NYCC 2015 Interview: Stars Madison Davenport and Brandon Soo Hoo Talk ‘From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series’

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In 1996, director Robert Rodriguez took audiences on a vampiric adventure unlike any other. The tongue in cheek horror/action spectacle ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ was a film that garnered a cult following and basically put Rodriguez on the genre map. Now in season 2 of the ‘Dawn’ series, we see a new side to the film’s characters and Rodriguez’s unique filmmaking style. Young stars Madison Davenport and Brandon Soo Hoo were kind enough to sit down with me at New York Comic Con to discuss the El Rey series and the direction in which it is headed. Here’s how that interview went:

Did you guys like the original movie, and how did you prepare for your role?

No, we both hated the original movie. Oh, it’s really bad. (laughs)

I thought it was cool! It’s actually really cool.

I watched it when I was really young because my dad really, I watched The Mummy when I was three, and I watched From Dusk Till Dawn when I was seven. Nine, sorry, nine! That’s way more appropriate.

Is it?

Yes, it is! That’s good parenting.

In all of its grindhouse gloriousness, it’s definitely like a cult classic.

It is such a cult classic, and it’s so quintessential Robert Rodriguez. It’s so him. It’s gore and it’s that unexpected twist with vampires.

It’s brutal. Brutal.

I think it’s such an honor to be able to take on the role of Kate.

And for me to take on the role of Scott, and I’m super-double-honored that they didn’t kill me yet.

Yet.

And I’ve got my fingers crossed.

But yeah, he outlived his character.

My predecessor. Predecessor? Predator?

Predator. We’re getting weird!

We’ve done a lot of interviews! (laughs)

We were weird to begin with, and now, it’s kind of like slowly –

Next question! (laughs)

Behind the scenes, do you want to share? You guys seem like you were, you know, cool, always having fun.

A lot of fun stuff.

Why, does everyone else seem really –

Drab? (laughs)

No, you guys seem like, more like the cheery ones.

Well, we are the youngest people.

Yeah.

We’re the youngest. You’re nineteen.

I’m nineteen, she eighteen!

Oh, you’re babies!

I’m a baby! Everyone else is kind of fogey.

Yeah, you make me feel really old.

As you should! (laughs) No, we are the youngest people on this show.

A lot of fun stuff on set.

So much fun on set.

Do you guys have something, a crazy anecdote you want to share?

Like I was always on my Snapchat because there’s always really weird things on set, like everywhere, and sending it to my homies and I had like a selfie on a pile of dead bodies. (laughs) There was blood everywhere, and I was like, “Sundays got me like.” It’s always so strange walking around set.

Mine would probably be first season when I got to chainsaw somebody in half. A Kool-Aid person, not a person. Kool Aid persons are people.

They like to think so.

So I remember Robert coming up to me and being like, “You have the sweetest face. I can’t wait to cover it in blood.” (laughs)

Sick!

And I just remember, like, typing that to my mom and being like, “He said this!”

“You have the sweetest face. It should be covered in blood.”

That’s a good pick-up line! I kind of want to use that. “You have the sweetest face. I can’t wait to cover it with blood.” Let’s use that on people downstairs, okay?

“Baby?”

Baby, you’ve got a cute face.

Bloody it up!

We always have such a good time. We were doing a scene where we had to be in water. Well, it was the rain, and it wasn’t even that cold outside, but we would come back to our tent and put on some, like, what were we listening to? Marvin Gaye?

I think it was Marvin Gaye.

“Let’s get it on!”

But no, we were in heating tents, but we couldn’t take the clothes off, so even if the wet clothes, it was dripping wet, it got warm but then it got attached to our bodies.

So we’re just sitting in there, we’re like, okay, let’s get up and, like, dance, and so we’d be in our little heating tent and like side-stepping.

Jumping jacks between shots.

Lost a lot of weight that night.

I was deadlifting a rock just to stay warm.

He just does that to, you know, keep in shape.

It’s bulking season.

But yeah, we have good moments on the set because we’re such a family, all of us.

It is a unit.

So you guys got along very well.

We do!

No problems, no one’s like, ehh. There’s not that rivalry.

Everyone’s ego is in check. If she had all the face time, good for her. That’s super cool. If someone else had all the face time, then as long as the show itself prospers, like I couldn’t give two poops.

