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Before I see Klea Scott, on the set of Millennium, I see her double, a quiet white woman who intently scans the script like the proverbially eager understudy. She has on a strange- looking wig, however. To make her better resemble Scott, a light-complexioned black women with wavy hair, the set make-up artist has capped her in an oddly crinkled hairpiece that looks like it was textured in a clothes dryer.
The real Klea Scott is emersed in a scene. This is her first season on the Fox series "Millennium," now in its third year. She plays rookie FBI agent Emma Hollis, who is acting indignant (in a characteristically dignified manner) as she finds fellow agents riffling through her belongings for evidence that she's a drug addict.
Suspicion is the emotional staple of each show. "Millennium," after all, is a macabre crime drama that works hard to be disturbing.
I'm seeing the scene for the first time, but it's likely far from the first time she's run through it. When I arrived it was about two in the afternoon, and the cast and crew had been working since early morning. It takes hours of effort by the staff and actors to produce one minute of usable footage. This is going to be just another long hard 14-hour workday in "glamorous" show biz land. This afternoon the show is being shot at its home base, Lion's Gate Studio in North Vancouver, British Columbia. The largest production site in Canada, it's that nation's closest equivalent to Twentieth Century Fox or Paramount.
Scott takes a break. Set escort Jennifer Metcalf whispers to me that an extra scene has been suddenly scheduled for the actress. Metcalf doesn't know how much time there will be for an interview.
A few minutes later I was outside the sound stage and in Scott's trailer. With a bachelor's degree in fine arts and performances in the New York Shakespeare Festival on her resume, Scott is certifiably intelligent. A Canadian who grew up in Ottawa, she is not a product of Hollywood (which I suspect is a secret play on the words "hollow wood").
She sees her character Emma Hollis as an apprentice to the show's renegade veteran agent Frank Black, played by Lance Henriksen. "Hollis is going to learn all she can from Black," she says. "Others don't understand his methods, but she's going to hold on until she does."
Scott's happy that in real life she's going to be holding on to a job at least until the end of April. Last year she was working in L.A., with a major role on Steven Bochco's Brooklyn South. But the show was canceled at the end of its first season, leaving Scott in a state of jobless uncertainty. "I was filling out applications to wait tables," she says. Millennium caught her in mid-air.
It had just dropped Megan Gallagher, who played Frank Black's wife. Last year her character was killed by a disease outbreak spawned by the evil end-of-the-world group "Millennium."
Scott was then moved in as the female lead. But she doesn't see her character as a proxy for Gallagher. "Emma is far too active in crime (fighting) to be a replacement for Frank's wife. That was a personal relationship."
How personal the relationship between Emma Hollis and Frank Black will get, she doesn't know. "There's a question mark in everything on the show."
On "X-Files," the other creation of producer Chris Carter, alien chasers Dana Scully and Fox Mulder are unabashedly flirtatious. Right now Hollis and Black are just colleagues.
"But people say we have a chemistry," she says. "It's unlike any other combination. You're seeing a gender difference, a race difference and an age difference." (Scott is 30; Henriksen is in his 50s.)
I ask whether she sees Emma Hollis as racially neutral or culturally black. She says the latter. "I think it (blackness) is in everything I do. It's who I am."
Scott may be a woman who knows who she is, but like most in her profession, she doesn't know where she's going to be in, let's say, a year.
Regulars are snuffed out on "Millennium" right and left. Pestilence killed off her predecessor after two seasons and scriptwriters at this very moment may be deciding which of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Agent Hollis is going to buy it from.
Scott has to know that, but it doesn't shadow her enthusiasm for what's going on in her life at the moment. She says she loves the show and loves working in Vancouver. "I feel really blessed knowing that my fate is sealed until May."