Emma Dumont is someone with whom we had been looking forward to speaking for a while. The portrayer of Polaris and Lorna Dane on the FOX series The Gifted turned out to be one of our most surprising and entertaining interview experiences in a while. Dumont spoke to us incredibly eloquently about The Gifted, but also about her highly anticipated role as Razor in the upcoming film adaptation of Everett Hartsoe’s comic books. When asked about her dream role, the talented actress reveals that it’s already been portrayed by Reese Witherspoon in Walk The Line, as she dreams of on day portraying June Carter Cash on screen.
The following is a condensed and edited version of our exclusive interview with the lovely Emma Dumont.
Brief Take: Do you bring your own experiences into portraying Lorna?
Emma Dumont: I would say season 1 Lorna and Emma Dumont are the exact same person in many, many ways—their political views, their strength, their relentless stubbornness, negative and positive. I related so much to Lorna when I first “met her”. Season 2, I don’t know this girl. [laughs] I don’t know who she is. I don’t know what she’s doing, I don’t know why she’s sitting around crying so much. In season 2, what I think is right for the character doesn’t matter and what I feel personally doesn’t matter because I’m not in charge, I’m not the boss, so whatever is on the page is what we do that day. And that’s great! You know, there are so many things about Lorna this year that are so hard for me to understand, and it’s not a bad thing, it’s not in a negative way. I played roles before in which I didn’t understand the characters, I would do the same thing if I was playing a murderer—to a different level, of course. But yeah, in the first few episodes she finds out that her baby is sick and instead of going out and hunting for a doctor, leaving the Inner Circle, really going and doing what a mom would do, pounding the pavement, trying to find something to help her child, she sits around and cries about it. So, you know, I don’t know, I don’t know if I can fully understand season 2 Lorna Dane. Lorna this season was really passive and I didn’t like that at all. I was like “who is this person? I don’t know this Lorna Dane”. But the writers thought it would be better that she was a little more submissive and weak this season. I guess that’s important for her journey, it’s important for everyone’s journey to have highs and lows. Her mental illness aside, for anyone, it’s important to show those different parts of a character. Playing someone with bipolar disorder is a big task and it’s definitely something we talk about every day. This is still a person who has not been treated in any way, through therapy or medicine. She’s completely on her own, and then she has a baby, which is a huge hormonal change in anyone’s body, so yeah, she’s really going through it right now! [laughs] My girl Lorna’s really going through it.
BT: How do you enjoy filming The Gifted in Atlanta?
ED: Oh, it’s amazing. I love Atlanta so much! Our show was set in Atlanta for season 1 and in season 2 it’s obviously set in Washington, D.C., so we shoot more on the stages this year because it’s easy to get Atlanta to play Atlanta, but getting Washington D.C. is a different story. [laughs] But it’s been great, I really enjoy it. Georgia is obviously in the South and in history there have been a lot of similar struggles there that the mutants are facing in the show, and I think that’s super important and very cool that we get to shoot in a place that has seen these things in real life. I love it. I love Georgia. Atlanta is an amazing city, it’s so beautiful.
BT: You have a lot of personal pursuits too.
ED: Yeah! I do. [laughs] I’m a big nerd, I have a lot of different interests. Later today I’m actually going to a banjo lesson because I randomly decided at 24 years old that I wanted to play the banjo! [laughs] It’s so stupid. But why not?! I mean, it’s great. I’ve been trained in classical ballet since I was three, that’s not really something you get to leave so easily. Once you’re a dancer, you’re always a dancer and it really helps my work. Just being physical in some way, it helps characters. Actually, later this year, I’m playing a character that’s much more physical than even Lorna is, a comic book character called Razor, from the comics Razor. So I’m taking Krav Maga and continuing my ballet training for that. So yeah, I love music and I love robotics and engineering, and those things will always be my personal passions, but the dance for some reason, it really comes in handy on set. [laughs]
BT: Do you feel like you were destined to play the role of Razor?
ED: Yeah, I do a little bit, and I hope everyone else feels the same way. We’ll see, we’ll come to find out. But I do kind of feel like it was destiny. You know, when you read a script, and you’re like “that’s me!”, that’s a really weird feeling. Not that I am an assassin or anything like that [laughs], but the main core of this character is that she has several sides to her: she has a really soft sweet little girl side who misses her dad desperately, and then she ends up leading a gang of women, and she has this fierce leader side of her that you don’t want to mess with, and then she has another romantic side. There’s so many pieces of her, and I’m just like: “that’s me, that’s me, that’s me!”. Also if you just look at the comics, she looks so much like me it’s like ridiculous. [laughs] The comic creator Everett Hartsoe said that when he first saw a picture of me, he was like “That’s Razor. That’s my Razor! She looks so much like her, it’s crazy”. The big green eyes, the black hair, the pale skin—it’s also just emotionally loving this girl. I feel like I look a lot like her, so you know, it sort of worked out. [laughs]
BT: How much do you enjoy transforming on screen?
ED: Honestly, I’m obsessed. My one thing is I never want to play the same character twice and I’m so lucky that I haven’t. So yeah, it’s wild. I love changing my hair colour. The last show I was on, before T@gged and The Gifted, was called Aquarius, and it was on NBC and it was about Charles Manson. I played a 16-year-old girl and they painted me up in a tan every day and my hair was strawberry dark blonde and I just looked so different than myself, which was amazing and so fun. Even going from Zoe on T@gged to Lorna on The Gifted, we actually film those at the same time. So obviously we’re going to have the same hair colour, we’re going to look the same. But for me, it’s really important to make them different people, so you know, Lorna’s hair, even though it’s green, but sometimes it’s black for flashbacks, I want that to look very different than Zoe’s hair and I want their eyebrows to look different. So much of it is on the shoulders of the hair and make-up department and I am so grateful to work with the talented people with whom I have been able to work. Just for me, it’s very important because I never want to look just like Emma. I never want people to be like “Oh, that’s just Emma playing a role”, or “Oh, she has black hair again. Oh, she’s pale again”. There’s so much you can do with make-up and hair and obviously, with something like The Magicians, the effects make-up was above and beyond amazing and outstanding, so that’s a whole different ballgame. My favourite part is creating a character that looks different from every other character I’ve played. I love Melissa Leo for that reason. I’ll be watching a film and I won’t realize until halfway through that it’s Melissa Leo. She’s a true chameleon, and that’s who I hope to be, a chameleon.
BT: What is something that you carry with you?
ED: I always have my teddy bear with me. I know it’s super nerdy, but I always take my teddy with me everywhere. [laughs] There was this ring—and this is going to sound terrible, it’s going to make me sound like a thief—there was a ring I wore on The Gifted pilot, as Lorna, and I accidentally wore it home with me and on to the plane and then to Los Angeles [laughs], and I didn’t know how to give it back! Fortunately, they have like five of these rings. It was like a tiny little ring, they have tons and tons of them. I didn’t think it was a big deal, and I didn’t have anybody to get in contact with to give it back. So I kept it on and I wore it until the day they announced that we got picked up to series, which was super cool. It’s in my wallet. I don’t wear it because I wear different rings to work now, but yeah, I still own it, I still have it, I still have stolen it. [laughs] That’s terrible, oh my gosh.
The Gifted returns on Tuesday February 12 at 9/8c on Fox and Citytv