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Into the Badlands Q&A – Emily Beecham (The Widow)

Emily Beecham, who plays The Widow on AMC’s Into the Badlands, talks about her character’s leadership style and facing Sunny in Episode 5.

Q: The Widow is a straight up badass. What immediately stood out to you about this character besides that?

A: She’s completely unusual and it was obvious from the start that she was an awesome character. She stood out so much that I immediately had a picture of the presence I wanted her to have. I wanted to make unexpected choices and I wanted her to be a bit unsettling. She has so many layers, too. She’s very kind to women and wants to teach them to be stronger, but then there are scenes when she’s more dominant, cunning and uses her sexuality. There aren’t many female characters like her at all.

Q: It’s clear she protects her Butterflies. Is it simply about holding power, or does she truly see herself as a mother to them?

A: Her girls are in awe of her, but they also obey her because you get the feeling that you don’t want to be on her bad side. She does want them to use their intelligence, capabilities and everything they have. She wants them to know they are not just a pretty face or sexual toy. So, she holds a certain power over them – and you can call it manipulation or abuse – but she’s fighting for something that seems positive. They are risking their lives for her cause.

Q: If you were one of The Widow’s Butterflies, would you fear her, or would you feel safe?

A: Well, she is an intelligent leader, though a good leader shouldn’t frighten people. [Laughs]

Q: Can The Widow sense that Tilda‘s loyalty may be wavering? How does she feel about that? Is she like Quinn in that no Clippers are allowed to leave her service alive, or is she more merciful if one of her Butterflies wants to leave?

A: The Widow wants somebody that wants to be there. What she believes in means so much to her, and she’s such an independent character that she would rather be on her own. But she would probably not be able to achieve what she wants to achieve on her own. She has a maternal relationship towards Tilda and I think she sees herself as a mentor. Tilda clearly wants to please her. They care about each other, but Tilda is reaching that age where she’s forming her own opinions. She needs answers. It’s coming to a point where The Widow needs to yield a bit to gain trust.

Q: What makes The Widow a good Baron, in your opinion? What are some qualities she could improve upon?

A: She could encourage the girls to have more fun, but that would probably be an unwise decision in the Badlands. [Laughs] That could get you killed. I think she’s an efficient Baron, considering the challenges she’s facing. She also doesn’t have a large Clipper force. I think she’s doing quite a good job. I can’t make any better decisions myself. I would be a goner. [Laughs]

Q: Can you tell us about your katana sword training? How physically demanding was it before you got comfortable with one?

A: Throughout our training, we were finding out where our strengths were. They knew from the start that my character’s weapons would be katanas and daggers, so I had to practice a lot. If you’re leaping about at a really high speed and you have to flip the weapon to another position, it can just fly out of your hand. I also did some personal training as well which involved eating a lot of protein. I didn’t do any cardio because I wanted to build muscle, not lose weight.

Q: How has the reception been for your character, particularly from female fans?

A: Both men and women have messaged me and said how strong she is and how cool it is to watch her. That’s refreshing because why shouldn’t a woman have a strong role that might typically be considered more masculine?

Q: Tell us about the fight between The Widow and Sunny over Tilda in Episode 5?

A: Daniel Wu was so understanding and helpful. He gave me advice on how to do moves and I had to keep up because he’s obviously double my size and a lot stronger. The Widow can’t compete with Sunny on that level, but she is so quick. My moves were designed to be sharp and fast. All the terrain is so different, so sometimes we fought on a very slippery floor, which is very difficult to do 360-degree turns on. We were slipping, sliding and missing each other, but we got there. [Laughs]

Q: The Widow has actually had a number of showdowns so far… with Quinn, with Sunny, with Nomads. Is there any particular fight you enjoy?

A: I loved all of them, but the fight in Episode 2 with Quinn sticks out because that was my first fight. It was such an experience and it was gratifying to see it on the screen.

Click here to read an interview with Alexia Ioannides, who plays Tilda.

Into the Badlands airs Sundays at 10/9c on AMC.

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