Amanda Collin, star of your new favourite series Raised By Wolves, brings a completely different energy then I have grown accustomed to experiencing, even on Zoom calls, which have sort of become the new norm these days. Though we recorded solely for audio, the video component was present, and Collin has short, pink hair, different from the deep red of the series, but still very punk rock. Her immersive embodiment of her character, Mother, in the Ridley Scott produced and directed show (her first ever tv series), will blow you away, not to mention the intensity and cinematic elements of the HBO Max series.
The following is a condensed and edited version of a fun conversation with the kick-ass Amanda Collin of Raised by Wolves.
Brief Take: Hi, Amanda! How are you doing?
Amanda Collin: I’m very good, thanks. How are you?
BT: I’m doing very well. Where’s the grey jumpsuit from the show?
AC: [laughs] I left that in South Africa. You can be rest assured.
BT: I binge watched every episode of this show that was available to me, it was so good.
AC: How many episodes were sent to you?
BT: Six. And it ends on quite the cliffhanger!
AC: Oooh, yes! Holy Moses.
BT: It blew me away. The show exceeded all of my expectations and you were fantastic in it.
AC: Aww. Thank you.
BT: I felt like I was watching the future of television.
AC: Wow. That’s beautiful. Thank you!
BT: It’s an immersive, transformative performance. How did you get into that headspace of Mother?
AC: That’s acting, dude. [laughs] You just start working, I guess. When you’re in the hands of Ridley (Scott) and Aaron (Guzikowski)’s crazy good scripts and the world that he’s created, it’s just about hanging in there. Ridley and his team and everyone that worked on the series did such a good job creating the world around us. So my job felt so easy in a way. Even the suit gave me so much of my performance, the settings, and Ridley draws everything so you always know where you’re going in every scene and what it’s about, so my job was trying to give him different options, I guess. We talked about it and had fun and discovered things together. It was a lot of fun. We were always on set together and it was such a comfort to have someone in the same mind space as you and playful. You could go to him and be like “I don’t know what I’m doing”, and he’s like “I don’t either! Just go and try it out”. So we definitely clung on to each other the whole time.
BT: There are some particular moments that are fascinating, your primal screams in particular. That sequence at the end of the first episode, and even in the later episodes where you’re discovering your origin and backstory. What was your favourite moment of filming?
AC: There were so many! Going back in time was really special because it was so technical and you had to be technical and emotional at the same time, acting with yourself is a real mind twister. The tone on set and all the actors that were involved with this, and directors and everyone who came to work on the show, everyone has been so excited about the story and the work and doing their best every day. That really creates a high vibration when you’re shooting. I think it really comes down to the scripts; when things are good, when they flow, it’s easy to work with for everyone. So Aaron, the mastermind behind it all, he deserves major credit. [giggles]
BT: Wikipedia says that he was a practicing Catholic but is no longer. It seems like extraneous information but adds context to the content of the show. How did you lean into the metaphors of the show in terms of the fight over religion, even with the world ending and this being the new world. How much do you lean into those themes?
AC: I think it explores very important themes. Like you said, religion versus atheism, or just not about religion at all but about believing in something so much that it becomes dangerous, you know? Or so much that you become blinded by what’s going on in your peripheral. And I think that’s very dangerous and important to talk about. I just learned a new word the other day – ‘woke’. Okay I’m super old and I just learned this now but the information that people are able to gather in today’s world and be perfect on everything, but where do you get it from? What is your source of information? It is so important to raise questions and try to understand where people are coming from instead of judging and standing so stubbornly on your own ground. I very much relate to that, and I also think it’s about love versus survival, that’s also interesting. People have booked their first tickets to the Moon when the Earth will be destroyed. That’s kind of depressing. [laughs]
BT: How much do you see this show as a science fiction show or is it exploring topics that are happening right now that portend things to come? How far into the future does this feel?
