In THE GIFTED, Fox Network’s Monday night series about superpowered mutants on the run from the authorities, Emma Dumont plays Lorna Dane, aka Polaris. Polaris is a famous figure in Marvel Comics (Marvel is a participant in the series), but when she started, Dumont wasn’t aware of the extent of Polaris’ metal-manipulating abilities.
Matt Nix, who created and show-runs THE GIFTED, tells a story about Dumont during a Fox-sponsored Q&A session for the show. “In the pilot, there’s a scene where she’s moving cars around [at a distance, using her powers]. As scripted, she actually didn’t stop bullets. [But when] she was moving the cars around, how the blocking worked out was, there was this moment where she’s completely exposed. We were watching the cut, and someone [says], ‘Yeah, but she’d get shot.’ And I’m like, ‘Well, she can stop bullets. We can do that.’ And then we’re talking to the effects guys, and they say, ‘Yeah, we can do bullets.’ And of course, it’s not an accident if you’re an effects guy and you wind up working on this show – you lobbied for this job. You want this gig. So the effects guys said, ‘We will do the bullets right now.’ So in that moment where she goes like this,” Nix raises his arm to demonstrate, “and all the bullets stop, we put it together. But no one told Emma. She comes in to do her [automatic dialogue replacement, aka dubbing], and I get a text from one of the producers, ‘Emma just saw herself stopping bullets. She is jumping up and down and screaming.’”
“Yeah, it was crazy,” Dumont confirms. “There was a whole conversation about ferrous versus nonferrous metals, and I screamed, and I think I might have fallen on the floor as well.”
Although she wasn’t aware of Polaris at the start, Dumont says she’s made up for lost time. “I own every Polaris action figure. I think she was never ashamed to be a mutant. I think she loves having her powers. But we’re really lucky that we have so much to look back on in the original mythology. She’s great. I would definitely have her powers. I wish I had them now to move cars out of my way in traffic. Every day I try to use them, and it never works for me. I look up to her personally. I think she’s really strong and has a very clear sense of what she thinks is right and what she thinks is wrong.”
Dumont, originally from Washington State, played the haunting, haunted Charles Manson follower Emma Kant in two seasons of AQUARIUS and was a regular on the ballet-themed dramedy BUNHEADS. At a party following the Q&A, she talks more about her magnetic new role.
ASSIGNMENT X: Were you a big DC/Marvel person growing up?
EMMA DUMONT: Oh, I was a big Marvel girl growing up, for sure. Marvel all the way.
AX: You said you didn’t really know about Polaris before becoming involved with THE GIFTED, but did you ever imagine having any sort of superpowers?
DUMONT: I definitely thought about having Quicksilver’s powers. Always. I always wanted super-speed, I always wanted to go super-fast.
AX: After discovering you were stopping bullets in the scene after you’d done it, do you ask now – do the producers tell you what your powers are going to do, or do you like being surprised by the effect?
DUMONT: Oh, they won’t tell me even if I ask them. It’s all top secret. But I love being surprised. It’s great, because every episode, her powers develop more and more, and she gets to do more cool things, and I’m really excited.
AX: Do they tell you how to move, or do you make that up as you go?
DUMONT: We actually sat down and discussed her movements. I’m a ballet dancer, so that really helped me with her physicality. But it was a very specific discussion. We actually based her movements off what Magneto [who may or may not be Polaris’ father] does in the comics. We met some fans at Dallas Comic-Con who showed us the moves, and we looked it up in the archives, and sure enough he does it, and we just changed it a little bit to make it more feminine.
AX: Where are you shooting THE GIFTED?
DUMONT: We film in Atlanta, Georgia, which is great. We actually love filming in Atlanta. I think it’s an amazing place to film. That part of the country was so involved in the civil rights movement, and so many crazy historical events took place there. So I think there’s not a better place for this.
AX: Do you feel at all like you’re making a show about the committed protesters or something? I mean, there is this side of the show that’s like, the mutants are this radical freedom-fighter group …
DUMONT: For sure. Our show is about anarchists, really, who are fighting for freedom and fighting for basic rights that they don’t have. It’s a daily struggle to stay alive, so as much as I want to think they’re like crazy protesters, they really just want basic human rights, which is something that even still today, not everyone gets.
AX: We quickly learn Polaris is pregnant by her boyfriend and fellow mutant Marcos Diaz, aka Eclipse, played by Sean Teale. Do you know how far along Polaris is in the pregnancy? Does that factor into how you play her?
DUMONT: I wear a lot of crop tops, so I’m thinking newly pregnant.
AX: Since Polaris and Eclipse both have powers, does that mean the baby will have powers?
DUMONT: Oh, I think the X gene is passed on genetically, and if two mutants make a baby, then I think that baby is going to have some powers [laughs]. They haven’t told me anything. But you have to imagine, if one mutant is strong, how strong are one-and-a-half mutants? So I don’t know, we’ll see. But [the pregnancy] might even affect her powers.
AX: Besides Polaris stopping bullets, is there anything about making THE GIFTED that has surprised you or challenged you?
DUMONT: Yeah, the physical aspect of it was surprising and probably the most challenging. We come home every day physically hurting and sore and covered in bruises [laughs]. They really put us through the wringer. We have a great stunt coordinator and we work really diligently and hard to make sure everything is super-safe and on-point and realistic. But yeah, the physical aspect is definitely taxing.
AX: Do you have any other projects that we should know about?
DUMONT: Right now, I’m working on a series for Hulu called T@GGED [pronounced “tagged”]. It’s [produced by] Awesomeness TV and Go90, and it’s about cyber-bullying and the dangers of online social media. I play a teenager of wealth and privilege, who’s a spoiled ballerina type.
AX: And what would you most like people to know about THE GIFTED?
DUMONT: Oh, I think people should know about THE GIFTED that it’s really a street-level view of these mutants. It’s not a superhero movie. It’s really their everyday lives, and it has a little more grit.
This interview was conducted during Fox Network’s portion of the Summer 2017 Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour.
Article Source: Assignment X
Article: Exclusive Interview: Emma Dumont on Season 1 of the Marvel / Fox series THE GIFTED