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A Show’s Second Season Twist

Heating up with Halt and Catch Fire newcomer Aleksa Palladino

Fans were distraught when Angela Darmody, the mobster’s wife Aleksa Palladino portrayed on Boardwalk Empire, met an untimely end in 2011. Lucky for them, the actress and musician has found a role on another of TV’s most compelling series and it appears to be just as meaty.

When AMC beings airing the second season of Halt and Catch Fire—a gripping drama unfolding around the invention of the personal computer in the early 1980s—Palladino will join Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy and Mackenzie Davis, playing a journalist and old friend of Pace’s character who arrives in Texas to make life a bit more complicated.

Here, Palladino—who’s also a working musician with her band, Exitmusic—discusses the show, 1980s props and what makes both music and acting so vital. 

You’re in the last weeks of filming your first season on Halt. Has that been everything you hoped for?

It really has. The writers are really amazing on the show, and I think this season is even stronger than the last. There’s so much heart in this season, and everyone is really fighting to start over on so many levels. This whole season is about second chances and trying to rebuild and whether or not they even can.

Your character is new this season. What made joining the series appealing? 

I just loved the character. She seemed like someone who was really grounded in her work and had a lot of really rich experiences that she was now about to put to the test. You know, after a large growth in your life or a period of change, the next chapter can test what you’ve learned—you don’t really know how much you’ve learned until you have to swing into action. I really relate to that.

One of the great things about the show is all of the ’80s ephemera. What’s your favorite?

[I love] all the kids’ toys, like Speak and Spell and all these things that I remember so vividly from childhood. But the best is typing on a typewriter. It’s so different then typing on a laptop—even the amount of strength that your fingers need. You forget how loud they are and that you can run out of ribbon, you forget all these things. It’s one of those little interesting moments that it wasn’t that long ago, and that’s what’s so cool about this history is that it wasn’t that long ago but because of the technological boom in the past 30 years it might as well have been forever.

Some things, however, are always going to be the same.

It’s true. Human interaction is as flawed or as wonderful as it’s ever been. It’s interesting when you’re faced with this much technology for communication.

You’re putting a lot out into the world. There’s the show and you’re also releasing a new album this summer. 

It’s always been important for me to have lots of outlets for things. 

Does music allow you to stretch different muscles than acting?

For a long time it was more that music was on my terms, on my time. I didn’t have to wait to get a job to create something. It was really necessary to have something that began and ended with me. Acting is so different. There’s something about being able to embody feelings and situations and feel them in your body and express them through your body that’s so different than writing a song. But I love all forms of expression. I paint too, I’m not a good painter, but I paint because it also does something for me. I think a lot of expression is wanting to see yourself from the outside.