They can turn objects into glass, speak hundreds of different languages or even be the tallest human on the planet: They are the incredible cast of The Nevers, HBO’s newest Fantasy/ Period drama. Kiran Sonia Sawar (Harriet Kaur), Viola Prettejohn (Myrtle Haplisch) and Anna Devlin (Primrose Chattoway) joined us for a wonderful talk about their characters, the ‘’natural sisterhood’’ within the cast and their experience on set while filming the show.
Hi everyone! First of all, congratulations! I absolutely loved the show! My first question is for all of you actually. What was the atmosphere like on set? Because obviously, the show pictures a group of very strong and powerful women, always supporting each other, in a society that doesn’t really accept them. Was there a feeling of sisterhood on set as well? Kiran do you want to start maybe?
KIRAN SONIA SAWAR Yeah there was definitely a feeling of togetherness, for sure. I’ve never worked with a cast this big before, and it was like, everyday is a different day. But we were lucky that me, Viola and Anna got to spend a lot of time together and we got to really, I mean, I guess it’s just down to our creator who just employed, like, really nice people [laughing]. So we all just like, kind of really got on with each other. We’re patient and kind and loving and protective I think. We’re all coming from different stages in our careers and I think, I mean, I certainly try to make a conscious effort to make sure that no matter, I mean, I was new to a big set like this one. But it was just a conscious effort to make sure that everybody felt comfortable within the environment and felt like they knew what they were doing, and if there was a problem, that they were very happy to say or speak out about what it was, and then we could figure it out together. So definitely, there was a natural sisterhood that developed, which was amazing.
ANNA DEVLIN I was just gonna say that, personally, I feel like it’s really similar on set and off set, because Primrose really looks up to all the other women around in the orphanage. And here I am, kind of, looking even just behind the camera, looking around, and all these incredible actresses and actors, and everybody is just so talented. And I remember, just the first table read even, being so in awe of everyone around me and being so humbled to be there.
VIOLA PRETTEJOHN Yeah I can definitely second that because, I came from pretty much no experience. This was my first job, we started shooting the show, and I was fifteen, I’m seventeen now, so I kinda learned everything I know about my job on this set. And I know that all the women on this set, and men, really, it was just a really supportive environment. Everyone was there to help each other out, answer questions and you know, it was just really wonderful, it really was.
KIRAN SAWAR [laughing] Viola, I really wanted you to say that you hated everybody [laughing]
VIOLA PRETTEJOHN Yeah, I wanted to slit their throats [laughing]
I asked this question to your other co-stars yesterday, but I’m curious about your opinion. If you could be a character, one of the Touched in real life, who would it be, why and what would you do with this power?
VIOLA PRETTEJOHN I’ve got my answer! I would be Désirée. I love Désirée, and [laughing] I think her power is just phenomenal. You could avoid so much heartbreak and so many wrong relationships in your life, if you knew exactly, all the time that they were lying! You could avoid so much pain!
That’s a very pragmatic way to see it, but yeah, why not!
VIOLA PRETTEJOHN Yeah I think she’s amazing! But also just the way she is, like, she’s just hilarious, I love her!
What about you Anna?
ANNA DEVLIN I actually find it quite difficult, because obviously, there are a lot of very cool powers, but then everything comes with a bit of a burden, you know? I think Bonfire (Rochelle Neil), obviously it would be awesome to be able to throw fireballs, but then at the same time, it makes her something people are quite frightened of, you know, when you have so much power. And then obviously Myrtle, being able to speak all the incredible languages from all over the world, amazing, but you can’t choose when you can say them. So everything comes with a bit of a twist. So maybe Penance (Ann Skelly) actually!
It’s funny because Ella Smith (Désirée Blodgett) said she would like to have your power, Anna!
ANNA DEVLIN Oh really?
Yes! She said she’d like it, and it would be fun to just be taller than everybody else.
ANNA DEVLIN True it’s fun, it’s fun!
KIRAN SAWAR I would want Penance’s powers! I would want to be an inventor, I think that’s the coolest thing! Yeah, I don’t really see much of a flaw with it. She just gets to create and make things more advanced that the world she’s in. That’s really cool, that’s what I would want to do.
I guess being a genius always comes in handy! There are obviously a lot of secrets and intrigues, the characters don’t always know who they can trust, was that the same for you reading the script? Did you have to figure out who you could trust as a character and what was really going on? Because when I saw the first trailer many weeks ago, I said, ‘I’m 100 % in, it looks so cool, but I don’t really know what’s going on?’ Was that the same for you?
VIOLA PRETTEJOHN Oh for sure! Yeah definitely, I was so excited as the script for the different episodes were coming in, because with each new episode, I had all new ideas of what was going on. All new ideas as of like, who’s good, who’s bad, who can I trust and what’s gonna happen next. I think that’s what is so exciting about the show, is that we, as actors, are just as excited as our audience. And I just can’t wait for part B, because I have lots of unanswered questions, and lots of characters I’m so excited to see what happens next in their story!
The Nevers, episode 1, is now available to stream on HBO Max. Watch a new episode every Sunday, at 9 p.m on HBO.