'The Magicians' Stars Are Fans Of The Books Too, But Still Feel The Pressure Of Playing Such Beloved Characters
As we get closer to the Jan. 25 premiere of Syfy's TV adaptation of Lev Grossman's The Magicians trilogy, fans of the series fall into one of two camps: those who are excited about the show and those who are already panicking at the thought of the changes that surely occurred in the move from page to screen. Book purists, readers who are borderline fanatical about their favorite series, are a tough audience to cater to — hell hath no fury like a book purist scorned. And it seems that the stars of Syfy's The Magicians know this all too well, which may actually be a good thing. In an interview with Bustle, Jason Ralph (Quentin Coldwater), Summer Bishil (Margo Hansen, Janet in the books), and Hale Appleman (Eliot) acknowledge how important this series is to fans, and that was definitely on their minds as they took on these roles.
"I know me and the rest of the cast were very protective over the material and wanted to honor the material the best that we could," Bishil says, and all of the actors are quick to point out that most of the cast and crew had read the series and are giant fans too. Appleman agrees, saying, "I think everyone involved in this show is a huge fan of the books as well and we definitely are conscious of that ... we definitely were so inspired by the characters that Lev created." Ralph even tells me that he keeps Grossman's books with him on set. So breath a sigh of relief, excited fans and nervous purists alike: your favorite characters are in the hands of actors who love The Magicians as much as you do.
While there's no need for fans to worry, the opposite might be true for the actors, who have a huge responsiblity and are facing a lot of pressure. "It's terrifying in some ways," Ralph says of playing Quentin. When I ask if he was excited that fans may now picture him as Quentin when reading the novel, he is quick to correct me, saying, "That's my least favorite thing of all of this. I hate that I have robbed people of the ability to imagine their own Quentin." He even tried to ensure that his image wouldn't be used on covers of future copies of The Magicians, with no luck. Clearly, he takes this starring role very seriously.
And Ralph isn't the only one thinking about fans' reactions. "There is that pressure, you put it on yourself, you want to deliver," Bishil says of living up to fans' expectations. "You want to be the Janet that people thought about when they read the book, and I want to really honor who she is as the series plays out."
Appleman sees both the positives and negativies being part of such a passionate fanbase. "It's like the greatest gift and also the greatest fear, sort of this great privilege and great burden of bringing someone to life that is so beloved already," he says. "I'm cautiously crossing my fingers and just hoping that the fans will embrace the character in the series as well as the book." Knowing how much care Ralph, Bishil, and Appleman have put into these characters, I can't imagine fans being anything less than thrilled to see their portrayals when The Magicians premieres on Jan. 25 at 9 p.m.
Images: Syfy, Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/Syfy