Disclaimer: This FROM interview has been edited for clarity.
FROM is a series that reaches into the deepest corners of its characters, emotionally and psychologically. With every day being an extreme battle for survival, the actors are also challenged to perform the intense emotional struggles of their characters.
Elizabeth Saunders portrays Donna, the leader of Colony House, a group in the town with a philosophy that emphasises sharing and caring for one another. One of the residents of Colony House is Victor, the resident of the town who has been there the longest. Victor is portrayed by Scott McCord, who has a fascinating challenge of playing a blend of being childlike and mystically mysterious.
LadyJenevia: My first question is for Liz. Donna in season one: strong leader. Donna in season two: still a strong leader but also cracking under pressure. How did you approach performing the balance of those two components? They’re kind of opposite but they’re existing at the same time.
Saunders: I think there was an element of cracking in in one but it was smaller, right? I think because I now know Donna, when given the scripts going, I go, okay, she’s cracking. She is a woman at the edge. I’ve experienced that myself. Maybe not in such obvious, terrifying ways but I just drew on that. It’s not just who she is but what she believes she needs to do. She needs to protect people and she knows the rules she believes are in place, but it’s falling apart so it’s a matter of drawing on on the circumstances. Staying true to the character but drawing on the circumstances.
LadyJenevia: Scott, Victor is a really fascinating character and I’m interested in your creative process as an actor because… in your mind, is he a child or is he an adult with arrested development? Also, how did you approach changing the way you communicate emotions compared to if you were playing an adult character who does not have Victor’s fantastical origin story?
McCord: Wow. Glad you’re starting with the small questions. [Laughter]
I love these questions, no, I could talk about acting all day long, thank you. I see him as everything. When I started the beginning of the series, John had given me the raisin in the kvas which is the trauma that he endured as a child, being left alone in this world after a massacre. It’s established in season one and I kind of ran with that. It wasn’t so much that I had decided that he was going to be younger. I think that happened just as I was figuring out his music and how he spoke. It’s there in the writing as well. I mean, that’s a gift that we just have as actors is great writing. John’s created something that, just that impression, I think it’s just where it landed organically for me.
There are moments where I know that things have happened when we were shooting that would come out. I’ll think, ‘Oh, you know that felt like kind of an adult moment for Victor.’ I think he is all those things. I do think though that because of the arrival of the Matthews family in season one, the fact that things are starting, as Victor says, there’s some definite regression because his memories are starting to come back and in these waves and poking through. That’s definitely bringing out the boy in him, as is Ethan, you know, pal-ing up with Ethan.
LadyJenevia: Finally, for both of you, how do you approach managing your energy levels when these roles are so demanding as actors? The stakes are always life and death, 11 out of 10 danger at any given moment.
Saunders: I love doing it. It can be tiring but it’s not draining. I don’t feel drained by it. I I do have to do self-care. A lot of times when we’re spending a lot of time in a role, that character starts to seep in or that side of ourselves starts to blossom. If it’s an uncomfortable thing, it can be tricky but you just need to sort of give yourself some time. I managed to balance it, probably better than I balance it in my own life.
McCord: That’s so true, isn’t it? Yeah, I would agree with that. There’s two things that came up but I’ll piggyback on Liz’s thing there. I think that the self-care is a big one. Do you, take good care of yourself, good rest, know my lines, a little yoga in the morning before I go off in the dark to do Victor. Also on the other side of it too, how do we decompress from a lot of that stuff? Because I know for Donna, for a lot of us, we talk a lot about these days or these scenes where you’re… like you said, 11 out of ten. It’s a lot about balancing that at the end of the day too so you can go home and get that rest for the next day.
I think the other thing too is, it’s just been there since the beginning, is the trust in the creative realm that we have there. You know you can walk into that and know that you’re taken care of, and you know that you’re not going to be pushed to a place of anything that’s unsafe. It’s kind of a perfect place to go and create, and feel like you have the ability to do that and go to 11.
Saunders: That is huge, actually, on this show, on so many shows, working in a place where you feel someone has made it a safe space to work, that you have the freedom to be creative and you’re safe to do that. When there aren’t you know ridiculous penalties or somebody making it harsher for you than it needs to be, and this this show is incredibly… it is a safe space. It’s a fun space, too. It’s a very loving and fun environment. This crew, this cast, it’s easy to go to work.
FROM season 2 will premiere on MGM+ on April 23.
Watch my interview with Elizabeth Saunders and Scott McCord and other FROM cast members here: