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Emma Dumont On Being A Manson Girl in NBC’s ‘Aquarius’ - See more at:

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Emma Dumont On Being A Manson Girl in NBC’s ‘Aquarius’ - See more at:

Post by sir on Thu 10 Sep - 9:17

Emma Dumont On Being A Manson Girl in NBC’s ‘Aquarius’

By Amanda Joyce | September 10, 2015 10:20AM ED

NBC Universal
Emma Dumont hasn’t been in Hollywood long, but in the last few years she’s already starred in two very popular series, made a few indie movies, and even nabbed a role in 2014’s Inherent Vice. The model and dancer is currently one of the leading ladies on Aquarius opposite Gethin Anthony’s Charles Manson. As Aquarius was nearing the end of its season run, we got to chat with her about her experiences on the show and what she hopes gets to happen next with her character Emma - a teenage runaway who thinks she’s found what she’s looking for with Manson and his followers.

TMN: Now, I know that you guys just got renewed for season two, so congratulations.

Emma Dumont: Thank you so much!

TMN: Do you know yet when you guys get started?

Emma Dumont: No, I actually have no idea when we get started. I don't think anyone really quite knows. It's kind of up in the air for now, but I think it is sometime later this year.

TMN: That makes sense because it seems like everybody's kind of busy with other projects right now, too.

Emma Dumont: Exactly, definitely. Especially Mr. David Duchovny. [chuckle]

TMN: Yeah, he does seem to keep pretty busy.

[At the time of the interview, Duchovny was well into filming the X-Files event series for Fox and was also playing live shows with his band.]

Emma Dumont: He does, he really does. [chuckle]

TMN: Now, with the ending for Season 1, what are you looking forward to for your character for Season 2 though?

Emma Dumont: I actually have no idea what my journey for Season 2 is. I don't know if she stays with Manson or goes back home or... She likes to go between Manson and home a lot, there's a lot of that. I don't know what happens in Season 2, but I'm hoping something can happen for her 'cause she's had a rough year. [chuckle]

TMN: She really has. I have to say I was very interested in... I think it was Episode 5 when she left the first time. I was like, "Is she done? Is she leaving for good?" [chuckle] So I was very surprised that they brought you back.


Emma Dumont: Yeah, exactly, right. You're like, "Oh, the shows over!" [laughter] That's what I thought. I was like, "Ah, maybe she's done with Manson! Fantastic!" [laughter] But then she goes right back a few episodes later.

TMN: Right! Now most of your shooting has been outside, has that been different from having to film in a sound stage where I would assume most of the police station aspect is done?

Emma Dumont: Yes. Most of the show is done on a sound stage. All the police stuff, Hodiak's apartment... Pretty much anything on that side of the show, and then for us, most of it is outside, which is really, really fun and something I haven't done a lot of. But we were also super lucky 'cause the show is set in Los Angeles, and we do get to do so much on location, it's like real LA sort of stuff which has been great. I think it's interesting, though. We shoot out at a ranch in Altadena, and I remember the first day we got there, somebody was like, "Oh there's a snake wrangler here, so watch out for snakes!" And I laughed, I was like "Oh, that's so funny!" And when we had the safety meeting, and there actually was a snake wrangler there, and there were actual snakes all over the place.

TMN: Oh my gosh!

Emma Dumont: Yeah. That was interesting. Besides that, I think, for the most part I like shooting on location.

TMN: Yeah, I can see where the snakes would probably be difficult. Wait, we have to pause, there's a snake in the middle of the shot or something like that.

Emma Dumont: Yeah, right. A snake's attacking me. Well, no, just kidding. You know what? I only think I saw a few snakes. There weren't that many. I think they were scared of us more than we were scared of them.

TMN: Well, I guess that's good.

Emma Dumont: Yeah. But I don't know.

03:06 TMN: Now, I asked people to send in questions for you, and most of the responses I got were actually about how much research you did going in. I know you've said before that John [McNamara] gave you homework ahead of time. Did you go through a lot of that before shooting?

Emma Dumont: Yeah, we actually did. I think it was a long list; it was a list... I think maybe 100 things, maybe more, but of course that encompasses for all of us. So of course, I don't have to research the Vietnam War. I don't have to research cops of the '60s. My research was more on the Manson side.

TMN: Was there anything that you found particularly helpful for Emma?

03:55 Emma Dumont: I think a lot of the stuff that was helpful for Emma was The Manson books. The book Helter Skelter, and also Susan Atkins wrote two books, and I read both of them, and that was interesting, just to get a view from one of the girls. She wrote those after the fact, after everything, way later in life. So yeah, I think a lot of it helped, and then a lot of it, for Emma, 'cause she was fictional, I kinda had to figure her out by myself.

TMN: Right. Right, because I think Sadie and Katie are based on real people while your character is created for the show, correct?

