Ally Ioannides, who plays Tilda on AMC’s Into the Badlands, talks about the surprising team-ups this season and why Tilda will stop at nothing to save the world.
Q: In the first half of the season, Tilda was operating under her Iron Rabbit identity and making it clear she was no longer the Widow’s daughter. Who is she in the second half?
A: I think she’s really her most grounded self. In the beginning of Season 3, she was rebelling against her mother and literally putting on a mask. She was dressing up like a lot of young people do when they’re fighting themselves – they try on different costumes and looks. Now, she’s finding a middle ground and her own path and personality, while still being connected to the Widow and on that side. It’s in her own way. I think in Season 1 and Season 2, we saw Tilda internally questioning things. She’s still questioning things, but it’s a bit more external. She’s not as afraid to give her honest opinion to authority figures.
A: It’s so interesting. I remember hearing that Lewis Tan was coming onto the show and that there was a thing between Gaius and the Widow, but I never thought I would have scenes with him. We were both shocked at reading those episodes. It’s such a strange dynamic because it’s essentially your mother’s boyfriend, but also your enemy’s brother. [Laughs] It’s really interesting to see. When Tilda and Gaius get to know each other, they realize they’re actually really similar and they connect over that.
Q: That carnival set looked pretty cool! What was it like shooting there?
A: So incredible! I’m so into dystopia, so this was really exciting for me. There have been a lot of amazing sets I haven’t been on, like Quinn’s subway station, so this carnival set was so exciting. They do such an amazing job. We’re so lucky that they let us build these incredible sets. They built them way more intricately than they have to. There were a lot of things, like carnival games. Lewis and I played around on set all the time and we took photos. There was a carousel to play on. It honestly felt like a carnival, but it was really scary. [Laughs] There were definitely moments where we were terrified.
Q: What is it like for Tilda to hear about the backstory between the Widow and the Chau family? Does it make her see the Widow in a different light?
A: For sure. I think it really makes her empathize with the Widow even more. The Widow is a very immobilizing figure and she’s very private, too. Tilda really empathizes and relates to that story – having been a slave herself. She respects the fact that she came from that and is such a powerful figure now. She probably understands why she’s so closed off now, too.
Q: Why do you think Tilda was so willing and seemingly gleeful to kill Gaius’s mother?
A: I think there are a few reasons and I think it’s important that this is justified. I feel that everything Ophelia stands for is everything that Tilda is against. Old money, systematic oppression — everything that Tilda hates. Tilda is a very righteous and moral person, so there’s that. I also think that she’s spent so much time with Gaius and begins to empathize with him and realize they have very similar backgrounds. She really feels bad for him and like she has to stand up for him. She has to help him out. In the Badlands, everyone has moments where they make mistakes. A constant theme is standing up for each other and saving your friends and proving your loyalty with actions. In a world where people die all the time, words mean nothing. Actions are so important. This action takes the burden off so he doesn’t have to go to bed at night thinking about how he murdered his mother. It does seem like a gleeful, bloodlust sort of a thing, but it really is a grand gesture of love. There is also a lot of satisfaction from killing someone who is a terrible person and taking down that system. That’s really satisfying for Tilda.
Q: What does it mean to Tilda that the Widow comes to rescue her?
A: That moment solidifies what they have. You have to constantly prove yourself in the Badlands with actions. Someone saving your life and wanting you alive and risking their life – that is something that makes Tilda want to fight alongside the Widow even more. It solidifies their bond even more. There is love there. They’re more than allies.
Q Now that the battle with Chau’s forces is over, what is Tilda fighting for or against?
A: Chau is what Tilda has been focused on. She was in her own little world with Odessa and fighting Chau. Now, both of those things are out of the picture. You also just can’t ignore the looming threat of Pilgrim. [Laughs] A lot of characters have seen the wrath of the dark curse, but Tilda is familiar with it from dealing with M.K. She understands the danger. At this point, she’s fighting for her life, for the world, her legacy and future young people. But there is a choice she makes. She could just go off and hide out, but I think this really shows who she is. She’s not the kind of person to back down. She really does care about the best thing for the world and she’s going to risk her life for it. She is making a choice.
Q: What will you take away from the show? Any favorite fights or moments you’re particularly proud of?
A: My favorite moment is definitely the Widow vs. Tilda fight in Season 2. That fight was really difficult. Daniel Wu is actually superhuman, but I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. [Laughs] Being trusted to take on a fight like that really meant a lot to me. I’m really proud of it and everyone that worked on it. This has been such a crazy and profound part of my life. I started Season 1 when I was 16 and I’m 21 now. Tilda has been growing up with me and it’s been interesting how it’s mirrored my own life. I’m so incredibly grateful for the kind of influence I was able to have access to throughout these years. Hard work really does pay off and you can do anything if you believe. The great thing about our world is nothing really dies. People can discover it for years to come. Badlands is forever!
Read an interview with Ella-Rae Smith, who plays Nix.
Into the Badlands airs Mondays at 10/9c.
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