Ahead of the premiere of new series A Discovery of Witches, we got some time to put some questions to one of the show's leading stars Teresa Palmer, to find out a little bit more about what we should expect...
For those who may not have read the novel or details about the series, could you tell us a little bit about A Discovery of Witches and the role you play?
A Discovery of Witches is a historical fantasy show that follows the story of Diana Bishop, an American historian studying at the University of Oxford. After finding a magical ashmole manuscript that has been missing for years, her life is turned upside down as she is forced to face her heritage as an extremely powerful witch, a part of herself that she has denied for years. Her discovery of the manuscript leads to an encounter with Professor Matthew Claremont, a vampire for which she falls deeply in love with and enters into a forbidden relationship. Inter-species relationships are strictly prohibited, thus propelling Matthew and Diana into a battle against other mystical creatures such as witches, vampires and daemons.
The show was filmed in Wales in the recently-opened Bad Wolf studios; what was the filming experience like?
Working with Bad Wolf was a wonderful experience. The studios are huge and James North, our production designer, built the most incredible sets that truly allowed us to feel immersed in the magic of the story. I moved my entire family to Wales and Bad Wolf were so accommodating, Cardiff really became our second home.
Can you tell us a little bit about a typical day on the set of the show? If indeed there were any 'typical' days!
A typical day of filming was a very early pick up, an hour in hair and make up, costume and on-set rehearsals, followed by the shooting of 1-4 scenes a day. The day also included a lot of goofing around! I always got lunch from the same amazing vegan cafe in Cardiff, Anna-Loka. After a long day on set I would spend some much needed time with my family before getting up and doing it all again!
You work closely with Matthew Goode on the show; what was it like to work with him?
I had such a wonderful rapport with Matthew, we were constantly laughing and making light of exhausting, freezing cold days on set. It was a privilege to watch such an immensely talented actor perform, he is the perfect Matthew Claremont!
How does this series differ to other supernatural shows we may have seen in the past?
A Discovery of Witches is set in a contemporary time period and feels much more adult than some of the other fantasy films and shows of late. It's complex, sophisticated and has elements of darkness to it that I haven't seen before, whilst still being fiercely romantic.
This is your first major TV role after starring extensively in film; how do the two worlds differ?
My favourite thing about doing TV as opposed to film is that you really get to unfold a character over many months. Filming movies provides very limited time to explore a character. The hours in TV are longer and there are quicker turn arounds moving from one scene to another; it is much more of a fast paced filming experience. There are pros and cons to both worlds but I am so grateful to have experienced TV on such a fantastic series as ADOW.
Is television something you'd like to work more in from this point?
Absolutely. Television is such a powerful medium to tell stories that can't be truncated into a two hour film. There has been such brilliant quality TV shows these past few years and it really feels such an exciting time to explore that.
Are there any shows out there right now you'd love to be a part of in the future?
I am really taken with The Crown, that would truly be a dream job! I would love to explore more work in England. I also love Top of the Lake and Black Mirror.
The world of entertainment is one that's constantly changing; what do you make of the current shifts in how we all consume our media?
It's an interesting climate right now where we find that media is at our fingertips; if you want to watch a show you can choose to binge watch the entire series in an instant. Whilst it's convenient, I do miss the days of going to the local video store and and hiring a new release, making some popcorn and settling in for a movie! In some ways I feel that movies have lost some of that eminence they once held; the way we consume our media in this day and age leaves little room for nostalgia.
It's also been exposed as being quite a tricky world for women to navigate, for various reasons, with the industry making changes to try and close the divide between how women and their male counterparts are treated. How has your experience been within the business as a whole? Would you say you've had to face more challenges because of your gender at all?
In my early 20's I sometimes felt I that I was something to be seen and not heard; my physical appearance was focused on, my voice was less important.
There has been a huge shift in Hollywood, and globally, towards recognising women for their power and substance outside of gender stereotypes. I feel it's really important for women within the industry to harness this momentum and embrace this much needed change in society. Although there is still a ways to go, it feels that we are headed in the right direction.
Finally, what else should we expect from you in the coming months?
I'll be gearing up for the release of a feature film I recently shot in Australia, Ride Like A Girl, which was directed by Rachel Griffiths. It's a biographical film of Michelle Payne, the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup which is the largest horse race in Australia. It's a wonderful story and I am really excited for the world to hear it.
A Discovery of Witches will be available on Sky One at 9pm on Friday September 14, as well as streaming service NOW TV with the Entertainment Pass.