THE MAGICIANS have made such an impact with fans of the fantasy genre since it’s debut on Syfy. Now on its third season, Quentin and the gang are on a quest to bring magic back to Fillory. Along the way, they’ll be going more deeply into world of magic and fantasy. We talked with actress Olivia Taylor Dudley about the new season and why she loves the world of THE MAGICIANS.

Olivia Taylor Dudley The Magicians

ComicsVerse (CV): We are on the third season. Have you ever thought THE MAGICIANS would last this long?

Olivia Taylor Dudley (OTD): It’s kind of amazing. I mean it’s the longest I’ve ever been on a show. It seems to be getting traction with every season, which is exciting. Time goes by so fast and this season especially, I looked up and said, “Wow, three seasons of TV!”. It’s a pretty big accomplishment because the number of sales the shows that have more than one season so it’s a really awesome honor to be on a show that’s gone three seasons as a fan base. It’s just getting bigger, and more supportive. I just got back from an international press tour and it’s really fun to see the show in other parts of the world and how well people are receiving it. It’s really awesome to be a character for three years.

CV: How has the fan base treated you since you started being on THE MAGICIANS?

OTD: It’s pretty awesome. Our fans are incredible, I’m sure everybody’s show would say that but our fans are particularly special. We’ve had fans coming from the books when we first started, so there was already a fan base built in. Whether or not they would accept us would be the question and they did right away. They loved the show, so we had all the Lev Grossman fans from the get-go. Now we have this huge fan base all over the world and there are so supportive and lovely.

What I love, especially when we go to big comic book events is that they love to tell their stories. I can tell that they connect to the material the same way we do as the actors. They see it as real stories and it’s not just about magic, it’s about how we’re portraying real-life experiences. So they love to tell us their stories and how it’s helped them. It’s very moving and I’ve never seen fans that are this open and honest about their personal lives.

We feel very honored and close to them, which has been really great. It’s because we film THE MAGICIANS in Vancouver and we are kind of in this bubble when we are filming. We forget that it exists in a world because you’re there for six months and 14-hour days. You lose your mind and then they ship you off to a comic con for the weekend. And then, there are all these beautiful fans crying and telling their stories like our characters on THE MAGICIANS. I don’t know, it’s the most rewarding part for sure.

Olivia Taylor Dudley The Magicians

CV: Alice has been through so much on THE MAGICIANS. Now we see you come back from the dead but your character isn’t exactly herself. How do you handle that as an actress?

OTD: I fell in love with the character when I first read the pilot script and then read the books. She was by far my favorite character. In the books, my character dies and I knew that was coming. I didn’t know when that would come so that was a conversation I had with my showrunners before the pilot. They assured me that they’d find a way to keep my character on the show. I got really lucky because Alice dies at the beginning of season two. So instead of her being gone for the whole season or two like in the books, I become a niffin which is a different creature and really cool for a whole season.

I got to develop a whole different side of the same character and play 20 different versions of her. Now in season three, they ripped magic away from her and she’s no longer a niffin. So now she’s back to being a normal girl. What I love about our show is that we don’t lose sight of what the characters have gone through. Alice had died, used pure magic, and came back to life. So I have to find a way to imprint on the character moving forward but not lose that. This season is like a personal crisis for Alice because she doesn’t know who she is anymore. She’s become so many different people that she’s lost sight of who she was in. She’ll never be the same as she was in the beginning.

I think it’s really fun to get to play different versions of the same character. It’s the longest I’ve ever been on a show so I’ve never been with a character for three years. You really do grow as an actor in the material that they give you. It’s also a great opportunity to find all the different facets of this human that I’m playing. I purposely made her, in the beginning, shy and introverted so I would have a wide range to move forward. I got lots of big plans for her, so hopefully, I can keep playing her.

Olivia Taylor Dudley Stella Maeve The Magicians

CV: You just had magic back for a bit this season. How did that change for Alice on THE MAGICIANS?

