Tonight Syfy airs the tenth episode of season two of its popular series, The Magicians
, “The Girl Who Told Time,” which guest stars Marlee Matlin. Jade Tailor, who stars as Kady Orloff-Diaz, talked to SciFi Vision in an exclusive interview about working with Matlin, Kady’s relationship with Penny (Arjun Gupta), her friendship with Julia (Stella Maeve), and more.
**Interview contains spoilers for 2.10**
SCIFI VISION: Is there anywhere besides the books and the script that you took inspiration from for Kady when you created her? JADE TAILOR:
That’s a great question. I read the books, and so I really understood the world that they were living in. I also took inspiration just from the creators and writers, John McNamara and Sera Gamble, and what their vision was for the character, because originally Kady was Amanda Orloff in the book, and she pretty much died right away. [laughs]
And of course, they melded a few of the characters, bringing Asmodeus into the picture. But I didn’t know that; I didn’t know that she was going to be Asmodeus until two weeks before I read that script. [laughs]
So, it’s definitely been a journey of exploration. But going into it, I just went off both the books and the script, and the world that they created, I would say, rather than a specific person. And I always, for me, create a lot of backstory, and based on the information that they gave me about the character, that’s she’s a tough girl and sort of brash, I then created what I thought suited her character, her personality, and her characteristics. So nothing in particular, I just sort of often go based off of my imagination. Considering that they’ve sort of mixed things together, I don’t know if it would necessarily be for one character or the other, but is there anything from the books that you’re hoping they’ll put in the series?
Oh, goodness. I think the things I was hoping for, they have, which is the talking animals and chivalry. I think that’s what’s really exciting this season, in particular, because it takes it to a whole new level of magic. So they’ve already done it for me. [laughs]
I’m excited to just see how they expand the books, because when reading a book or when reading a script, whatever it is, we all have our own idea of what it looks like. And so I love watching their interpretation of it coming to life. That for me is really exciting, and I think they’ve done an incredible job so far, especially with Fillory and what that looks like, and the throne room and how elaborate and magical that is. That’s always incredible. I’m always in awe when I walk into it. Kady and Penny have gotten closer again, even though they still argue about it. Can you talk about their journey and relationship, and where it’s heading this season?
Well, I think when we last left it, it was really unresolved. And, as you could see, Penny was heartbroken, but I don’t think you really see how heartbroken Kady was. And I think she always does things thinking that she’s helping somebody, when she might hurt them in the process, which she thinks is better for them in the long-run. I think that’s the case for how she dealt with her mother’s situation as well.
But you see them come back together, and it’s, like I said, unresolved. And they have a lot of things to move through and talk about, and like any relationship, there’s always ups and downs.
And, without giving away too much, I think their relationship definitely unfolds in many ways, in the good and the bad. And I think you really see a lot more vulnerability from both of them this season in regards to one another. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, [laughs]
wait and see and judge for yourself! But it’s definitely a journey this season. Could you talk about the fact that Penny - he said he didn’t sign the contract for her, but he pretty much did - he’s become a librarian now, and he’s kind of made that deal and everything for her. Is that going to cause a big change?
Oh yeah. [laughs]
I mean, he signs a contract. He signs his life over. And so, with any contract, there’re definitely risks that you’re taking, but I don’t think he’s clear about the risks until he’s actually dealing with them. But then there’re also repercussions of some other choices that he makes, and without spoiling the end of the season, there’re definitely repercussions, and so you’re going to kind of see that unfold, and then see Kady having to make decisions because of that as well. So it’s definitely going to take you on a bit of a roller coaster ride, let’s put it that way! [laughs] I also wanted you to talk a bit about Kady’s relationship with Julia. If you could talk a little bit about that and how far she’s willing to go for Julia, because, obviously, at a certain point, she has to move away, because she leaves her in the dungeon.
I think Kady goes pretty darn far for Julia, and she cares deeply about her, and she feels a sense of obligation to her for all that they’ve been through: for Julia saving her life, for Kady not being able to save her - all of these things. And they’ve become very close, and I think Kady is very much in denial of how far Julia has gone and is willing to go. And it isn’t until Julia does what she does that Kady has to step in and take action. It breaks her heart to have to do that, but she has to in order to trust people. She thinks she’s doing what’s right.
I think that the whole journey with Julia is really heart wrenching, because you really see these two women bonding with one another and supporting one another, and then this other thing is happening to Julia that is out of their control. Kady only wants to help her and doesn’t have the ability to. She has no control over it, and that’s a very vulnerable space to be in, to not be able to protect somebody that you care about. I wanted to talk a minute about episode seven. I think it might have been my favorite episode this season, with the bank heist and everything. Can you talk a bit about filming the episode, and maybe your favorite part of it, and just that experience?
The whole thing was so much fun for me. I mean, for me, the first image that comes to mind is going in with the bee suits on and watching Jason [Ralph] squirm out of that. I remember laughing for most of that episode, because I don’t get to play with Jason and Hale [Appleman] that often, and when we do, we all laugh and we have the best time. And so, I just remember it being so much fun.
And I loved doing the stunts, and our stunt coordinator is incredible, and so doing that was really fun for me.
And the whole aspect of it - who doesn’t love a bank heist, right?
But also, I was saying earlier that I really loved being able to act with all of the actors, because you don’t get to see all of the characters interacting with one another or working together, and so that was really fun and exciting for all of us, I think, to be able to do that. Now I want to ask you about [tonight’s] episode. Did you have a hard time learning the sign language for 2.10? Or maybe you already knew it before you did the episode?
I actually studied a little bit of sign language growing up. This is going to sounds weird, but I was on a plane one day, and I don’t know why, but in the back of the plane seat - I think I was fifteen honestly - there was a little booklet that showed you the signing alphabet and just these little phrases that you could do. And I memorized it while I was on the plane, and I just, for some reason, really connected to it. And so I got so thrilled to be able to do that.
What was really exciting though, was that there’s a difference between just signing to somebody and then listening to somebody acting while signing, because I was having to listen to Marlee on a whole other level, because I’m not listening to the words; I’m listening to her body language, and I’m watching her and taking her in. So for me, it was a beautiful acting lesson, actually, and it was also just really exciting to be able to sign, and to utilize that, and to learn more signing as well. Next I have a Twitter question somebody had asked. “What do you hope to accomplish or inspire with Kady for the fans?”
That was a great question. I hope that people will be inspired by her strength, her perseverance, and her resilience. I’ve gotten many messages from women saying, “I’m so inspired to see a powerful female role model, somebody who isn’t afraid to be themselves, who isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in.” Like, all of these things, that’s what I hope for, and that’s what I feel is coming from the responses, is happening. So it’s such a gift to be able to play such a strong character who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, isn’t afraid to fight for what she believes, and who’s an all-around badass, [laughs]
you know? So I hope that it will inspire women to be as strong as they are. Could you describe Kady in three words?
Resilient, tough, and badass. [laughs]