Rick Worthy and Jade Tailor (The Magicians)

Binge on Season One!

High Voltage: Firstly, congratulations on the third season renewal!
Jade Tailor: Yeah, thank you so much! I appreciate that, it’s so exciting!
Rick Worthy: Yeah, thank you so much. I think after almost thirty years in the business, that’s probably the best news anyone can hear! [laughs] “You got picked up!” [laughs]

HV: Now Dean Fogg has been stern yet fair to his students at Brakebills. Despite all that’s occurred in season two, does he secretly hope that his students will ever return and graduate?
RW: Oh man! That’s a really excellent question. I think he does. I think he knows that Alice and Quentin and Eliot and Margo and Penny and Julia, they’ve all gone off to do something else that he hasn’t, which is primarily walk on the grounds of Fillory and become kings and queens. And they’ve seen magic that he hasn’t. He’s still the dean, he’s still the boss and still in charge of Brakebills and has a job to do. And I think he’ll always be this sort of father figure to them, and you’ll see that especially next week [in the season 2 finale], they’ll need each other. They’ll need him and he’ll need them. It’s a full circle, the circle is complete. There are still more things that he needs to teach them!

HV: It’s been a long, hard road for Kady in the first two seasons. How have you taken to your character’s progression?
JT: It’s been an amazing journey this season in particular because you see a lot more layers to her. You see a lot more vulnerability. It’s been a really beautiful gift and just amazing.

HV: And we must have another season of scowling and battle magic from Kady!
JT: [laughs] Exactly! You mean more of her punching people in the face!
HV: That’s quality television right there!
JT: Scowling and punching people, that’s all you need.
HV: And In-sex-tion!
JT: Yes, that too! [laughs]

HV: It’s apparent that Fogg has distanced himself from his students since he experienced 39 attempts to defeat The Beast. Now that the loop is no more, perchance in future episodes, maybe beginning with the finale, Fogg’s demeanor could possibly change, knowing he’s one life to live?
RW: Yeah, this really is it. As you said, the loop is done. I believe Fogg even says that, “the loop’s complete.” When Quentin comes to his office, he gives him the truth serum and tells him everything, you know? I believe that was season one and it’s a really cool scene because he’s forced to tell the things that Quentin had been dying to know which is what all of this is about. The time loop cap cannot be reset, and I think the beginning of season three – which I think they’re still figuring out how to create it [laughs] – I think one of the things if I were to guess what will they do now? What is the role of the Dean in terms of what does he want? What can he hope to achieve?

I don’t know myself, I have a couple ideas. I’m hoping if there’s any kind of way the Dean can recover his vision, that’s probably one thing. But I’ve always had that as an objective since the pilot. Is there a way to do it without taking a huge toll on his life or someone else’s life. But that’s more like a selfish characterization thing I’ve put in the Dean’s mind. There’s like a hundred questions about what’s next!

HV: Were there any particular scenes in season two that were your favorite to shoot?
JT: Ooh, that is a good question… there were quite a few this season! I would say one of my favorites was episode seven –  I don’t know if you remember it, it was the bank heist episode – for many reasons: one you see Kady and Penny get back together. Which of course the fans were really excited about and I was really excited about. Also, it was one of the first episodes since the previous season where you see all the characters come in together. It was just so much fun to play with the different dynamics of all the characters. Also, we had so much fun together and I remember one of the days we were shooting, it was the scene with the beekeeper outfits, Jason (Ralph) and Hale (Appleman) and I were just having a ball. So for me that was really fun! There were a lot of stunts and choreography in that episode as well. The physicality is always enjoyable. One of the scenes in particular I had to be thrown in the air by, essentially this invisible monster, but in real life what we’re shooting is this man that’s 6’5” and in a green spandex outfit who’s lifting me above his head. [laughs] It was actually the same guy who played the bear in The Revenant. It’s really funny, I didn’t realize that it was a man playing that!

HV: That’s a real niche career right there! It’s like “All right, I have to pretend to tear up Leonardo DiCaprio! Now I have to throw Jade Tailor over here!”
JT: Yeah, exactly! [laughs] It’s not a bad job!

