Ellen Woglom on ‘Marvel’s Inhumans’, the Secretive Audition Process, and More
The ABC comic book series Marvel’s Inhumans explores the Royal Family of the Inhumans, led by enigmatic king Black Bolt (Anson Mount) and his wife Medusa (Serinda Swan), who have to escape to Hawaii after a military coup in their home of Attilan. Once they are in the world surrounded by humanity, they must find a way to reunite with each other and return to their home before their way of life is destroyed forever.
During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, actress Ellen Woglom (who plays Louise, one of the show’s human characters) talked about how she ended up part of the Marvel universe, the secretive audition process, developing an original character for the series, why she didn’t read any of the comics, what Louise thinks of the Inhumans, which superpower both she and her character think is the most cool, how being a part of a Marvel TV series is different from other TV series, and working with all of the effects.
Collider: How did you come to Marvel’s Inhumans and end up a part of this whole crazy world?
ELLEN WOGLOM: I’m still trying to figure that out! I auditioned, like I do for any other job that I hope to get. When I originally got the material, you don’t know what you’re auditioning for. Even the names are changed in the sides, or sometimes they’ll give you mock sides that aren’t from the script. You have no backstory for the characters, so you don’t even know what you’re supposed to go in there and play. I knew it was Marvel, but other than that, I knew nothing. There was no character breakdown, so you just try to make a choice. I went in and had the audition, and then I went back to test. During the test process, instead of just doing the audition, Jeph Loeb asked me to talk about myself, where I’m from and what my passions are, just to give them an idea of who you are, which I thought was a really smart thing to do. Then, I got a call from Jeph and he said, “Welcome to the Marvel universe!,” and here I am. And I was like, “Tell me who I’m playing!” I don’t think I got an actual script until a couple days before we started shooting. It’s all so secretive.
Do you have a sense of who Louise is, or do you feel like you’re still figuring that out?
WOGLOM: Both. Because she’s an original character, I think that I was able to have more leeway and decide who I want her to be, to some degree, to create this person. After doing eight episodes, I feel like I have a good idea about her. Having her be in different situations, you get an idea, but there’s still a lot, if we get a Season 2, that I feel like I can figure out and develop more. With the first two episodes, I was like, “I don’t know who I am yet,” but by Episode 8, I had a better idea.
Is it extra fun to get to play a character that’s unique to the series and who’s not in the comics, or were you disappointed that you couldn’t turn to the comics for her?
WOGLOM: When I first called him to tell him, my dad was like, “You’re not a superhero?!” I was like, “Thanks, dad!” There’s less pressure on me because I’m not someone from the comics. The fans don’t have an expectation or a standard that they’re holding me to, so hopefully, they won’t pick me apart. But obviously, it would be awesome to have superpowers, too. Everyone wants to be a superhero!
Did you still read the comics, even though your character isn’t in them, or did you primarily just focus on the scripts?
WOGLOM: I focused more on the scripts, themselves. It’s not that they discouraged us from reading the comics, but the scripts and the series don’t follow the comics. They’re creating their own narrative and world, so I didn’t read any of the comics. My brother is really into comics and the whole Marvel world, so he put together this whole thing and sent it to me. He’s really into it. It’s probably the one job that he’s the most excited about. Any other job I’ve had, he’s like, “Yeah, cool!,” but this one, he’s pretty excited about.
Is your brother the one in your family that’s the most excited about you being a part of this show?
WOGLOM: It’s his world. My parents are just happy that I have a job and I’m employed. No, they’re really proud. Everyone is happy.
What can you say about who Louise is and the journey that she’ll be taking?
WOGLOM: Louise is incredibly focused, driven and bright. She works for an aerospace company and has been obsessed with all things space, for her entire life. Her dad was in the world too, so it’s a long lineage. That ties into the Inhumans, with the moon and all of that. On Earth, I’m the eyes and ears for the audience. Creating an original character who’s a human, and having a human as a way to ground the show, is an in for the audience to be able to discover this whole world and find out about it. As Louise is finding out about it, so is the audience. Her social skills are a little bit lacking, which lends itself to comedy. There’s a levity with her. Because she’s a little bit socially awkward and unaware, it lends itself to some funny moments, especially between her and Medusa.
The Inhumans figure that the humans won’t notice a hoof, but Louise is clearly very smart, observant and sharp.
WOGLOM: She is smart. She’s so focused and driven at work. Her work is her life. It’s nice to get to play a female character that’s not one-dimensional. They did a great job of creating multi-layered and complex characters. It’s not just black and white. The good guys are sometimes bad, and the bad guys are sometimes good. It’s a very complex world.
How does Louise feel about Inhumans being on Earth?
WOGLOM: Louise is totally excited. I, Ellen Woglom, would be freaked out, if I found out that there were people living on the moon that just came to Earth, but I think Louise is so excited by it. She’s just obsessed with the moon, and then to find out that there’s life there, and that there are aliens or Inhumans, she’s just thrilled by it and wants to be included on the journey.
What makes being a part of a Marvel TV series different from other TV series?
WOGLOM: It’s got such a huge fan base. The fans are so dedicated, loyal and passionate, but it’s so welcoming. It feels like you’ve got this built-in fan base that’s rooting for you to succeed. They want the show to be good. It’s definitely been different, in that sense. The world is bigger than anything I’ve done. And then, from a filming standpoint, I’ve never done anything that had visual effects and special effects, like this does. There’s green screen and CGI, which adds a whole other component to be aware of, when filming and acting. Just the scope of it is different from a lot of my previous work.
How have you taken to working with things that aren’t there?
WOGLOM: It’s really awkward. You have to just commit because, if you don’t, you’re gonna make a fool of yourself. If you feel insecure or hesitant, it’s not gonna go well. Pretending that there’s a 2,000-pound dog there is funny. It’s amazing how much is a combination of doing special effects on the day, but then having visual effects and CGI on top of it. They get the real-life explosion, and then they add to it. There are so many people working on different aspects of it. It’s such a huge ensemble thing and each moving piece is crucial. It’s a really good team.
Who does Louise think has the most cool superpowers, of the Royal Family of the Inhumans, and who do you think is most cool?
WOGLOM: I think she’d be most intrigued by Crystal’s power of being able to control the elements. And for me, it’s probably the same. Medusa’s power is pretty cool. It’s like having 10 other arms, but it seems heavy, like you’d have a headache, all the time. I would take any of the superpowers, though.
Marvel’s Inhumans airs on Friday nights on ABC.