What if X-Men took place in Victorian England? The premise of the new series from HBO The Nevers< /em> is really that simple. Three years after a mysterious event that fills most of the female population – along with a select few men – with individual superpowers, Amalia True (Laura Donnelly) finds herself the foster mother for a legion of denied women and defender for the survival of the meta -People again. In the near future, fortune telling skills and the support of her number two, the forge-like super hobbyist penance (Ann Skelly), will help track down new members of the found family. But the British Empire, hoping to exterminate the “touched” population, and a group of violent rebels led by Maladie (Amy Manson) drag Amalia into a class war that magic may not be able to solve.
“When I first read the field, it was like a line, ‘Victorian women are given special powers and are trying to save the world,'” Donnelly told Polygon. “And I was kind of like, ‘I don’t know, it doesn’t really sound like my thing.’ Then I went to a meeting and got the whole thing – like all spoilers. I was told all about Amalia and all about the show and I was absolutely thrilled. I realized it was so much more than what this one was to me Line said. “
So what is The Nevers Really over? The premiere is about answering this fanfic-y X-Men question. Though Donnelly teases a blooming mystery, it is an easy pleasure to see how Amalia and her gifted youth orphanage survive the ever-changing world and overcome the week’s problems through unique powers. What is not too surprising: Behind the series is a team of real entertainers who know their television. Created by Joss Whedon, The Nevers
“I can’t believe how little I’ve studied what it means to be happy or what it means to be light,” she says. “For roles. I’ve always been in a dark headspace. [Turns out]Ease and humor are pretty hard to do. “
Split in half, with a six episode run beginning April 11 and part two arriving later this year The Nevers The opening act is also about building a brand new, believable sandpit. Actress Ella Smith, who plays Desirée Blodgett, says stepping on the lavish sets – a combination of real-life locations in England and huge structures on the stages of Pinewood Studios outside of London – is like being “in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. “All of the cast cited Penance’s lab as a marvel of production design, as most of the props in the steampunk-esque Doohickeys’ menagerie were fully functional. At least the ones Skelly didn’t drop.
“I break every single prop I touch,” admits the actress. “As you can imagine, that’s not practical.”
In the premiere, Amalia, Penance, and their new hyperlingual discovery, Myrtle, escape a gang of masked raiders in a new invention: a horseless carriage. To create the illusion of a 19th century high speed chase, The Nevers The stunt team strapped the trio into an operational speedster and drove them onto what Skelly calls “roller coaster rides with a big green screen behind us”. For the accident-prone actress, the sequence was both a thrill in the show’s efforts to practically shoot and an absolute horror show. “It’s a shame that I don’t have a driver’s license, everyone else would have felt safer,” she says with a laugh. (She swears she didn’t break the car support, but she steered it into a curb.)
The Nevers The actors found breakthroughs in the detailed background. Elizabeth Berrington understood her character, the grieving orphanage elder Lucy Best, as a suspicious, broken soul after watching exquisitely decorated extras wander through the busy common area of the orphanage for days. Donnelly and Skelly both commend the show’s costume department for providing the cast with custom corsets that helped them run and pound while still allowing them to fade into the era. (Though designers traded a steel bone for a plastic bone “if that particular part of your body is a fun place or print,” it was a thankful break from reality, says Skelly.) For Ben Chaplin, who plays the touch-sensitive detective Frank Mundi, it was all about the mustache. “I just had to have the old Victorian weightlifting guy ‘Tache’,” he says. His ultimate goal: Vibes from Victorian Commissioner Gordon.
Beyond the extravaganza and comic set pieces patented by HBO is the cast of The Nevers believes the show is about something deeper in the long run. In conversations with writer Philippa Goslett, who became showrunner after Whedon retired from the series last November, Skelly found a personal bond with Penance’s expulsion from the world, both as one of the Touched and as an Irishwoman.
“I am very conscious of playing an Irish woman whose country is still heavily ruled by England and the Crown,” she says. “I think very presently about what my Irish ancestors would have gone through and why we always had to leave Ireland. And I really love playing an Irish person, especially an Irish woman who would have ended up in London and what that would mean not only to be an immigrant but also to be a member of one of the colonized countries. “
Manson says Maladie’s Arch eventually confronts the split between the villain she has become and the concerned woman “Sarah” she was before the transformative event. The comment has everything to do with the societal view of mental health, then and now. “Maladie is like a parody of everything she hated about the former self – she hated the fact that she was meek, weak and weak,” says the actress. “I have a feeling that Sarah might not have a voice like the average Victorian woman … no wonder these women were assigned to my mental hospital when they went mad with loneliness.”
See both Berrington and Smith The Nevers as a show that goes against expectations of how women should behave in public. Amalia and her surrogate sisters speak out and seek the truth – a quest that many in authority roles, especially the men of the British Empire, see as a threat to society. “These women act in ways that serve them more and more, and that feels pretty radical,” says Smith. “And it might be painted as bad behavior, but I think it’s the most exciting thing we see when women use their voices and that way have their own agency.”
Donnelly promises that by the end of the first six episodes viewers will know why Amalia tried to rally the Touched and what connections she shares with Maladie and other key characters. But she believes the show will have a strong point in relation to the most important conversations of the moment.
“One of the most important things that attracted me to the project was the fact that I thought it had a lot to do with what women are experiencing right now,” she says. “We have the #MeToo movement and in England we are currently having discussions based on some terrible recent events related to the safety of women on the street. What is the responsibility of men in this? How much should they be part of this discussion? How do men train each other and train young men and boys? And why is it up to these people who suffer from a minority or are an oppressed people? Why is it your responsibility to get other people to treat you better? It should be the responsibility of the people who already have the privilege and power. This, of course, is an argument that is hugely relevant to other social issues we deal with, like Black Lives Matter, and anything to do with a group of people who are oppressed and whose voices are not heard. [So the show is] incredibly relevant to the conversations we’re having today. “
The Nevers Premieres on Sunday, April 11th and 9pm EDT.