We have a really good cast in that sense, in that nobody is really worried about who has more lines or who has more of this. We’re all, if it makes the show better – and we’re all such different characters. It’s not like there’s two people on the show that are kind of fighting for token white girl or token –

I actually wanted to be the token white girl, but I have no problem with that. (laughs) It’s the way the ball rolls. No, but like, in terms of –

He was born to play Kate Fuller, but I came in there and I was like –

She took my role. But no, all of us have been put into bad positions. Like Freddy, he got peed on in season 1. Asa got totally humiliated in front of a crowd of nuns. I was in chains for a good portion of season 2, so we’ve all been in pretty dark spots.

Yeah.

Was that relevant? Did that answer your question?

I was like, wait, he got peed on? And then I remembered the episode. I remember that episode.

He actually requested that. That wasn’t even in the script. He requested to have that happen. (laughs)

That’s insane.

I was, like, reliving that moment. He got peed on?

It wasn’t even a part of the script. He just happened to be on stage.

He was like, “Alright, pee on me.”

R. Kelly came through! (laughs)

Oh my god, this is funny.

In the first season when you finally got to the bar, was it a surreal experience being on the set of a film you watched when you were nine?

They built it on a soundstage, and I remember when I first, like, DJ said, “Have you seen the bar yet? It’s not finished, but follow me.” He takes me in there, and it’s like this kind of Styrofoam where they carve it and then, it was still all white, and the next day, I come in and it’s furnished and it’s completely colored. It was absolutely surreal.

I would go to that strip club.

I would not because of the Culebras problem.

I would dip before, like, they get their drink, if you feel me.

It’s like, I’m gonna have a cocktail, but then I’m going to skedaddle.

But shooting that scene was super awesome.

It’s my first time in a strip club. I was seventeen, and there were topless ladies.

It was my first time seeing, like, a nude woman, and I totally just lost my innocence right there. My character AND the actor.

The show is about loss of innocence, and we definitely lost a little bit.

That’s what women look like! (laughs)

To piggyback on that, in a semi-serious manner, because Kate and Scott do have a loss of innocence thing, in that she loses her trust and her innocence in a remarkably non-sexual manner. She doesn’t lose her innocence in the same way that Santanico did.

It’s such a poignant moment. So often in television shows, you know, you have the token innocent Christian girl losing her innocence in the sexual way, what you’re talking about, and what’s so cool about this show is that you have Kate who is so strong in her beliefs, and you really watch her throughout the second season holding onto her faith and holding onto this faith that she has in her brother and then losing it throughout the season and watching the world kind of take that from her.

In terms of loss of innocence, as opposed to her character, something that from the get-go, my character has been kind of seeking out. He never wanted to be a part of this Christian family. He wanted to leave his public school. He didn’t get along with anyone in school, so this is kind of something that he asked for, so his loss of innocence is he didn’t want to be innocent anymore per se.

I don’t know if Scott ever really was innocent. I feel like he always kind of had that hate in his heart.

He was packing a GAT in his gym bag, if you’ve seen that in season 1. He was a pretty dark kid.

He had hatred in his heart because I think he felt the hate from our family. You had that episode where I tell him that I hated him, that I hated that he was different, that I hated that he was this little Asian boy coming into our perfect white Christian family, and I thought that was such a poignant moment in the show.

And the character probably felt that. He never really felt like part of the family, like he said in the end of season 1, he said, “I never really was a part of this family, was I?” Because he never really felt accepted.

It was very interesting to watch them sort of parallel the brothers in a lot of ways as well because I can especially see between Seth and Scott in season 1, I think Seth sees himself in young Scott. He says, “Oh, if you were in the Old West, you’d wear the black hat,” very fondly, like whereas Kate’s relationship with the brother develops in a very different way. Scott and the brothers, it’s almost like he becomes, like their twins, and he’s the little brother in a lot of ways.

You want to tell us about that a little?

See, I see Scott as being like, kind of everything that Seth doesn’t want Scott to turn out to be. He’s like, this kid shouldn’t be like me. He doesn’t even, he’s in this perfect Christian family. He shouldn’t turn out to be like me, so I think he sees a lot of what he doesn’t like about himself in Scott.

And initially, Scott super resents the brothers. He sees a lot of, like, his bullies from his high school. He sees that in the brothers, and he brings that up constantly.

It’s these people taking advantage of innocent people. I mean, you don’t know our lives. You don’t know if we’re actually innocent, but for them to kind of prey on an innocent family, I think that’s what Scott hates about the people in his school.

