Today we are lucky enough to talk with Anna Devlin from HBO’s The Nevers, streaming now on HBO Max!
This is our second interview with an actor from The Nevers, yesterday we chatted with Elizabeth Berrington, check it out!
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Anna Devlin – Iinterview
[00:00:00] Melissa: this is spoiler country and I’m Melissa surcharge today on the show. I’m thrilled to welcome an actor from the fantastic new show on HBO, the nevers, miss Anna Devlin. Welcome to the show.
Anna Devlin: Hi, nice
Melissa: to be here. Yay. I’m so glad you’re here. How are you doing?
Anna Devlin: Yeah, very excited things are kind of opening up.
Again, here in London. So that’s very exciting for me.
Melissa: Very exciting. Yeah. That’s awesome. Get out of the house a little bit and get some fresh air, right. Yeah. So I, I watched her, so it is fantastic. I’m really, really excited about this show. It has so many just moving parts, so many cool elements to it. Um, can you tell us a little bit for the audience who you play and just a little bit, um, your role?
Anna Devlin: Well, I play premieres [00:01:00] Chataway. Who is a 16 year old girl living in the orphanage and the show, which is basically where everybody comes together, who is touched, um, mainly young women, but there is men as well, and there’s people of all ages and from all kinds of different backgrounds, um, and primers time is that she is 10 foot tall.
Um, it’s. It’s a standup 10. It makes it quite hard for her to fit in and kind of go through her life without everybody watching as she walks past, which is a little bit tricky for her because she’s quite reserved. And. She kind of likes to celebrate all things feminine and she loves the idea of being a lady.
And so she doesn’t really feel like she can do that when she’s 10 foot tall. Cause she’s [00:02:00] just. Really quite big and intimidating for some people. And so I think she spends quite a lot of time battling with that. And then, you know, just battling with all the kind of things you do when you’re 16 years old, it’s a tricky time.
Anyway, even when you haven’t been made. 10 foot,
Melissa: right? Yeah. Adolescence is a very stressful time, you know, so many different things are happening. Yeah. So, uh, that must have been interesting for you to play. Cause you’re obviously not 16, so it must’ve been challenging to, to play a younger role.
Anna Devlin: Yeah. I mean, thoughts of me still don’t feel 16 anyways, so yeah.
It’s not too hard to reach.
Melissa: Well, I’m really curious about how those scenes are shot because you know, yes, you are obviously so much taller than the other characters. Um, there’s a really cute scene towards the end of the episode where everyone’s sleeping and they look so tiny, you know, next [00:03:00] to you. Um, do you use a green screen?
Are they even. Like, how does that work?
Anna Devlin: So many different ways that it’s done. We have such incredible VFX team on the show that just worked so hard. And every time I come into work and they see me, I know they’re just like, Oh God, because I’m like so much more hard work than everyone else. Um, so there were lots of different ways.
There are some green screens. Um, they also make some tiny sets. So I get to walk around in them and I’m actually huge, which is really exciting. Yeah. And sometimes I have to stand on a platform. Um, so I actually, it makes me temperate tall. I’m five foot in real life. So he’s basically just double me. Um, yeah, so then I stand on a platform and then I’m kind of the right eyeline for all of the other actors.
And it actually really helps [00:04:00] me to get in Primrose, his mindset. I remember on the first day being up on that platform and feeling like I was going to faint because I mean, I’m a bit scared of Heights, so that didn’t help, but also up there, I could just see all of the costs and all of the crew. And it was just a bit terrifying because.
You know, when someone’s up on a platform, even if you don’t tell what they’re doing or who they are or whatever, you’re going to look at them. Right. Because that he you’re going to just look up at them. And so everybody was kind of staring at me and I just, I wanted to recede and kind of. You know, call up in a corner, but I couldn’t because I’m just so obviously that, and so that really helps actually.
So Primrose, um, the kind of trying to understand what it must be like for her. Um, but for that scene, you’re talking about in particular, that was a lot fun because I got to [00:05:00] hold LSO dome of much. I don’t know if you saw that in the shot, we’re kind of uncom cuddling that. Yeah. And it
Melissa: was so cute. I saw you cuddling her and I thought, Oh, that’s adorable.
Anna Devlin: Yeah. So that was sweet. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s, um, it’s challenging.
Melissa: Yeah, well, that’s good to, to know. Cause I was going to ask you, you know, how you prep for the role. So that was a perfect, you know, explanation of having to stand on that platform. And that just gets you, like you said, into that mindset because you’re like, okay, I’m taller and bigger than everyone and standing out.
