Q: Can you talk about what Tilda represents to the story? Did you hope female fans would identify with her?
A: I really hoped that female fans could identify with her. I think that’s why she’s so great. She also represents a really true and honest portrayal of adolescence, especially with all of the conflict that she goes through. Even though the world is very romanticized and dystopian, I can still relate.
Q: Your social media handle is @AllyTheNinja. Do you consider yourself a martial arts guru?
A: [Laughs] Ninjas are just the coolest thing. The whole spy, stealth thing is so cool. I wasn’t really into martial arts, specifically, before Into the Badlands, but I’m so fascinated by it now. I think it’s one of the most beautiful art forms and I’m so glad we’re bringing it to television now, and we’re doing it in the right way.
A: I completely agree with that. What’s really special about Tilda and M.K. is that because they are young, they bring an honest and human note to the show. They feel real emotions. Tilda only really has The Widow, who’s telling her to do bad things, but M.K. comes and brings the good out in her. They complement each other really well in that way.
Q: In Episode 4, we see Tilda question The Widow and her motives for the first time. Is that a result of M.K.’s influence on Tilda, or has this been coming for a long time?
A: It was bound to happen, but M.K. sparked it. He gave her an excuse and a way out. Tilda had never known anything else. Everything The Widow has taught her is all she’s ever known. M.K. tells her she can do it a different way.
Q: Who needs each other more? Does Tilda stay with The Widow, or does The Widow need her Butterflies?
A: I definitely think Tilda isn’t quite ready to go off on her own yet. She still relies on The Widow and The Widow still does protect her.
Q: Talk about the scene in Episode 4 where the Butterflies find a record player and Tilda dances to the music. Is there a simple girl buried somewhere underneath that violent exterior?
A: Oh, yeah! That’s what’s so beautiful about Tilda. She really is just a girl. That’s one of my favorite scenes and it’s the only scene in the whole series where you see people just being people. I think it’s really important.
Q: What is it like filming a world where things that fill our lives every day – music, entertainment, technology – have been wiped out, but not forgotten?
A: Really strange. [Laughs] I was looking at the record player like, “Yup, that’s a record player,” but Tilda has never heard music. That’s a crazy idea! Think about the first time someone hears music. That’s really something to wrap your head around. I really wanted to be in the moment during that scene, and I really enjoyed it. It was fun to let go and let her instincts completely take over.
Q: Can you talk about the showdown between M.K. and Tilda in Episode 4? Sunny told M.K. to focus on something “pure” in order to control his dark side. Does Tilda represent purity for him?
A: It’s like a “true love’s kiss” kind of thing. It’s romantic, but that episode brings a lot of issues for Tilda. Tilda might remind him of his mother, subconsciously. There is something pure and honest that really speaks to him.
Q: Do you have one of the Butterfly stars from set?
A: I love those things so much! I play with them constantly. I actually have one in my room. I stabbed a book with it and now it’s standing up on my bookshelf. I didn’t want to part from it. They are really impeccably designed.
Q: It seems everyone is seeking something in the Badlands. What does Tilda ultimately want?
A: Tilda just wants peace. I know that’s a crazy thing to say about a girl who’s cracking guys’ necks. But you really see that Tilda is extremely level-headed and she just wants everything to fall into place in a simple way. I don’t think she wants to take over the world. She just wants the best thing for the Badlands and for the people that she loves.
Click here to read an interview with Oliver Stark, who plays Ryder.
Into the Badlands airs Sundays at 10/9c on AMC.
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