Emma Dumont – The Gifted
By: Lisa Steinberg
Q) What are the recent projects that you are working on?
A) I’m filming Season Three of a web series called “T@gged” where I play another ballerina. It’s for younger viewers that takes place before the internet and is about social media safety. It’s very much like a “Pretty Little Liars” vibe.
Q) You play often vulnerable and yet strong women. How do you relate to the characters you play or keep with you from projects?
A) I think with each role I learn something different – maybe not necessarily about myself, but generally about people. “Bunheads” was easy to play because I was kind of just being myself. She’s tough and she’s goofy and just loves to laugh. I was on “Aquarius” for two seasons and that role was really, really difficult because she was not a strong woman. She was a very impressionable young lady. I went to work every day and thought, “How can someone make these choices? How is someone doing this?” It was really hard to play her and very frustrating. But now I get to play Polaris who is super fierce and super strong. She has some anger issues, but at the end of the day she is a total badass. It is great and fun for me.
Q) How was your character Polaris originally described to you?
A) When I first got the project I actually had no idea who I was playing because everything was under lock and key. So, I didn’t get the script and to know the character’s name for a long time. She was just described as a really troubled young woman who had a really rough childhood and grew up in the foster system. She lost her parents very young. In the comics (and I don’t know if we’re going to discuss this) she is responsible for killing her parents. Although, she finds out later that it wasn’t her actual father who raised her. So, she was described to me as just a really badass and tough chick who is very, very troubled, but you wouldn’t know that if you didn’t know her. She’s got anger issues, but really likes to do the right thing. But I think she runs a little too fast, even for her.
Q) Talk about the evolution of your character Lorna to Polaris in “The Gifted.”
A) The thing about Polaris is a lot happens to her. You kind of see her at this odd time in her life where she finds out a bunch of crazy things about herself and goes through horrible situation and is imprisoned. She’s definitely developing. For me it was kind of easy to play her because I went through a similar time in my life. I feel like I’m very similar to this character. But there was a lot of stuff that I didn’t fully understand and I needed to do my research. Obviously, her powers and this X-gene was something to look into. She also suffers from Bi-Polar disorder so I wanted to be sure I portrayed and honor the character correctly. It’s really important to me that Polaris isn’t just some crazy girl. She has a mental illness. And I think it is really rad that not only is she a woman, but she has a mental illness and is a minority in the X-Men world. She’s a minority and she can still be a superhero. To me, that’s amazing and little boys and girls should totally watch and see that. To see someone like that on TV is just cool.
Q) Where do you relate to and find sympathy for your character?
A) I relate to her so much. I don’t know what it’s like to be a mutant or to have people prejudge me. But what I want to connect with is her doing the right thing. When she sees someone doing something wrong or hurting someone it makes her so disgusting and angry. I definitely relate to that. Our current political climate is really tragic. So, I feel like we have that same thing where we get pretty emotional and angry. I was filming one scene with Stephen Moyer and there was a prosecutor who puts mutants away for life and at the beginning of the scene I just told myself, “Enough.” So, she’s really relatable. You just have to take the time to connect it to the real world.
Q) Talk about how the setting and cinematography sets the tone for the series.
A) I think that’s so important to storytelling. Bryan Singer is one of our producers and he directed the pilot – he definitely has an eye for the action and adventure. The first six minutes of the show were released and it looks like a film. It looks amazing and we were so blessed to have Bryan come do the pilot for us. It’s really important. I think something like this where there is so much action and friction and different things – definitely the way it’s filmed can run a parallel and compliment that. That’s something our show definitely takes into consideration. I think viewers will be really happy with the way it looks.
Q) How will dynamics shift for your character and her development this season?
A) She finds out something pretty exciting by the end of the pilot. It’s the kind of thing that makes someone want to stand down and not do something violent and crazy. She sort of goes through ha period of three or four episodes where she is really, really down. Then, she sort of comes into her own and more into the Polaris we know from the comics and being that fierce unstopped reckless shameless fierce force. We definitely see her evolve.
Q) One of the taglines of the series is “In the X-Men universe, unity is power.” We talk about this political climate we’re in now. How do you think we can apply that tagline to what is going on today?
A) The only way we can change that into reality is speaking with one voice and by using our voice. If no one speaks up, nothing will happen. The stuff about now they can take kids off the field if they don’t stand for the anthem. Taking a knee has always been a part of sports. It happens when a player gets injured and happens when another teammate is in harm’s way. Taking a knee is such a common thing. I think it is such a powerful statement during the anthem. It’s definitely not a violent or aggressive statement. It’s similar the way you do it if a teammate gets hurt, you can do it because the country is hurt now and you want to speak out. The only way for that to happen is if people take physical and verbal action. We have to start taking a knee and raising a fist and use your voices. With the internet, we can communicate so well so I don’t know why we aren’t and can’t. There is no time to sit on the sidelines or back down. It takes more than one person. It takes everyone. It takes all of us. If our show helps one child who sees our show…I hope people watch our show and that it mirrors society. We’re not all the same and I’d never want us to be. It would be a boring world if we were all the same. I think that’s why our show is so beautiful, amazing and powerful. There is a difference there. We should celebrate our differences and the things we don’t understand.
Q) Is there anything else about “The Gifted” that you want to be sure viewers know?
A) We all will be live tweeting the premiere and I think every week someone will be doing it. As far as the show, we have really great adult actors, but the kids are so strong in the show. It’s really their stories (the two younger mutants) – it’s about them. It’s heartbreaking. In the pilot, there is actually a mutant coming out scene where both the siblings deal with the news. I hope that many, many parents and sons and daughters can relate. They are growing up and coming out and I think that’s awesome.