Emma Dumont: I think... I'm not sure. I don't know if anyone's actually “based on.” I don't know. You have to ask our creator, John McNamara, about that. I have no idea. But I do know for a fact that my character is fictional.

[Sadie is actually referred to on the show as Susan Atkins at some points, which could simply be a nod to the woman whose memoirs provided a lot of the information about life on the Manson ranch, though much of her backstory for the show is similar to Atkins real life.]

TMN: Going into this season, did they kind of prep you for the arc or were you learning episode by episode as you went?

Emma Dumont: We were all super lucky 'cause when I first signed onto the project, the next day they sent me scripts one through six, I think, so I knew a lot of the beginning story already, but then, of course, things change. Just minimal changes throughout the series, but then the last half of the season was all... It was new every week. It was kind of like a new discovery every week, which was super fun.

TMN: That's very cool though to go into it with so much of it already having been written because I know a lot of shows that are on now, they're kind of... A lot of cast members talk about getting the script the day before shooting and things like that, so it's nice going into it and having so much already laid out for you.

Emma Dumont: Yeah. It's such a luxury, I cannot even explain how lucky we are, 'cause I do, I have a lot of actor friends too. Honestly, they get the script even the day of. They're like, "I go to set and I just get the sides for that day, and the rest of the script isn't even written. So yeah, we're super lucky, and that's mainly due to the fact that John McNamara, he's been working on this for so long. So he really... He really knew the characters well.

TMN: I know that outside of the show you have a lot of other stuff going on too, with your modeling and your dancing. Do you bring any of that in to kind of help you create Emma? A lot of people who have a background in dance, they say that learning movement kind of helps them create a character.

Emma Dumont: Totally. I would definitely agree with that. I think Emma, a lot of Emma's physical movements, and her posture, everything, is way different from mine. Her voice is even different. But just, physically, dance helps me a lot to sort of create her. I mean she's not only a woman in the '60s, but she's a teenager in the '60s. So there's a certain way to stand. And she's actually from a wealthy family, so she's been trained. She probably has read some Emily Post in her time. There's a certain physicality that she has that dance has really helped me with.

TMN: Very cool. When you heard that NBC was going to be releasing the show all at once for a limited time, were you guys concerned about that at all? With everybody being able to watch whether they would tune in every week?

Emma Dumont: I don't think I was concerned. I think... I think mostly we were all really excited. It's something that's never been done on network tv. And we went for it, and we did it, and it did super well. People love to binge watch, love to watch it online, watch it on their computers. And yeah, I don't think anyone was really worried about ratings or anything like that. It's just been a super positive experience in that way.

TMN: I have to say even for me, I watched the first 10 episodes, I binged the first 10, and then I decided to wait and watched the rest of them as they air. So I actually haven't watched the last three.

Emma Dumont: As they air.

TMN: Yeah.

Emma Dumont: [chuckle]

TMN: So I think there's probably quite a few people who have done that as well, where if they got into the show and decided they would watch it live for the experience. We have so much with social media and everything like that, and I know your cast is really good about live tweeting the episodes as well.

Emma Dumont: Yeah, they love live tweeting. Yeah, that's funny that you say that, because I know a few people that watched six or seven episodes online and then decided to stop doing that and switch just to tuning in every week. And I don't know why they did it, but okay cool! [laughter]

TMN: Well, you guys have been very, very friendly with the fans online. So I think that probably contributed a little to encourage people to watch with you.

Emma Dumont: Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I know we do love to tweet. We do love to tweet. [laughter]

TMN: Did you have a favorite episode that you did this season?

Emma Dumont: Favorite episode. I think the finale. Episode 13 was really, really, dramatic and has a lot of cliffhangers, but for some reason it was probably the most fun episode just because we were all in it. All the Manson girls were together. Everybody was on set all the time. You know Grey, Claire, David, everyone was together. I think at that point, we had really all of us, all 300 of us on the Aquarius team had become sort of a family, so I remember really enjoying episode 13.

TMN: Yeah, it seems like a lot of actors enjoy the bigger shoots where everybody gets to be involved. So that seems like you guys have a really big cast that would come in handy.

Emma Dumont: Definitely. Definitely.

TMN: know that John has said that he has a plan for six seasons for the show. Do you have any kind of wishes for Emma for the future, other than her being happy? Like we said she's had a rough go.

Emma Dumont: Yeah, I think the only things I wish for Emma... I think John actually, I don't know if I'm allowed to give anything away, but I think John mentioned to me that if it does go, all six seasons, he plans for at the very end of it to be when Emma is a little bit older. So we actually go through quite a bit, a long period of time.

TMN: Right.