So I guess, yeah, that’s the. Great, uh, description of getting yourself into the role and into the whole mood. And I was also going to ask too about the sets, you know, cause, um, visually it’s so cool, you know, Victorian London that the whole steam punk elements. Um, how does that really help to getting you into the mood of the character when you’re just walking around on set?
Anna Devlin: Yeah, I mean, they’ve kind of created [00:06:00] this. Incredible little world and the sets are just so intricate and beautiful. And I remember walking around cover on the orphanage. They’d create these little Victorian streets and stuff, and you look in the shop windows and you can see everything inside. And there are posters all over the walls and everything makes sense.
And you can. Pick up a book and penance his workshop and flick through the pages and they’re full of writing and inventions and ideas. And it’s just so immersive. Um, just walking around that. And so you kind of do feel like you’re in this Victorian bubble, which is really helpful, obviously. Um, yeah, it’s, it’s so cool.
And I just feel so lucky to be on a show that. Keep such attention to detail.
Melissa: Yeah. Authentic. That’s really cool. Not, you just want to like live in that [00:07:00] world, you know, as an audience member, you just want to kind of immerse yourself in it. So that’s really cool. You bet you get to spend pretty much all day doing that.
So that’s amazing. Um, do you know much about primroses backstory? Have they told you much or have you created one, you know, for yourself, um, for the character.
Anna Devlin: Well, what I know is that when primaries started to develop her time, started to develop her time. Um, her parents decided that they didn’t want her to live at home anymore.
Right. That she was almost like. Uh, shame on the family and that’s why she found the orphanage. And I think, you know, her parents kind of looked around [00:08:00] funds. Last thing, kind of dropped on the doorstep, which is really horrifying thing for such a young girl. And also just such a young girl. Who’s the same person.
She, she hasn’t changed. She’s still the same girl. She’s still a daughter. She’s just tempered tool now. And so to her, nothing’s really changed, but it’s just, it’s so sad. It’s so, so sad. And I think we get to see this a bit in episode one, but. The orphanage can kind of time into honey farming. You know, a lot of people say you can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends.
Um, but she’s kind of got both at the orphanage. She’s got a family for friends who love her and want to nurture. And there’s pennants who take such good care of her and people who want to look out for her. [00:09:00] So. Really at the orphanage, she’s in really good hands and she’s managed to be quite lucky, but she does have that quite sad, backstory that along with the touchdown in that they’ve had to find each other because.
Thank them, pushed out with their own homes.
Melissa: Yeah, no, it’s really sad. And you definitely get that, um, feeling, you know, right away from the beginning episode, beginning scenes of the episode. And I do really love the comradery between all of the women. You know, what was it like working with such an amazing female cast?
I mean, I know there was some good. Good male actors as well, but you know, to have quite, um, a huge female ensemble like that is rare on a television show, especially, um, a big network show on HBO. So how was that, you know, being on set and working with all these fantastic women?
Anna Devlin: Oh God, it was amazing. It was so cool.
I remember just turning up to the table read and just sitting there and being like, Oh my [00:10:00] goodness. And I kind of forgot. I was even in the show. Because I was kind of just sitting back watching everyone and how talented they were. And I already felt like I was watching the show myself as an audience member and they had just so talented and they’re so cool.
And you know, they’ve really cool on screen, but they’re really cool off screen as well. That just really amazing people. So that was. Amazing, but also quite intimidating because then you’ve kind of got to be like, Oh, I don’t want to be what brings them down. Right. They’re doing such amazing jobs. Uh, yeah.
So that’s really cool. But also for me, the character of Amalia was just so exciting because I really loved. Shows that have super powers and like superheroes villains and all of that kind of thing. And I’ve just never [00:11:00] seen a lead female character who gets to be the anti hero. You see it quite a lot and like Deadpool and the Punisher and stuff where the lead character is a hero, but he’s kinda messed up.
He’s funny. He gets a little wrong. He’s violent. He. Have sex with a lot of people that you probably shouldn’t and he’s, you know, a good fighter and to, so to see that in Amalia and, you know, she’s the strong woman, but she’s so flawed and she kicks butt and she’s so cool. But, you know, she makes all of these mistakes as well.
For me, that felt so important because I feel like there’s such a lack of that at the moment. You know, either it’s, you know, we’ve created this great female character, but she’s totally unrealistic because she’s like the superhuman, um, who has no clothes. So that’s what really excites me [00:12:00] about the show is Amalia and how she kind of is the female equivalent of the male characters I’ve been loving for so long.
And. It feels like it’s time for that.
Melissa: Yeah. A hundred percent agree. And that’s a really good point. I didn’t even think of it that way. Um, when we were watching the show, it was as soon as that, that scene where she busts in to get Myrtle, uh, it kind of made us all sit up, you know, in our chairs. And it was like, Oh, you know, the choreography of that fight scene and.
