Emma Dumont – The Gifted
By: Lisa Steinberg
Q) It’s nice to see that you’ve started going to conventions now for “The Gifted.”
A) I obviously only think about my character, because she’s my favorite, but it’s cool to go to conventions because families come up to me and say, “We’re a family and we watch the show. We watch it together. It’s the only family time we spend together because we’re watching the show.” I remember one family came up to me and said, “Our two teenagers don’t get along. They’re always fighting, but they get along when they watch the show.” It’s the best thing in the world! Having little boys look up to Marcos…It’s just so interesting and so cute because these kids look up to him and not only look up to him, but hold him to certain standards. There are so many opportunities for kids to look up to the wrong role models on TV because they look cool or do bad things. It’s cool when a kid says, “I love this character, but I didn’t like when that character did something bad!” It’s just awesome that they are so aware. It’s just been amazing and everyone has been so positive about the show. It’s exactly what we hoped for! We hoped kids would see deeper into it than just “superpowers.”
Q) Esme has been causing quite the trouble as a threesome.
A) The Frost sisters (because they’re not really triplets)…They are a lot. They are pretty messed up. I’m not going to lie. Then again, maybe they are just hurting people that hurt innocent people. There is a lot that goes into it. Obviously, the biggest thing is Sonya’s (Elena Satine) death, which was heartbreaking and changes literally everything. Lorna feels such guilt that her death happened while she was away. Lorna has problems with being the leader. She doesn’t want to be a leader. She doesn’t want to be like her dad. But she really is always there for her father. She saved Sage’s (Hayley Lovitt) life when she was a drug addict and put her in the mutant underground and Dreamer and Polaris had been best friends for so long. Lorna sort of sees herself as a protector for these young women. Sonya’s powers aren’t like everyone else. They are more like Sage’s, they are more intellectual. She can’t fight crime. She doesn’t have super strength or hot hands like Eclipse (Sean Teale) does. She always felt like she was there to protect dreamer and the one time she wasn’t there is the one time she died. So, she feels immense guilt with that whereas on the other hand Johnny doesn’t feel guilt. He’s just kind of heartbroken over this. It’s kind of funny, the strongest mutant crumbles the fastest and the most over this. It’s ironic. But Lorna really takes it personally. For her, this can and will not happen again, like there is blood on her hands. When in reality, Blink’s (Jamie Chung) powers don’t always work and you really have to know your surroundings really well. So, they sent in Blink – whose powers are difficult to control – and Dreamer – whose powers aren’t really physical – and the two kids into Sentinel Services. It’s something we don’t touch on the show, but it’s definitely important to know about Lorna. She’s hot headed. She’s crazy. She’s confident. She never questions herself. But she does feel guilt about bringing a child into a world where it is going to be hunted every day of its life. She’s not only scared for the child, but she feels bad about it. What right does she have to birth a child into a dangerous environment? So, it just kind of reinforced what happened to Sonya. Is it super smart to send the two kids, Dreamer and Blink into a mission by themselves? Probably not. They probably should have had someone else with them. But then again, how can you fight an army of Sentinel Service agents? It’s insane. The shot that sticks with me the most of Kate watching the two kids surrounded by Sentinel Services in the basement of that building. This is just one more thing to light that fire under her butt and get her moving and making that timeline even shorter and the risks even higher. The stakes get higher and higher every episode. When I think she’s at her boiling point, something else happens and she’s even more at her boiling point. This girl gets more and more intense every episode!
Q) We know she’s pregnant, but the show doesn’t go into the physical effects that having a baby may be manifesting for her, too. We see this nightmare she has with the physical and emotional toll it takes on her.
