Brittany Curran – The Magicians
By: Lisa Steinberg
Q) Where do we pick up as we begin this quest?
A) “The Magicians” have definitely been in better situations in their lives when we see them again at the beginning of the third season. Fen also is kind of in a middle of a shit show since she still doesn’t know where her baby is and her kingdom is under attack and her husband doesn’t love her. So, things have been better for Fen. At the beginning for the third season, people start pairing off and kind of going off into this quest in their own ways and there might be some pairings that we might not expect. There are some pairings that come back like Julia (Stella Maeve) and Quentin (Jason Ralph), which is awesome to see and very connected to the books. For myself, Fen has completely lost her mind and has no idea where her child is so she’s found in the throne room cradling a swaddled log in place of her baby. So, she’s really gone off the deep end in season three.
Q) Will there be any bad blood between Fen and Margo?
A) There is definitely going to be a change in dynamics in a lot of ways that some might be expected that others definitely aren’t. When I read these certain scripts I was really surprised, which was fun for me as a fan of the show to discover these weird new twists and turns the show has taken. What else can I say? The quest really brings a lot out of the characters – good and bad. So, it’s really fun to see them transform (some more than others). Things definitely change. Dynamics very, very much change – not necessarily at the beginning. Sometimes things take a little time to unravel.
Q) When you read the scripts, what stood out amongst the writing this season?
A) So much did! Obviously, the stuff with Fen since I’m so connected to it. I spend the most amount of time rereading it a million times and exploring it. So, without giving too much away, for Fen who grew up in this archaic society where the High King has all the power…Like in the second season the High Council doesn’t even listen to High Queen Margo (Summer Bishil) even though she is the High Queen. Her word is not taken nearly as seriously as the High King. Being a Fillorian who grew up my whole life in a society like this and also my marriage was set up (which is a very archaic idea) – obviously Fen is freaking crazy at the beginning of season three – she goes on a bit of a journey on her own. So, it was really fun to play a character who didn’t have the best start at life, especially being a woman, and then having to navigate that and having some really hard times. There are also some really funny parts that play with Rizwan Manji. He plays Tick Pickwick, who is this man who hates commoners and hates peasants. So, of course, he hates Fen. The writers were very self-aware when they wrote some lines for him this season. Coming from this society and trying to talk to a woman from Earth and hearing Earth lingo, but not understanding how it is used – that dynamic is so funny this season. Riz is so funny! It was really interesting to watch him explore that because he’s so not like that in real life. It was great watching him play this obnoxious sexist character. [laughs]
Q) We saw Fen manipulated time and time again last season and she relies on her husband, who would constantly double cross her. Will we see more of an independent side to her and less reliant on Eliot?
A) Fen has been on quite a journey and I think a lot of that is due to the fact Eliot (Hale Appleman) is always bogged down as he was forced into a marriage and I don’t think he ever takes into consideration the fact that Fen was also just as much forced into the marriage. So, I think that is what takes some of the empathy out and makes Fen’s road a lot harder in season two. But it doesn’t really stop in season three. There is still a disconnect there. Fen gets even more desperate and then she starts to find her way. She goes backward first, but then starts doing things and saying things and experiencing things – for instance getting drunk which Fen has never done before, which was really, really fun to play! Fen has a bunch of new experiences this season, which is the best thing that could have possibly happened to her. Now that I’m so connected to her and so defensive of her, it made me really happy to see where she ends up going this season.
Q) Now there is no magic and in season two there was no money, what kind of Fillory problems are they facing?
A) We have ALL the problems because we always use magic. It would be like on Earth all of a sudden electricity and every modern convenience disappearing and then people having to deal with that. It has far reaching consequences that you wouldn’t think about. Our fields wouldn’t be irrigated, and our food would all rot. Then, there would be no television or internet. That’s how it is in Fillory. Magic was very much a part of our network and our society of functioning completely. So, it basically effects every part of life in Fillory, including having a lot of candles constantly burning in the throne room since we no longer have magic fire. [laughs]
Q) The show has some great guest stars and we were excited to see Candis Cayne is back!
A) I was so happy Candis was coming back because I think she was in one or two episodes last season and then when they just brought her back in such a larger capacity this season I was so psyched and I just love Candis dearly in real life.
Q) Will there be clues to the Fairy Queen’s Achille’s Heel or clues of someone working in the fairy community as to how to handle her?
A) Yes, the Fairy Queen likes dismembering people. There is some psychology to that, for sure. [laughs] Let’s just say I was surprised when I read The Fairy Queen stuff this season. Not in the beginning, but we kind of see why and how she became so powerful and it makes more and more sense as the season goes on. We find out there is multiple facets to The Fairy Queen and fairies in her world.
Q) We worship Abigail, of course. Will she be slothing the high seas or staying close to land?
A) In the book we meet her on the Muntjack. We’ve already done that though (met her) so obviously that is not going to happen. But I think she stays on land. [laughs] I think it would be too expensive to bring her on the boat. [laughs] Sergio Osuna who plays her translator has a bigger role this season too and he is just so funny. Sassy is the real name of the sloth and he’s just bonded with her so much. They have a special connection and it’s fun to see that pan out over the season as well.
