Based on the comic book of the same name, The Umbrella Academy follows seven of forty-three infants that were inexplicably born on the same day in 1989 to random, unconnected women that showed no signs of pregnancy the day before. Adopted by a billionaire industrialist and discovering they all possess a distinct superpower, they are prepared to save the world as it’s facing the imminent threat of a global apocalypse.The Umbrella Academy show stars Ellen Page and Tom Hopper alongside newcomer Emmy Raver-Lampman, who we sat down with to talk superpowers, stunts and going from the stage to Netflix screens…
How did you get cast in The Umbrella Academy?
I had a seemingly normal introduction to the show. I sent in a self-tape after reading the pilot script because I thought it was by far the best thing I’d read that season. It’s based on the Dark Horse comics and I really love that idea. I then read the graphic novels and several months went by until I got a call out of nowhere asking me to test for the role of Allison. A couple days later I found out that I got the part!
You suit the role of Allison so well – how did you bring her to life?
Thank you, that is such an amazing compliment. This is my first TV show and my first time being in front of the camera. I took plenty of advice and encouragement from my fellow cast-mates and tried to figure it out along the way. I also think the other characters and actors in the show are so brilliant – we all played off of each other so it was definitely a team effort bringing Allison to life. She wouldn’t be who she is without her family or her relationship with Vanya, Five and Diego.
How does it feel to have been cast in a Netflix show as a newcomer?
From Hamilton (Emmy previously starred in the stage show) to Netflix – it’s crazy! I took my last bow on the Hamilton stage on a Saturday night and got on a plane at 7am the next morning to start filming. I’m also grateful for that quick turnaround though, because I didn’t have time to think about it. I just kind of let it happen and went straight into it like ‘if I don’t know something I’ll just ask questions and fake it ‘til I make it’! My whole cast were so understanding. Eventually I found my way and my methods and I figured out what I needed to do to get through each day.
What was the biggest challenge transitioning from stage to screen?
I’ve heard from other actors that went from stage to screen that they found themselves shouting because they’re so used to projecting their voices, but I’ve always been the opposite. I always get yelled at in theatre for being too quiet, so I like to think that maybe I am just meant to do TV!
Can you introduce us to Allison?
Allison’s power, in my opinion, is one of the most topical abilities. She is able to alter reality with lies, which is hardly uncommon in this day. She finds herself having to take on the responsibility for her power and is going through a huge shift in her life: she’s going through a divorce and is fighting for custody of her daughter, which was all caused because she misused her power. Now she’s on a road of self-discovery and realising that she doesn’t understand or respect her powers as well as she should.
What was it like working with Ellen Page?
Ellen and I get on so well and we’re really good friends now. Moments before every scene we’d be laughing and having a good time and then I had to get on ‘stage’ and say some horrible thing to her face. Nine out of ten times the camera was cut and we’d just burst out laughing because it was so hard to not like each other. It was hard to take it as seriously as it needed to be sometimes, because she’s a dear friend, I adore her and love working with her.
What are your favourite qualities in Allison?
I love how nurturing she is. I think that’s something that’s deeply rooted in her. I also think she was meant to be a mother because she is the ground of loving energy in the group. Even though she is feisty and flawed she provides a softness. It all comes from a good place and I just love how much she wants to protect her family.
Did you do the stunts yourself?
That was my number one thing, I wanted to do all of my own stunts. There weren’t any that were deemed unsafe for me to do, so I learned Taekwondo with our amazing stunt-coordinator. It took a lot of diligence and time and was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done because it’s so technical. It made me nervous, but I was so excited to be put of my comfort zone and learn new skills. Being able to look back at my big fighting scenes knowing it’s 100% me is what motivated me.
The Umbrella Academy launches globally on 15th February 2019, only on Netflix.