HV: Alright, so now that The Beast is supposedly done for…
RW: Right… [laughs]
HV: Does Fogg believe the world is better off, even though magic remains in danger?
RW: Magic is certainly in danger and one of the things I thought was really spot on was, in addition to all the relationship struggles and all the things everyone’s fighting for in season two and season one, the main thing that’s overriding everything is magic is vanishing. It’s slowly, slowly, slowly disappearing and that’s starting to affect everything. When Eliot had his big sword fight with King Idri and does a chant so the sword’s enchanted then he can fight like you wouldn’t believe and it starts disappearing. So we’ve started seeing pockets of magic vanish. And this is not good! This is something that’s really, really bad and could inevitably mean the end of the universe as we know it. Or at least this universe! That’s a major point and a big part of that question will be answered [during the finale] in terms of where is the magic, is it in danger of being completely gone… that’s a big, big thing we’ve been doing in season two.

HV: As previously mentioned, they’ve brought Kady and Penny back this season. There’s been a push-pull dynamic between the two but despite all the bluster, do you believe they actually have genuine feelings for one another?
JT: Oh, absolutely. I think that’s why there is all the push pull between them. I think in the first season you see all the trials and tribulations of going through Brakebills and her mother passing and all of that. She was really trying to protect Penny by leaving, and it’s hard to see that because she also hurting him at the same time. But in this season, it’s unfinished so you get to see what all those experiences have done to their relationship and you get to see more of her vulnerability… to the extent that you can with those characters that aren’t very vulnerable.

HV: Speaking of vulnerable, there’s the whole “Best Bitches” relationship…
JT: Yeah!
HV: So Kady has heaps of regret since last season when it came to Julia. Basically, she was forced to kill in the last episode in order to defeat Reynard after Julia didn’t recover her shade. So she had to have been a real mess by that point.
JT: I think you used the perfect word, regret. There was a lot of remorse for having witnessed her friend go through such a horrific experience. So I think she felt the need to redeem herself. She had been fighting to get Reynard for Julia this whole time and to have gone that far and fight for Julia and all the horrific things she had done… then to just let him go like that after killing someone for it? I mean yeah, you see her fall apart in a big way and their relationship as well.

HV: How was it like filming that scene? Actually, scenes plural. Knowing Gaines is gone and Julia giving up on Reynard. It had to be like a double whammy because if I recall correctly, both scenes were back-to-back in the episode.
JT: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. Kady’s a fighter so she moved through while at the same time having gone through that, she was starting to care a lot about Gaines and what he was going through. She had a lot of sympathy for him. So to go through that and then, she’s not only losing the battle with Reynard but also losing her friend Julia. It’s really beyond words, how hurt and impacted she is in that moment.

HV: There was one little mention about how Fogg had an intense rivalry with Bob Ross, of all people…
RW: [laughs]
HV: How do you imagine that came to be?
RW: You know what, I have no idea! [laughs] When I read that and saw it on tv… I watch it every week like everyone else. I actually buy the episode off of Google Play and me and my family watch it on tv. So when I read it, I thought it was funny but then when I saw it I thought it was *really* funny! When it played out, it was hilarious. Um, I do not know and I think that’s one of the things I try to do with the Dean, a character who’s so heavy and weighty like that, I play him close to the chest. He has a LOT of secrets. Every now and then something like the Bob Ross thing will come out or the pixie romance he had with Bigby, those are cool little gems that flesh out the character. As the season goes, we show these little things to the audience and they really like it because he’s such a mysterious guy! You don’t know what he’s thinking.

I’ve done interviews with people who are like “Is he a bad guy or is he good guy?” “Does he care about his kids?” “Does he not care about them?” And I’m like, it’s really up to you to decide. [laughs] I play character named Lem Washington on the show The Man in the High Castle. He’s a resistance fighter against this Nazi regime and the Japanese empire and the whole world shifted because we lost World War II. Long story short, I decided early on that I’m going to play him completely like a man of mystery, close to the chest. He doesn’t say a lot… he wears a hat. [laughs] He’s a mysterious dude! But when he does speak, it’s powerful. That’s the same way I wanted to approach the Dean. He probably doesn’t say a lot throughout the series but when he does, it means a lot. That’s the direction I wanted to go with him.

