We got the chance to sit down with the cast of Runaways ahead of the premiere, to chat about everything from dinosaurs to dream cameos.
The wait is finally over, Runaways fans. The first three episodes of the show have hit Hulu, and are available to stream right now. Ahead of the premiere, we got to talk to the cast about everything from Old Lace, to their powers, and more.
You can check out our review of the first four episodes of Runaways here – and don’t worry, we’ve got the perspective of a super-fan and a newbie, to cover all our bases.
But if you’re impatiently anticipating the next installment, this cast interview should be able to tide you over. For now.
Staying true to the source material
One of the biggest concerns for any fan, when an adaptation is being made, it just how faithful it’ll be to the original — whether that source material is a novel, comic book, or otherwise. Runaways is particularly beloved amongst its fans, not least for its diverse cast, but also some of the topics it delves in to.
“It’s tweaked,” Lyrica Okano (Nico Minoru) said, of the question of diversions from the story we’ve all come to know and love. “It’s got its own spin to it, for sure.”
Virginia Gardner (Karolina Dean) followed up, saying, “It’s the 2017 version of what was written several years ago. So we do take some liberties. But the spirit of the comic book and the powers are all there, it’s just small tweaks. Obviously we want to keep the audience surprised too, and keep comic book fans surprised as well.”
In particular, how the Staff of One operates does deviate slightly, according to Okano. “Nico does not cut herself,” she said. “I think for good reasons for the show. There’s going to be a lot of young teenagers that are going to be watching and we don’t want to promote self-harming, because that’s serious.”
Of course, there was one particular aspect of the original comics that everyone was curious to know about. Was Karolina’s sexuality going to carry over into the show? And, while Gardner couldn’t definitively tell us, she very strongly hinted that it would.
“Obviously it’s Marvel, so I can’t say too much,” Gardner told us. “But I can say that I don’t think fans will be disappointed. And as you can see, Lyrica and I do have good chemistry. I’ll leave you with that.”
If there’s one thing that Runaways has become known for, more than anything else, it’s dismantling stereotypes. At first glance, each of the characters fit into a specific mold, but over time it crumbles away, leaving us with a nuanced and complicated cast that is deeply interesting.
“If you go to schools these days you’ll see that stereotypical labels, hopefully, becoming less of a thing,” Gregg Sulkin (Chase Stein) said. “I don’t particularly like when you watch a show in the ‘80s and ‘90s and you could see all the like — no one thought outside the box. We’re all human beings. We can all relate.”
For his character, especially, there’s a huge transformation from the role he’s expected to play, versus who Chase really is. “My character changes a lot,” Sulkin continued. “We made Chase a lot more intelligent, not just a complete dumb jock.”
Ariela Barer (Gert Yorkes) also had a lot to say about how Gert subverted those expectations as well.
“I think the great thing about Gert is, if you look at the history of how feminism has been portrayed on screen, or in media in general, it started with the angry villainized woman,” she said. “The irrational woman who hates men. And then it kind of flip-flopped to — it’s always been very polarising. It flip-flopped into, ‘No, it’s the skinny model every man wants.’ Which is, like, also a feminist. Completely also valid. And the thing I love about Gert is she takes parts of all of this and all these original stereotypes you would see, and there’s such a human level to it. These irrational emotions. The angry woman you see is an angry woman for valid reasons, and you grow to empathize with that and you see the human exploration of this stereotype and in that sense dismantle it.”
Allegra Acosta (Molly Hernandez) also had some thoughts about how Molly is presented in the first few episodes. “They strip her down, initially, to how strong-willed she is. She’s very empathetic toward things she really believes in. And she’s very observant,” Acosta said. “I think that since I’m the youngest one here you kinda see my growth throughout the episodes.”
“It’s all about the layers,” Okano astutely added. “We’re all onions on this show. We’re not just stereotypes.”
We’d be remiss if we didn’t dedicate an entire section just to Old Lace. As much an integral character as the Runaways themselves, there was some concern over how they’d be able to pull off having a dinosaur regularly in the show — the VFX budget on Marvel shows is always a slippery slope — but Ariela Barer had a revelation about our favorite dinosaur.
Old Lace is actually a puppet.
“Look, the puppet they made is the most incredible thing,” Barer said of her companion. “I mean, it takes six puppeteers, it has so much detail. There’s literally one person pumping in air so you can see her inhale and exhale, you see her emotions, so we don’t… we don’t not make use of that. She’s around. I mean, you don’t make something like that to not use her.”
The relationship between Gert and Old Lace is one that is especially emotional for fans — but Barer immediately felt that connection, if her first scene was anything to go by. “I cried,” Barer admitted. “They had to not use my first couple takes ’cause they were like, ‘It’s not like that.'”
As Runaways, technically, sits within the MCU, the question of any potential cameos was bound to come up. And while none of the cast could spill the beans on who might make an appearance, they did have some thoughts on who’d make their wish list.
“I’m close with Chloe Bennet, from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” Sulkin said. “Chloe is one of the first people I met when I moved to L.A. So, I would love to jump on, well, to kind of merge the shows.”
As for Rhenzy Feliz (Alex Wilder)? “I would love to get, like, Deadpool. I find him so funny, I would love to bring that comedy. I mean, it doesn’t fit right with the show that we’re making, but hey, I would love to try it and see what happens. Just put all that in a pot.”