In the magic-infused world of Syfy’s THE MAGICIANS, amazing adventures are to be had — but with great magic comes an even greater price. For Brittany Curran, the role has been just as magical, yet with the classic Fillory twist as Brittany portrays Fen, who is wife to a king who is a great magician, but who is also not the expected king that Fen had dreamed of marrying. Another bitter twist was discovering that the kingdom’s failing magic cannot be easily fixed and it has placed Fen and her newborn child in grave danger. Yet as shocking and surprising the story twists are, it is a treasure trove of rich opportunities for an actress seeking to embrace it all and thrive in the midst of it. In an exclusive interview, Brittany talks about cherishing the unexpected life as she pursues and hones her craft in unexpected roles and opportunities.
What appealed to you about portraying Fen and working on Syfy’s THE MAGICIANS? BRITTANY: Magic, fantasy, and other-worldly adventures have always greatly appealed to me. Getting the opportunity to portray a young woman who has grown up immersed in magic was so thrilling. I mean, when the magicians first meet her, the only world she knows is a magical one. I also loved the fact that she starts as a humble farm girl, the daughter of a knife maker, and becomes a king’s wife. Also, princess dresses.
How would you describe who Fen is at this point in the series and how she has grown?
BRITTANY: At the end of Season 2, Fen finds herself in the biggest clusterf*** of her life. She’s been kidnapped by evil fairies while nine months pregnant, she’s given birth alone in a dungeon in the fairy realm, finds out the fairies are about to attack Fillory (her home), trades her toes for passage back to Fillory, her husband doesn’t love her and doesn’t try to rescue her and their unborn daughter, and when she finally makes it back to Fillory, she’s too late to warn them about the fairie attack. The fairies arrive moments later, magical weapons ready. So yeah, Fen has seen better days. In a nutshell, where we leave off in Season 2 is with a brave, but very broken and abandoned, Fen. She has a long road ahead of her if she’s ever going to find any semblance of joy or purpose. She has found strength within herself that she never knew was there, but it comes at a very steep price.
What do you most admire most about Fen?
BRITTANY: I mostly admire Fen’s ever-endless ability to push forward through every tragedy and horror that life keeps relentlessly throwing at her. There are so many times she could easily crumble and give up, but she doesn’t. She finds a way. Always.
How does Fen feels about Eliot at this point?
BRITTANY: At the end of Season 2, Fen. Is. Pissed. Eliot has been far from a good husband and not only has he failed to rescue her and their child from imprisonment in the fairy realm, but when she gets back to Fillory (on her own accord) she literally finds him in the throne room, sipping on wine. I think Fen will always have a love and respect for Eliot, but right now, things are not peachy for Feliot. But, in Season 3, it goes in a direction that I think most people might not expect.
What was it like working alongside the talented ensemble on THE MAGICIANS?
BRITTANY: I love our cast. When I started as a new cast member at the beginning of Season 2, they were the most welcoming group of people. Since then, my friendships with them have just grown and I’m honestly having an even more fun time with them this season. A week or so ago, Jade, Olivia, and I got together and made natural deodorant together. So random yet so lovely. And then I had a Jurassic Park-themed party at my place a couple weeks ago and almost the whole cast came over. I made dinosaur themed food and drinks and then we all walked over to the Vancouver Orpheum and watched the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra play the score while “Jurassic Park” played on the big screen. Olivia was especially excited about my dinosaur night. It’s the most excited I’ve ever seen her. So yeah, we’re all a bunch of dorks.
What is your proudest achievement working on THE MAGICIANS?
BRITTANY: As an actress, my proudest achievement is the true connection that I have created with Fen. I take her very personally and I very much care about her.
Any favorite scenes that you can share from working on THE MAGICIANS?
BRITTANY: My favorite scene from the second season would definitely have to be the “Les Mis” musical number.
What has been your favorite part about working on THE MAGICIANS?
BRITTANY: Being able to immerse myself in a magical and mystical world everyday. I get to come to work, wear handmade/perfectly tailored princess dresses, and act with the most talented and kind people (both in front of and behind the camera). It’s the greatest feeling in the world.
You also worked on CHICAGO FIRE. What did you enjoy about working on that show?
BRITTANY: CHICAGO FIRE films in Chicago, so I got to spend so much time exploring the city. I fell in love with Chicago, the food, the museums, the people. I even got to see the Joffrey Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, my favorite ballet. We also got to shoot in a fully-functioning Chicago firehouse. The actual firefighters who worked at that firehouse were so nice and welcoming. Most of my scenes were with Taylor Kinney (my character Katie Nolan’s big brother) and Yuri Sardarov (Katie’s love interest) and I absolutely loved working with both of them. For Halloween one year, a bunch of us got dressed up and went to a haunted house. It just felt like a big family, I miss those guys!
What has surprised you most about your career so far?
