(l to r: Eiza González, D.J. Cotrona, Brandon Soo Hoo, Zane Holtz, Madison Davenport, Jesse Garcia)
NYCC 2015: FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: THE SERIES INTERVIEW PART 2
Interview conducted by Karin Crighton
Robert Rodriguez’ cult-classic-turned-series From Dusk Till Dawn is heading into its second season finale on his own El Rey Network. The cast and Rodriguez joined reports for a roundtable about the series, their characters, and working with a legend of indie film.
As this roundtable questions regarding the second season, there are a spoilers through Season 2, Episode 7.
Madison Davenport plays Kate Fuller, the quintessential preacher’s daughter, and Brandon Soo Hoo plays her rebellious adopted brother.
Reporter: You two are another sibling [pair] separated at the start of Season 2, like Richie and Seth. How are your characters handling being apart in Season 2?
Madison Davenport: Well, he's on a chain and leash, so I don't think he's handling it quiet as well.
Brandon Soo Hoo: I get out of there eventually, just keep watching!
MD: I think [Kate] has lived such a sheltered life, she lived in Bethel Baptist, she was the preacher's daughter, for this season for her to be living with a criminal, it's she's so out of her element. She's deciding she doesn't want to just live in this life; she needs to go find her family. You see Seth [Gecko, played by DJ Controna] and me holed up; we've been through the same thing in Season 1, we both lost our brothers, we both had our world shattered by culebras [the snake-vampires pursuing them]. He chooses drugs, and I say, "No. I'm going to out there and I'm going to find this bitch right here." [gestures to Brandon]
MD: Love you, ya little ....
BS: My character gets what he's been asking for the whole time. If you were following Season 1, he kept saying "I want to find my place in the world; I want to get power." A little bit of him seeks that darkness because there is darkness in my character. He's not necessarily a bad guy, but he craves that. And even though he's not in the best position at the beginning of the season, he's got exactly what he asked for. And he'll slowly climb up the ranks and we'll see where that takes my character.
MD: We had that moment where Carlos [played by Wilmer Valderama] looks at him and says, "I'd hate to be on your lacrosse team." [referring a scene in Scott is revealed to have procured a gun to threaten bullies on his lacrosse team].
BS: When he touched me, there was a little static shock!
MD: There's always static shock with you and Wilmer. So much energy.
Reporter: So what you can tell us about working with Robert [Rodriguez]?
MD: He's the best. He's such a great guy, on and off set. He makes you feel like you're part of the Rodriguez family. And it's nice.
BS: He's like Father Rodriguez; he invites us over to his place, he makes us food.
BS: He's great chef, by the way.
MD: To add to the list of things he's incredible at: Directing, composing, editing, cooking, being a father. And he makes you feel like you're ten times better than you thought you could be. When you're working with him, you know he will not let you fall and he will not make you look bad. You can try something super crazy and he'll be on the floor saying, "Yeah, that looks really good."
BS: He makes her feel good, but on the hand, I feel like an extremely insufficient human being! He can do so many things I can't do! I keep thinking, "Slow down!"
MD: In between takes, he's playing his guitar, singing to us.
BS: He's too cool.
Karin Crighton: I felt like Brandon's character (Scott) came into his own in Season 1, while Kate (Madison's character) did a complete 180. What's the next incarnation of her that you're hoping to find?
MD: I can't tell you what happens! Sooo much stuff happens to her at the end of the season and I think this season was all about overcoming differences. You had Seth talking about cowboys and Indians and how much he hates the culebras, but Kate says, "I know they're bad, but I want to understand them and I want to be there for my brother." So this season is all about reconnecting family. And you see the darkness right at Episode 5 when I lose my faith in him; it's also about loss of innocence. My character definitely loses some of the light in her eyes.
BS: She sees some dark stuff.
MD: She keeps her faith for a good portion of the first season and the second season.This is breaking her, losing her brother and her dad.
BS: And to see the stuff he's doing.
KC: And having to kill her dad.
MD: I don't know what I want to happen to my character. It's so amazing that we get to grow with our characters. As we get the scripts throughout the season. I have no idea where she's going to go next season, it's kind of crazy to me. They don't even give us hint.
