When the first season of Fox Networks’s THE GIFTED ended in May, the super-powered mutants of the X-MEN universe were bitterly divided. Some continue to want to make peace with the increasingly hostile human population, while others seek to put mutants first by violent means.
When THE GIFTED Season 2 premieres on Tuesday, September 25, Emma Dumont’s metal-manipulating character Lorna Dane, aka Polaris, is solidly in the latter camp. Polaris brought down a private airplane containing a sadistically anti-mutant scientist. This commitment to the cause has made Emma decide to leave her pacifist lover Marcos, aka Eclipse (Sean Teale), even though she’s pregnant with their child.
Dumont was previously a series regular on AQUARIUS as Emma Karn, a young (fictional) follower of Charles Manson. She also appeared as the deer/centaur-like White Lady on THE MAGICIANS, which is produced by AQUARIUS creator John McNamara.
ASSIGNMENT X: Did either Emma in AQUARIUS or the faerie in THE MAGICIANS inform Polaris at all?
EMMA DUMONT: Oh, no, not at all. In fact, I’d say Emma from AQUARIUS is the exact opposite of Polaris in every single way. [Polaris, the daughter of mutant Magneto, grew up poor in a series of homes, with a temper and mutant powers. Emma] grew up wealthy, she’s very sheltered, she’s quiet, she’s slow to anger, she has a hard time speaking up for herself. So in almost every single way, except for they look very similar [laughs], they’re opposite.
AX: Actually, they don’t look very similar …
DUMONT: Isn’t that funny? They actually look very different. [For Emma], they painted me tan and blonde and all sorts of things, and they did my eyebrows, so I did look very different. And also, I was playing much younger. I actually had a difficult time playing Emma, because she’s someone I had a hard time understanding her choices, or why she did the things she did. And that was really, really hard for me, every day going to work, wondering why this person would make these choices and do these things and be hanging out with these murderers and things like this that we wonder about people. So I much prefer playing Polaris, for sure.
AX: So Polaris is much closer to you, and you understand her better?
DUMONT: Oh, definitely. I understand every single thing Polaris does. Not only understand it, but support it and probably agree with her. The White Lady, the faerie half-deer, half woman from THE MAGICIANS, she was a lot more like Polaris. She was very spunky, let’s say [laughs].
AX: Are you going back to THE MAGICIANS at all?
DUMONT: I don’t know, actually. That character was nine-and-a-half, ten hours in effects makeup. It took that long to do me up, head to toe, every piece of effects, except for teeth. So it was a lot. So I don’t know if she’s going back, because it was time-consuming and very expensive, but stunning work. I mean, craftsmanship beyond this world that we don’t really get to see a lot.
AX: To ask a nitpicky question, does Polaris dye her hair green or is that like the Jamie Chung’s Blink character’s green eyes, is that part of her mutant-ness?
DUMONT: Yeah. She got green hair when her powers manifested. And a lot of things. Her lip color – that’s part of her mutant-ness, and her hair color. That’s why you see her with black hair so much, because she dyes over the green hair to hide that she’s a mutant. Because for the most part, she looks like a normal woman, except for her bright green hair. So she has to cover that up when she’s in public.
AX: How does Polaris feel about her friend Dreamer/Sonia’s [played by Elena Satine] death?
DUMONT: There was a very unfortunate situation where the Mutant Underground split into two teams, and basically, they sent the two children [Lauren, played by Natalie Alyn Lind, and Andy, played by Percy Hynes White] and Blink, the newest member of the Mutant Underground, and Sonia, whose powers were not physical in any way. They sent a group of, not weak people, but not the big heavy hitters, so a group of these not so heavy hitters go off together, and unfortunately it ends up in capture and the death of Polaris’ best friend. There are only three people Polaris has ever gotten close to, Thunderbird [played by Blair Redford], Marcos, and her best friend Sonia. So that’s very tragic. So she questions why she wasn’t part of that task force or that group that went after that team. Why did she go to the other team? What’s wrong with her? She has so much regret and so much guilt about that situation, because if she was there, it wouldn’t have happened, because she is such a powerful mutant, and she’s always been there to protect Sonia, whose powers were more intellectual than they are physical.
