MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE stars Alexa Davalos (Juliana Crane) and Chelah Horsdal (Helen Smith) sat down with us at New York Comic Con this 2018.

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Amazon Studios derived THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE for Prime TV from Philip K. Dick’s book of the same name. The story takes place in an alternate reality set 20 years after Germany and Japan conquered the rest of the world after World War II.

Alexa Davalos stars as Juliana, the protagonist of THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE. She works against the Japanese and German Empires to restore the conquered United States of America.

Chelah Horsdal portrays the role of Helen Smith. Helen is a dutiful and loving wife to her children and husband John Smith. She attempts to make the best out of a bad situation after her husband rises to the top of the American Nazi Reich.

In this interview at New York Comic Con 2018, we learned a lot about what Alexa and her character, Juliana, have in common as well as all the martial arts and gun training Alexa Davalos had to learn in order to prepare for her role.

Chelah Horsdal talks about the kind of woman Helen might’ve turned into had she lived in a reality similar to our own.

We learned a lot about both their characters!

Alexa, your character knows martial arts and guerilla warfare. Tell us about how you trained for this role?

Alexa Davalos: Ooh, at the beginning of the pilot, well, you know, I did some training with a man called George Ledyard, who’s an incredible Sensei and who’s in Seattle. I spent some time training with him and certainly leading up to the pilot and then sort of sporadically throughout, I’ve kept up with that.

As far as the physicality goes, I love that stuff. I really, I love to throw myself around and be covered in dirt and blood. That’s kind of my, that’s my, that’s my element. I really love that. So I kind of, yeah, I’m all about it. Kind of just dive into that stuff. Yeah, the machine guns, you know, it’s a separate thing, but the physicality aspect of it is, it’s one of my favorites.

Chelah, how did Helen’s son’s death affect her in season three?

Chelah Horsdal: It’s a great question. Itt affects everything for her in the new season. That moment and that decision that he ultimately made because we raised him so to live under this doctrine. It definitely, she begins to question a lot of choices that they have made up until this point. Would he have turned himself in if they hadn’t been as effective as they were in raising a good little Nazi?

So, the heartbreak that exists as a result of that and the responsibility and the guilt that comes from that. And then trying to protect her daughters and figure out if, inevitably, she’s going to have to face this again with her two other children. I’ve never lost a child personally, but I can’t imagine if you’ve gone through something like that once, that you’d ever, ever, ever allow a situation where it could potentially happen again. So, that influences virtually everything in season three for her.

Alexa, how much of “you” is in Juliana?

Alexa Davalos: Um, I don’t know. You know, ultimately as an actor, we are our instrument, right? So, so, blood, flesh, and bone and tears and snot and all of it, you know. So, it’s all sort of right there. So, um, I suppose we have similarities. Um, but, yeah, we do have similarities, certainly. Absolutely, but we’re also very, very different. I don’t, I’m certainly not as brave as she is. There’s, I don’t think I’ve ever be able to do the things that she, that she does. Um, I don’t know though. I’ve never been in those circumstances, of course, so, yeah.

Chelah Horsdal: You’re not as dark and stormy as her.

Alexa Davalos: Well, that we share. It’s the sort of ability to mow down a bunch of people with a gun, I don’t really have that, that, that, you know. Yeah, no, she’s, she’s a, she’s a soldier. You know, she’s just, she’s focused in a way that, um, I’m fear I’d get far too emotionally involved and everything would stop me dead. I wouldn’t be able to. Yeah.

What would your characters be like in other realities?

Chelah Horsdal: I’ve always thought that Helen would be, like, an awesome raging feminist in an alternate reality. That she would be at sort of the precipice of women’s rights and birth control and like —

Interviewer: That would be awesome.

Chelah Horsdal: Yeah, how I’ve fantasized that she is that woman living underneath these circumstances, if that makes sense, in this world. Yeah, so I always, I’d picture her as someone who’s like easy breezy with starting to wear beads. Probably a little closer to me, let’s be honest.

Interviewer: I could see that, I could see that.

Chelah Horsdal: Yeah.

What about Alexa’s character, Juliana Crane?

Interviewer: And for you, do you think, I mean, Juliana, she almost has a like a softer side in her other reality, being a mother, like, having a family, and that side of things. And also a tougher side, like, trying to fight.

Alexa Davalos: Yeah.

Interviewer: Is there any other realities you think she might get to see or explore? Or maybe even see her sister?

Alexa Davalos: Well, in, in the third season we see her in quite a few, so she certainly has, she’s got this sort of antenna now, at this point, she’s connected with all of those things. So we see her in quite a few. But at the end of the day, you know, the core is the core of people even in their alternate selves, it’s the environment that changes them. Um, so, that’s always really fun to put in this. Is that the same core, that shape-shifting exterior.

Yeah, there’s a lot of different sort of, subtleties and things that I play in my character. Things that I attach to different memories and different realities and, yeah, it, yeah it’s good fun.

Talk to us about the weight of working on a project dealing with so many hot-button issues?

Alexa Davalos: Well, because we’re storytellers, it’s, that’s our whole world is to tell a story and all that entails. There’s so many aspects of each story that aren’t ours, right. So, there’s this kind of human creative license that comes into play, and if we thought too much about all those things ultimately we probably wouldn’t be able to, to tell our story.

Chelah Horsdal: One of the things that has always kind of tripped me up is that often times people will take issue with if I’m playing a devout person and I’m not that in real life. Or if I’m playing a Nazi and I’m not that in real life. But no one says well you’re playing a mother, you’re not that in real life. You’re playing a lawyer or you’re, it’s we play in, we use our imaginations and we try and imagine, under the circumstances, how we might respond.

In terms of the responsibility, telling a story for me doesn’t reflect an endorsement of those choices or have… I hope that it never seems that anyone is telling a story and saying this is an ideal way to live. I think if anything, we’re saying these are the consequences of the choices that have been made by these people under these given circumstances. It’s not always good.

Huge thank you to Alexa and Chelah for taking the time to talk with us!

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