Emily Beecham, who plays the Widow on AMC’s Into the Badlands, talks about her character facing off against herself and how the Widow has awakened her own inner queen.
Q: The Widow has unfinished business with Chau, but something else is on the horizon: Pilgrim‘s crusade. How has the Master changed the Widow’s focus going into the second half of the season?
A: The Master is very challenging for the Widow. They had a relationship when the Widow was younger and when she had her Gift. Because the Widow can’t escape, there are no boundaries for her. She’s very private and controlling. You never get to see much of what’s going on deep inside of her. So, now she has no choice but to cooperate. She resists a lot, but the Master slowly breaks her down. Once she gets into the [mirror] chamber, she sees something that profoundly affects her and somewhat changes her perspective for the first time in the long time. She sees a part of herself she never knew.
She can put a lot behind her because she comes out with a new understanding and a new perspective on it. It diffuses a lot of her destructive anger that she operated with before. She has a fresh focus on the fight that has to happen and puts her ego aside. She puts her need for the Gift aside and realizes the strength she always had didn’t come from the Gift.
Q: The Master isn’t sure the Widow has pure intentions for wanting her Gift back. Why do you believe she does? How does the mirror chamber change that?
A: She always thought that she wanted the Gift. She was desperate to have it back and was bitter about losing it, but gets to witness the alternate reality of who she would have become if she had what she thought she wanted all along. Those painful experiences in the past as the Black Widow – she comes to realize that those tough experiences made her into the person she is now. Her ability to empathize with people has made her a much kinder human being who wants to support the people who have nothing and who are struggling. She could have become the very type of person she is fighting against. That’s not what she wants. Seeing Tilda always brings her back to her truth.
Q: What was it like fighting yourself?
A: It was amazing. It’s like having a massive playground. I was really excited when I read that I would be doing scenes with myself. It was a completely new experience that I’d never had before. It was definitely challenging because it was a dream sequence. We often don’t understand the purpose of our dreams anyway. It was a massive challenge to question what the Widow was experiencing. There were a lot of costume and makeup changes and a lot of back and forth. I was fighting a lot with my stunt double, Mickey Facchinello, or often looking at a mark on a green screen and just imagining. It was really enjoyable to watch the two pictures put together. That’s my favorite shot – when you can see both of them looking at each other. It was really fun.
Q: Was there any special choreography and training required for when the Widow’s Gift is activated?
A: The heels were a touch higher. [Laughs] That made it even more challenging. I had to be stronger because obviously I’m supposed to be impossibly strong. I’m always trying to look strong. Maybe when playing the Black Widow, I’m always holding back my true side.
Q: What are you most excited about when it comes to the Widow’s journey in these final episodes? What will you take away from this character and story?
A: I loved getting into the Widow’s backstory and what makes her tick and how she has these new realizations and finds a new part of herself. Through self-reflecting, she realizes that there are no regrets. She accepts her painful past and it makes her stronger. I like that about what’s happened to her. It was such an experience to play such a queen. She’s a leader and is fighting for something. It was great playing such an empowered person. Anybody can be anybody. It’s fun to get in touch with that side of yourself. When else would I get to act like a massively empowered queen? Well, I guess I could every day, but people might be intimidated! [Laughs]
Read an interview with Daniel Wu, who plays Sunny.
Into the Badlands airs Mondays at 10/9c.
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