What is the bigger nightmare: your sister being abducted at the age of 3 or how your family falls apart when she comes home 13 years later? For Taylor Wilson (Anna Jacoby-Heron), both options are equally tough and nightmarish.
In the new MTV drama FINDING CARTER, the spotlight is turned on one family after their daughter is returned after being abducted as a young child. But just what happens when someone who did not know they were abducted is forcibly returned and does not want to be there? Curiously, it is not what anyone expects and that is what makes FINDING CARTER so fascinating. Just what will Carter (Kathryn Prescott) do next and how will the family she comes home to handle it? For her twin sister Taylor, life has changed as she knew it and she is not sure whether it is for better or worse. Only one thing is certain: she loves her sister and is grateful to have her back.
In a recent exclusive interview, co-star Anna Jacoby-Heron happily talked about her character Taylor’s acclimation to being reunited with her twin sister and the ripple-effects Carter’s return has on everyone’s lives.
How would you describe Taylor? Who is she?
ANNA: When we meet Taylor in the beginning, she is pretty much the polar opposite of her sister Carter (Kathryn Prescott). Even though they are twins, they are so different. Taylor’s grown up without a sister and because of that she has become this very responsible young girl who kind of takes care of everyone and looks out for the family.
With Carter back, it seems like Taylor wants to be a different person.
ANNA: Exactly. What I really like about Taylor is the arc of her character this season. It’s like a 360. She completely changes. It’s very fun and she starts to experience things that she’s never experienced. Her sister is just this new, crazy part of her life and she’s opening up Taylor to all these new experiences and ideas. It’s really exciting and new for Taylor, and scary.
It seems like with Carter’s return, it took the spotlight off Taylor, and she is kind of like, “I can now do whatever I want.”
ANNA: Yeah, like “I’m free!”
So in a sense, Taylor has to be grateful that her sister did reappear in her life because it gave her that opportunity.
ANNA: Oh yeah. She would have never come out of her hole.
There are perks to having a long-lost sister appear out of the blue, but one of the bad aspects is that Carter catches the eye of the boy of Taylor’s dreams, Gabe (Jesse Henderson).
ANNA: That’s how it starts. Carter comes in and Gabe is immediately into her. It seems like that is going to be a love-triangle or something, but they get over it and everything’s okay.
Then Taylor catches the eye of Carter’s ex, Max (Alex Saxon), which is just fantastic.
ANNA: (Laughs) It’s amazing because he is someone that her sister was into at one point and Taylor is so different. But they had broken up. So it’s really cool for Taylor to be interested in someone who is different than what she has known. But it seems to work.
Did you enjoy getting the chance to play the “bad girl” or the “rebellious child”?
ANNA: Well, Taylor hasn’t really been that yet. She’s very goodie-two-shoes for awhile. She starts to change and I really enjoyed playing that part ’cause she is completely different than me. It’s kind of easier for me to go into the rebellious phase because that’s how I was. But I enjoy the core of her, which is really good.
What is the relationship between the sisters? Are they starring at each other like they are foreign monkeys, or are they going to actually develop sisterly feelings for each other?
ANNA: They kind of immediately hang out and are just sisters, like they never were. But they have a really nice relationship. It blossoms a lot and it becomes more sisterly. It’s a really sweet relationship.
This is an unusual show. It is about child abduction and being returned from that situation. Yet FINDING CARTER seems to be more about a family trying to figure out how to be a family. It is very heart-warming in a very unexpected way.
ANNA: It kind of starts with the abduction and that is a big deal, but that is not really what the show is about. It’s more about how everyone is dealing with it in their own ways and how that effects everyone in the family.
Is there hope for this family? We saw them try therapy, but that doesn’t seem to quite be their thing.
ANNA: (Laughs) Therapy doesn’t work out so well. Sometimes it is like there is so much despair that everyone is insane and doing their own thing. But there are moments of real togetherness and hope for the family and love.
