I was fortunate enough to check-in with the insanely talented Hale Appleman to discuss Season 2 of The Magicians.
If you’re all caught up, you know that Eliot is stuck in Fillory and adjusting to the responsibilities that come along with ruling the Narnia-esque fantasy land. Appleman promises quite a journey for his character this year, as well as for Summer Bishil’s fierce fan-fave Margo. The actor also touches on some of his favorite upcoming episodes and becoming a live-tweeter. We hope you enjoy our exclusive interview with one of the series’ brightest stars (and the portrayer of one of my personal favorite characters). Long may Eliot reign!
By the way, it’s exciting to hear that the show’s second season premiere outperformed its Season 1 debut in the ratings across all demos. What?!? That’s right, the Physical Kids’ fandom is growing consistently and even doubling last year’s social conversation with an estimated 327MM Twitter impressions. Keep up the great work, guys. This is how our favorite shows get renewed, and we all want a third season pickup for The Magicians, right? Okay, now go and check out the interview below…
MustGeekTV: To start off, Eliot and Margo are my favorites! The Magicians really is an ensemble show. As Fillory royalty now, how are you stepping more into a leading role this season?
Hale Appleman: Hey Thanks! Yes, it is a true ensemble. Everyone does their part. So glad I get to work with the cast and crew, it’s a treat to truly appreciate the people you work with.
Last year, Margo and Eliot ruled over the Physical Kids’ cottage; a sprawling, but finite, post-graduate dream home. This year, they are the actual rulers of an entire fantasy kingdom. That seems to be a fair analogy for how our roles have expanded this season. We have a whole kingdom now. It’s a bit of a level-up.
MGTV: For much of Season 1, it was Eliot and Margo against the world. Nothing wrong with that, but will we see more camaraderie with the other Magicians this year?
HA: More than anyone this season, Eliot is contending with Fillory as an everyday reality. While the others come and go as they please, he’s bound for life. So he’s a bit of a loner in that sense. And you could say his loneliness is a constant in the face of so much change. Especially for someone like Eliot, who had his things exactly in place and liked it that way.
Margo is a primary relationship, with intermittent interactions with Q and the gang. Sometimes there will be group missions that involve the whole family and those are always fun, but it’s not every day. On the flip, you’ll meet and get to know a cast of Fillorian characters that flesh out Eliot’s storyline this season. He and Margo have a cabinet of advisors, including a talking animal, but no spoilers.
MGTV: Was there a particular performance last season where you thought, “Wow, so and so really nailed it. I am so proud of them.”
HA: We have an incredible cast. Everyone has truly shining moments, and I’m proud to be a part of our ensemble every day. On the supporting side, I’m a big fan of Mackenzie Astin and Kacey Rohl. I think they brought such dimension, and are just all around delicious actors.
This season I’m particularly excited for people to see more of Summer Bishil. The audience only got a taste of Margo towards the end of last season. She is such a powerhouse, I hope everyone’s ready for her.
MGTV: Is there a character (or actor) you didn’t get a chance to interact much with last season that you loved working with this year?
HA: Yes, but I can’t spoil this for you yet. Sorry. Although, I will say that there is a surprising Eliot/Julia scene at the end of the season that was a delight to shoot.
MGTV: What can you share about Eliot’s journey in Season 2? How’s he dealing with the whole High King of Fillory thing? Can he really never go back to Earth?
HA: Nope. Eliot’s stuck. And not handling it well at all. He never expected to be ejected from the ‘perfect’ life he created for himself — it’s a bummer. He can’t hide from himself as easily in Fillory. Furthermore, he hasn’t realized the massive, real-life responsibilities that come with being High King. It’s going to be a long journey for him.
MGTV: In a sense Margo has always been Queen… but I’m curious if she finds her own purpose aside from being Eliot’s bestie this year?
HA: Margo is comfortable tasting her power and using it to meet her desires. She can stand up with or without Eliot. You’ll see her come into her own more and more as the season progresses, and you’ll see Eliot and Margo’s relationship with power and rulership evolve. They don’t always see eye to eye, and have different styles in the royal court, which creates a surprising amount of friction.
MGTV: What’s it like to film on those gorgeous Fillory sets? You must feel like royalty. It really gives the series a completely different vibe in Season 2.
HA: Holy wow.. Yeah. The show’s locations are beyond belief. We get to go early in the morning to some of the most beautiful vistas in the entire world and watch the sun rise before the cameras roll. I’m not sorry.
MGTV: Your chemistry with Summer is off the charts. Was there something (a book, band, restaurant, movie, tv show) the two of you bonded over in real life?
HA: (Laughs) Thanks! Honestly, no. I think we quickly figured out that we can make each other laugh. We have an easy understanding of one another. So that was a good entry point. From there, our relationship deepened organically. I know that Summer’s strengths are not mine, I honestly don’t know how she does what she does — and though I don’t want to speak for her — I know part of what works with us is that we have somewhat opposite approaches. Other than that, there’s no accounting for chemistry. We just make sense together on screen.
MGTV: It’s wonderful to see the show’s fan base growing. Will you be live-tweeting the episodes? How do you feel about that direct connection with fans?
HA: I’ll be live tweeting as much as I can this season. I really do love the fans. I was surprised by them, they kind of took me off my mark. Definitely wasn’t a tweeter before this show hit the air, but now I make it a point to really check in with them and see what they’re up to. They’re so loving and protective of Eliot, which I am as well, and that means so much to me. Also, I say this a lot because it’s true, there is some absolutely brilliant Eliot fan art out there. I’m blown away. If any fans are reading, thanks guys… You know who you are.
MGTV: Without giving anything away, which was your favorite episode to shoot this season? Or an episode you’re really looking forward to watching?
HA: I had serious fun shooting episodes 3, 4, and 5. Episode 9 is bat shit crazy and was a challenge to make on a tv schedule. A lot of moving parts. I can’t tell you more. I’m looking forward to it, as well as the second half of the season. I haven’t seen it yet.
MGTV: Here’s a quick fan question from Joe Kautz of Lake Charles, Louisiana…
“If you could use one magic spell that your character uses in the show in real life, what would it be and why?”
HA: Hey Joe. Well, Eliot says he can fly in the pilot, but I’m still waiting to see that in the show (fingers crossed). Although, he does ‘glide’ beautifully in a later episode this season. Yeah, I’d definitely fly.
The Magicians airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Syfy.