Just how awesome is The Secret Circle’s Phoebe Tonkin, one of our Breakout TV Stars of 2011? She’s a TV fan, like all good people.
During our chat with the Australian beauty—who plays the coven’s bad girl Faye with equal measures of mean-girl malice and teenage vulnerability—she revealed her inner couch potato, telling us she’s currently obsessed with New Girl and Revenge. “I just want to be Zooey Deschanel,” she tells us. “She’s just the best!” As if that weren’t enough to make us adore her, Tonkin later tells us Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton) is her all-time favorite TV character. “I’ve been watching the whole O.C. and I just love it!” she says.
In case you couldn’t tell, we are harboring a major girl crush on Tonkin, who talked with us about taking on a beloved book character, when she learned what shipping means and that time she wore a beaded necklace as a shirt…
Of all our 2011 Breakout TV Stars, you’re the only one whose show and character is derived from a book series. Were you at all nervous taking on a role that already had a pretty large fanbase?
Phoebe Tonkin: A little bit. I had never read the books before we started filming, but I read the two books during the pilot. Obviously, it’s always going to be a different medium and it’s someone else’s interpretation of the story. In terms of my character, I try to stay pretty true to her mannerisms, and in the book it says that she has red nails and [has] little kinds of quirks like that that you can put into the show—I try to do. But ultimately, it’s Kevin Williamson and Andrew Miller’s vision of the story and there’s new characters coming in, so it’s kind of going to change quite a bit.
Why do you think Secret Circle fans have become so attached to Faye?
Ultimately she’s the mean girl, but she definitely feels the consequences of her actions. I think also because she’s the first kind of mean girl that actually doesn’t have any friends—essentially Faye is kind of a loner. Even though there are the mean girls and the popular girls, she’s a mean girl because she is a loner and doesn’t really fit in anywhere. It’s that odd thing of when you’re jealous of someone else’s position, you kind of lash out. I think that’s kind of why she resents Cassie (Britt Robertson) and Diana (Shelley Hennig). She’s ultimately kind of a sad character and that’s why she does a lot of mean things and why she doesn’t really think before she does things. It’s only when she does them and something bad comes out of them that she starts feeling guilty.
Do you get a kick out of fans saying they want Faye to hook up with everyone on the show? Jake, Diana, Adam, Cassie…it doesn’t seem to matter!
Oh my god, it’s hilarious because we call each other out! They do this thing called shipping, which I’d never heard of before, where you ship two characters. Now on set we’ll call each other our shipping characters, because it’s just ridiculous. It’s crazy! ‘Fayana’ is a big one, so now when I call Shelley I call her Fayana!
With your show, it seems like any time two people are in a scene together fans want them to become a couple.
That’s so funny! I guess because the scripts are written quite late it’s kind of cool that Andrew and the writers can get an idea from the fans as they’re writing things.
Is there anything you do to get into character before filming a scene?
Not really. I’m pretty different to the character, but I find it easy to switch. I’m a lot more awkward and weird and when I’m Faye I’m a lot more centered, so that’s probably one thing that I do. I kind of straighten up a bit. I’m slouchy in real life, whereas I feel like Faye is quite poised and in control and certain. In a physicality sense I kind of change.
Do you have a favorite Faye moment so far on the show?
I’d have to say that Halloween was pretty funny because it was just so ridiculous. It was so far from anything that I would ever do, between the beaded necklace and the Little Red Riding Hood costume, which was basically lingerie with a cape.
Let’s talk about that beaded necklace, which they made you wear as a top.
Oh my god! We filmed that at like 10:00 at night and I was trying to be so good all day. Finally like the chocolate cake came out, so I was like, “Damnit, I have to have a little bit!” We were set to film it afterward, so after that I went out on the ground outside, there was a park, and I was doing sit-ups at like 10:00 at night because I was like, This top is not going to cover anything! [Laughs.]
Aside from wearing more beaded necklace shirts, what else would you like to see for Faye in upcoming episodes?
I’d love to see more interaction with her mother, with Natasha [Henstridge] who plays Dawn. Dawn is kind of a bad character, so I think that would be quite interesting whether they kind of bond together and be really bad or if Faye starts seeing her mother for what she really is and starts to resent her for that.
Published December 29, 2011
by Tierney Bricker