Screen Gems: Learning the art of "Hacting" and committing to a close shave for a role
Even though they've been around in comic books since 1965, many people aren't familiar with the Inhumans. A race genetically altered by aliens who are each given unique powers when exposed to a Terrigen Mist, the Inhumans join the Marvel Cinematic Universe with ABC's new series.
Serinda Swan plays Medusa, the queen of the Inhumans with the power to manipulate her hair for attack and defense.
Swan says bringing such a unique super power to life with the extensive use of special effects stretched her acting muscles in new and different ways.
"So, I was standing there and I have dots all over my head and I'd have to learn how to, as I call it, 'Hact,' hair acting, "Swan said. "And figure out like, how my body would move with my hair so it wasn't just, first I would do it with my fists. So, if I was punching somebody or fighting somebody I would first do it with my arms and then I would drop my arms and then I'd have to still do it with my body so that my spine and the physicality of it was supported. But, you know it's not going to be these big huge movements because that's what her hair is doing. So, it was a lot of imagination. It was a lot of me staring in the mirror going like 'happy hair,' 'sad hair' 'angry hair' just like a total idiot. Thank goodness we have closed doors so people can't see our process. But it was cool, it was a really fun experience to kind of learn how to act suspend belief in the CGI world."
But creating a super-powered set of tresses wasn't Swan's only challenge. As the story moves forward and her brother-in-law Maximus engineers a coup against the royal family and her husband the king, Black Bolt, the source of Medusa's power is taken from her.
How big of a commitment was it to go through what Medusa goes through in losing that hair?
"I mean, this is the commitment," Swan said, pointing to her very short head of hair. a'This is the commitment. I remember when I got the phone call they were like you got the role, but side note you're gonna have to shave your head at some point. And it's actually something I've always wanted to do. I had a picture ready to go that I had photoshopped my face onto a head that was already shaved. It was good, great, here we go! Let's do it! So, it was a commitment I was happy to do and I think when you're bringing somebody to like like Medusa, you know obviously it kind of parallels what has happened to her in the comic world, I think you have to be prepared to do things like that. And I think that's what shows your commitment to bringing stories to life and really diving into being an actor. So, yeah, it was really fun. And I'm enjoying my new short hair and playing with it and I'm not ready to grow it back yet. Everybody's like I bet you can't wait to grow it. I'm like, no, this is the easiest thing in the world. My shampoo bill is zero. I go to one hotel and I have like shampoo for seven months. It's great.'
You can watch "Marvel's Inhumans" on Friday nights at 9:00 p.m. on WCHS-TV8.