The new CW series Reign tells the story of Mary Stuart (Adelaide Kane), the young woman the world would come to know as Mary, Queen of Scots. The teenage Mary is already a headstrong monarch, who has been sent to France to secure Scotland’s strategic alliance by formalizing her arranged engagement to the French king’s dashing son, Prince Francis (Toby Regbo), but he resists the idea of settling into marriage, even though the two clearly have an attraction. Mary must quickly learn the ways of the Court and successfully navigate both her allies and enemies, if she is to survive.
During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, Aussie actress Adelaide Kane talked about how she came to be a part of Reign, what that meant for her role on Teen Wolf (as Derek’s sister, Cora), what attracted her to this character, Mary’s sense of duty and loyalty, and who she sees as Mary’s greatest allies and enemies. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
ADELAIDE KANE: I didn’t know what was going to happen with Teen Wolf. I was only scheduled to do four episodes for them, but they kept me on and I was like, “Sweet! I’m still employed! That’s awesome!” And then, they let me know that they were considering having me for the second half of the season. Contractually, I was signing a contract for every episode that I did. We didn’t have a long-standing arrangement, so I thought I’d go out for pilot season. And then, it happened. I didn’t think it would, but it happened. Teen Wolf was really wonderful and accommodating, and they wrote me out for a couple of episodes, so that I could fly to Ireland and shoot the pilot. They were a bit sad at the thought of me leaving before the second half of the season, but then we got picked up. It sucks because I’m really going to miss them.
Were you able to have some closure for your character at Teen Wolf?
KANE: Well, I wrapped up the first half of the season. I’m not sure how they’re going to go about writing her out, but there should be some closure. I’m still good friends with everybody from Teen Wolf. I still see them, and I go to Jeff Davis’ for Teen Wolf night when I can. It was such a rewarding experience. That’s such a fun set. Everybody is so genuine and wonderful on that show, and I was sad to leave it, but I’m excited, too, about getting started on this new project. It really is such an opportunity.
What was it about Mary Stuart that drew you to her?
KANE: I’ve never played a character like her before. She’s a very strong young woman. I just really related to that whole thing of being out of her element. She’s a fish out of water. She had these expectations of what the world would be like, and they’ve just been shattered. She really needs to grow up and figure out her life and the world that she’s in, in order to protect herself. And I’ve felt out of place many, many times in my life, and I probably will continue to do so. Everybody does. When you start a new job, move into a new house, move to a new country, everybody can relate to that. She just wants what’s best for her country and for her friends. She’s doing her best. She’s really, really trying very hard. She’s not selfish. She has a real sense of responsibility, and I like that about her.
Is it hard for her to maintain who she is, surrounded by so many people who each have their own agendas?
KANE: I don’t think so. I think she has a very strong sense of self. The time the character spent away from the Court has probably helped with that. She’s had her formative years, from 10 to 16, to grow independently of all the intrigue and people telling her what she should be, how she should be, and who she should be. She’s grown up in this convent that’s very simple. It was about honesty, decency and hard work. She’s been milking goats, and things like that. She’s really learned a very solid foundation to entire French Court with, which is an asset, but also not so much. She just isn’t as devious as everyone else. She can’t manipulate others, the same way that they can. Her forthrightness, while it is an admiral quality, doesn’t necessarily serve her as well, in French Court.
KANE: Francis was a good friend to her. When she was a child, they were good friends. This is her naivete speaking, but she built him up in her mind, more than a little, with this romantic ideal of who he would be and how he would be. He is everything that she dreamed he would be, except that he doesn’t want her. That’s a very hard adjustment for her to make. Political agreements don’t always stands, so maybe she’ll go find somebody else who will give her the political background she needs. She is very, very duty driven. Her country comes first, always. I love that about her. She’s not just gonna throw everything away for a man. There have been a lot of female characters, in TV and in movies, who will give up everything for the man they love. No! I wouldn’t give up my career for somebody. The most important thing to me is my work, and reaching people through my work. It’s so important to me. It’s my passion. And for her, her passion is her country. I can really admire that, and I really relate to that.
How dangerous is her curiosity with Sebastian (Torrance Coombs)?
KANE: I think that’s perfectly natural. She’s a 16-year-old girl who has been in a convent with nuns. Boys are interesting. I don’t think that she approaches the relationship with Bash on a romantic level. I don’t think she approaches anything on a romantic level, to be honest. I don’t think that’s her first thought, at all. She’s not a woman driven my her hormones, or at least, not yet. I think she sees Bash as a friend and as a confidante. I don’t think she is aware of her own feelings until a little later. She has no experience with boys. I don’t think it occurs to her. As far as she’s concerned, she’s marrying Francis. She doesn’t even think of side dalliances until she maybe realizes she may be attracted to other people. What does that mean for her? They weren’t terribly sexual aware, back in those days, so I’m sure it will be very confusing for her. I think her default will be, “What is my duty? What is my duty to my country? What is my duty to my people?” I think that could be quite funny, her figuring that out. I think hilarity could ensue, if they’ll allow it. I know we’re primarily a drama, but I think that could be quite funny.
Who would you say her greatest allies are, and who would you say her greatest enemies are?
KANE: I would say her greatest allies are her girlfriends, Sebastian and, on some level, the King (Alan Van Sprang). The King isn’t actively looking to hurt her, but he does occasionally help her, if it suits him. He’s after his own political agenda, too. Between those two characters, I would very much like to see a mentoring situation happen. She’s watching him rule and seeing how he governs his land. He feels just as strongly about his country, as she does about hers. I would like to see him drop the odd piece of advice to her. I think that he has a certain amount of respect for her. She’s been thrown into this, and she’s holding her own and managing.
And I think her greatest enemies are the English, Queen Catherine (Megan Follows) and Francis. Francis doesn’t mean to be her enemy, but he is. His very reluctance and his hesitancy to be intimate with her puts her in more danger. His active avoidance of her makes her more of a target than him paying a token amount of attention to her would. I think he is inadvertently one of her greatest enemies at Court.
Reign airs on Thursday nights on The CW.