In ABC’s GALAVANT, Sundays at 8 and 8:30 PM, Australian actress Mallory Jansen (BABY DADDY, YOUNG & HUNGRY) plays sweet peasant girl turned ferocious evil queen Madalena.
Created by Dan Fogelman, with songs by Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater, GALAVANT tells of a knight’s (Joshua Sasse) quest to regain his true love, Madalena, who is played by Jansen. Unlike the typical hero’s love interest, Madalena happily rejects romance for position and riches.
Jansen has just finished singing backup with her GALAVANT cast mates while Menken performs a medley for the Television Critics Association at an ABC party. The presentation also showcases a clip of Jansen as Madalena singing to herself in the mirror – with fourteen different versions of the character singing back.
AX: How was it doing that musical number where you’re singing at yourself?
MALLORY JANSEN: It was basically a love song to myself [laughs]. I had so much fun – it was a lot of work. It was a lot of [costume] changing. By the end of the day, my brain was mush and my muscles were kind of [exhausted]. We shot all of that song in one day. We shot fourteen different versions of Madalena to film and record, so there was a lot of different choreography and movement and timing, and it was all about that, so I’m really glad with the end result. It took my breath away when I first saw it. It was a big day, but it was a real moment for my character, and from that moment onward, Madalena is very prominent within the series, and it’s a real turning point for her.
AX: When you were singing that song, were you imagining that you were singing it to somebody else whom you love, or were you thinking, “Ego boost, ego boost”?
JANSEN: I was in Madalena’s skin. I was singing to myself. I also have confidence in Madalena. She knows what she is. She knows exactly the person she is and the person she wants to be. So I was very much in her element that day.
AX: She’s gotten to be quite evil. In fact, she’s gotten quite impatient with the non-evil of everyone around her. Was that always in her or is that just a function of her growing ambition?
JANSEN: I think she’s just growing into herself over a period of time. She goes from this young girl with flowers in her hair in a village and becomes a woman in the castle – not just evil, but a nymphomaniac, an egomaniac, a psychopath. It’s so much fun to play the weird, strange villain. It’s the most interesting character.
AX: Do you think she always wanted to be queen?
JANSEN: I don’t know. I don’t think she ever knew that until she was kidnapped and taken to a castle and given a taste of the sweet life. She had everything handed to her on a platter and she just knew, wow, okay, this is what life can be.
AX: Were you a big Alan Menken fan before this?
JANSEN: I was a huge Alan Menken fan. He is really the sound of my childhood. Everything he’s done – the medley he did of all of his greatest songs almost brings me to tears, because it reminds me of my childhood, and singing alongside him was so nerve-wracking for the first time, and honestly, he’s the most supportive and fiery and down to Earth man. He’s really great.
AX: What would you most like people to know about GALAVANT right now?
JANSEN: GALAVANT the show. As of this weekend, you can expect to see an even crazier, even more psychopathic Madalena. Be prepared for that, because she is on her way to great power. Get ready.
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Article: GALAVANT star Mallory Jansen sings evil in ABC series – exclusive interview