"Real" is the most overused and clichéd adjective I can think of to describe an actress, but it is literally the best word I can think of to describe Karina Arroyave. When I say that Karina is "real," I'm not talking about a Kevin Sessums reality where it's like, "She met me at a diner in a vintage leather jacket, smoked Marlboro Lights the entire time, and was super-nice to the waitress who asked her for an autograph." Karina is simply a professional actress. She reminds me of one of those girls who went to my high school and was more concerned with getting into Julliard than moving to L.A. and dating a casting director. But unlike the girls who went to my high school, Karina isn't one of those "the-a-tah people" that set my teeth on edge. She's really shy and sweet and -- as you can see -- put up with my annoying questions over the phone for over an hour with barely a complaint.
Karina: Wait, so how are you taping this? How are you getting my voice on tape?
Gustave: I'm using a tape recorder that hooks up to my phone. I've got the same set-up that Linda Tripp had.
Oh god! I won't be telling you anything that juicy, unfortunately.
Did you see the HBO Monica documentary?
Come to think of it, you're the Linda Tripp of 24.
I don't even know what to say to that.
I mean your character.
Oh, I know.
But it's funny. Because I'm recapping the show and because I used to work in the industry myself, I'm usually hyper-aware of how a show is made and that it's not "real life." But when I was preparing questions to ask you, all I could think to ask was stuff like, "How could you betray your country like that?" I hope you take that as a supreme compliment in that you've totally disappeared into your role. You can't see the "performance."
Oh, thank you! I've had experiences where people approach me as though I'm certain characters that they've seen me play. When I don't respond as those characters, they're really surprised. I've done a couple of characters that were kind of, um, street…
Yeah, it says in your bio that you were in three "dedicated teacher films" where the teacher tries to get the inner-city students to want to learn.
[laughs] Oh yeah. So sometimes people come up to me on the street like I'm…
Exactly. So when I respond as myself…it just hasn't been a good situation. [laughs] Actually that was one of my concerns when I found out I was the mole. I was really concerned with the audience not liking me because I know that a lot of people have a hard time separating the character from the actor. I talked to Stephen [Hopkins, the director and executive producer of 24] about it and I said, "Can't we make it that her son is very sick?" With the way it was written, I thought that she still comes off pretty bad.