BRITTANY: I think what’s surprised me most about my career and the film industry in general is how damn hard it is. I started acting professionally when I was eleven, and I obviously knew it was hard work, but I had no idea just how hard. I think there’s this public image of acting being glamorous 24/7 and people suddenly making it overnight. That’s not the reality at all. Aside for the few people who get lucky or already have a famous relative or something that greatly facilitates their success in this industry, most people go through a long and non-glamorous journey to reach their dreams, and the vast majority don’t. But now that I’ve been acting for over 16 years, I look back on my career and I’m grateful for all the struggles. I truly appreciate what I have and don’t take anything for granted. A few years ago, I had a year and a half dry spell and some important people in my life stopped believing in me. But I pushed through, got on an amazing show, and appreciate my career even more now. I especially appreciate the amazing people who stuck with me through the hard times. So, to sum it up, eleven year old me would be surprised how grateful I am of the hard times and the fact that my career wasn’t handed to me, I earned it.
If there were one previous role you would like to revisit, which would it be and why?
BRITTANY: I might want to revisit my role as Lucy Tranelli, Ray Romano’s daughter, on the TNT show MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE. It was a great show that ended too soon. There was just so much heart to it and it was written so beautifully. When the show ended, Lucy was still in high school and traversing that “just-becoming-a-woman” relationship with her dad. Doing those scenes with Ray were so great, he’s a very present actor, and of course very funny. I would have loved to see how their relationship evolved as Lucy became an adult; there was so much more to explore.
Do any of your characters and the situations they find themselves in ever leave a lasting impression on you?
BRITTANY: All of my characters leave a lasting impression on me, just some more than others. When you live with a character for that long, I don’t think you can help but get attached. That’s the only way to really honor a character and their story. I learn lessons from all of my characters. My character Fen in THE MAGICIANS is definitely leaving a very deep impression on me. Last season I was at one of my favorite cafes reading the latest script that had come out and got to a part where Eliot was not being a particularly good husband. I remember getting so annoyed on Fen’s account that I slammed the script shut, walked home, and had to take a little break from reading it for like an hour. I probably took it a little too personally.
Has there been any great advice you have gotten about working as an actor?
BRITTANY: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. My dad would always remind me of that, especially early on in my career. I’ve gotten a lot of other great advice through my career too. Most recently, I got some very practical advice from THE MAGICIANS’ head of the make-up department, Jen Kaminski. She had a really important talk with me on set last year about how important it is as an actor to take very good care of my skin; my face and skin are an important part of my career. It changed the way I looked at skincare. I’m very grateful for the impact it had on me.
What advice would you offer to other upcoming and aspiring actors?
BRITTANY: Like I mentioned earlier, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. No one makes it overnight, you have to earn it, and you have to forgive yourself for your “failures.” There is no such thing as a failure unless it’s followed up by you giving up. I guarantee you, every single actress and actor you admire has been told ‘no’ literally hundreds of times before getting to the place they are now. It’s so important to remember that. My other piece of advice would be to live an enriched life and fill your time on this planet with things other than just acting. Actors who just act and nothing else are boring; have a life and be a real person, that’s what makes an interesting and unique performer.
Are you actively involved with any charities? Which charity do you work with most? And which would like to see your fans become more involved with and support?
BRITTANY: I’m actively involved with Stop Poaching Now, a charity whose main purpose is to stop the illegal trade of threatened and endangered species and to stop the exploitation of endangered species in general. I run a lot of 5K charity races, most recently for Heroes for Hope and MA Vest-a-Dog, who provide essential equipment to all Massachusetts police dogs. I’m also in the process of starting my own foundation that will be centered on organ and primarily heart transplantation.
At a time when women’s voices are rising to be heard and respected around the country and world, what do you recommend your fans do to lend support in that endeavor?
BRITTANY: First and foremost, be the change you want to see in other people; be the fair and kind person who doesn’t tolerate sexism whether it’s from your own friends or a complete stranger. Be the voice that stands up for what’s right. Also, donate or volunteer for organizations that facilitate equality and support women: https://www.plannedparenthood.org, https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/take-action, and https://www.selfworthfoundation.org, just to name a few. Every little bit counts. Something else you can do on a daily basis is support female artists. Whether that means reading a book by a female author or watching a film directed by/produced by/starring/etc a woman, supporting female-driven storytelling is so important.
Do you have any other upcoming projects that you can share that fans should keep an eye out for?
BRITTANY: THE MAGICIANS Season 3 premieres on Syfy on January 10th, and Season 2 is being released on Netflix on December 11th. I have a film coming out in February called THE MAN FROM EARTH: HOLOCENE, and another film coming out closer to the end of this year called CAPTURED.
To see how Fen and Eliot fares with the arrival of the fairies and what other twists lie ahead for everyone in Fillory all, be sure to tune in for the Season 3 premiere of THE MAGICIANS own Wednesday, January 10th at 9:00 p.m. on Syfy. Then to keep up with what Brittany is up to as her career grows, be sure to follow her on Twitter @BrittanyCurran
“The Magicians” Season 3 trailer: