Reign, the story of Mary, Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) is about to premiere on The CW and I was lucky enough to visit the Toronto set and chat with her ladies-in-waiting, Kenna )Caitlin Stasey), Greer (Celina Sinden), Lola (Anna Popplewell) and Aylee (Jenessa Grant). They’re not just a cluster of giggling girls. They each have a very separate personality and relationship to Mary. Check out what they have to say below and stay tuned for the rest of my on-set interviews over the coming week.
Caitlin Stasey explains who Kenna is. “Kenna at the mercy of her impulses does things that might not be in her best interest…Men, I mean in that time, a woman’s virtue was everything, so she’s straddling a very fine line between, well, I guess, her dignity and having a good time. I think that unfortunately, she is a byproduct of her time and her circumstances, and she is just, I think, very selfish. There’s a group dynamic, so the girls are close to each other and one another’s confidence, but she’s very much out for her own personal gain. Not by ways of political standing, financial, but she’s a lady and she comes from a high-standing family. She’s just a hedonistic individual.” Guys, you’ll see what she’s talking about after you watch the pilot.
Anna Popplewell explains what Lola is all about. “I think all of these girls, especially Lola in the pilot, are seeing this conflict in the relationship between Mary as a friend, and probably how they’ve grown up with her – being able to speak with her freely – and their duty to her as a queen,” she said. “And that’s sometimes difficult, I think. Especially for Lola in the pilot – that’s her discovery and her thing, certainly, in their arrival in France. And that continues and lots of ladies have that at different points, and I think that struggle will continue. And I think both of those relationships with Mary – their friendships with her and their duties to her – are strengthened by being thrust into this foreign court. Yes, at points they’re under duress, but it’s a very bonding thing, being forced into this foreign environment and all that they have is each other.”
Lola and the girls will deal with a death in the pilot, though we won’t spoil who it is. “The death will damage their relationships, but not irreparably. They all go through lots of drama with it,” explains Popplewell. “They fight and they make up and fight and make up, and I don’t think you necessarily forget those things, but the extremity of their situation also means that they forgive each other more quickly than they would at home. They have that teen “I love you, I hate you” relationship, but I think that the basis of their conflict is sometimes more dramatic than what teenaged girls have to cope with in high school but certainly the way they fall in and out of friendship and love with each other is very young, and yes, they are young. They’re adolescent, so it does mirror that.”
Celina Sinden’s Greer is a bit different from the rest of the girls. “She’s ambitious and she’s actually the only one of the ladies that isn’t titled,” she told us. “She’s got lots of money, but she needs to rise in the world by finding a husband, which is her mission at court, other than looking after Mary, which is obviously a huge job for her. She’s probably looking for a poor, titled man. There have been different options; I can’t talk about them, give anything away, but that’s something that will go with Greer’s search for the perfect man. And who knows where that will lead. I don’t know yet.”
So, is she the most unfettered of the ladies? “I think it’s the other way around,” she said. “I feel like Greer is under so much pressure from her family and her own self-imposed “I must be the most behaved and the most etiquette correct and polite and do everything right so that I don’t get kicked out. If they find out I’m untitled, I’m ruined.” So I think she almost takes it to that extreme whereas the other girls are more comfortable and don’t need to prove themselves all the time. I think Greer needs to prove herself, that she belongs here.”
Jenessa Grant explains that Aylee is the closest to Mary. “[She’s] someone that she can trust the most; whenever she’s freaking out she can go to Aylee. She has to show a stronger front for the other girls; you know like you always have the one girl that, for whatever reason, it just clicks the easiest. It’s just that kind of relationship.”
She goes a bit more in depth. “I have an idea for what the character is, but it will change depending on where the writers take her,” she said. “And originally, she was described as a tomboy, and kind of uncomfortable with the clothes and the makeup and all the girly stuff, and that’s kind of been phased out a little bit, but I started trying to layer that in a little bit more. The way that I think about it at this point, I think of Aylee’s process to get ready in the morning, and for some reason that really gets me into character and I think of all the little details she has to her costume, and it’s very – we all kind of have our own styles, but Aylee is lots of layering and lots of little odd pieces that you wouldn’t think would work together. It’s very creative, actually, so I kind of think of her as the creative one, like, she’s playing with her hair and trying to stand out in little, little ways.”
Stasey said the girls actually spend a ton of time together. “All of our time,” she revealed. “They’re wonderful people. I mean it’s so unusual and it’s not normal, and this sounds so false but they’re some of my closest friends at this point and it’s so unusual to be in a group of girls and have no sort of competitive edge to your friendship because we’re all so different. But they’re great and each of them provide something entirely unique and endearing and I love them all very much.”
She also talked about doing a costume drama that is this complex. : “They’re phenomenal. I just came from a wardrobe fitting, and they’ve done such a staggeringly beautiful job creating the pieces. But it’s fun for the first ten minutes when you catch a glimpse of yourself and you’re awestruck. And then ten minutes later you’re like ‘god this is uncomfortable.’ You can’t breathe and you need help to go to the bathroom.”
Reign will premiere on The CW on Thursday, October 17. Will you be watching?