Q) We do take up a new location for this season with the Muntjack. Seasons past in Fillory and the outside world have felt like characters as it helps to set the cinematography and immerses you into this world of magic and mayhem. With the addition of the Muntjack, how does that extend?
A) The Muntjack is an incredible set. We have the actual boat that when we’re on the deck we shoot on an actual boat on the water. Then, we have the inside set, which is on a sound stage and it magically becomes a lot bigger in the cabin. Margot Ready, who is our production designer, did such an incredible job. There was one night I finished filming and asked her to tell me about the boat. She took me on a tour of the boat and explained how the Muntjack is a Deer-Class ship and because of that there is so much deer decorations throughout the ship. There is this metal work that tells the story of the boat, starting with a deer in the forest and then it kind of tells the story. There is actually a little spoiler in there too. It actually shows the journey of the ship, but I don’t know if we’ll ever get a close enough look. There is a little Easter egg in there about what happens. There is just so much thought put into it. It’s so cool because when we’re actually filming the lanterns coming down from the ceiling are wobbling back and forth. I just pretend we’re filming on a real ship when we’re on the Muntjack. It’s a great departure from reality. I love it! It is a character in itself. It is a sentient boat and there is a scene that happens at one point in the season where Margo actually has a conversation with the heart wood and it’s this really touching scene. It’s cool because it is one of the last pieces of magic that exists because the boat is magic itself. So, it was cool that we still had a little bit of magic with the Muntjack.
Q) There is always a theme to each season and this year is the quest. Can you tease some of the messages that might be interwoven this season that might be “Easter eggs” for fans to look for?
A) That’s a good question. I haven’t thought about it in those terms before. I would say one of the themes would be allowing yourself to be open to the unexpected. With a lot of things in life, we get so bogged down with the idea of something – of what we think is the thing we want to do we end up missing something much more beautiful and much more relevant to our lives. So, one of the themes is definitely trusting yourself and trusting the situation and not getting bogged down in your own preconceived ideas.
Q) The costuming on the show is always so elaborate and also plays so much into setting the season’s tone.
A) Costumes play a major part! They always do. Our costume designer, Magali Guidasci is incredible and has such an amazing vision for the show. What was cool was that I got to see even more of the process for the wardrobe. All the Fillorian clothes are built from scratch. Without going too deep into it, a lot of Fen’s wardrobe this year is roaring 1920’s influenced and designed to the dressed, which also reflects a little bit of Fen’s journey as well. Magali was showing me a lot of these old books that have these design ideas that are from the 20’s and 30’s and how to construct it. She would take that design and infuse it with her own Fillorian whimsical ideas. So, it’s cool to see her take real designs and Earth designs and make it into something more and something Fillorian. Fen’s wardrobe also takes some unexpected turns so it was kind of fun to discover that. Whenever you put it on in the morning, you just naturally feel transformed into the character. It’s definitely a group effort creating these characters, for sure.
Q) This year you are a series regular so we’ll get to delve more into her and her dynamics. We haven’t see so much of her independently. A mother though has a willpower of her own as well.
A) Oh yeah! That definitely comes into play quite a bit. That is one of the main things that changes Fen. Her instincts take over, which was really interesting to play with.
Q) You tweeted about Cheetos and places to go in Vancouver. What season three “snacksentials” aided in your late night filming?
A) Well, Cheetos. I’m obsessed with Cheetos, especially the crunchy Jalapeno Cheetos. I also got obsessed with the Ritters square chocolate bars. When I’m on set I try not to eat chocolate and unhealthy stuff because I don’t want to crash. So, when I’m on set (especially late at night) I have a lot of mixed nuts and fruit. If I end up working more than twelve hours I will have an espresso around 3 or 4 PM because I’m obsessed with the little baby espresso cups because they are so cute. [laughs] So, I definitely eat healthy when I’m on set. When I’m not on set…not so much. [laughs] Vancouver has the most amazing food. I didn’t just eat Cheetos and chocolate – I did eat other things! [laughs]
Q) Is there anything else you want to be sure we share with our readers about the new season?
A) Another thing about “The Magicians,” since Fen is the daughter of a knife maker I ended up taking knife sharpening classes in Vancouver at this place called Knifewear. There is a scene where I am sharpening a knife coming up this season so I took these lessons and ended up getting into it. So, I bought this whole wet stone set for myself, which I now have at home. Now I have those and sharpen my own kitchen knives at home. It was really fun to explore that side of Fen, which was empowering for her.
Q) Please tell us about the recent charity work you’ve started doing for Donate Life.
A) I recently started working with a foundation. It’s called Donate Life and it’s all about organ transplantation. My boyfriend had a heart transplant four years ago and it kind of opened my eyes to that world and what goes on and how much more people need to become donors. Donate Life is having this charity Run/Walk in April and I started a team. I have some friends that are running with me. Jade Tailor just signed up to be on the team! I’m also fundraising. I’m trying to raise $5,000 by April and it all goes to Donate Life. I’m getting really heavily involved with that because it’s something I care about. It’s one of those things people can involved in on so many levels, including taking one minute to go online and register as a donor.
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