I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Brittany Curran, the actress playing Queen Fen on Syfy’s The Magicians. I already am a big Fen fan, but after I talked with Brittany about her character and Season 3 overall, I am even more of a fan! From Disney princesses, to her relationship with Eliot, and where she wants to see Fen go, I had an absolute blast sitting down with her!
Michelle Harvey (MH): Fen has already been pretty prevalent in Season 3 – and overall I think she has grown a lot over the first two seasons – where would you like to see Fen go this season?
Brittany Curran (BH): Thank you for acknowledging that, I’ve grown so attached to her and I get so proud of her because she starts as this young woman in an archaic society, promised to a man basically in this arranged marriage, but she starts to become more independent and grows. I want to see her stand up to Eliot and kind of become her own woman. Because there is this part of her that deeply cares about Eliot, especially since she’s been in this mindset since she was a young kid that she is going to marry the High King. But Eliot hasn’t been a good husband to her and I feel like she’s almost used to that, he doesn’t take her seriously, when she gets kidnapped by the fairies while pregnant, he doesn’t really do anything to go find her – which really annoys the crap out of me on a personal level. And then she comes back in Season 3, and granted she is in a state of psychosis and is going through PTSD so she has this idea in her head of the perfect little family unit even though it’s not. Where I want to see her go is to get out of that, get past her trauma as much as she can, and finally acknowledge that Eliot is part of this patriarchal issue. He has a big heart but he’s still this man who is brushing his wife aside even though Fen is the one who tells them about the Muntjac he wants to leave her behind in the castle, and doesn’t take her seriously as another human being. He treats her as this annoying thing that he got stuck with but never actually considers the fact that Fen got stuck with him just as much as he got stuck with her. So I’d like for her to finally voice her opinion with him and become more independent and go on her own adventure.
MH: That is perfect because it leads right into the next question I wanted to ask you, which is what is Fen’s stance on her and Eliot’s relationship. If she feels like it’s fair and balanced or how she thinks it could be bettered. Especially because Fen is surrounded by very strong personalities with Eliot and Margot and she kind of has to find her own voice to be able to stand up to them.
BC: Absolutely! I’m so glad you feel that and that you asked me that. It’s funny because earlier in her life, Fen did join up with the Foo Fighters, so there obviously is this rebellious spirit that she has. But she is so used to falling in line with this archaic society — even though she is the only native Fillorian that actually knows these people, and the culture, and their ways — and then Eliot comes in and just takes over (as does Margot), and doesn’t really listen to her and certainly doesn’t value her as a wife or a Fillorian. I think in the beginning of Season 2 Fen is just kind of used to it, because she is just used to listening to a really strong male voice and then a strong male and female voice come in and she just falls into what she’s been used to in a way. But I think she’s finally realizing the value that she has in the Kingdom and that she has a perspective that Margot and Eliot don’t have. Just because they’re stronger personalities to begin with doesn’t mean she can’t make her own mark on Fillory and in the Kingdom. But I also think it’s good for Fen to see Margot, this very strong, opinionated, confident woman who does rival Eliot and isn’t afraid to disagree with Eliot. SO I think that’s a really good influence on Fen, even though you know – Margot sold my baby, I think there is a huge part of Fen that respects Margot. Fen is in a state of psychosis right now but I think she is going to get to a point where she realizes just how absolutely awful Husband Eliot is, he is just the most selfish husband ever.
MH: We really have seen a whole new side to Fen within these first couple episodes of Season 3. She is definitely a bit on crazy side right now – which is understandable considering everything we have seen her go through. For you, how much fun has it been to tap into this new side of Fen?
BC: It’s been such an adventure in the theme of adventuring and questing this season, and it’s been a personal adventure for me as an actress. I was so excited when I saw that was the direction she was going in and I started researching a lot into PTSD because that is like the root of what she is dealing with from being kidnapped and losing her child in the Fairy Realm. But I actually had a Skype therapy session with my real therapist in LA to discuss Fen instead of me, and to discuss all of Fen’s trials and tribulations. So being able to explore the character from a truly human side was really interesting for me and then of course I play it up in the show because it’s a fantasy show and you have to have the whimsical side to what she is going through. It was fun trying to find a somewhat grounded way to play the scenes where I am like burping a log was really fun for me. And I really grew attached to that log in real life, I don’t know what that says about me.
MH: Did you name the log or get to keep it?
BC: I actually tried to keep the log, I tried to take the log home with me but they wouldn’t let me because it’s an important prop. I guess I kinda named it Baby Groot because I’m obsessed with Baby Groot in an actor-y way I personalized the log as Baby Groot. On my phone screen saver, I used to have Baby Groot as the screen saver as if it was my child in real life and I would like show people how cute of a photo of Baby Groot is was… So when I saw this I was like oh my, I already have a connection to this fake log from a movie so why not just personalize it to this?
