Depart a Remark
Some spoilers beneath for the collection premiere of Starz’s new drama Hightown, so be warned!
Within the two years since The Originals ended its five-season run, star Riley Voelkel returned to the function of Freya Mikaelson for an episode of Legacies (which is probably not a one-time factor), and likewise recurred on The CW’s Roswell, New Mexico reboot. Now, Voelkel is starring alongside former Chicago Fireplace star Monica Raymund and 24 vet James Badge Dale at midnight Starz drama Hightown. The new function is kind of a gear shift for Voelkel, who portrays Renee Segna, an unique dancer whose traumatic previous partially defines her current.
As witnessed in Hightown‘s collection premiere, Riley Voelkel and Renee have been each launched when the character received known as to the strip membership’s stage, the place suggestively athletic dancing ensued. Earlier than too lengthy, Renee was shedding garments for James Dale Badge’s line-crossing narcotics cop Ray Abruzzo, which was little question a shocker for Voelkel’s giant fanbase. Talking with the actress earlier this yr at this yr’s Tv Critics Affiliation winter tour, I inquired about her taking over such a revealing function for Hightown. In her phrases:
Sure, in order that was my first time doing that. [It was] very totally different. You recognize, previously, I’ve mentioned no to a variety of initiatives that I simply did not really feel have been fairly proper. Once I learn this script, I simply knew it was proper. I knew it was proper for the character, it made sense. To not point out, I had probably the most unbelievable assist staff. The forged, the producers, the staff, the digital camera crew: everybody was so supportive and made me so comfy, and it was very skilled. So at no level did I really feel, you recognize, too uncovered. Everybody was so nice. I type of needed to dive deep into myself and discover this confidence within the character. I imply, that is not me, however it’s Renee, and he or she’s not fearful about it, you recognize? I’d be, however she’s not. So I type of needed to dive deep into that, and play off of that.
Past the entire “being the identical individual” component, there are not very many issues that Riley Voelkel has in widespread with Hightown‘s Renee. Like many within the space round Provincetown, Massachusetts, Renee’s life is linked to the drug world, as she’s the longtime girlfriend of felony kingpin Frankie Cuevas (Jail Break‘s Amaury Nolasco), whose affect is broadly felt although he is in jail. Regardless that they share a five-year-old son, Frankie nonetheless places Renee is potential hazard by having her be his eyes and ears on the skin.
Which is not to say that Renee is a pushover with out her personal company. As viewers will see as Season 1 drives ahead, Renee is cognizant of when she’s being threatened and has a approach of popping out forward. A part of the character’s confidence comes from her unique dancing gig, which requires a certain quantity of bravado, amongst different expertise. Once I requested Riley Voelkel in regards to the bodily challenges concerned with that side of taking part in Renee, she admitted she had zero expertise when it got here to dancing.
Sure, it was terrifying, and such a problem for me, as a result of I’ve no dance background. I could not even contact my toes once I auditioned for this function. Okay, so it was a reasonably intensive coaching course of of 4 months or so of bodily coaching each day, after which dance coaching. I had these unbelievable coaches that simply actually introduced a aspect out in me that I believe wasn’t actually there earlier than, or I hadn’t tapped into earlier than. I imply, these ladies are simply so empowered and highly effective and comfy, and so they simply personal the stage. That was one thing that didn’t come naturally to me. So my first scene, which you noticed, was me getting up there and dancing in entrance of everybody, and it was terrifying. However I simply had the perfect coaches, and it really grew to become empowering. I tapped into one thing I did not know I had. But it surely was scary.
So for all of the viewers on the market who suppose stripping and dancing is a simple job to get into with out expertise, simply do not forget that Riley Voelkel skilled for months to get into correct bodily form to movie scenes as a dancer, which presumably did not occur each single day. It clearly takes a variety of power and stamina to excel in such a place.
Riley Voelkel did say that the unique dancers who function background extras are certainly professionals, and he or she defended their skills as an artwork kind, saying:
Oh, it’s very an artwork. And I imply, these ladies who really do it for a residing simply blew me out of the water. You’ll be able to see them within the background and every thing. They’re simply so unbelievable, so robust, and simply so proficient. It’s a expertise and it is a lot tougher [than you’d think]. They make it look swish and straightforward; it is not. It isn’t.
Whereas some performances put actors by conditions that they’d by no means wish to undergo once more, Riley. Voelkel says that she actually received invested within the dancing aspect of portraying Renee. Once I requested if she danced extra in her free time after entering into form for all of it, the actress confirmed that was positively the case.
I do! It positively was like a outlet for me. I used to be like, this dancing to the music and type of letting go was one thing I believe I used to be lacking a bit of bit, and so I do. I’ve stored up with it a bit of bit, and I crave it typically now. I am like, ‘I wanna go dance once more.’ I am a bit of bit extra assured with it now. And like I mentioned, the ladies are simply so supportive in that surroundings that they made it a lot simpler.
Keep tuned to CinemaBlend for extra from our interview with Riley Voelkel, in addition to our discuss with star Monica Raymund. With extra lethal twists and turns to go, Hightown Season 1 airs Sunday nights on Starz at 8:00 p.m. ET. Take a look at all the opposite huge exhibits heading to the small display screen quickly with our Summer season 2020 premiere schedule.