BS: Yeah. They really don't.
MD: They don't! We get the scripts and think, "Oh my - What?"
BS: "I got to do that?! Okay, let's work with that."
BS: It's always really exciting since we get so much cool stuff to work with. Our characters are anything but flat. They make so many changes throughout the season.
MD: They're so rounded. That's what I love about being on this show. I feel like each character is such a rounded character. You get to see into our background, you get to see what we're feeling and you get to experience it with us. So I can't tell you want I want to happen to my character, but I can tell you I think whatever does happen, it's going to be unexpected.
Reporter: Your characters got pushed through some changes in a really short amount of time. I was curious if that was a metaphor for coming of age?
BS: I feel like at this point in our lives, being both young adults, it does consist of a lot of changes, a lot of growing, and finding yourself in transformation. I guess it is a metaphor for growing up; becoming a more condensed version of who you’re going to be.
MD: I think each episode we're in shapes our character. And by character I mean who we are fundamentally as people. I think this show is so great because it takes these people - a preacher's daughter and a preacher’s son - and literally throws them into the pit of Hell. That's a metaphor for putting your faith through the ringer. Kate goes through the season and keeps her faith, but it might not be so towards the end of the season. That could be a metaphor for loss of innocence in coming of age. It shows how people react to these horrible things that happen in life.
BS: As my character had a streak of rebellion in him, he probably didn't want to go to church that much, he didn't want to be goody-goody, singing church songs around a campfire. He never fully embraced his religious side.
MD: Well, you never had the chance to be who you really were. When you came into America, you were 8 years old, thrown into this white Christian family, where your sister was, "I don't like you." I think these people started off who they weren't supposed to be, and this is who we're supposed to be.
BS: We're on our paths.
MD: That's what the show's about, it's about the paths we don't know we're supposed to be on. It's fate. We have no control over it.
Reporter: Going to into Season 2, after the arc of Season 1, were you excited to see how your characters have progressed?
MD: Oh yes.
Reporter: Were there any specific challenges?
MD: You go.
BS: I'm going to mull over this for a second.
MD: Then I'll go. A lot of challenges, actually.
BS: Both of our characters go through an emotional roller coaster; really intense situations they get thrown into. In itself just doing that as an actor, hitting those levels simultaneously.
MD: Kate really has the capacity to fall into that damsel in distress trope, being the helpless little girl. This whole season I've been really proud of the writers, and me even, that we haven't let her fall into the Helpless Girl. All the woman on this show are strong. Even though we're going through these things and we need help, we're not helpless.
BS: If anything, all the men are in shambles.
MD: Look at Seth! I was basically nursing him.
BS: He looked to the needle for his support. If you guys have seen that.
Reporter: The wardrobe has changed for you guys in recent episodes; you're [Madison] wearing looser clothing as you're vampire slaying, and I noticed your [Brandon] jacket and sword resemble something like Blade. Was there a discussion about that?
BS: Absolutely. I think my wardrobe change is a huge reflection of the internal changes happening in my character. He's wearing dark because he's getting darker. He's got the machete because now he's ready to mess stuff up. The streamlined boots are combat based because he's getting into a high octane lifestyle.
MD: I get a crossbow! Nina (our wardrobe director) is so incredible, she really does put time and thought into what this means for our character. Clothes are such a huge part of your character; if I was running in a prom dress, people would know that's not quite right. We had discussions about where we wanted our characters to go. In the beginning of the season, we wanted my characters to have some elements of who I was last season, still covered up. I have the cross. Even when I turn into my vampire-slayer outfit with the black jacket and the black boots, I still have the cross. That's a choice to show I'm still holding on to my humanity.
BS: I really appreciate what Nina does because wardrobe is an underrated part of the story. She really puts a lot of thought into it.
MD: His outfit shows the journey he's going on. It seems like such a small part of it, but I think if he wasn't wearing what we was, it wouldn't have the same effect. So go Nina!
BS: Shout out to Nina!
Thank you so much to Madison Davenport and Brandon Soo Hoo!
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