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Into the Badlands Q&A – Madeleine Mantock (Veil)

Madeleine Mantock, who plays Veil on AMC’s Into the Badlands, talks about Veil finding Sunny’s sword in the Season 1 Finale and if she’d ever team up with The Widow.

Q: When you were cast, did you get any backstory about your character that you found helpful? What did you use to craft her?

A: Originally, Veil was a Doll in the Dollhouse that Sunny would go visit. That’s where she started, and then she became a teacher, but that was scrapped because they thought it was interesting to not allow people to be educated. So, then she became a doctor. I was always interested to see where they landed with her. I had rehearsals with Daniel Wu and he gave us so much backstory that I was just like, “Wow! You’ve really thought this through.” [Laughs] We also talked about Veil’s upbringing and how she’s educated and cared for by her adopted parents, which is why she has a unique skill set. It’s interesting because she was only afforded that life because Quinn gave her away as a present. It’s like Quinn had mapped out her life, somehow, and that added to the oppressive element.

Q: Do you personally know much about medicine? Did you learn anything new after handling all those medical instruments and prosthetics?

A: My first job was actually as a nurse on a medical drama back home in England. Most of it was just fiddling with wires around the patient’s bed – though I did learn how to stitch a wound – so I knew how to make it look like I knew what I was doing, but I wouldn’t be able to help if somebody collapsed. I’d be Googling on my phone. The prosthetics were really beautiful. Every joint was mobile and they had a steampunk element to them, which I liked.

Q: Veil definitely sees the good in Sunny. Did you feel a sense of sadness for them considering Sunny isn’t allowed to have a family, though he seems to really love Veil?

A: Totally. It’s really sad because you see this glimpse of bliss in this really harsh world and as we go along, you realize it’s probably just a fantasy. How can they be together? There’s an excerpt from a sonnet by Pablo Neruda that I found that goes: “So I wait for you like a lonely house; till you will see me again and live in me; Till then my windows ache.” It sums up that bittersweet sorrow feeling.

Q: It seems everyone needs Veil in the Badlands… Ryder, Quinn, The Widow. She’s pretty important and she’s not even a Baroness or a fighter. Does she have the upper hand?

A: Yeah, she’s spread pretty thin by the end of the season. I would giggle because every three seconds, someone would say, “Where’s Veil? Fetch Veil!” I don’t know that anyone has the upper hand in the Badlands, though. It’s every man for himself and everyone seems to have something up their sleeves.

Q: Veil has the perfect opportunity to kill Quinn in Episode 5 when she treats him with poison. Why do you think she doesn’t?

A: Veil doesn’t want to play God and with a man like Quinn, she knows she doesn’t have to because it’s just a matter of time before his ill deeds catch up to him. She’s adopted the “kill them with kindness” attitude and she refuses to stoop to his level. Quinn seems to want her to degrade herself and she’s able to remain in control in a world where she doesn’t have much say.

Q: Quinn tells Veil that Sunny killed Veil’s parents. Do you think she sees through him and his manipulation, or does that really affect her and the way she views Sunny as a “good man”?

A: She knows Quinn is trying to push her buttons, but she also knows the lay of the land and Sunny killing her parents isn’t totally out of the realm of possibilities. The seed of doubt has definitely been planted.

Q: The Widow mentions she wants a world “where women have a voice that’s heard.” What does Veil think about that? What do you think about that?

A: I still don’t know if I trust The Widow. I don’t know if she’s been reading too much of her own recruitment propaganda. I’d like to see what her feminist ideals really are and if that really is her endgame or not. I loved getting a glimpse at why The Widow is doing what she’s doing and why she claims that title. Veil and I are still very mistrusting of her, though. I wouldn’t jump right into a partnership with her. [Laughs]

Q: Were you surprised at Veil giving Tilda the choice to kill The Widow with poison in Episode 6? What does it say about Veil?

A: We know that Veil has made the choice to not partake in any killing, but she recognizes this young girl who was never given a chance. She feels compelled to offer compassion and open Tilda’s mind to freedom. In a roundabout way, it’s still Veil’s way of showing love and trying to heal people in the Badlands. You have to accept that there will be collateral damage.

Q: The Season 1 Finale leaves us with Veil, alone, finding Sunny’s sword in the street. Where do you think she’ll go from here?

A: She’s alone, she’s pregnant and that’s daunting. It’s a moment of terror when she finds his broken sword. The fight director, Stephen Fung, said it’s like finding Batman’s mask… Why is this here? What does this mean? What has happened? She’s in shock, but she hopes to find him.

Click here to read an interview with Emily Beecham, who plays The Widow.

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