Movies have had a strange relationship with dreams. Usually when dreams are portrayed on film, they’re nightmares with boogeymen like Freddy Krueger, or perhaps an epic adventure like Inception. In television, dreams are often played to undo a disastrous plot development.
On USA’s Falling Water, the dream is the story. Lizzie Brochere stars as Tess, a woman who dreams about a child she believes she had, yet in real life she has none. When the billionaire Bill Boerg (Zak Orth) brings her some compelling information, Tess discovers her dreams may be connected to two other dreamers, Burton (David Ajala) and Taka (Will Yun Lee). Falling Water premieres Thursday, October 13 on USA and we spoke with Brochere at a Television Critics Association party over the summer about the show.
What Tess is going through is so unimaginable, there’s no real life precedent for having a baby the world doesn’t know about. Does this feel like brand new territory?
Yeah, it does feel like brand new territory but it felt very familiar. I think that’s what brought me to Tess initially. It’s that feeling of knowing in your bones that there’s a truth somewhere and everyone telling you the opposite. Whether it’s having a kid, whatever it is, that definitely drew me to her for sure.
How long does Bill Boerg hold information over Tess?
A long time. Still holding. We’re still shooting now and I’m finally understanding more things.
Tess writes it off as a coincidence there was a record of her baby. Is she skeptical of him at first?
She’s definitely skeptical of him but at the same time, it’s the only person from the real world that acknowledges that there’s something, so she has to follow him.
How long does it take for her to trust him?
I don’t think she ever really trusts him. Maybe a few episode but I don’t think she ever really totally trusts him. But it’s the only man that does help her finding her son and discovering that reality and that has the means. The man’s a billionaire, so she has to follow that lead.
Do you relate to the slightly surreal dreams of Falling Water, like places that should be crowded but they’re empty?
You mean close to reality but a little distorted from reality? The thing is, since I started doing this show, we shot the pilot in September  and I think before I was a little more believing in my dreams, like believing they were true and they were happening. Since then, I discovered what lucid dreaming was which is actually being aware that you’re in a dream, in a dream. Which is so interesting because suddenly you can navigate through them. So my dreams have become like that in the show for sure.
Have you learned to lucid dream since doing Falling Water?
Yes. A little.
What do you use lucid dreams for?
Different things. I use them to kind of go through days and have a different perspective of what I’ve done for the day, for example. Little frustrations that you have. But mostly I use it to tap into some kind of unconscious that I have, like use the symbols of life choices that you make. Tap into those symbols that your unconscious wants to bring out.
Do you believe the concept of Falling Water that all our dreams could be connected?
I love that. I love believing in it. I believing that there’s a big iCloud of collective unconscious that we all share. Especially now. I feel like there’s so much antagonism going on all over the place that it’s relieving for me to have that idea that we’re all a big organism, like a big ant house, a big same organism connected somehow. We just disconnect ourselves with little individual devices and little individual problems.
Do you believe that there could be people like Tess who can enter other people’s dreams?
Yeah, I believe there are people that navigate through them. It’s interesting because I discovered a lot of how dreams were treated in other societies, like Egypt, Greece. In Egypt you had dream schools. So for example, if you were spotted at age five as a dreamer by your parents, you had beautiful dreams, they would send you to dream school and you would learn how to dream. You’d have little exercises to do and would fall asleep and pick an orange in your dream, bring it back. Meet a bird, see what he says. Use those symbols and train yourself until you could actually be involved in politics, for example. There’s something about different cultures using those dreams that makes me think you could navigate through them for sure.
When you’re filming the dreams, is the set of Falling Water dream-like?
The thing is, I feel like I see less and less the separation between the dream world and reality as the show goes on. Is there something dream-like? I think any set has something dream like because you create another reality. So basic of telling a story is dream-like. It’s going into imagination.
I actually find sets very business-like. It’s almost like a construction site because you’re assembling these materials that will ultimately create an imaginary world. But the actual production of it is very business-like to me.
That’s when you’re outside of it. When you’re in the scene, of course there’s a magic there that starts happening. I don’t know. There’s really a specificity to the dreams.
How long before you connect with David Ajala and Will Yun Lee’s characters?
Ooh, a long time. It’s a long time. We do connect a little with David, with Burton, but a lot of encounters. Never really knowing who he is. And then it’s almost by the end of the season that I meet Taka, Will. Now we’re finally doing episodes where we’re actually acting together which is so much fun because we feel a little less lonely.
There are some rules for the dream worlds but is anything possible on Falling Water?
I think so. It’s Blake Masters’ mind. It’s pretty wild.
What do you get from Blake and Gale Anne Hurd?
I get a lot of Blake’s mind for sure. The whole creation of this universe is a lot of Blake, but Gale has a more anchored relationship, what I get from her at least. I don’t know if that’s the way she is with everybody but she’ll be the more realistic, anchored in reality energy she brings with her.
Does Falling Water deal with any recurring dreams where you have the same dream over and over again?
Yes, yes, yes.
Will any of the dreams we saw in the pilot recur again?
The hospital birthing dream seems like one that would recur again.
It is although we really gave it so then it’s a lot of hearing. Once we start with that, I hope the audience knows what that dream is and we don’t have to go back to that place, but it does. It does come back to different effect. I don’t know how much I can say.
What does the water mean to you?
Water talks to me about interconnectivity. It talks to me about maybe interconnectivity as in when you’re in the womb or we’re all in that same sphere of water. If we were in the water together instead of being through air, we would be feeling a lot more. Like if I moved my hands like this, you would feel the resonance of that a lot more. So interconnectivity has that thing for me. Also, there’s something about moving in water that is almost like the surface of the water is this distorted, unknown, you don’t know what’s underneath but it still mirrors reality. It still mirrors the sky. It still mirrors your face if you’re above it. Underneath there’s this whole unknown.
What role do you have in Rings?
You’ll see. It’s a little cameo. It’s a fun one. I met Javier. We were supposed to do a film together so we did that. It was fun.