AC: I think Mother and Father have a very beautiful partnership and I think the look of the characters, two genderless robots that could be siblings, they could be lovers, they could be anything you want them to be. The whole world can relate to these people because they are just an essence of love and protection, that in itself is beautiful. Then from then on the dynamics they have, when Mother gains more power and what is power, what is empathy, what is coming of age with children and how do you support that in the best possible way? These aren’t questions for the current time, they’re questions that exist in all times. We all deal with shit our parents did to us when we were 13 and we can’t remember, you know? Then when you become a parent yourself, you think: “How can I avoid giving my kids that trauma?”, but you can’t because we’re human! It’s part of the human experience, I think.
BT: I imagine that the stunt training was intense. Even to physically embody an android and the physicality involved with that must have been quite a process. Can you talk a little about that preparation?
AC: I think a lot of it came naturally. I’m a 180 stick and obviously I was working out a lot to build muscle and not look so stick-like. [laughs] It was an exploration to try and do stuff and not try to explain everything. Ridley was very supportive of not trying to explain everything but let things happen. When you do that, you build a character. When Campion is born, for instance, I get very emotional and I was like “Can I even cry?” [laughs] Is Mother even able to have tears? You could explain it that she doesn’t even know what crying is or you can explain it by the people that made her made her so advanced that she’s not able, but it doesn’t matter. To me, that’s genius. To me, that’s the power of letting go in situations and not trying to control everything. Let moments be moments and let’s see what unfolds. [laughs]
BT: I binge watched the show, but how would you recommend viewers watch this show?
AC: I’ve watched them in pairs of two and I have to say, watching episodes five and six, I was telling my husband that so much is happening there. I think, just from my point of view, so much work and so much detail is put into every moment. The people that paint stuff, build stuff, made stuff, polish…the detail of this thing is so incredible. I would just hate that it was over in a night, you know? [giggles] I would give people permission to stretch it out a little bit and be patient, give themselves a gift. It’s so beautifully produced.
BT: I’m going to have to go back and do that.
AC: Yes! Please do!
BT: It’s interesting that you mentioned watching the episodes in pairs because the directors did episodes in pairs as well. It seems like thematically and aesthetically the episodes worked well in pairs. How did it feel to be a part of this world?
AC: It’s all in the hands of these directors and you just try to do your best and connect with their vision. I think that’s the most important thing I can do is to get out of my own way and lean into what the director’s vision is. It’s so much better than anything I could have ever imagined. That’s why I’m not a director. [laughs]
I don’t know if this is a spoiler or not, but some of the things that you just can’t imagine, like even the beginning scene, the spaceship. You come on set the first day and this massive spaceship is there with this guy controlling it, and it’s the edge of this massive hole that’s been dug up, and you realize you’re at the centre of something crazy. But I’d say that most of the Mithraic stuff with the spaceships, the sand dunes, the antagonistic thing, that to me is so beautiful and simple. The simplicity! I’m so in awe of the colours and the simple tone, and it all boils down to the story and what the story is and what the relationships and characters are about.
BT: I’ve watched some of your Danish work and you’ve had such an incredible career thus far. And now you’re here!
AC: [laughs] It’s crazy, right?! Sometimes the stars just align. I was at a festival in Kilkenny and I met the casting director, and she saw a tiny movie I did in Denmark because it was at that festival. It’s called the Subtitle European Film Festival because it’s only European movies with subtitles. So very luckily, she saw my Danish movie, well not mine but a movie I was in, and she was like “do you want to do a casting for Ridley Scott’s new TV show? Let’s do it tomorrow or the day after.” I was like “are you kidding??”, but that was my luck, really. I had no time to think, you just jump in blindfolded with both feet and just learn your lines and don’t think about it.
BT: I think you bring something to this role that I’ve never seen before.
AC: Oh wow. Thank you.
BT: Take care!
AC: You too.
Raised by Wolves premieres tomorrow night on HBO Max, Crave, and CTV Sci-Fi