And the music is gorgeous. So advertise your music is amazing. Um, but yeah, her character is so in a sense, androgynous where you just, you don’t even think of it. Oh, this is a woman kicking ass. This is just a really great character who’s flawed. And it’s really important that those roles are played by more women instead of men.
So, yeah. Great point on that. So another thing I wanted to ask you about, because that was the reading and this is also really exciting is the [00:13:00] premier had the highest viewership of any original, you know, HBO. So for HBO, max, What did you, did you get the news and just like get excited? Like, what was, were you expecting that response or, you know, it’s must be hard when you’re filming something and you’re not interacting with anyone.
And then all of a sudden it premiers and you’re reading all of these reviews and feedback. Um, were you taken aback at all or were you expecting that.
Anna Devlin: I mean, we started filming episode one, like two and a half years ago now because of the pandemic, it took so much longer. And so I kind of felt in this weird bubble about it, where it almost wasn’t feeling real.
And so even it just coming out was a really crazy experience because. You know, people could finally see what we’ve been working on and, you know, it just felt crazy. And then [00:14:00] obviously, you know, I believe in the show so much and I think it’s awesome. And you know, all of my friends and family did as well, but it was kind of just a huge relief to hear that lots of people tuned in for it because you know, some many shows are incredible, but then.
They don’t get the views somehow and you know, that can act. And so, even though, like I knew I was on a good show, it doesn’t guarantee you anything. So it just kind of made me feel really ready and just really lucky that people had decided to watch because. I really think it’s worth watching. I don’t want to ignore.
Melissa: Yeah, I, yeah, no, it’s a great show. And you know, it’s one of those shows too, where I’m almost bummed that I have to wait a week. Like, you know what? I wish it could just all be dropped at the same time so I can binge watch it because it’s that good? Um, it has a lot of elements that. I think [00:15:00] I’ve just been missing.
Like you said, there’s a lot of great shows out there, but just the whole combination of the superhero, but the Victorian aspects, you know, the steam punk, the mostly female cast. I mean, these are all elements that are done well, and I think, you know, as much needed right now in television, right?
Anna Devlin: Yeah,
Yeah. Ask you really quick. Is the show filmed in London or do you fill them in different areas?
Anna Devlin: It’s nicely found just on the outskirts of London. And then there are some cool, like on location, um, scenes that is filmed just outside, like kind of in the countryside. Um, but mainly, yeah, it’s in and around London, which is really nice because you know, a lot of shows would say, you know, London, and then we’d be like out in Prague or something.
Canada was really nice to feel [00:16:00] grounded in that. And you know, like to be driving through London. On the way that morning and it’s kind of crazy, cause you can still see some Victorian buildings around and stuff. Um, so I feel like that’s quite important that we got to do that and it’s yeah, it’s really nice.
Melissa: Yeah. It makes them more authentic too. Probably for the cast, you know, getting into just another thing to help you get into character as well. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. So, um, I know there’s, you know, obviously after watching just one episode, there’s a ton of questions. There’s all these mysteries and there’s so many different characters, you know, the evil entities and you know, there’s also certain characters that I’m already got my eye on as far as, Oh, this person has ulterior motives and may not be who they seem.
And I know you can’t. You know, obviously giveaway anything, um, at all. But do you think that, um, in this season we’ll get answers to some of the questions as far as like why these girls, you know, have these powers [00:17:00] and, and who is after them? Will that question be answered? Do you think in this season,
Anna Devlin: I think a lot of your questions are going to be answered. Even either leaving Beyonce it in the next episode. But the thing with the, um, with the show is also by episode two, you’re going to have a lot more questions as well and more keeps it so exciting. Um, as an actor, acting, reading the scripts and, you know, Asking questions about our characters and what’s happening next.
And I think it’s actually quite important to keep a show interesting as well is to have questions. And then also, you know, it’s important that those questions do get answered at some point, but you know, why are you going to keep watching in less. You want to know? Right.
Melissa: What’s going
Anna Devlin: happen. Um, yeah. So I really hope that a lot of your [00:18:00] questions get answered in this first part of the season.
I know a lot of mine did, but yeah, there’ll be more questions. I don’t think we’re going to. Finish the season with no questions. Okay.
Melissa: That’s good to know. I’ll be taking notes. Um, do you, um, when you were filming, did you get the scripts ahead of time, like the whole season, or were they sort of given to you as you filmed each episode?
Anna Devlin: Um, I remember starting on episode one and we’d kind of received the best four episodes and that they would kind of draw us and they were. Being rewritten quite a lot as we shot. And, you know, sometimes it’ll quite big rewrites that completely changed the arc of a certain character or that kind of thing.