Emma Dumont: But what do I wish for Emma? I really wish for Emma to become a full person. I think right now she's really really still very innocent and sweet, and naive. And she's sort of starting to get her voice, but I really wish for her to become sort of a stronger person. And I think what actually would be great is if she came somehow in contact with Charmaine Tully, which is Claire Holt's character, who of course has her own struggles as a female police officer. And I think it would be really amazing for Emma if somehow she met up with Charmaine, and Charmaine sort of, she was an inspiration for Emma to be a stronger woman.

TMN: I think that would be fantastic because I'm loving Charmaine's arc on the show as well, so I think that would be very cool.

Emma Dumont: Oh, that's amazing. Definitely. It's fantastic. I think it's such a powerful message, that even will mean something today, Charmaine's whole story.

TMN: Definitely. I mean, for both of you really. I think struggling with identity is definitely a common theme in movies and television, so I think both of your story lines are very relevant still.

Emma Dumont: For sure. For sure.

TMN: Since you come from the modeling world, were you excited to get to work with all the '60s clothing?

Emma Dumont: I was! I was super excited! I loved the clothing. The very first thing I did was a wardrobe fitting, and I absolutely went bonkers. I'm really lucky because Emma sort of lives these two very different lives, very opposite ends of the spectrum. So, I think, you know, the scenes with Mommy and Daddy in the Mansion, and I get to wear very, very cute... Some of them are real vintage or vintage patterns, dresses and bows. So many bows. I love the bows. And then I get to go to the ranch scenes where I wear dirty, dirty hippie clothes. And they're actually brought to us in bags 'cause they're so dirty, and they don't want to get the trailers dirty. So yeah, I think the wardrobe is super fun. I get to wear the cute A-line dresses, then I get to wear the sort of hippie, dippy shorts and tank tops and fun other stuff on that side too.

TMN: I feel like that would probably help you get into Emma's headspace too since she has two drastically different wardrobes there. Get her into the headspace to be around Manson, or to be around her parents.

Emma Dumont: Definitely, definitely. Of course, I think everything plays a part in that. Make-up, hair, set decoration. I think all of it is really helps us as actors because we really feel like we're in the '60s. I really feel when I put on those dirty hippy clothes, I really feel like I'm trying to rebel, and I actually ran away and went to join Manson's Family. It definitely, definitely helps.

TMN: I would say your costuming and your set dressers are fantastic. It definitely looks authentic '60s when you're watching it.

Emma Dumont: Yeah, I think so too. It's actually shocking because it looks so real on set, and then it looks even more real on the show. It's scary, it's so scary. I actually can't even explain it. And being on the set and being in that, and feeling like you're there. And then having to remind yourself that you're on the Paramount lot. It's kind of crazy. [laughter]

TMN: Since you've done this, would you ever consider doing another period piece? Like maybe, even going further back like something in the 1800s or something really obscure?

Emma Dumont: I would love to do more period pieces. If anything, this has opened my eyes to how fun they are. I love them. You get to experience a time period that you... That I definitely am very removed from. I'm the youngest cast member. So I'm the furthest away from that. And it's really phenomenal. I would love to do more period pieces.

TMN: Do you have anything planned, any projects planned while you guys are on your break before you go back to filming?

Emma Dumont: I don't have anything planned right now, just doing some modeling work in between LA and New York.

TMN: Now, if I remember right, you did... You were doing robotics and engineering when you were in high school. Are you still pursuing that?

Emma Dumont: I am still pursuing engineering and specifically robotics. I mentor. The team that I was on in high school, I actually mentor them now. And I am very excited about that; I want to study engineering. I want to go to college for it. I am going to go to Olin College, which is in Massachusetts, which is a very small engineering school. I'm not sure when I'll be getting there 'cause...

TMN: Right, you're very busy.

Emma Dumont: [chuckle] But yeah, engineering is a really big part of my life. And it always will be.

TMN: That's very cool. With the DVD release for the show coming up, I know that they said that the plan was to include some of the web content that was shot for the show. Is there anything that you guys shot that didn't make it into the episodes that you wish had made it into the episodes?

Emma Dumont: I actually think we're really lucky where most of the stuff that we shot was kept in. I think obviously nudity and heavy violence has been sort of cut down. But besides that, there's nothing really, no big things that got left out. We're super lucky.

TMN: That's good. Is there anything that fans haven't seen, maybe special content that you hope they get to see on the DVDs? Like any of the bloopers or anything like that. I know that tends to be a popular...

Emma Dumont: Yeah, I think it's funny though. It's funny that you mentioned bloopers 'cause I hope they include it. I definitely hope they include it in the DVD. We're such a serious show, but on set we're so goofy and crazy. And so I definitely hope that there are some bloopers. I am sure there are. We're crazy people who just want to laugh.

TMN: That's good. On a serious show like that you would probably need a cast that would be able to lighten the mood a little bit.

