‘The Originals’: Michael Narducci on Finding Hope and His Decision to Leave the Show

     April 7, 2017

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On the CW series The Originals, Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) must turn to Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) for help uncovering information about the mysterious force that has set its sights on the children of New Orleans, so that she can save her daughter, Hope (Summer Fontana). And while Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Vincent (Yusuf Gatewood) are forced to team up, Freya (Riley Voelkel) and Keelin (Christina Moses) attempt to alter the power dynamic of the city.

During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, showrunner Michael Narducci talked about finding the perfect young actress to play Hope, the growing bond between Hope and Klaus (Joseph Morgan), just how dangerous this new threat will be, Freya’s journey, whether we’ll see Kol (Nathaniel Buzolic) and Rebekah (Claire Holt) again, the purpose of Alaric’s (Matthew Davis) appearance in Episode 408, how impressed he is with the cast members who have also taken on episodes as directors, and how difficult his decision was to leave the show at the end of Season 4.

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Image via The CW

Collider: Jumping ahead in time meant that you had to find a young actress to portray Hope, who could pull off everything that such a complex role requires of someone so young. Were you worried that you wouldn’t be able to find someone, and how quickly did you find Summer Fontana?

MICHAEL NARDUCCI: We were definitely worried that it would be difficult. If we had not found someone as talented and amazing as Summer, I think we just would have done less with that character. We would have jettisoned her to the periphery of the storyline. We saw so many really talented people, but we saw Summer and she just made us sit up in our seats and really pay attention. And then, we had the chance to meet her and audition her some more. When we brought her on board, especially in Episode 3, we saw how amazing she was with out cast. And then, we knew that we could do what we wanted to do, which is to not focus too much on one character, but to have her be a part of what was going on in the family, in a very important way. She delivered beautifully, throughout the season, so we just got tremendously lucky. I will say that I think Summer Fontana is a huge star.

What can we expect from the growing bond between Hope and Klaus, as they continue to get to know each other?

NARDUCCI: The very first instinct was to portray that moment where the loving daughter looks at her dad and says, “I know you’re going to protect me, no matter what, and I appreciate that and I’m glad you’re here,” and then there’s the hug that we’ve all been wanting to see. But, there are other elements of being a family. There’s the moment when your child gets sick, for the first time. There’s the moment when you don’t know what’s best for them and you’re struggling to figure it out. There’s the moment when your child asks you questions that are difficult to answer, particularly questions about right and wrong, given that Klaus has a, shall we say, very flexible notion of right and wrong. It’s going to force not just Klaus but everybody to look differently at some of the moral choices that they’ve made, and they’ll either double down on the prospect of family above all, or maybe consider whether this is the kind of life that they want Hope to have. We spent all of Season 3 dramatizing the concept that anyone who gets in the orbit of the Mikaelsons is going to suffer and die. That’s the Mikaelson curse. Do we want Hope to grow up to be someone where anyone that comes into her orbit will die, because then we’ve just passed the curse onto this little girl, or do we want to help protect her and give her a fighting chance at a real life? That’s one of the big questions that I’m interested in exploring.

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Image via The CW

Saying “I’m going to keep you safe, always and forever” is a big promise to give someone, especially in a world like this. Can Klaus keep Hope safe from whatever this threat is, that’s after her and the other children?

NARDUCCI: Well, if I just said no, that would be really depressing. And if I said yes, than I don’t know if you’ve got any motive to continue watching. So, I will say that it’s much more complicated than a yes or no answer.

When I spoke to Phoebe Tonkin recently, she told me that the big threat this year is probably the most dangerous threat that these characters have seen or heard about, in their entire lives. What can you say about exactly what this threat is and what we’ll start to learn about it, in the next couple of episodes?

NARDUCCI: I’ll say that the rate of revelation, in terms of the knowledge you will gain about this entity, is going to be very fast. So far, we really don’t know anything. We know there’s a blue light. We know there’s this bizarre image of a snake or serpent eating its own tail, that continues to appear. We know that this thing affected Vincent and Eva Sinclair, years and years ago, and now it seems to have a hold on the gentleman who, in Episode 3, was holding the children captive, and it certainly seems to have had an affect on Detective Will Kinney, who is behaving in a way that is different from how he behaved before. It’s going to start off almost like a ghost that has influenced and is very selfish, and that wants what it wants and will do anything to get it. From there, we’re going to begin to see this thing take on a form. Once it takes on a form, you can expect that it’s going to be very dangerous.

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