If two-plus seasons of “The Vampire Diaries” have proven anything, it’s that it’s good to be bad. Phoebe Jane Tonkin is “The Secret Circle’s” answer to Ian Somerhalder, and we’re already girl-crushing.
Her character, Faye, is our resident Regina George in the Chance Harbor coven. In last week’s episode, when her attitude got out of hand, she nearly killed a classmate and finally caved to binding the circle — but needing permission from the other witches isn’t going to keep Faye down for long.
We spoke with Tonkin about how far Faye might go, Faye’s relationship with her diabolical mom, and what it’s like rooming with co-star Britt Robertson.
Zap2it: Okay, so we’re all calling Faye the bad girl and the mean girl. How bad is Faye, really? Are we talking obnoxious high-school girl bad, or is she seriously dangerous?
Tonkin: The thing about Faye is that she does things without considering consequences. She’s never looking to hurt anyone or to cause any kind of mass destruction, she just doesn’t know what the line is that she can’t cross. What I think brings her down to a human level is that when she does do these bad things, when things get out of control, she genuinely does feel awful about it. I think that’s what’s going to be interesting for the viewers is that she’s not just a two-dimensional bad character. She just makes a lot of mistakes. She’s learning, though, and she’s either got to lose the guilty conscience or she’s got to stop acting this way and start pulling it back.
Zap2it: Are we going to see a softer side of Faye?
Tonkin: I think we’ll get to the heart of her. She’s so misguided; she’s got this mother who’s the only parent figure she’s ever had, and her mom is worse than Faye. She’s evil. So she doesn’t have anyone to look up to. She doesn’t have a father, and since her mom’s the principal, she’s never gotten in trouble because she can get away with anything at school and her mom will let it slide. Her mom doesn’t want to look bad, doesn’t want to have a daughter in detention.
Zap2it: The relationship between Dawn and Faye actually seemed surprisingly good in the last episode.
Tonkin: Yes, definitely. I think eventually it’ll be a pretty serious power struggle, but Faye looks up to her mother a lot, which is where I think the problem starts. Dawn’s quite young, obviously, so I think their relationship is more like sisters than mother/daughter, because Faye never gets in trouble by her mom. There are no boundaries; Dawn never disciplines Faye. Faye feels like they’re on equal footing. She’s used to running wild.
Zap2it: We’ve gotten to see a little bit of her relationship with Melissa. How does that develop?
Tonkin: I think Faye has always just bossed Melissa around, and Melissa never had a chance to find her voice. As the series goes on and Melissa starts to see Faye do pretty bad things to people, Melissa starts gaining confidence and starts standing up to Faye a little bit more. Faye starts to be a little bit more independent and less reliant on Melissa too. Once she doesn’t have her there as sort of a minion, Faye opens up a little bit more, which actually lets her let Diana and Cassie in a little bit more. It’s going to be nice to play with as Faye starts to lean on Diana and Cassie more.
Zap2it: One of the things that sets this show apart is that these kids didn’t choose each other. They’re not really friends — they’re like a very dysfunctional family in that they’re kind of stuck together.
Tonkin: You’re right. A lot of these kids have absolutely nothing in common, but they’ve really grown to be sisters and brothers because they all have parents missing from their lives, they’ve all had these powers that they’re learning about together. The relationship with Diana is part resentment. Faye is jealous of her, of Diana’s control. There’s a dynamic with Diana where Faye can tell that Diana doesn’t want to fight with Faye, so when Cassie comes to town, Faye’s impressed that Cassie is standing up to her. She thinks Diana is weak, and that’s something that Faye doesn’t admire. She prefers people who are willing to fight it out as opposed to people who just sit back and are hostile.
Zap2it: It seems like the “Vampire Diaries” pairing is really working well with you guys on Thursday.
Tonkin: With “Vampire Diaries” we’re so lucky. I can’t even explain how blessed I feel that we’ve got such a good set up, but there’s also some pressure, a little bit of intimidation, because there are people who have loved the books for so long. We all read the books, so I’m definitely keeping in mind the character and trying to tie some traits into the show. We’re all doing the best we can to translate them well and do the best show that we can.
Zap2it: Are you all settled in Vancouver now? You’re so far from home.
Tonkin: I’ve actually always liked filming stuff away from home. It helps to really knuckle down and work. It’s made us feel closer as a cast as well. Everyone’s from somewhere else, so we’re all here together, and we’ve really grown so close because we don’t have family here or friends here, or just us. Hopefully the chemistry comes across on the show, because we’ve all grown so close.
Zap2it: You and Britt are roommates. You don’t get tired of seeing each other at work and at home?
Tonkin: It’s so funny, people ask that all the time! Obviously we have a lot of scenes together but we work very different schedules. Sometimes I feel like I’ve gone days without seeing her. She’s always running around and she’s got she’s dogs that she’s got to walk. It’s so nice coming home and having her there. I make a cup of tea, we chat about the day. We still kind of hang out at work when we’re there together. We’re together 24 hours a day.
Published September 29, 2011
by Carina Mackenzie