OTD: I loved that Alice and Julia get to explore their friendship because those two have never had an interaction. Alice has had feelings for Julia because of the Quentin situation so it’s fun to explore the female dynamic. Julia is very giving and kind-hearted even though she’s been through bad stuff and people judge her decisions. I think Julia is a very heroic character. Alice might’ve used to be that, but she’s a bit of a devious entity on the show. I love that you don’t know what she’ll do. Now that she has Julia’s magic, it’ll be interesting to see what she does with it. What we’re finding out is that magic doesn’t really fit in other person’s body.

Everybody has their own specific magic and Alice was the only one born into magic. I would say she is the most powerful magician naturally on the show. When she was a niffin, she had the most power so I think she’s a bit power hungry now. I think it’s a bit of a selfish move to take the magic from Julia. You’ll see Alice this season really question her relationship to magic and if people should have magic. I believe that’s what she’s exploring this season, is magic good or bad? Because she doesn’t quite know that answer within herself.

The Soul-Shattering Pessimism of THE MAGICIANS

CV: Have you been a fan of magic and fantasy?

OTD: I would probably say that I’m the biggest magic nerd on the show out of all the actors. I’ve loved fantasy and magic since I was little. I was raised in a household that was like very much in support of the imagination. My grandmother, who lived with us, was always a very big storyteller and a huge believer in magic and the unknown. So I grew up collecting crystal balls, doing séances, hunting for UFOs, I’ve always had a very vivid imagination. Fantasy has always been my favorite kind of movies and TV shows to watch growing up.

It may have been a dream come true to be on a show about magic because there’s a very big part of me that definitely believes that magic is real. I know I might be delusional but I think it’s fun to believe in that stuff. I think it gives some light, levity, and hope in this world.

Jason Ralph Olivia Taylor Dudley The Magicians

CV: What’s your favorite kind of magic you like to do on THE MAGICIANS?

OTD: I loved that each character has their own way of doing magic and it’s subtle. But everyone’s way of tutting is very different and specific. I love when Alice does the powerful tutting spells in season two. When she fought and killed the beast, she had an amazing spell called the Rhinemann Ultra. It was fun to do but very complex arm movements. I loved that we get to have those choreographed, rehearse them, and work on them. We mold and shape into each of our actors’ skill sets. So whenever we get to do it, we see the final product on TV with visual effects put in. It makes me look like such a badass on screen. I love it when Alice gets angry and throws a spell.

CV: Did you have anyone on set to perfect these intricate movements or spells?

OTD: Yes, we have a couple of choreographers that we work with and it does get easier but I’m not the best at it. Hale and Arjun, who play Elliot and Penny, they’re really good with their hands and moving them very fast. I’ve fine-tuned Alice’s tutting skills to be simple and I justify that by saying she’s the most powerful so she doesn’t need to move her hands as much. But it’s really hard; it’s a lot of very complicated movements. I have such respect for the professional dancers who do tutting as a living. I think it’s been incorporated very beautifully on the show. People have responded really well to it. We’ve gotten many fan ideas from people trying to replicate it on the show, which is really cute.

The Magicians Cast

CV: Other than Julia and Alice, will there be any other interactions that will surprise fans of THE MAGICIANS?

OTD: Yeah, I think throughout the season, you’ll see all the characters pair off in different ways. We’re on this quest, so I’m excited for fans to see the cast come together, a lot like season one. When getting these group of actors in one room for a scene, it’s almost impossible because you can’t stop laughing. There’s going to be quite a bit of the whole gang back together in this season, which I really love. Since we’re on this quest, all the characters need to join forces to get the seven keys to turn the magic back on.

I think throughout the season, you’ll see different people pair off on their own. Alice and Penny have their own separate journeys this season. But in the end, everyone gets together which is really exciting. That’s because all these characters are strong characters and they put them together with all their past histories. It’s a fun dynamic and I’m excited for fans to see that because I know they missed that in the first season when the whole gang was at Breakbills together. Last year, everyone was doing their own thing.

