Tonight’s all-new episode of Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches
, entitled “The Thrall,” followed the results of Aunt Carlotta (Beth Grant) attempting to kill Rowan (Alexandra Daddario) in the fire and destroy Lasher (Jack Huston). An angry Lasher locks Rowan and Ciprien (Tongayi Chirisa) in the Mayfair house, trying to get her to accept him and the power it grants her.
Huston didn’t know anything about the books when he first took on the role of Lasher in the series, but he really liked the way the show was going to be adapted. “I thought it was something that I hadn't seen before,” the actor told SciFi Vision during a recent interview. “I thought, as much as it was in the realm of science fiction and the idea of witchcraft and magic and everything, it felt very rooted in rather human sort of problems, and all the rest of it as well, the relationships. So, I was excited to get into this character of Lasher.”
The actor continued that having not read the books first actually helped him to become the character. “I think gave me a little more of an opportunity to discover the character as something new, not as something that I had a sort of [preconception] of what he was and who he was,” said Huston. “…I did feel very empowered to bring a bunch of ideas and thoughts to it. One of them was, I said, as much as one was thinking of Lasher as this sort of ethereal, this spirit, this being, this sort of non-tangible idea of who he is, I found him incredibly human…I think that there's a manipulation of course; there's a power, of course. There are all these other sides to Lasher, but I think it stems from something very human, which is wanting to exist and just and wanting to be seen, and as much as they need him, he needs them…It was a very complex character.”
For more from Huston, including connecting with the supernatural entity, working in New Orleans, what fans can expect from next week’s episode, who he’d like to have more scenes with, and more, read the full transcript below.
SCIFI VISION: When you first got the role, how, how familiar were you with the books?
I knew nothing. I knew nothing. It was so funny. I mean, it was being spearheaded at the time by the amazing Mark Johnson who had taken it over to AMC, and he was someone I've worked with before and just someone of immense taste and worth in my eyes; I love him to bits. He of first sort of brought it to me, and I got to meet Esta and Michelle and the whole team of brilliant people. They sort of went into what this was, you know, [how it was] obviously from The Witching Hour
, but taking that as an adaptation into the Mayfair Witches
, and I was fascinated. I thought it was brilliant. I thought it was something that I hadn't seen before. I thought, as much as it was in the realm of science fiction and the idea of witchcraft and magic and everything, it felt very rooted in rather human sort of problems, and all the rest of it as well, the relationships. So, I was excited to get into this character of Lasher.
With this you have a lot with the books and the scripts to pull from, but how do you kind of decide, I guess, what to bring in of your own? How do you kind of balance that? And what did you maybe bring in of your own, even if it was just something you added in your head?
Well, it's funny, it's, you know, I think not having read the book, I think gave me a little more of an opportunity to discover the character as something new, not as something that I had a sort of [preconception] of what he was and who he was. But, at the same time, I was talking with a lot of people. I think it's a very, very hard, from what I heard, book to adapt, because one has to be able to be rather decisive and understand what will work and what won't work, what can we sort of mesh, what can we meld, what we bring to it. Also, there has to be a certain freedom and artistic license that these writers, and we as actors, have to bring to it too. So, the greatest thing was the collaboration. Esta Spalding, the coolest and most brilliant human who took on a monumental task, adapting this into a series, was there for every single frame. And then we had just great actors and people I love. We got to set, and we did explore, and we did sort of create, and I did feel very empowered to bring a bunch of ideas and thoughts to it. One of them was, I said, as much as one was thinking of Lasher as this sort of ethereal, this, you know, spirit, this being, this sort of non-tangible idea of who he is, I found him incredibly human. I don't know what it was. I found without emotion, without thought - I think that there's a manipulation of course; there's a power, of course. There are all these other sides to Lasher, but I think it stems from something very human, which is wanting to exist and just and wanting to be seen, and as much as they need him, he needs them…It was a very complex character.
What, what part did you have the hardest time connecting with character-wise? Was there anything that kind of jumps out at you that can think of? I mean, I know he has some bad sides. [laughs]
Just as an actor, as a person, you're always trying to ground everything in reality, and I think sometimes letting go of reality and saying “some things don't make sense.” I think, Episode Five is a lot about that, which is, it doesn't have to make sense for it to happen or, you know, there’s this nonsensical aspect of what's happening in the psyche… he wants her to understand that everything he does is actually through her. She's the one in charge. It's her choice. It's not his choice. He's just there to facilitate her choice and what she's doing, even if she doesn't realize it herself. But I think the hard part in the beginning was understanding how he moved. Do you make him human? And at the same time, how would you keep him from being too human? The way one sort of reacts and stuff, I think it's a fine line, because you don't want to take it too far off into this sort of, like, I don't want to say cheesy, but…even if it is someone who's like this apparition or this spiritual thing, it still needs to be grounded in something. So, that was the hardest part, trying to navigate [that]. Who is he? How do we see him? How does he present himself?
Well, I think they've done a good job at keeping people guessing, because I haven't read the books…and it was nice to kind of be through all of it sort of trying to figure out exactly what's going on and how bad he is and everything.
The [Mayfair] men don't necessarily have them, but your character has powers, obviously. You've probably been asked this before, but I'm curious, if you could have a power like in the series for yourself, what would you want it to be?
Oh, that's good. That's always good.
I've been talking with the other actors about the the environment. How much does New Orleans kind of affect you bringing him to life, being kind of in that environment?
It’s everything. But I’ll tell you what, we were shooting in summer, and it was like 100% humidity, and it was insane. But, of course, with anything good, there's got to be some sort of downside to it, and that’s the only downside, the heat. New Orleans is, I mean, it lives and breathes this show and Anne Rice and everything. It's amazing when you're on location, and yeah, sure, we're on soundstages for some of it, but we were on location for a lot of it. Like Carlotta’s [place], you know, where we find Deidre, that house was a location. That was one of my first days of filming, and it just felt so special and eerie, and it has that juju going on, like the whole magic, and that's running rampant in New Orleans. I mean, you really feel like there is this whole spooky side to it, like the spirit side to it, and I think it really does help. It really was wonderful, and I love it just as a city. It's one of the coolest places ever.
Do you have a favorite place in New Orleans that you got to go while you were there?
Many, many, many, many. [There are] great restaurants, just like really cool music, great bars. I mean, there were loads. I would be very hard pressed to choose one, but as far as cities go to shoot, like, I would probably recommend not being there in the hot summer, but it'd be in my top three cities in the US for sure.
I'd like to go there someday, hopefully.
You mostly have scenes with Alex, who's somebody that you'd like to have gotten more scenes with, that you'd like to have had a bit more time with?
Beth Grant, we only had very few together, by loved every second I was on set with Beth. Tongayi [Chirisa] is one of my all time favorites. We worked on a movie together, so it was great getting back together on this one. Last time we worked was in New Orleans doing a film, which is so cool. So, I love him, and we get some some time in this one, and hopefully we'll get many more, if there's more to come. Annabeth, oh God, she’s phenomenal. I loved working with Annabeth too; she was just the best. So most people, really. [laughs]
Can you tease a little bit about Episode Six, without giving away spoilers?
I think Episode Six is a moment of discovery for Rowan of what she thinks she wants rather than what she really wants. I think, in a situation like this, one has to experience the loneliness of what it's like without somebody to realize how much [they] want them back. That's when I keep saying about [how] it feels very human, some of the stuff, because I think Six is a good example of Rowan doing what she thinks she wants, not what she really wants, and it's a continuation of that whole idea of “it's your choice” in Five. This is the moment where she thinks she is making a choice, but the regret of making the so-called wrong choice might come into play.