She’s got a special power that she’s not afraid to use.
“She” is Faye Chamberlain, the queen bee of the Secret Circle’s coven, and the actress playing her is Phoebe Tonkin, a fantastic actress who many Australian fans are already familiar with for her work on the mermaid series H2O: Just Add Water.
The Secret Circle premieres in a little over a month, but many cast and crew members made the trek to San Diego for Comic-Con. We participated in roundtable chats with many of them (which you can find at our Secret Circle hub), but today, it’s all about Faye, as we share our chat with Phoebe Tonkin.
You had a couple years of playing a mermaid on H2O. What’s it like to go from playing a mermaid to playing a witch?
Well, I don’t have to wear a tail, which is good. It’s cool. It’s so much fun to play in these worlds, that are like the real world with an added element of magic. It’s fun. It’s fun as an actress to play. They’re normal teenagers and they’re dealing with normal teenage situations, as well as this huge power struggle, with magic. It’s cool.
Is Faye aware of what her mother is up to?
No. I don’t think so, at all. I think her mother and her have a very interesting relationship, and I think that we’re going to get to explore that throughout the series, and find out why Faye is as naughty and bad as she is. It comes from her mom.
Is it possible that Faye might not be as mean as she comes across in the pilot?
Definitely. I think that’s what’s kind of fun. I always have that in the back of my mind when I’m playing her, that no one is born with this horrible heart. She doesn’t want to hurt anyone. She just doesn’t think about it. And I kind of play it from a place where she’s bored. She’s like “What am I going to do today? I’m going to cause some serious trouble.” And with the added element of magic, it suddenly goes from one spot to another. I think magic is her vice. That’s what she likes to do. [laughs]
Do you think she is threatened by Cassie being in Chance Harbor now?
I think she’s threatened, but I think she kind of likes Cassie’s spark. She’s so used to being able to walk all over people, and in comes this new girl who won’t take any of her BS, and I think Faye kind of respects that in Cassie. She’s not threatened; she’s like “okay. You’re good. You can stay.”
What about the characters that are in Faye’s circle like Melissa? What are their interactions like?
I think, especially without going too much in the way of what we’ve been filming, I think she’s so used to having Melissa do whatever she wants to do. But now that they’ve gotten this extra power and stuff starts getting a bit more serious, bigger than opening locks… with Cassie here we can do some serious magic, and I think now Melissa’s kind of going “This isn’t child’s play anymore, Faye. You can’t do this and get away with it.” So I think there’s going to be a switch in sides. I think maybe Melissa’s going to switch sides. I think Faye could potentially turn good and do some good things. I think it’s open for everyone to swap positions a little bit.
What is it going to take for us to see that other side of Faye?
I think she has to see that her actions have some serious consequences. I think she’s gone through life where she never gets in trouble. Her mom’s the principal. So when it starts going from not necessarily bad things, but hurting people… then she’s going to realize that this isn’t a game.
Had you been a fan of Kevin Williamson’s TV shows before signing on to this?
Yes. I was a always “So, Pacey…” because of Dawson’s Creek. But yes. I was a big fan. I had seen the Scream films, The Vampire Diaries…he’s amazing. You just say his name and everyone is like “Oh, wow! Kevin’s show! You’re lucky!” And I am. I’m so lucky. I’m in a good position.
I would have been in this show as any character. I didn’t care. I just wanted to be part of it. I got the script for Diana as well as Faye, but I ended up auditioning for Faye.
Pacey or Dawson?
Pacey. Definitely. [laughs]
What is it like to have gone from Australia to filming something up in Vancouver?
It’s crazy. I kind of feel like a gypsy. I’ve literally lived out of my suitcase for the last six months, and I was so excited to be filming a show that would last a long time. I could unpack my bags and go grocery shopping. But, yeah. It’s fun. It’s interesting playing an American, as well. It’s kind of an added [challenge]. You learn your lines, you do your character prep, and then you go “Okay. How do I say this in an American accent?” It’s a different kind of way.
Do you have an accent coach?
I have an accent coach on set, with me all the times. Because I sometimes can’t hear it. You’re so used to speaking your way. When I’m around the American cast, I start speaking things like “cast.” Like that. Pronouncing your A’s and R’s and things, but “Secret Circle,” it’s got a lot of R’s in that.
What are some of the sets like in person, like the abandoned house we see in the pilot?
It’s amazing. That is a set. There is the house that they found on a scout, but the [inside] house [set] is amazing. It’s so detailed. There’s a bath that’s covered in vines and old flowers… I walked into that set and gasped. I was so impressed with the production, they made this beautiful looking house. It’s kind of scary as well. It’s really dark, and there are jars of plants and things all over the shelves.
What can you say about the crew?
We’ve been filming for four days and I feel like I’ve been going for three months. Everyone is like a family. It’s so nice, and everyone is so welcoming. Especially working long hours, you have to be really passionate to want to do this. To be around all these people who put so much time and energy into the show, I just love them.
Is there any possibility of romance for Faye?
I think so. I mean – I think she’s probably a bit of a man-eater. I don’t think she’d have a boyfriend. I think she’d go through men quite quickly.
I don’t know. I’m might try to get spoilers from Andrew and Kevin. I want to know what’s going on as much as you guys do. [laughs]
What type of a guy do you think would be a good match for Faye?
I think she needs someone that is evil if not worse than Faye. I think she needs someone that is going to match her.
Yeah. Like Diana’s dad. No! [laughs]
Would you say that Faye is “no ordinary girl?”
Totally. That’s a line from H2O! [laughs] You’re the best.
Published August 8, 2011
by Craig Byrne