Jack Huston on ‘Mayfair Witches,’ Mysterious Bad Boy Lasher & Season 2
Feb 7, 2023
Executive produced by Michelle Ashford and showrunner Esta Spalding, who wrote the series premiere together, Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches follows Dr. Rowan Fielding (Alexandra Daddario), a young neurosurgeon discovering newfound powers that could have very dangerous consequences. As she tries to comes to terms with who she really is and learns what it means to be the heir to the Mayfair family of witches, a mysterious presence complicates everything.
During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, Jack Huston (who plays Lasher, the mysterious and seductive entity that Rowan just can’t seem to shake) talked about how much he knew about the world of Anne Rice prior to doing this series, how this story lends itself better to TV than film, playing a bad boy whose mystery makes him more attractive, Lasher having motives of his own, shooting the dancing scene with Daddario, and what he would be most excited to see with Season 2.
Collider: When the opportunity to play this specific character in this specific story came your way, what was the appeal of it, for you? Were you familiar with this world of Anne Rice? Did you know anything about this particular character, especially since he’s an important character in this world? Did they just woo you with spoilers?
JACK HUSTON: Being completely honest, I knew very little about Anne Rice or her books. The only thing I did know, and knew very well, was Interview with the Vampire because of the old film that I watched when I was younger, but I was incredibly intrigued. My old friend and a producer I’ve worked with, Mark Johnson, who has really spearheaded bringing the Anne Rice books and series to AMC, gave us a call and said that he and Esta [Spalding] and Michelle [Ashford] had been talking about me for this character. I always think Mark has the most phenomenal taste anyway, so I was obviously intrigued. I had heard about Anne Rice, and I knew of Lestat and Interview with the Vampire, but I’d never actually read the books. But the more I learned about it, the more intrigued I became, and I thought, “What an interesting time for a story like this and a series like this.” I think it lends itself better to television than it does film, with any of these stories, so I was very pleasantly surprised.
Image via AMC+
This is really such an interesting character because he’s very mysterious to the audience, but he’s also very mysterious to the characters in the story. Why is there such an era of mystery to his purpose and what he’s all about? Does it feel like that’s something that works in his favor?
HUSTON: I think you nailed it. Mystery is always rather attractive, isn’t it? The mysterious person or being who lurks in the shadows and that you always want to know more about, how you get that interest is by being rather mysterious and giving only tidbits of information when they are needed. That’s maybe one of the most attractive parts for me, in playing a character like this. You get to slowly reveal yourself, rather than giving it all at once. And I was learning about him, as the show went on.
I hate to use that phrase, “the bad boy,” but there is a little bit of that because there’s a love triangle that happens between Sip, Rowan, and Lasher. It’s that ever-present fight that seems to appear. The most interesting part about this is that I don’t think Rowan, or an audience, even really knows who they want her to pick. With Lasher, obviously there’s a dark, ominous presence, but there’s also that opportunity for her to fully come into herself and be fully empowered, as a woman and as a witch. He’s offering her that, but there’s obviously ulterior motives that come along with it.
I often wonder why he doesn’t just sit her down and say, “Hey, look, this is the goal.” But at the same time, it also feels like that could be a little terrifying and that she would run in the opposite direction, so he still wouldn’t get what he wants.
HUSTON: Yeah, it’s so true, isn’t it? The more I played with the character and the more I went deeper into the character, I realized that he does have his motives, but I think he loved each one of these witches, in their own right. He was bound to them, it was an exploration, and he was getting strength from them, just as they were getting strength from him. It became more of a partnership. Like you said, if he did just sit one of them down and say, “Hey, guess what? This is how we get there, but it means that you’re gonna have to do this,” I think they’d run. So, it’s gotta be their choice. There’s something rather empowering about Rowan discovering that she is all-powerful and that she’s the 13th witch, who is this sacred being. The more we work together, the more she discovers that her powers are incredibly sexy.
Image via AMC+
It’s interesting because, at times, he feels like he’s being manipulative, while at other times, it feels like he’s the one that’s being used by the witches. How do you balance that and figure out who’s using who and what his purpose is, in each moment?
HUSTON: Well, he needs them more than they need him, in essence, because he only exists through these women. These women do exist naturally, but for them to use their power, he just accentuates those powers and brings them to the forefront, and teaches them about who they are, what they can do, and what they’re capable of. But he does need them more. He’s completely at their behest. He’s not able to do anything without using these witches. It’s like that terrible relationship that you hate to be in, but you just can’t get out of. That’s what we always spoke about on set. You become dependent and can’t really imagine life without them because there’s something incredibly intriguing. There is this love underlying, and at the same time, there is this hatred and an overwhelming sense of anger that this person is in your life and they are corrupting you and making you do things you don’t necessarily want to do. There’s something about doing the wrong thing that makes you feel so good.
In episode five, Lasher and Rowan are all dressed up and they’re dancing together, and he presents her with the table of different cakes. What’s it like to do a scene like that, when you have to dance together and make that work, along with everything else going on, in the moment?
HUSTON: Oh, boy, it was very funny. Alex [Daddario] will be the first person to say that she has two left feet. It was very sweet. She’s so game. She’s such a wonderful scene partner because she’s very present. She also has a wonderful sense of humor and she is incredibly powerful. She has all of the traits of Rowan. Episode five is such a brilliant example what this show can be because it tells you that nothing is what it seems. It’s this sub reality, where we can go to the realms of dreams. The power that Lasher holds, Rowan holds, and she’s actually in control. That was a moment where you read it and go, “Oh, we have to dance together, and then I have to present her cake. Is this gonna be cringe worthy?” You’re worried about it. But thankfully, we had a wonderful director, who steered us in the right direction. I think it actually came out quite well.
Image via AMC+
When I spoke to Esta Spalding, she told me that Season 2 of the series would be based on the book Lasher, and that it would be about the journey of that character. If you do get to dig deeper into him, in that way, what would you be most interested in exploring with him? Are there aspects of him that there just isn’t time to get to in Season 1?
HUSTON: What I’ve been fascinated by with Lasher is that he’s this apparition that doesn’t exist without these witches, or these women. I’m gonna be completely honest, with some things that I’ve done, I read everything, and I have found that can sometimes be a little bit of a hindrance. Especially if you’re making a movie, there’s gotta be room for artistic license and exploration for the writers and the showrunners. Going through the first book, and especially speaking with other people, it’s a very hard thing to put this story from the page onto the screen because it lives and breathes within the novel. I don’t think it necessarily would work as a direct adaptation. So, what I would be most excited about is seeing where Esta goes with it and where her brain takes us. I had the most wonderful time working with Esta and Michelle, and everybody on the series, because it felt like a very creative space. It felt like there was a lot of room that we had to cut our teeth, on the first season, but Season 2 is where we’ll really get to expand and push the boundaries of it.
Mayfair Witches airs on AMC and is available to stream at AMC+.
Publisher: Source link