The Gifted is a new show from FOX this season that plays in the X-Men universe. It follows the Struckers, an upper middle class family whose children turn out to be mutants. When the Sentinel Services show up to contain their children the family goes on the run. They meet up with the mutant underground, a group of renegade mutants who help families like the Struckers get to safety, and their lives change completely.
We rounded out our time at New York Comic Con sitting in on roundtable interviews with Natalie Alyn Lind (Lauren Strucker), Percy Hynes White (Andy Strucker), Amy Acker (Kate Strucker), Stephen Moyer (Reed Strucker), Emma Dumont (Polaris), Jamie Chung (Blink), Sean Teale (Eclipse), and Coby Bell (Jace Turner). This was followed up by a panel with the cast along with a couple writers/producers.
Natalie and Percy provided some interesting insight into what it is like to play mutants with powers. When Natalie first got the script she assumed that a lot of their abilities would be put in through visual effects. When she arrived on set she was impressed at how real they make everything. The Sentinel robots from the first episode actually had prototypes on set to act with, which helped them get into the roles.
Both of them said they were big fans of the X-Men and happy to have landed on the show. For Natalie it was quite a journey as she originally auditioned for Runaways, then was switched to Inhumans, before finally landing her lead role on The Gifted. When asked about a comic book character they’d like to see in the show, both of them were down to see a young Storm.
Jamie pointed out that her Blink is going to be different from Blink as seen in Days of Future Past. Both Bryan Singer and Matt Nix wanted to see what it would be like to follow her journey from the start, as opposed to what was done in the movies where she was already proficient. She is particularly excited to explore the limitations of Blink’s abilities.
— NERDOPHILES (@nerdophiles) October 8, 2017
Polaris, one of the fearless leaders of the mutant underground, will go through a lot as the show progresses. Emma said that the plot twist at the end of the pilot episode will make her character “go twice as hard” as a result. She also confirmed for us that they will explore Polaris’ canon bipolar disorder in the show and we will see her character experience high-highs and low-lows without necessarily knowing what’s going on.
Between the two of them, they said that humor is an important part of the show and that showrunner Matt Nix has a “dark, dark, interesting sense of humor” that “lends itself really well to the series.” Having been a fan ofBurn Notice, I believe them, as Matt Nix has a good dry humor he brings into his shows.
Comic book fans will know that Polaris is the daughter of Magneto (because he got around) and the show will touch on that connection. She will eventually find out who her father is, but it will not be for a while.
Onto the two humans of the show, Amy and Stephen were asked what is it like to be two of the only non-mutants on the show. Amy said that she likes it because for her, Kate and Reed are “conduits for the audience” and provide a sense of grounding for those watching. She admitted that before the show she was not hugely knowledgeable about X-Men, but they were given access to the Marvel library and she rewatched the movies to get a better idea of the world she would be playing in.
Stephen said that he was impressed by the scripts from day one, saying it is “well structured” and he particularly liked that the script was about “this couple trying to learn this whole new world.” It goes hand-in-hand with what one of the writers at the panel said, that Matt Nix pitched the show as “something in the X-Men universe with the focus being on family.”
He also pointed out that Reed has “a very lumpy carpet” to deal with as he is forced to interact with this new world he has entered. In the press room he shared that he has always appreciated the message underlying the stories in the X-Men regarding civil rights and about learning how to take on a new point of view. Amy echoed the sentiment in the panel, saying audiences get to watch two people have their perspectives changed.
— NERDOPHILES (@nerdophiles) October 8, 2017
Coby and Sean were hilarious in the press room, and it was easy to see that all the cast members get along. For Sean, the audition process for The Gifted was interesting in part because of his character’s lack of grounding in the comic book universe. When he was reading the script and ideas, there were some idiosyncrasies that did not sit right with him and he brought them up honestly, landing the role and getting to work on the character.
Since Coby plays the current “bad guy,” everyone was curious if his man would get more screen time and a backstory. The answer is yes, he will, and audiences will get a chance to understand what is driving him. He is a regular guy doing his job, and Sean added that they give Jace justification for what he is doing. Coby enjoys his role in particular because his character will get a chance to interact with all of the others on the show.
In Jace Turner, the writers in the panel pointed out that they want to play in the gray. Nothing is black and white, just like in life, and they want to push audiences by exploring uncertain territory. In this case, it means that Jace may be “the bad guy on the show, but he’s not A bad guy.”
We thoroughly enjoyed talking with this diverse and well spoken cast and cannot wait to see what The Gifted has in store for fans moving forward. The highlight of the panel was the end, where everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to Percy and convention staff rolled out a cake to hand out to the cast and fans in the audience.
You can hear more from the cast in our round table interviews below.