There are different pairings throughout and Felicia Day joined our cast who plays Poppy and she’s really lovely. She adds a really interesting and fun dynamic to the show. Anytime there are new characters talking to each other that haven’t really spent a lot of time together is always fun. It’s always fun when the gang gets back together.

Felicia Day The Magicians

CV: What was it like getting to work with these amazing guest stars this season THE MAGICIANS?

OTD: We’re lucky that we get wonderful guest stars and I think that speaks to the material and how well the show is. We have Felicia Day who is such an amazing force in the nerd world. She’s so funny and brings the Poppy character to life in a great way. The dynamic between Alice and Poppy is really funny and interesting. I love working with Felicia, we’ve had such a great time.

We have people back on the show from last year like Marlee Matlin. She’s an Oscar-winning actress who I’ve looked up to since I was younger. She’s just lovely on the show and I love working with her. What is great is that she’s not just playing someone who’s deaf but she’s someone who happens to be deaf. I think it was enticing and an exciting opportunity for Marlee. She gets to play a strong woman on our show and she loved it. We just get really wonderful guest stars on our show.

Summer Bishil Olivia Taylor Dudley The Magicians

CV: Speaking of strong women, this show is full of great female characters that drive the show. How is it for you to be able to portray someone that resonates with women and tackle real-life issues?

OTD: It’s my favorite thing about being on this show. I realized early on when I read the material that it’s important to showrunners John McNamara and Sera Gamble. They were very much in support of strong women and Sera Gamble being a strong woman herself. It is important to all of us to tell these strong female stories that you don’t see on TV. I love all the women on our show and I think they make mistakes just like everybody does. They try to learn from them and we get to display what it’s actually like to be a woman. I think it’s an important time now to be doing that and I think that the Julia storyline is wonderful.

We have so many fans who come and talk to us about their abuse, depression, and sexual assault experiences and how watching the characters on the show go through that has really helped them. I hope that more shows keep displaying strong women who aren’t just pretty and they’re flawed like everyone else. Showing those flaws and how they deal with them become stronger as an important role model. The women on our show are all so different. Alice and Margot are completely different but both extremely smart, intelligent, and witty people.

I think Summer really knocks Margot out of the park this season. She’s such a badass queen so that’s exciting. It’s really an honor and it’s something that we get to talk about a lot in interviews. In my career, it’s often been put into a box as to what type of woman I get to play. On this show, I get to play all different sides of one woman. That’s what it’s like to be a woman. You have a million different sides so it’s a great honor to be on a show that has strong females.

Magic and Mythology in our Advanced Review of MOONSTRUCK Vol. 1

CV: The visuals on THE MAGICIANS look amazing. From Fillory to the creatures that inhabit it, do you enjoy seeing that part of the show come to life? 

OTD: I love that part of the show. I’m such a huge fantasy nerd so for me, when we first got to Fillory, I’m like, “Oh my God! I want to go to Fillory!” Vancouver has every type of landscape you can imagine. One day you’re on the ocean and then 30 minutes later, you’re on a mountaintop looking over ice glaciers. It’s such a rich landscape that we get to work in. It has given us so many opportunities to create many different worlds.

We have an amazing creative team on our show. Our production designers and cinematographer Elie Smolkin does an amazing job creating a completely different look in each world and using different lenses and lights very specific to whichever world that we’re in. I think that really creates such richness anytime where we are going between worlds. A hard story to tell different worlds if you don’t lock in a mythology between the way each one looks.

This year, we have a new character with a boat, the Muntjac, which is an amazing character and set piece. We actually got to take it out on the ocean this year which is so cool. I think the scale of fantasy this season is much grander and will continue to get bigger. People who love fantasy really give them something to sink their teeth into, kind of like Game of Thrones. It’s great because I don’t have to do any imagining at work while they create these worlds and sets. They look so real and we get to play in them. It’s a dream come true for a girl like me.

Don’t Forget to watch THE MAGICIANS every Wednesday at 9PM on Syfy.

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