MH: Oh now that is funny! I love it though. We as viewers can see that you are really in the right head-space to portray Fen. I love where you’re taking her and how she’s processing and dealing with the fact that she was kidnapped, and losing the baby right after giving birth, and she makes this huge personal sacrifice to come back and warn everyone that the Fairies are coming – which was kind of just brushed to the side.
BC: Exactly! Thank you for saying that.
MH: One of the things that I love with Fillory and you being the only one native to it, you get to play on all the really fun, beautiful, magical and grand sets. Both the Fillory Castle sets and now on The Muntjac. What is that like everyday?
BC: It’s the best. It’s funny, I’m actually in Disney World right as we speak, I’m in Epcot on vacation which is just bringing me to another fantasy world on top of where I already work. So I obviously really like the fantasy side of things and the whimsy of life. When I first booked the show last year on Season 2 I was with some friends and I went outside to take the call and when I went back in the way I told them was “I’m gonna be a Princess!” So it’s basically a dream come true. But our sets are amazing and Margot Ready, our production designer is so talented. There was one day that I asked if she could give me a tour of the Muntjac and tell me the inspiration behind it and what everything means. So she took me on this incredible tour and told me all about it. The Muntjac is a Deer Class ship and because of that you see the aesthetic of a deer all throughout the ship. There is this one ironwork screen that closes off the Royal boudoir from the living space and on it you can see the ironwork tells the story of the boat herself. It starts out as a deer with a hunter in the woods and then it takes you on the story of the boat, and then there is a bit of a spoiler in there too if you’re able to spot it. Just knowing that there is so much thought and passion that goes into these sets, sometimes when we’re done filming I’ll just walk around for a few minutes and pretend that I actually live there and I’m actually a princess.
MH: Okay, so you’re a Princess on the show, you’re at Disney World right now – I have to know, who is your Disney princess?
BC: Oh that’s a good question! I don’t know, maybe Pocahontas and Bell are my favorites. I identify with Bell the most because she loves reading and libraries and I also like reading and libraries. We had dinner at the Be Our Guest restaurant last night, and I like flipped out and met the Beast. There are some pictures of me with the Beast afterwards, laughing and me not knowing how to pose for the pictures. I love Ariel too and The Little Mermaid quite a bit, that’s hard because I love all the Disney Princesses.
MH: Speaking of loving Princesses, what do you love most about Fen?
BC: I love Fen’s spirit of never giving up. She always pushes forward, she’s been put in some of the most awful traumatic experiences anybody ever could and she still pushes forward with a positivity and a hope that things will get better. Even though she does live in this very archaic and patriarchal society she still is an incredibly strong woman who goes through ups and downs, just like any person, she’s not strong 100% of the time, not outwardly at least, but I feel like her strength brings her through all this crazy stuff. So yeah, her spirit to always push forward.
MH: I think I probably know where you are probably going to take this one, but on the flip side of that – if you could change one thing about Fen what would it be?
BC: I want her to slap Eliot across the face.
MH: I knew you were gonna go there!
BC: I knew you knew! I want her to be like dude, I am in the same position as you except I have no ruling power AND I’m from this place and you still don’t take me seriously. You understand me and Fen so well at this point, I love it.
MH: With season 3 only just kind of starting, it’s going to be this grand epic quest, and it looks like at least Fen elbowed her way in on getting to be on the Muntjac. What are you most looking forward to seeing come to fruition on the screen for viewers?
BC: Without actually giving it away, I can say that Fen has a bit of a fish out of water story this season and goes on her own quest. This is going to be so general but it will all make perfect sense when it comes out, she goes on her own quest and overcomes the most difficult thing in her life. And that is my favorite part of her story this season.
MH: Instead of for Fen, but for you personally, Have you been working on anything else that your fans can look forward to watching you in?
BC: Yeah! I did a film called The Man From Earth: Holocene , it’s also a science fiction film and it’s a sequel to a film from about ten years ago called The Man From Earth. It came out in limited release in theaters recently and now it’s coming out on DVD and Bluray and all that stuff next month. It’s about a 14,000 year old man who travels through life changing his life every ten years so nobody will suspect him. In this movie he is currently a professor and I am one of his students but am infatuated with him. Very different character from Fen, she’s a very sexually liberated, damaged young lady. I have another film called Captured coming out later this year, where I play a punk rock singer. I know it’s different, but I’m also starting to work with this foundation called Donate Life , which is a foundation that raises funds and awareness for organ transplants. They have a 5k charity run/walk coming up in April and I have my own team, raising money for Donate Life and getting ready for the run!
Catch Brittany as Queen Fen on The Magicians Season 3, currently airing Wednesday nights on Syfy! You can also find and follow her on both Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date with all her current and upcoming projects!
The Magicians airs on Wednesday night at 9pm on SyFy.
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