(Courtesy of Pari Dukovic/AMC)
In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, actress Virginia Kull talks about playing the role of Linda McQueen in the AMC supernatural drama, NOS4A2. Discover what it took for Kull to bring the character from the pages of Joe Hill’s bestselling novel to the screen.
As we previously mentioned, Vic McQueen (Ashleigh Cummings) is a gifted young woman who discovers she has a supernatural ability to find lost things. This ability puts her on a collision course with the evil and immortal Charlie Manx (Zachary Quinto). Manx is a supernatural villain who feeds off the souls of children then deposits what remains of them into Christmasland – a twisted place of Manx’s imagination where every day is Christmas Day and unhappiness is against the law.
Linda McQueen (Kull) is Vic’s tough and hardworking mother. She is determined to keep her family together and protect her own daughter. Sometimes though, Linda holds on too tight to those she loves.
Before an all-new episode of NOS4A2 Sunday at 10pm on AMC, Virginia Kull talks about the challenges of bringing Linda McQueen to life. Kull opens up about working with showrunner Jami O’Brien and creating the mother/daughter dynamic with Ashleigh Cummings. Join us as we walk into the actor’s studio and dive into the craft of adapting a character.
Villain Media: Tell me how you became involved with NOS4A2:
Virginia Kull: Well, I guess it was summer 2018. I got an email from my agent, with a script and a character description of Linda McQueen. And it was being cast by one of my favorite casting directors in the city. Well, I thought it’s great writing and it’s a great casting director. It’s a very cool world to jump in; the world of Joe Hill.
VM: The show does a great job of portraying the struggle of motherhood. Linda wants her daughter to go to college but she cannot afraid to pay the school’s tuition. She also wants Vic to stay closer to home and work wither her. What about playing Linda McQueen interests you?
VK: I was excited about the challenge of playing her. A lot of people that were familiar with the book told me she’s tough. She’s tough because she’s not very likable. Someone told me Linda McQueen is a shrew. I thought, “Well then dammit, I’m determined to find a way to make the audience to root for her.” They may not agree with her, but at least they will understand where she’s coming from.
VM: I love the scenes between you and Ashleigh Cummings. Tell me how you two brought about the chemistry on-screen.
VK: Well, I knew Ashleigh Cummings on and off-screen. We met at a cast meet-and-greet at a local restaurant when we were all first in Providence, before we started principal photography. I first met her that evening. I was immediately taken away with her and dawn to her. We spent the majority of the night talking about how we both love Africa. She spent time living in the Busch. And I thought, “Who is this girl?!” She’s now the lead of our series, but she’s just as happy living in a hut in the middle of nowhere. She’s magic!
VM: I was really impressed with your scenes with Ebon Moss-Bachrach. Linda and Chris (Bachrach) really go at it in their arguments, which is so honest and grounded. Tell me about working with Ebon Moss-Bachrach.
VK: Ebon is one of my favorite actors I’ve ever worked with. He was actually the first cast member cast. So when I was considering auditioning for the role, he had already signed on to play Chris McQueen. So I jumped at the chance to audition! I threw my hat in the ring because I had always wanted to work with him. I was delighted when I got to set, there was no intimidation and I had no need to be nervous. There’s a playfulness to him. He’s incredibly generous and incredibly prepared. And he’s very brave. I felt safe and felt that I could trust him, where we could scream, fight, and mistreat one another. And the moment they rolled, “Cut,” we were laughing and enjoying each other’s company. We spent so much time off-set, sampling all the amazing culinary opportunities in Providence; going from restaurant to restaurant, bar to bar. He’s wonderful! We were in general lucky because everyone across the board in our cast is top-notch. And we wanted to match!
VM: When you prepare for a role like Linda McQueen, do you refer back to the original source material, such as the novel? Or do you just go back to the script by showrunner Jami O’Brien?
VK: I use every single thing I can. I read Joe Hill’s book over and over again. I read Jami’s script over and over again. Jami O’Brien is actually from Billerica, Massachusetts. She comes from this world. She has a deep affection and understanding for these people, and this life. In addition to reading the script and the book, I was picking Jami’s brain every chance I got. Because of her intimate knowledge of these people, there was a pressure to get it right and to do it well.
VM: How do you think NOS4A2 changed you as an artist?
VK: That’s a good question! I have not been asked that! Umm…huh…You know what…I think of all the characters I’ve played, Linda is the least popular in the story and on screen. A lot of people don’t like Linda. A lot of people don’t root for her. They find fault with what she’s saying. As a human being and as an actor, I’m always watchful with what I do. I want people to be pleased. And so, I found a freedom in playing with Linda. Because I couldn’t care if people liked her or not. I just had to be as brave and truthful as I could be. And with zero judgment on the choices she makes, I do feel free from that need to please my audience and my bosses on set. I think Linda is braver than I, Virginia Kull.
VM: What are you working on now?
VK: I just got back from Germany and Morocco, where I was shooting a German film. I was the only American cast member! I speak a tiny bit of German. So it was a total trip being on a German film set! And having to learn all the lingo — rolling “Cut!” and “Action!”– and hear it in German! I’ve worked with some of the best actors in my life! So that was really fun!
I’m actually running around like a crazy person! I’m running errands! I leave tomorrow morning at 5:30 to Texas. I’m going to be shooting a film down there for a month or so. I’m really excited about it!
NOS4A2 airs Sundays on AMC at 10/9c.
[Writer’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Links are highlighted in bold.]