And I’ve dealt with racism as a child. I’m guessing for my character, I’m pretty sure that my character dealt with racism in school and her ex-boyfriend calls me a rice monkey.

Well, Wilmer calls you a rice monkey.

Well, Wilmer-

Carlos.

Carlos acting like her ex-boyfriend called me a rice monkey. Like, Richie calls me Bruce Lee, and I get really defensive, like, “Why, because I’m Chinese?” And like, I’ve been dealing with racism throughout my childhood, but then like after a while, they kind of see the steel in my character and they grow to respect that. Like when I say, “I’m actually Chinese, not Japanese. So is Bruce Lee,” Richie kind of backs off. He’s like, okay, this kid means business.

I think there’s – what I love about the show is that we’re not afraid to address racism, and my character Kate admits to Seth that she hated him. She hated him for being different. She hated him for being a person of color. She hated him, and she didn’t want to call him by his name Jian Jun because he was different, and she didn’t want her life to change, and I thought that was such a –

It’s pretty bold.

We’re all afraid to be the bad guy, and we’re all afraid to admit that, you know, we have faults, and I thought that was such, I felt really honored to do that scene because even though I don’t have those feelings, I thought it was very interesting to show that a little girl innocently hating someone for coming in and ruining her idea of perfection.

And as much as, like, my character resented her character for always being that goody-goody sister, like always being in my ear, in my life, after that scene when she opened up to me, I bet he couldn’t help but respect her a little bit more for sharing that.

You see it on your face in that scene.

I’m like, “Oh no, now I feel bad about-”

You’re like, “Wow, now I need to love you, damnit!”

I guess.

Everyone loves me eventually. (laughs)

Get over it.

I’ve got a random question for you guys.

I like it.

What was it like working with Mr. Robert Patrick?

Mr. Robert Patrick? It was really cool.

T-1000, he is bad-ass, but he’s also the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. He is such a nice – he’s a family man. He’s got two kids and a beautiful wife, and he’s so loving and so nurturing, but when he’s on screen and he’s on set –

He can be super intense, but he can also be a total softie. He will forever and always will be my favorite white dad.

That scene, the scene where I finally have to kill him, that was the hardest scene I’ve ever had to film. I really, like, every emotion in that scene was real. I didn’t know he was going to die. I thought they were going to rewrite that, and so –

It felt –

They didn’t tell me until two days beforehand.

So you lost him as a father and as a cast member.

Yeah.

It was real.

If you had the opportunity – if Robert decided hey, I’m going to bring another one of my properties to television, which film would you like to do, and what role would you play?

Oh my god…

Sharkboy and Lavagirl, I’m Sharkboy! (laughs)

Yes!

Easy!

And then I’d be Lavagirl, obviously!

Easy, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Who’s the gentleman that shot out of his guitar?

El Mariachi?

El Mariachi, yeah.

That was Antonio Banderas.

I’d be Antonio Banderas.

I would not have a role in that. We’re not going to whitewash those characters, no.

No, I would BE the guitar!

No wait, who was the blonde girl? The blonde girl with the pigtails?

Harley Quinn?

Not Harley Quinn. Point one for me.

I actually counted six. Continue.

I have twelve points from Harley Quinn.

What are some of the filmmakers or actors or actresses you want to work with in the future?

I hope that they bring in Quentin Tarantino because he’s –

Oh yeah.

I love everything he does. He’s crazy in the best way possible.

And Christopher Nolan because he’s cool. He does cool things.

Yes!

I like him.

You want to be a superhero?

A supervillain.

A supervillain?

I definitely like the dark. Dark is so much more my type.

You were doing really great with the pyrokinesis kind of thing.

The what?

The pyrotechnics? You were doing great.

Oh yeah. Flame on, baby.

Oh, yes!

I was like Zuko, Prince Zuko. I think I would like to play Prince Zuko. “I have to find the Avatar!”

Perfect. Mike and Brian are here. Like, go downstairs and just talk.

This is that. There we go, there’s the scar.

Daddy issues!

Hey, Scott has daddy issues!

And teenage angst. I’m Zuko!

Yeah, Scott is Zuko.

Pretty much.

Parallels.

Or a more mature Robin.

By the way, I did an animated movie for Teen Titans, and I’m Beast Boy.

That’s awesome!

Speaking of that, so not Robin, but close enough.

In the same universe.

Beast Boy, ha ha! Okay, that was totally not it, but –

“Beast Boy, ha ha!”

Thank you, guys.

Thank you! Thank you so much!

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