I had the privilege of speaking with the executive producer of Reign, Laurie McCarthy, at a press roundtable during New York Comic Con. Reign airs Thursday nights at 9/8 central on the CW. Be sure to also check out my interviews with Torrance Coombs and Toby Regbo, as well as my interview with Adelaide Kane.
Why did you decide to go with Mary Queen of Scots?
Laurie McCarthy: She’s sexier, you know. She was married three times, and she had terrible taste in men. She sort of, in my mind, was a motherless child. But she had been shipped off to live in a foreign land with an arranged married when she was six months old, basically. I felt like she was exactly the right person to do it with.
She seems very, from the pilot, about the idealistic with love. She wants to be in love. Does that change at all during the course of the season? She’s already figured out that someone wants her dead. Does she start to take a less idealistic route and focus on what will make her safe?
She does. What she needs to do for her country and what she wants to do for her heart are very much aligned in the beginning of the series, and so one doesn’t cost her the other. But for Francis, that’s not actually true. He believes that the best thing he can do for his country is not to wed her, regardless of what he feels about her, so there is a great romantic obstacle in that. But I think you will see them both, very quickly…they take their duty to their countries very seriously, even at the cost of their own happiness. But, you will also see them grow as they navigate the politics of court, and the intrigue, and both kind of find their footing as rulers as well.
How are you balancing the love triangle with the ensemble?
There are four ladies in waiting that are waiting for it to become an ensemble drama. They will start to step out of the chorus line. They will start to have their own stories. You get a hint of it in the pilot because you see that Kenna gets involved, quite surprisingly to her, with the king. Occasionally, we will reach back into the group to give the girls their own stories as well. There’s Catherine de’ Medici and the king, and I think it’s a really a question of relationship. Hopefully we will have time over the course of the series to have time to tell stories for all of them. Then over the course of the series as well there’s a support staff at the castle. There’s an Upstairs, Downstairs element. And then there, we haven’t even gotten to what’s happening in the woods, and what’s happening in the village beyond that with sort of superstitious town leaders sort of stories.
How are you planning it out with history?
We will go along the timeline of history, and we won’t hold anything back. Beyond that, I can’t really, I mean I know, but I can’t really say because it requires people dying.
The supernatural element to the show was a surprise.
I think there is lore in the castle that there is a ghost, and there is in fact, somebody who hides their face, who lives in the shadows, and then maybe more than one hidden persona. It’s not necessarily a supernatural element. It is a horror element. It may become a supernatural element at some point. Right now I feel like there is enough to pick, enough to lean into with the sort of barbaric superstitions of the aspect.
We call the woods the Blood Woods. We do say there are pagans who live in there, and they have a certain belief system. Some of it is rooted in nature, and some is rooted in the darkness of superstition.
What did you think of the interview? To refresh your memory on what happened during the pilot of Reign, check out my recap!
Photo Credit: HerThing