So it’s a show that kind of changed a lot as we started shooting. So I [00:19:00] think we all the shows grounded in the characters and we all knew more characters. And so, and we know the world and we know. What’s happening in the world. So I think mainly we knew what was going to happen and we knew what was going on, but yeah, I think things change.
And I think that’s kind of how a show works. Sometimes when you work in quite improvisationally and, you know, The way the show was made, there was a lot of listening to the actors and that ideas for the characters. And I know I’ve been asked a lot, you know, what do you think should happen for Primrose next?
Like how would you feel she would react to this? It’s been rainy, like, um, Kind of immersive for us, which is really cool and exciting, um, saying that I’m not really sure what happens. Um, part B, so, okay. Yeah.
Melissa: Okay. Well that’s yeah. Fair enough. [00:20:00] Um, so, you know, I do have to ask you just a fun question about, you know, just personally, if you, if you were a touched, you know, girl in real life, you know, which do you think you would be.
Happy with being 10 foot taller. Would you have preferred like one of the other girls turns?
Anna Devlin: Oh know it was kind of me now that you’ve said it, leave Primrose and say that I wouldn’t want her turn. Right. I feel a bit sorry for her to say that I wouldn’t want to be 10 foot tall. I’ve felt it. It’s not great.
It’s not very practical. Um, I mean, it’s funny when this one, because there’s two options ready. You can either choose to be totally selfish or selfless. Um, I mean, obviously Dr. Horatio cousins, his time is incredible as you [00:21:00] can just help so many people, but then with that power comes a lot of responsibility and there’s millions of people in the world who need help.
So, That could be quite life consuming. You know, I could go selfish and I could say I’d love to be able to come drop all my favorite foods whenever I liked them. That would be pretty great. Just make dumplings and chicken wings and pizza. That would be awesome. Um, but honestly I think I would really like Myrtle’s time if I could choose.
When I’m speaking a second language.
Melissa: Yeah. That’s pretty genius to be able to have communication pretty much with anyone on the planet, you know, to speak all those different languages will be really cool.
Anna Devlin: Or maybe speak to animals actually. Oh yeah. That would be, I would love that. That would be really cool.
Melissa: Awesome. Well, you know, maybe in the future, you know, cause you [00:22:00] never know with future seasons, how things evolve and story arcs evolve. It could be interesting to see if the girls developed more than one turn, you know? Cause you just, you never know, or maybe a Primrose could have the ability to control the height.
You know, she could shrink herself when needed and get back tall again if needed.
Anna Devlin: That would be very handy. I think she would like that a lot.
Melissa: Yeah. That would be fun. Um, and then before I let you go, I just, I also have to ask you about your relationship with Lucy because you had a really funny little sarcastic, you know, back and forth scene there that in the beginning of when you were first introduced into the episode, and I thought that was a really fun sort of like banter between you two.
Um, how fun is that working with her?
Anna Devlin: It’s so cool. It’s so cool. I was actually, um, already a fan of Elizabeth who plays Lucy and she’s just so funny. She’s done so much cool stuff before and yeah, I think [00:23:00] Primrose has a kind of funny relationship with her as well, because I mean, you can only really speak like that with someone, if you’re quite close.
Right, right. You wouldn’t speak like that. To an acquaintance, you know, that they’re family at this point. Um, and so there’s that kind of teasing going on, but there’s something a little bit deeper there. Um, but yeah, I think it’s kind of almost sibling in, in the way that it plays out and it’s, it’s a lot of fun and I think it’s just really cool that Primrose gets to have like all of these different relationships with all of these different women around her.
And I think that it is quite healthy for her because I think, you know, in her prior home, um, she was raised in a very certain way to act a very certain way. And then she gets here and there’s all of these different people from all these different [00:24:00] backgrounds, um, who had teaching her different things.
And, you know, if Lucy’s way of helping to raise our is breaking her down a bit and maybe that’s what she needs. Yes. It’s definitely fun to play.
Melissa: Absolutely. Well, it’s a fantastic show. You’re amazing in it. So I can’t, yeah, I can’t wait to see the next episode. I’m really looking forward to it. And I think I’ll be talking to Elizabeth next week actually, too.
So, um, that’ll be fine as well. Yeah. But no, thank you so much for coming on the show. This has been really, really fun. Um, I got to hear a little bit more insight into the show, which is really cool, cause I am definitely a fan. So thank you.
Anna Devlin: Oh, thank you so much for having me. It’s been a lot fun. Just chatting about it now.
I’m just really excited to get that too. That’s
Melissa: awesome. Well, everyone that’s listening. You can watch Anna and the nevers Sunday nights on HBO max. [00:25:00]