A Discovery Of Witches Cast Answer YOUR Fan Questions!
Your BURNING Stan questions are answered as we get all the behind-the-scenes goss from the cast.
It’s one of the most eagerly anticipated new shows of the year – so naturally, A Discovery Of Witches fans already have some very important questions for the cast of your new fave drama series.
It’s not a surprise that fans can’t wait for it, given that the All Souls trilogy of books, written by Deborah Harkness, on which the new series has been adapted, stormed the New York Times bestseller list, been compared to Twilight and Harry Potter and boasts stans around the world.
Now that the Oxford uni-based fantasy romantic drama about vampires, witches and forbidden love has been turned into a new blockbuster TV drama on Sky, we sat down with the cast of the show, Teresa Palmer (Diana Bishop), Alex Kingston (Sarah Bishop), Valarie Pettiford (Emily Mather and Owen Teale (Peter Knox) to answer YOUR burning A Discovery Of Witches questions…
Teresa Palmer: Aww that’s a great question! Gosh, it’s so nerve-wracking, because you don’t realise how unstable the skull is. I have done yoga before and I found that my yoga practise was incredibly important, because it is about breath and stillness and getting out of your head and just becoming one with the boat. And once I was in that place it would stop wobbling, but as soon as any fear entered into me it would start to wobble. Once you conquer your fears, you can really go for it and it’s like a dance, so you’re just in rhythm with the boat, and I really enjoyed it. I haven’t had the time to get back in again, but I know for season two I’ll be doing a lot more rowing.
TP: I think delving into this fantasy element and the world and looking at inter-species relationships and the myth behind these stories. I’ve always been interested in other worlds like that. I love Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and so for me to be in our own version of this epic fantasy story was incredibly enticing and exciting. I’d pinch myself every morning, I could not believe that I had finally got to be a part of a production like this!
Valarie Pettiford: For me, it’s that they’re so different but they work so well together. We’re the yin and the yang. There’s this commonality and this love and opposites attract.
Alex Kingston: And they’ve been together for a long time - and I don’t want to give any spoilers away - you see them in an earlier time and you realise they have been together for a long time. They know each other so well, they could finish each other’s sentences. And they just have a fabulous rhythm to their day and to their life. In a sense, it’s a rhythm that then gets disturbed by what happens in the story.
Owen Teale: His integrity, actually. Because at first, I think I leapt to an, ‘OK, he’s gonna be a pretty bad guy, he can do some bad things.’ So is it arbitrary, is it because he likes punishing people, and taking revenge? I don’t think so. I think as I say, witches have been diminishing in power, we’ve been bullied and oppressed by the vampire species for time immemorial and if we can just get a hold of this, we have a chance. So along those lines, I can see the reason for everything he does. Which was a surprise, because I thought, ‘Well I’m sure this is going to be tough.’ There are people who do bad things, and somebody’s got to play them in these stories. That’s the drama. So, it was a surprise to me that he had tremendous integrity.
TP: I think that was Matthew and I’s favourite scene to film, because we did a lot of rehearsal. We had about eight hours of rehearsal and he’s a fantastic dancer and I have danced a lot in my life, too. So when we came together we just got in sync with one another and we were even suggesting different moves and we loved filming it. We had so much fun. I was so excited to film it. I’ve never been able to dance on screen before and neither has Matthew. I think it actually really solidified our connection with each other, too. It came about two months into filming that we started doing it and there is just something about it that deepened our connection with one another. Just being there and having to trust each other and spending so much time together. I think it took our dynamic to another level and we just got closer and closer from that moment.
TP: Well, this is my first TV show that I’ve ever done, so it was different in terms of just the sheer length of it. It was six months; the hours were longer. I’ve never done a movie for that long before. Other than that, it was pretty similar to shooting a film. What I did like though is that there were so many directions my character got to go in. She’s not black and white at all. She’s many shades. And in a film you only have a certain amount of time to find the character arc and then to complete your journey with that character. But on this one I kept getting to build on her, and build on her and explore all these different facets of who she was, and it’s still on going. I know I get to do a season two. So, I like staying with the character in that way, amd I didn’t have to say goodbye to her yet. So that’s been really lovely.
AK: I’ve only read as far as we’ve gone. I didn’t want to, because you don’t know if the show’s going to be picked up, whether it’s going to go for another season. So I didn’t want to get ahead of myself only to be disappointed. And also the way they will work the second season will have to be quite… creative. So I’m not going to read book two until I know exactly how the second season is going to be shaped. But you have to. I mean if you’re playing a character that’s already been established in a novel, you have to read the novel. There are so many other descriptions, insights that are never in a script, but they just help root you.
VP: Same here. And their backstory. I’m always like ‘Ooh, I’m so glad I read that’. What was also so great was that our three directors were all so on top of their game. So if I didn’t remember or they knew I needed to give a little bit more to this particular word or scene, it was because of what they knew. And also it was how we knew they had transposed our lines. If we hadn’t read the books we wouldn’t have known that. We would have just gone ‘This is a bit odd, I wouldn’t say this.’ And they knew we knew so there was no arguing with us!
OT: First of all; how did I prepare? I researched the equivalent so that it matches up with the real world version, to make it as real as possible, because as far as I’m aware I’ve never really met a witch myself. As far as I know. So I looked to what the rules were for his world, for his character. But I looked into parallels in human stories. So a big one for me was to do with the feeling of the Holocaust; if you have survived that, then you are in a state of wanting the survival of your race. And as for the people who are the main perpetrators, the vampires in this case, it’s very hard to not see them as an enemy. And things like that really helped. The means may be uncomfortable, what he’s doing to somebody, but when it comes to the ultimate goal, he never takes his eye off the prize. My favourite scene has to be Witchwind in the library. That was the best.
VP: How does it feel to be able fly?
AK: And I would want to know, how does it feel to be able to time-jump?
TP: I love the dancing and the horse riding – in fact, I just finished a film where I did horse riding the entire movie! And my favourite thing about Diana is her passion and her intuition. I think she’s highly intuitive and an incredibly passionate person, and she leans towards the things that she believes in. And despite knowing how many consequences will be coming her way because of her choice to love Matthew, she still does it. Her heart is leading her and their courtship feels authentic to who she is, and she knows that she has to explore it. Even if it means having to give up her academic life and having to go on the run and having to change her relationship with people and lean into dangerous situations. She decides to do it because that’s her heart and she’s authentically being who she is. I love that about her I think she’s being very brave.
- Catch A Discovery Of Witches on Sky One, every Friday at 9pm.