When Marvel’s Inhumans was filming earlier this year in Hawaii, I was able to visit the set with a few other reporters, where we watched filming and talked to most of the cast and filmmakers. I learned a lot about the upcoming show and over the next month, I’ll be posting a lot of cool content revealing how the show came together and what fans can look forward to.
If you’re not familiar with the series, based on the Marvel comic, it’s doing something incredibly cool and unusual. The first two episodes were filmed using IMAX cameras and will premiere globally in IMAX theatres for a two-week period, beginning September 1, 2017, and then ABC will air the entire eight-episode series beginning September 29th. It’s an incredibly ambitious idea, but one I can’t wait to see.
While on set, I got to participate in a group interview with Serinda Swan (who plays Medusa). During the wide-ranging interview she talked about why she wanted to be part of this project, her relationship with Black Bolt (Anson Mount), filming in IMAX, the cool practical sets, how she’s always wanted to be part of the Marvel family, the challenges of palyign against someone that can’t talk, and a lot more.
Finally, before getting to the interview, check out the first teaser trailer for the series followed by the official synopsis:
“Marvel’s Inhumans” explores the never-before-told epic adventure of the royal family including Black Bolt, the enigmatic, commanding King of the Inhumans, with a voice so powerful that the slightest whisper can destroy a city. After the Royal Family of Inhumans is splintered by a military coup, they barely escape to Hawaii where they are greeted with surprising interactions with the lush world and humanity around them. Now they must find a way to reunite with each other and return to their home before their way of life is destroyed forever.
“Marvel’s Inhumans” stars Anson Mount as Black Bolt, Iwan Rheon as Maximus, Serinda Swan as Medusa, Eme Ikwuakor as Gorgon, Isabelle Cornish as Crystal, Ken Leung as Karnak, Ellen Woglom as an undisclosed character, Sonya Balmores as Auran and Mike Moh as Triton.
The series is executive produced by Scott Buck, along with Marvel’s Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory with Buck serving as showrunner. Roel Reiné directed the first two episodes. This series is a Marvel and IMAX project and is co-produced by Marvel Television and ABC Studios.
Question: So tell us about Medusa and what’s so unique about her.
Serinda Swan: That’s a very broad question. Medusa is… I find her unique because there’s a duality between her and Black Bolt that I don’t think has necessarily been seen before. Because there’s two very… there’s an immense codependence between the two between two very independent people, so when Black Bolt goes through his terrigenesis at 14 and loses the use of his voice, there’s that acceptance that he’s never gonna be able to speak again. There’s massive loss with his parents, there’s everything. And so there’s this isolation and one of the reasons I love Medusa is that she doesn’t care that he can kill her with a whisper and she walks right into his chamber and starts a friendship. And, together, they create this language. Together, they create this connection. And it’s from nothing. It’s literally from nothing. There’s nothing that you can really use. He has to make every word. Figure it out. They have this symbiosis that keeps them intertwined, which I love. And so, obviously, through childhood, they create this language together. Then, they get married.
She becomes the queen and he becomes the king and, through her, he can rule. Because, without her, he can’t. There’s nobody to talk to. I mean, he could, but then it gets really lonely after he talks. But I love her because she’s very powerful. She’s very independent. She doesn’t get lost, even though she’s speaking for the king, she doesn’t get lost within his thoughts. They’re very combative, at some points. It’s very much a marriage, but a super-marriage, a superpower marriage. And I love their connection. I think that’s one of the things we haven’t seen on Marvel before is that… I mean, we’ve never had someone who can’t speak in that capacity, so I think watching the two of them figure it out and watching the two of them have that connection already is really beautiful. And that’s something Anson and I had to find when we first got here. It’s like, OK, when you learn your language, I need to sit there. I need to see on a very small scale what that would be like over the years, so that we can kind of mirror that connection on camera and have that connection.
It’s been a big learning process for you guys in many ways — obviously, the fact that you didn’t have full scripts when you came here, it’s being shot in IMAX. Has that been the most helpful thing to you in the process, your doing all these firsts, these new things, together.
Yeah. I think you can either take it as a distraction and something negative or you can use it as just figuring it out, and that’s part of what they did. And especially for Black Bolt and Medusa, they figured it out. They really did. To the point where he needs to meditate an hour before bed every night so he doesn’t make a noise in his sleep because he’ll kill her. So it’s this love that is so disciplined, but then, between the two of them, you see this fluidity, so it’s kind of lovely to see the difference between the two. But, when we first got here? Yeah, but that’s because we’re doing something that’s never been done before, which is great. That’s kind of like the fun part of it. It’s like, ‘Alright, IMAX. OK. Let’s do this.’
The first two episodes are specifically in IMAX. What can you tease about the scope and scale that people haven’t seen in a Marvel show in the opening two hours.
I mean you said it all there: IMAX. That scale that IMAX brings in. It’s incredible. It was like shooting a feature. So I think everything is bigger. I think there’s a lot of attention to detail. I think they had the time and the resources to be able to make sure that everything’s done right and everything is honoring as much as we can. Because the Inhumans have been around since, what, ‘65? I think they first came out in Fantastic Four, like #45 or something, and they’ve been around for awhile. And there’s a lot there to cover. There’s a lot there to use. So I think, with IMAX, I mean I got to see some of the dailies, and they look beautiful. They look absolutely beautiful. And it’s big. Lots happens. I’m trying to figure out what can I say, what can I not say. But, yeah, having IMAX involved definitely brought us to the next level.
We had a chance to walk through some of the sets here, and it’s huge and it allows you to have the walk-and-talk. How is the script to have this kind of liberty, this freedom?
It’s wonderful. It’s great. One of the things is that, when you have someone who can do such great set design, or who has a vision on a grand scale, you don’t limit it as an actor. So you don’t walk to the end of the room and you’re like, uhp! [And they’re like:] On camera, it’s gonna look massive. But it’s a 10×10, what do you want us to do? And because there’s a lot of CGI and things like that. But [on this set] they really built things to scale here and that’s great. And that’s part of IMAX coming in with Marvel. Originally, this was going to be a movie, so they had this in their mind in such a large way that it’s really cool to see them not compromise on that when they brought it to ABC. There’s walk-and-talks. There’s run-and-talks. I mean I could do like a ballet-and-talk in there.