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'Kingdom' Q&A: Kiele Sanchez On Her Character's Inner 'Lioness' & Working With Nick Jonas
By SP_COP on October 17, 2014 | From
'Kingdom' Q&A: Kiele Sanchez On Her Character's Inner 'Lioness' & Working With Nick Jonas As Lisa Prince on DirecTV's "Kingdom," Kiele Sanchez is the show's queen.

While her boyfriend, Frank Grillo's Alvey Kulina, works to develop stars – like turning his son Nate (Nick Jonas) into an MMA champ, and bring back his old fresh-out-of-the-clink protégé Ryan (Matt Lauria) back into the fold, Lisa is focusing on keeping the gym afloat.

She's also quietly dealing with Ryan, her ex-fiance, being back. While he's working with Frank again, and pretending publically like he is fine with Alvey and Lisa being an item, Ryan is secretly texting Lisa, trying to keep up some sort of connection to the woman he loved.

Lisa has a lot on her plate in this fresh new drama, and Kiele hinted about what's to come, why Lisa, Alvey and Ryan don't make up a typical love triangle and working with Nick Jonas.

Access Hollywood: In the premiere episode, we kind of find out Lisa is a pretty strong businesswoman and she's got a lot of things she's interested in and developing at the gym, and helping it grow. What part about that storyline interests you as an actress?
Kiele Sanchez: I think I always saw them -- even before the show as called 'Kingdom' -- I kind of saw Alvey and Lisa as like a lion and a lioness, where the lioness goes out and hunts and brings back the food and the lion is sort of like the king of the jungle and he's really pretty and everyone's scared of him. And that was sort of how I always saw them, that he's the face of the business, but she's the one who is incredibly ambitious and is hustling to keep it, not only afloat, but wanting it to expand and has big dreams for it.'

Access: They are struggling. The very first scene we see you in on the show, you're talking to these ladies to try and get them to get the word out about the gym. It sounds like some serious stuff is going to happen in this angle of the story.
Kiele: I think that it's sort of the driving force for her. When we sort of meet Lisa, I think life is not great, but it's good and she's sort of has this vision of what she wants the gym to be. Even though it's struggling, she's motivated to make it work and that's what she's basically fighting for and then in the pilot her ex-fiance, just sort of this ghost from the past, comes back into her life and throws everything off course, so it definitely does go somewhere because she now realizes that in order for her gym to survive and thrive she might need Ryan more than she would like. She doesn't really want to be tied to him in any way, but he might just be the answer.

Access: How much back story are we going to get between Lisa and her ex, Ryan. Is it just going to be the dialogue or will there be flashbacks?
Kiele: There' s no flashbacks. It's all through dialogue and really, so much of it is through tension. We don't speak to a whole bunch of what happened to them. You get it in other people talking about their relationship and you get it in the incredible sort of elephant that's in the room every time they're together.

Access: His first scene, when he's visiting his parole officer and they're talking about your character not waiting. [Can you talk about the reasons why she left him?]
Kiele: Some of it is told in how he ended up in jail. I think [that] was sort of the last straw for him and Lisa in the relationship. In the pilot Ryan tells this story of how he paralyzes his father during an intervention gone wrong and Lisa's there and I think that that was not only him going to jail, but what he went to jail for. [to] her was incredibly impactful. I think that he is her first love and I think the only person that she'll ever love like that, as most first loves are, and I think that they were kind of a little bit off the rails together in a certain way. It was a destructive kind of passionate, incredibly all-encompassing, devouring sort of love and I think that when he went to jail, she had an opportunity to either follow him, or to get her life together and she chose survival.

Access: Why do you think she's doing the secret texts with him?
Kiele: The thing is is that it's like, he's texting her and she goes there [to his meeting] that day [in the series premiere] -- and this wasn't really explained and I've had a lot of women who at the premiere were like, 'Why did she go and visit him in rehab? I don't get it,' and I'm like, 'Well, there were more texts he kept sending her.' So she went there to basically be like, 'Dude. Stop. I'm not doing this with you. I refuse to go down this path again,' and she comes in and he's sharing and she sees him at a really humbled place, which doesn't mean that she forgives him or anything like that, but, her heart I think breaks a little bit for him....
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