Interview with Hannah Levien

1. How did you get started in acting?

I took drama classes on an off as a kid – really just going along with other friends that were doing it. But I always felt very comfortable on stage, playing other characters. Then at about age 10/11 I started falling in love with films. I remember watching Dead Poets Society and announcing to my parents, “That’s what I want to do! I’m going to be an actor!” (haha).

2. Did you always want to act?

I became pretty set on it from the age of 11.

3. How did you get your first break?

After drama school, I was cast in an independent feature film in Australia called The Horseman. It did really well overseas and played SXSW Film Festival which was a big deal for a low budget film from a first-time feature filmmaker!

4. How did you hear about Colony?

I had seen it listed on Netflix before, and I’m a fan of Carlton Cuse, the creator of the show. I have worked on a few of his shows. He’s a great guy! Great imagination.

5. What made you take the part?

I loved the role, and I was stoked to work with Director, Tim Southam, again. He cast me in Bates Motel, which is produced by Carlton Cuse as well! haha.

6. How is Claire different from other roles you’ve played?

Claire has a child – so that was a relatively new experience for me! Also, she just lost her husband – another new experience for me to play. The stakes are really high for Claire. She’s in total shock, and has to make the right decisions for her son, even when everything else is falling apart (aliens have invaded and no one is safe!).

7. You’re currently on two shows at once. How do you physically and mentally handle that pressure?

It can definitely be challenging. There was one week, last year, where I was on three different shows in the same week! I keep good relationships with my coaches, and call them to discuss the roles, and break down the scenes down, etc, etc. I also prepare by rehearsing my scenes with other actors on my days off. Above all, no matter how hectic it gets, I remain grateful for everything that’s come my way. I still pinch myself when I arrive on sets. It’s still a dream come true for me!

8. You do a lot of work in Sci Fi. Is that your favorite genre?

I wouldn’t say I have a favourite genre. I like good shows – with high stakes and good writing.

9. Have you had to do a lot of work with special effects on the shows you’ve been on? If so, does that affect your performance at all?

I have worked with Special Effects quite a bit. If you saw one of my episodes on Season 3 of The Magicians, you will know they created a mirror bridge that I led several characters across, only to have it explode on me at the end (spoiler alert!). Some of that was special effects, practical effects done right then and there on set, and a lot of it was Visual FX (done in post-production). Both are very time-consuming on set. So you just have to be patient – the whole crew has to be!

10. Tell us a little about working on Siren. What’s that been like?

Siren is set in a seaside town in the Pacific Northwest called Bristol Cove. History tells tales of mermaids coming to shore there and wreaking havoc on the community with their powerful siren song. Fast-forward to the present day, and audiences discover this may not be just an urban legend- but may in fact be true.

11. What can we expect from the rest of the season?

Lots of surprises, and more mermaids!

12. Do you know if it’s been renewed yet?

Not yet – but we should know any day now!

13. What do you like about your character? What would you change about her?

I love Janine! She is the bartender of Bristol Cove – and in a relationship with one of the fishermen in the town (played by Curtis Lum), and also a friend of Ben (Alex M Roe) and Xander (Ian Verdun). Janine is a pretty straight-up, tells-it-like-it-is character. She’s ballsy and a lot of fun.

14. What do you hope happens for your character?

I hope we discover a little bit more about what Janine knows, and what drives her.

15. Do you do your own stunts?

I actually haven’t had to do too many stunts yet! I certainly would love to do more!

16. What’s next for you?

You can catch me on NBC’s new show Reverie, premiering May 30, 10/9 c, and in the next season of Lifetime’s brilliant series, UnReal.

17. If you could work with anyone living or dead, who would it be and why?

David Bowie. He’s absolutely brilliant and inspiring. He was also my first crush!

18. Tell me something about yourself that would surprise fans. If you didn’t know, I’m Australian! And I know all the words to 2Pac ‘Changes’, haha.

Be sure to check out Hannah’s episode of Colony premiering tonight at 10/9 and you can watch her on Sirens as Janine Thursday nights on FreeForm at 9/8. Be sure to follow her on Twitter at @HannahLevien