A) It’s funny you mention that. Lorna has no access to medical care to care for herself – no OBGYN or psychiatrist for her mental health problems. She has nothing, but ironically the one person who could help her…the one person who has medical experience in the underground is the one person she butts heads with the most. She could easily go to Kate and say, “I’m worried about the baby. I got beatup in prison. Is it okay? Can you help me? I know this isn’t the field you are trained in, but I need help from anyone and you know the most about this since you’ve had two kids.” But she doesn’t because she’s stubborn. She’s so stubborn. Even though she has respect for Kate (because they both save people for a living…Kate (Amy Acker) used to go to work and save people every day and Lorna used to save people through the underground) Kate still thinks she’s a naïve little brat. She’s like, “Even though you’re a grown woman, you have no idea it is like to be a minority. You have no idea what it’s like to fight every single day.” So, Kate just thinks she’s naïve and dumb to it all. That kind of stops her from asking her for help, which (in the end) is a weakness of Lorna. Lorna’s greatest power and strength is her stubbornness and being set in her ways., but it’s also her biggest weakness. She could get help from Kate, but every day chooses not to – which is not good for anyone.
Q) Kate may not be a mutant, but her greatest power is empathy and the want to help other people.
A) I think it’s funny because we all want to see Amy Acker kick ass and do these amazing stunts, but it’s funny…I think people actually overlook Kate and I have to say I think she’s one of my favorite characters because she has so much inner power, but is given so little. Besides Jace (Coby Bell), she’s the only person in the main cast who is not a mutant. Even Reed has the mutant gene. I just think Kate is so powerful and people really overlook her. There are people who get upset because Amy is playing a “weak” character, but I don’t think she’s weak at all. Are you kidding? While Reed (Stephen Moyer) is being a selfish butthead and only thinking about himself, Kate is having to worry about these children. It’s life or death every day. It’s insane what this woman has gone through. I wish those characters could be close. It might take the delivery of this child to bring Lorna and Kate together.
Q) The show does provide this incredible balance with suspense and underlying tugs you receive at your heart strings. When you read the scripts, what really stands out to you?
A) The things that initially stand out are the things that are clearly references to political events happening now. Those are the moments where I’m like, “Yes! We’re putting that on screen! We’re putting that in peoples’ living rooms each week!” The other things are moments I don’t realize until I give a second glance to the script or even until we are shooting scenes. It’s just like these moments where these people become “so human.” They are just like human. The episode where the Turner family and the Strucker family got together…That was so weird and an odd thing that happened. We’ve seen a lot of conversations that happened between Jace and Reed where it’s been a negotiation or “what’s going to happen.” Sort of like a peeing contest – ego. In this case, it’s literally just two families and these four representatives (two from each family). That stuff really makes the show. Jace’s whole storyline is so heartbreaking. All of it on an individual level…Like Jace’s story and Blink’s background. Stuff about Marco that we haven’t even touched on until maybe next season. Lorna’s mental illness and her relationship with her father who abandoned her. Kate – what’s her deal? She’s an ER nurse and we never talk about that. She’s seen some scary stuff! She literally has seen people with one foot in the grave and one foot still with us every day of her life in the ER. These people have gone through so much. I think that’s what makes these quiet moments so good. The moments where Marcos and Lorna see things on the same page or the moments where the Strucker kids, who disagree a lot, want the same thing. Even though we all go about it differently, we all want the same thing. Doesn’t everyone want the same thing? Peace. But no, everyone doesn’t want that. We’d like to think that, but there are people who (in their heart of hearts) want violence and torture towards this minority group.
Q) The series offers such poignant and topical themes.
A) This is kind of a show where you kind of have to take it home with you. You can’t leave your work at work. My last show was about Charles Manson and how heartbreaking and tragic that was, it was real. I could sort of leave it at work though because my character was fictional and happened a little bit ago. We’re sort of telling the events of history. Every single day. Go online. Turn on the news. These things are happening every day so it’s really hard to separate the two.
Q) There have been some great behind-the-scenes photos shared on social media! Do you have any of your own that you keep for you?
A) I think we’re all so silly. It sounds so goofy, but we’re a real family. We take silly photos together. Then, we’re like, “Oh you have that on your phone?! Text it to me! Text it to me now!” We’re just so typical that it’s hilarious. For some reason, I’m always giving someone a piggyback ride. So, we’ll do a three-person piggyback ride. We tried to do one in the middle of the woods and then Amy Acker came over and legitimately tried to pick us all up! This woman is crazy! What is she doing?! So, we have this really ridiculous photo of us trying to do a four-person piggyback ride. And it’s the silliest thing! It means a lot to have each other there and have a laugh.