out, but I think it’s a little bit of both. Her mother is a master manipulator and she’s the closest thing to a role model. At least the biggest female figure in her life. She devolved into that because of her. Her mother talks about her bloodline existing is LJ’s way of carrying out that legacy. LJ’s legacy is power.
AD: That’s terrifying.
AD: You have a fearlessness that is so watchable. Near the end of the season, you tease Jennifer Connolly about the picture of her daughter, and I thought that was the most dangerous and fearless that LJ felt to me.
AB: There’s a freedom that comes with stepping into another character. LJ isn’t fearless because she has totally given into the fear and the darkness, so she’s not afraid of it. She has nothing left to lose. Her innocence is gone. Her hope is gone. Her only friend abused her and he’s gone. She can’t lose anything if you have nothing left.
AD: The last time we see LJ is when she makes a connection with Osweiller—someone else who does shady business on Snowpiercer. What are you excited about with that connection?
AB: I hope they each find a friend. They are both so lonely so it will be nice if each have someone that they can relate to even if they are relating on their common evilness. That desire to create chaos to distract themselves from the world they are living in. I hope they find some comfort in each other’s company.
Snowpiercer is available to stream on TNT.com.