HV: Dean Fogg and Kady have been aware of the existence of Fillory for a while now. But for you, which fictional land or story or series of novels do you wish was actually in existence?
JT: I would love to see Kady in Fillory and become Xena: Warrior Princess! [laughs] So that would be my fantasy right there. I was a huge fantasy person. I remember reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at a very young age and that being one of my favorites. Gosh, I love all fantasy, really. But that’s the first one that comes to mind!
RW: [laughs] MAN. Outside of The Magicians? Oh man… you know when I was a kid, I used to crawl down the street pretending I was Spider-Man. I’m a huge, huge Marvel and DC Comics nerd. I love graphic novels and comic books. I’m always telling my agent “Get me in The Avengers at some point, before this career is over!” [laughs] I love the whole superhero mythology! It’s in my soul, I just love it. When I was a kid I could not wait to see Superman starring Christopher Reeve. I was nine or ten years old and to me, that’s the greatest superhero movie ever made. Starring the best Superman ever, Christopher Reeve. I would love to play a superhero from a graphic novel… when you asked that question, for some reason you made me think of Frank Castle, The Punisher! I’ve read some great Punisher graphic novels and think “Man, these should be made into movies!” and I know it’s been done a couple of times. If I had a chance to play Frank Castle or Nick Fury, I could probably retire after I’m finished! [laughs] It would be a dream come true!

HV: OK, so now that Kady’s juiced up thanks to Gaines after acquiring his power, and she’s also pissed off at Julia again, nothing good can come from this, right? It’ll come to a head of some sort in the finale?
JT: [laughs]
HV: Not that I’m trying to pry!
JT: Does anything good ever come from these things? [laughs] Well yeah, it’ll definitely come to a head. Of course I can’t give much away but you definitely see her fall apart again. Kady’s gone to some dark places and she might fall back into some old patterns… and that’s about all I can tell ya! [laughs] It’s definitely impacted her in a huge way, but also having just witnessed what happened to Penny as well! We don’t know what Penny’s fate is. To lose both Julia and Raynard and Gaines… and now Penny’s dying. I mean, it can’t get much worse for her. But she’ll do what she can to fight through it.
RW: I don’t want to give it all away but season two is dark and it just gets even darker and darker! [laughs] But there’s always a glimmer. I think one of the cool things that Sera [Gamble] and John [McNamara] do and the rest of the amazing writing team is they make sure it’s dark, it’s real and I think that’s what people are drawn to. It’s not the perfect fairy tale place, it certainly has its real life issues. But there’s always a glimmer of hope, somewhere. Be it redemption or salvation or a chance to try to make something right again. That’s a big thing that we play with a lot. Some really cool things are going to happen in the finale that people should be surprised by.

I just saw the finale yesterday. One of the things I love to do is I try not to read the last script of the season that I’ve been blessed to work on like The Magicians, because I want to be surprised too! So what I did was I looked at just the scenes I’m in, which is two scenes in the finale, and I quickly scanned everything else so I didn’t commit it in my mind. So I finally watched it yesterday and MAN! It really delivers. It’s so powerful; I was actually crying. It has such an emotional impact on me personally. I can’t tell you exactly why, it just hit me right in my heart.

HV: Oh come on Rick, you can’t do that [tease]!
RW: [laughs]
HV: We’ll wait until Wednesday like everyone else!
RW: Right, right! You gotta wait, you gotta wait!
JT: Me too! I’m excited for everyone to see it!

HV: You haven’t seen it?
JT: I actually haven’t! They send it to me but I like to watch when everyone else is watching. I haven’t… not yet. I shot it though, so I know what happens! [laughs]

HV: Well, thank you both for your time. Can’t wait to tune in on Wednesday night on Syfy.