AX: You had said you were really surprised in Season 1 to see that Polaris could fend off bullets. Do you now know more of what you can and can’t do?
DUMONT: Oh, yeah. Now I’m not surprised at all. In fact, now I think she should do much bigger things. I’m always like, “Why doesn’t she just pick up this building?” They gave me an inch, I took a mile. It’s great. I love Polaris. She’s fantastic. And our huge finale, she did the biggest stunt, if you want to call it that, that she’s ever done in her life. She has control of something so enormous [the airplane] – it’s a very Magneto-esque movie that she pulls.
AX: Do you look at the comic book panels of Polaris and do any moves on the series that are similar to the poses in the comic books?
DUMONT: A hundred percent. One of our producers, Derek Hoffman, he’s very much into the aesthetic of the original mythology. He’ll always remind me, “Remember, Polaris is an X-Man, so you want to do a good power stance,” or “You have to put more physicality into it.” We don’t always think about it, so we’re really lucky we have him around.
AX: Any chance we’re going to see Polaris’s father Magneto?
DUMONT: I don’t think we’re going to see Magneto, ever. But he’s definitely clearly referenced. We don’t say his name, but it’s very clear who we’re talking about.
AX: Well, on Marvel’s LEGION, over on Fox’s sister network FX, there’s a moment where Dan Stevens, playing the son of X-Men founder Professor X, does an impression of Patrick Stewart …
DUMONT: Yeah. We all know who his dad is [laughs].
AX: Do you do impressions of Ian McKellen, who played Magneto in the X-MEN movies?
DUMONT: I don’t, but I should learn how to do that, or work on it. And I should do it in the show [laughs].
AX: Not asking for Season 2 spoilers, but what is the thing you’ve enjoyed most doing in Season 1 of THE GIFTED?
DUMONT: Honestly, as much fun as the stunts and all that exciting power stuff is, the moments that I really love are just the moments where we really get to narrow in on her mental illness. I think that’s really cool. I love about my character that she mentions her bipolar disorder totally without any negativity or bias. It’s not in vain. She speaks about it so casually and normally, and I think that’s so important that we put that on television, because that’s so rare to see that, and I think that’s what I’ve really enjoyed most about her. She’s so open about who she is, and so blunt. She’s an open book, Polaris is, and I love that.
AX: Does exercising her powers either exacerbate or mute Polaris’s bipolar condition?
DUMONT: I don’t think her powers have anything to do with it, to be honest. I think they’re totally separate. I do have to say, however, her powers frequently run off emotions, and if you’re having a manic episode or in a manic state, that can affect how you use your powers or what you do with them. So I will say in that way they can be related.
AX: Do you ever just go into the VFX department to see what they’re doing?
DUMONT: No. They’re in a different state. We film in Atlanta, very far away from [THE GIFTED VFX department]. But I love seeing the work they do. It’s absolutely miraculous. Every time I see it, it’s so outstanding. Because we see the bare bones of what it’s going to be and then it’s so exciting to see it onscreen.
AX: Do you have any other projects we should know about?
DUMONT: Yeah. Season 3 of a web series called T@GGED. High school is the demographic, and it’s about cyber-bullying and murder.
AX: And what would you most like people know about THE GIFTED right now?
DUMONT: I would love people to know that THE GIFTED is much more than a TV show. It has a message about what it’s like to be the Other, and different, and minorities, and how we should treat others, and human morals, and morality and mortality, everything. There’s just so much in it, it’s so good. It’s much more than just a superhero show, and I think that’s really important for people to understand.
This interview was conducted during Fox Networks’s portion of the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour.
Article Source: Assignment X
Article: Exclusive Interview: Actress Emma Dumont chats about playing the volatile Polaris on Season 2 of the Marvel series