For Taylor, is she Team Mom or Team Dad? It seems like there are different sides.
ANNA: I think she is kind of Team Mom — for awhile. I think part of the reason that Taylor is the way she is when we first meet her is because Elizabeth (Cynthia Watros) drilled into her life, “Look, this is what happened to your sister. You need to be extra careful.” So I think Taylor has a real connection to her mom in that way and she feels very protective of her mother.
That’s interesting. I would have thought Taylor would have been closer to her dad. So maybe dad is not as warm-and-fuzzy as we initially imagined.
ANNA: (Laughs) No.
Oh, dad’s got a secret!
ANNA: Yeah. Everyone does, it seems.
What about Taylor and her brother Grant (Zac Pullam)? That seems like an interesting dynamic.
ANNA: They have a really sweet relationship. Grant is a great character. Zac is really funny. Taylor has a great relationship with him. But he’s not paid attention to that much. He’s the “invisible child.” I think Taylor tries to see him and tries to include him. She’s kind of that connection between him and the family sometimes. But then he and Carter really hit it off.
So where is this family going throughout the first season? What are they going to aim for ’cause they are obviously together and working on trying to be a family, but it doesn’t seem like they are adjusting well.
ANNA: Yeah, there are a lot of “bombs” dropped all the time. It’s just like watching their reactions and their thought-process to whatever is going on, whatever is affecting them at that moment. It keeps getting crazier, but they find different ways to handle it and different ways to dealing with things.
As we have seen, there are three young men vying for Carter’s attention: Gabe, Max and Crash (Caleb Ruminer). Which team are you on?
ANNA: Team Max. Definitely. I love Max’s character. He is the sweetest man. He looks out for Carter so much. He’s kind of the one connection she has to her old life. So when he comes around, it makes her a lot more comfortable and he’s there basically to help. Then the family really takes a liking to him. Elizabeth and David (Alexis Denisof) really like him. He is just a good support for everyone.
So are you rooting for Max and Carter or Max and Taylor?
ANNA: (Laughs) Max and Taylor! Definitely.
Carter is a wild child and doesn’t seem to want to be pinned down, so why give her one.
ANNA: Exactly. Just give Max to me.
From what we have seen, it looks like Carter wants to go back to her old life with her “mom.” Is that something that Taylor is going to feel betrayed by or will she be supportive of that decision?
ANNA: I think she would feel very betrayed. Once they have built a relationship that Taylor’s really relying on — like there are so many firsts for her — like things that she never thought she would be able to talk to her sister about or ask advice for — and Carter helps Taylor come out of her shell, so Carter is a huge part of changing Taylor — and I think Taylor would feel very abandoned.
As we look across the entire season, what is the general feeling? Is this going to be a show that is going to rip our hearts out and trample all over it? Or are there going to be ups and downs, and give some lighter moments where we can go, “Phew! This family is not totally doomed”?
ANNA: I think there are going to be some lighter moments, but it’s really going to tug on your heart. But also there is a lot of funny moments and great characters — like the friends Bird (Vanessa Morgan) and Ofe (Jesse Carere). Ofe is just such a comic-relief. He is so funny. So I think those characters will help make it lighter.
Who is the most fun? Which is the most fun character to work with on set?
ANNA: Probably Ofe. But it’s hard because he is the hardest to work with because he makes me laugh. Like he could do anything and it would be the funniest thing and I can’t keep a straight face. So he’s the hardest to work around too. But he’s just fun.
So what kind of teaser can you offer about what is coming up on the show?
ANNA: Characters are going to change. You think you know one character and then figure out that you are so wrong about them. They have so much to hide. That’s a really insane part of it. There’s just too many ups and downs to handle sometimes. So there’s going to be a lot of surprises and a lot of really sweet moments. So you can look forward to all that.
To find out just who is hiding the biggest secret, be sure to tune in for all new episodes of FINDING CARTER on Tuesday nights at 10:00 p.m. on MTV.