We caught up with ADRIYAN RAE to talk about her role as the titular VAGRANT QUEEN in SyFy’s latest sci-fi action comedy show…STARBURST: How would you describe Vagrant Queen to your grandma?
Adriyan Rae: It’s fun, it’s campy, it’s about journey and friendship. She’d be like, “Oh Okay, I think I’d love that!”.
How did you get cast in the show?
My manager received a call from their team for someone else and my manager thought that I would fit the role well and he pitched me for it. I auditioned - I just went all out because I instantly loved Elida. We sent the tape in and five or six days later I got a call from my manager asking if could speak to Elida. I just freaked out!
It’s a very physical show, how do you prepare?
I did a lot of dynamic training. As actors we’ve got to make sure we look aesthetically pleasing. I had to switch my work-out to be more athletic. More kick-boxing, MMA, weight-lifting of course. Working out and not really realising. I did a lot of ropes, stairs, resistance bands and like actual learning fighting techniques. It was really cool to switch my workouts.
The show has some pretty ‘out there’ sets and costumes; how does that shape your performance?
It helps that it’s so practical. It helps that when I’m talking about space I can look back behind us and ‘see’ space. It helps that I am in a cockpit and I can touch the buttons and they actually move and they do things. It helps that when I'm talking to an alien they actually look like an alien and I can see how their mouths move in a way different than a humans. It's a really fun place where you just get to use your skills and practicalities and imagination meet. It was super fun.
There's some great chemistry between the cast, how much of that is the script?
There’s definitely room for improv. Sometimes we just riff. Sometimes we just add a little spice into there as long as we get to the point of the line and we get across what the scene needs. Our showrunner and our directors were pretty open to us improvising and adding a little bit of the Elida, Issac, and Amae flair to it.
Where did your love of stranger stories come from?
For me it started when I worked on Light as a Feather, because that's like a fantasy, horror thriller. It's not that I had no idea, it's just when I started I was not as much into the sci-fi world as I am now. When I got the script for Vagrant Queen it was cool, and then I'm on the set and it's very cool. I was like 'Oh, I get it'. With Light as a Feather it was the incorporation of magic into the script. I always loved magic and different things that aren't of this universe. Then, luckily, I was cast in Vagrant Queen and it all came together for me!
Did you get spend any time with the the creator of the comics?
I did. Magdalene Visaggio visited South Africa for a while and so did [artist] Jason Smith. I was very grateful to meet with them and just see the smiles on their faces. It was very nice to chat with them and learn where it all came from.
How have the sci-fi fans responded to the show?
It’s a whole family that I suddenly have and I’ve been getting to know them by popping onto Instagram and Zoom and Twitter! They are absolutely amazing. They're so supportive. It's astonishing.
Seen any Elida cosplay yet?
I haven't seen it yet, Comic-Con has been pushed back but I know that they're doing an online one now and I can't wait. A lot of people are telling me they're going to do that though and I honestly think I might cry!
What are your favourite memories of filming Season 1?
There’s like a top three: one would be the time that Tim [Rozon] almost cut his finger open in the middle of a scene. He was such a professional that no one even knew, and then at the end of the scene blood was dripping from his hand and he says “we might need a medic”. Another was when somebody tased herself trying to show us how to use a Taser safely [laughs]! And lastly, was my birthday. I was in South Africa and all the cast and crew there knew it was my first time being out of the country on my birthday. I was going to be working all through that day. Everyone was nice and I was just covered in love the whole day! I remember crying so much. I’m a real crybaby [laughs]!
What do you know about the future of the show?
I always believe that everything is working out for my greater good and our greater good. I'm sure something is coming whether that’s Season 2 or another project. People can follow me for updates on my Instagram and Twitter. I love to talk to fans.
VAGRANT QUEEN - SEASON 1 is available on NowTV until July 17th, and on DVD/Blu-ray from July 13th. To read our review, head HERE.