Interview: 'The Originals'' Danielle Campbell talks life, death and Marcel
As Davina on "The Originals" (airing Tues. at 8:00 p.m. on the CW), Danielle Campbell embodies the ultimate teen witch, plagued by the elders who are still angry at her for messing up the Harvest (but really, who wants to allow themselves to be sacrificed on the off chance of resurrection?) and other mean-spirited witches at her coven. In tonight's episode, Davina's fellow witches decide to mess up the Feast of the Blessings, through which members of the New Orleans community offer the witches gifts in return for blessings, to teach Davina a lesson. Man, she can't catch a break, can she?
Luckily, Campbell said that the show's roller coaster ride for Davina has only been a good thing for her -- even when that's mean finding out her character has been killed off (if only temporarily). I talked to Campbell about what's ahead, her other favorite character, and how she got discovered (in a hair salon -- yes, it happens).
HitFix: Before we get to "The Originals," did you really get discovered in a hair salon? That's crazy.
Danielle Campbell: I did! I was about 10, and I was getting my hair cut with my mom when someone approached her and asked if I'd take a meeting with their agency. I'd never thought of this career, but now I can't imagine doing something else.
HitFix: Honestly, I'm a little surprised you're still on the show. You looked like a goner a few episodes back.
Campbell: When you're on a show like 'The Originals,' no character's ever really safe. People die on this show so frequently you never know who's going to be the next person in power or who's going to die. That's what keeps it so exciting. I remember [before] I read the script where I died, I hadn't read the next one because I had a lot of lines that day. So I was running around the set, asking people 'I haven't read it, what happened?' They would just say, oh, you should read it. I got that all day long, so then I went up to someone and said, 'I can't believe what happened!' and they said, 'I know! You died. Can you believe it?' Julie [Plec, show creator] e-mailed me and said, oops, I forgot to tell you that you come back. Still, it was kind of exciting. Nerve wracking, but exciting.
HitFix: Is that hard on you as an actor? You really can't predict what might happen.
Campbell: I think the writers are doing such a great job of creating story lines. Every time you think it will play out, it takes a completely different turn. You think the big questions is the girls will either come back from the Harvest or won't, and the things come from out of left field. That's something I'm really proud of. I get so excited reading every script.
HitFix: How does that impact your performance, though?
Campbell: When you're on a show, it could be easy to get into playing the same character every week, but to me, [with 'The Originals'] it's kind of like you actually get to follow through everything with a character in real time and really capture the story arc as it's playing out. That's exciting, because we're developing these characters as they get things thrown at them. We can create a lot.
HitFix: Who's your favorite character, other than Davina?
Campbell: I think Charles [Michael Davis] does a great job of playing Marcel. I think his story arc is fantastic. The actors I get to work with are so brilliant and great at playing their characters. They all know what they're doing. It's just been really really rewarding.
HitFix: This week Davina has some trouble ahead, doesn't she? I thought going back to the witch academy would clear up her problems, but it doesn't seem that way.
Campbell: All the ancestors are still really upset with her for what she did, and she can't change what happened, but that, at the time, was the only option she had. The girls, they were lied to about their deaths, and they didn't know if [the Harvest] was going to work either. Still, she is now dealing with the consequences [of not sacrificing herself]. Sometimes you act and know what the consequences are, but she's still stumbling through. She's still trying.
HitFix: We're facing a war amongst the witches, the vampires and the werewolves. Who do you think has the upper hand?
Campbell: The thing about New Orleans, someone different is in power throughout. Right now, I think the witches are in power because of the way they're conniving it. They're sneaky, but the wolves are powerful and they're strong, and the vampires are slick. You see Klaus doing all these deals, and that's going to keep it really exciting. If I were to answer that, I couldn't tell you because you would think it would be Klaus because it's called 'The Originals,' but the show is doing a good job of keeping us guessing.
HitFix: What do you want for Davina?
Campbell: Her family is gone, and she only has Josh and Cami and kind of Marcel to support her. I want her to feel safe again. I don't think she ever will, not living in this world, but she's gone through so much and she's such a strong woman now, I want her to feel strong enough with her power and really harness it.
HitFix: You shoot most of the show in Atlanta. How did the winter treat you?
Campbell: First of all, we had about two days of snow that canceled production, that threw everyone else off course. You'd think it would be really warm all the time, and coming from Chicago, I was surprised. And we were filming scenes like it was summer, but shooting in winter weather.
HitFix: Any witchy secrets to staying warm?
Campbell: We had lots of hand warmers!