[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.]
Tonight, on EPIX’s From, the Matthews participate in the show’s version of the sorting hat, choosing where to call home–the town or Colony House. At the end of the episode, Julie makes the decision to split from her family and instead settle in with Fatima and Ellis up at Donna’s. This week I spoke with Hannah Cheramy, who plays Julie, about the episode and working on the series.
While it might seem like a flippant teenage response to break with her parents, Cheramy says there’s more to the story. “There’s so much that’s happened to her and the family and the trauma that happened and she feels that she’s not understood. So when they go on this trip, and she knows what the outcome of the trip is going to be…she isn’t in a very good place,” she says.
“Her decision to choose the Colony House definitely wasn’t to spite her parents or to make them feel bad. She’s going through a bad time in her life and if there’s a chance that she could feel happiness being with [these] people, she would take that decision over being with her parents who are fighting all the time and being with a place where she’s not seen.”
“When she meets Fatima, she just treats Julie with so much respect and so much kindness that she’s not used to. It’s refreshing for Julie because she’s so cynical but she sees what life can be when there’s not so much fighting all the time. Victor creeps her out in the beginning, but she sees Fatima as a protector and these people as friends, and a place that she feels understood.”
“It’s an escape from her current reality. If she’s going to be in a place where she’s trapped in this town, she might as well make the best of it [and] be around people who are full of life instead of being constantly stuck with the reminders of what had happened to their family previously and have to live with that pain every day.”
We also see Julie shift gears a bit, from antagonizing Ethan to being aggressively protective. “You see her tease her brother to try to get something to happening so she can get some reaction. She knows that this is going to be one of the last times that they’re all together,” she shares. But when it comes down to it, when she knows that her brother is in danger, the whole family [is]…her brother is the first person she cares about and it’s very frightening for her.”
Cheramy was like many of the cast, working away from home during the filming, and she loved the familial environment that created. “It was just the best experience. I had so much fun every single day that I was on set. [When] you’re in this new place, these people really do become your second family. We see people that we love every single day, [and] it’s so rewarding,” she explains.
She also shares that tonight’s choosing ceremony was a long-haul shooting day. “My favorite scene from the first three episodes was the choosing ceremony, because we shot that one scene from sunrise to sunset. It was the entire day, because there were so many angles and so much work that went into getting every character and every line,” she recalls.
“And there were so many things happening and almost every member of the cast was in that scene, so it was just so fun being with everybody. Behind the scenes, Simon and I were playing chess, we were having band battles [with the] cast. It was just such a great time that day. I think of that day so fondly, all the time.”
Cheramy is a horror veteran, having recurred on Syfy’s Van Helsing as Vanessa’s daughter, Dylan, and appearing in films like My Sweet Audrina and The Hollow Child. “I love doing horror because while you’re doing it while you’re on set and acting, it’s not scary. You’re talking to the person who’s playing a monster and they’re a regular person,” she points out.
“Then you just watch it back. It’s like, ‘Oh my God, this is a really scary show.’ And you read the script and you’re frightened while reading the script, but it’s different actually performing it and being around your friends. You can watch the scariness unfold as you watch the episode. The most rewarding part is watching the horror come alive.”
Next up, look for Julie to settle in at Colony House, and find her way forward. “Keep an eye out for her growing relationship with Fatima and Ellis. Julie really goes on a journey this season from starting off as just a teenager. She really transforms,” she says. “Don’t write her off too soon.”
Photos courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
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