Emma Dumont: Definitely, yeah, we need to keep sane. We need to always be laughing. [laughter]

TMN: Is there anyone, I know we talked about Charmaine earlier, but since most of your scenes are with Manson and the other girls, is there anyone on the cast that you wish you had more scenes with?

Emma Dumont: I think I would love to see, and this is kind of shocking that I would say this, but I think I would love to see, Emma and Ken, her father, more frequently. They have a few really serious conversations. For the most part, they don't really see each other. I also would love to see Emma more with her mom, just in general more with her parents. Not plot lines, I don't think she should go back home and the show just be over. But I think it would just be interesting. Also I love working with Michaela [McManus], and I love working with Brian [F. O’Byrne]. They're fantastic. I think it's also really cool, again the Charmaine thing, to see her in the cop world, to see her with Duchovny, and with Grey and with Shafe and Hodiak. I don't know in what way. Maybe she goes undercover. I have no idea, but I would definitely like to work in the cop world more.

TMN: I definitely think the dynamic between her and her parents is very interesting, so I would be surprised if you don't have more scenes with them in Season 2, not that I know anything about Season 2 before you, but I wouldn't be surprised.


Emma Dumont: Yeah. I think she should. I think we should tell NBC to put it in there.


TMN: Have you been watching the episodes as they air too?

Emma Dumont: I have been, yeah. I've been watching the episodes. One at a time. I saw them all before the show was even finished and now I do tend to tune in on Saturdays.

TMN: I would imagine since your story line is so separate that you probably wouldn't get to see a lot of the filming for the other half of the show, like the cop procedural aspect.

Emma Dumont: Yeah. I don't see a lot of the filming for the other half of the show 'cause it is so removed from my plot, and we also don't have table reads; we just start filming, so I don't even get to see the actors and so on. So it's definitely a surprise when I get to see the full episode.

TMN: Did you guys do a table read before the pilot just so everybody could get to meet one another?

Emma Dumont: We did. Yeah, we did have one. One table read before the pilot, and Gethin wasn't there, he was in London, and so yeah, it was a table read, but we were missing one key element.

TMN: That's interesting. I had no idea you guys didn't do table reads, but I guess with such different story lines on the show, it would make sense; you wouldn't really need everybody together at one time since a lot of you guys don't cross over into each other's stories.

Emma Dumont: Yeah, maybe. I don't know. I like a table read, it's fun; it's like the whole team's together. I think we just... I don't even think we need 'em. We're just all so in it all the time that maybe... I don't know. [laughter]

TMN: Well, that's true, that's good. Maybe you guys don't need all the prep.

Emma Dumont: Maybe, who knows? [laughter]

TMN: Are you planning on doing anything to kind of prepare yourself to go back into it since... I would imagine it's several months off because you guys probably finished filming quite a while ago?

Emma Dumont: Yes, yes, we did. Now that I know we're going into season 2, I have to let my hair grow out and let my eyebrows grow out, and I have to dye my hair eventually when I go back into the season, but that's most of the prep I have to do. I might go back and I mean I'm watching the episodes as they air, but I think I might go back and re-read some of my Manson books or something 'cause it was quite a long time ago. But yeah, the biggest changes is that I have to grow my hippie hair back out and dye it and grow my eyebrows out. [laughter]

TMN: Well, at least you don't have to go through a lot of kind of physical training for your role; you're not having to go out having to learn to shoot for the police parts.

Emma Dumont: Exactly, it's pretty easy. [chuckle] No Hunger Games training for me. [laughter]

TMN: Now would you like to do a franchise like that? With the show being on a broadcast network instead of a smaller cable network it could open a few more doors for you, would you be interested in doing a bigger franchise where you're contracted for movies like that? For several movies at a time?

Emma Dumont: Yeah. I think that'd be fun doing sort of a trilogy or something... And I say that because it is sort of similar to a TV show where you're with this group of people for a long time and then you take a year break and then you get to come back to them, so I think it would be nice to be with the same cast and crew for a while, for a few years, so I think doing big franchises like that must be nice in that way.

TMN: In the same way, you get to know your character a little bit; you get to spend a little bit more time developing them. I would imagine that would be a plus too.

Emma Dumont: Definitely. Definitely. I'm sure that's great. Yeah, it's a lot like TV actually 'cause we get to spend a year with our character, so yeah, that would make it much easier.

TMN: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me.

Emma Dumont: Yeah. Thank you, this has been fun.

Aquarius hits DVD and blu-ray on September 15 with an unrated version. You can see all thirteen episodes of the first season with additional footage that couldn’t be broadcast on NBC. The series will return for season two in 2016.

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Re: Emma Dumont On Being A Manson Girl in NBC’s ‘Aquarius’ - See more at:

Post by jade1013 on Thu 10 Sep - 9:28

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