Astra Logue is finding out the hard way that it’s truly better to rule in hell.
After spending much of her adult life calling the shots around hell’s underworld, the DC’s Legends of Tomorrow black sheep has now left her fiery kingdom for someplace even stranger—the Waverider. Determined to help John Constantine and the rest of the Legends use the Loom of Fate to bring back her deceased mother, she’s trying her hand at being a hero…sort of.
Look, you don’t just shake off a lifetime of torturing wayward souls and hanging out with demons. And the fact that every day on the Waverider means working alongside the man who destroyed her life…well, we can cut Astra a little slack, can’t we? Maybe?
That’s a decision all of us will be making for ourselves after tonight’s shocking new episode of Legends, "I Am Legends," which finds Astra forced into working for the Fates while the rest of the Waverider crew fend off a zombie attack in the English countryside. It’s a pivotal episode for both Astra and this season’s storyline, with an ending that’s sure to have fans gasping. So, to help you prepare, we spoke with actress Olivia Swann about how she reacted when she first read tonight's episode (don’t worry, there are no spoilers!), what it’s like acting opposite Adam Tsekhman’s Gary and how she feels about Astra's recent attempts to do right.
We finally get another zombie episode!! Do you have a favorite zombie movie?
You know what? The entire horror movie genre isn't my favorite. I'm a bit of a scaredy cat. So actually, my favorite zombie movie would be Shaun of the Dead, which is technically a comedy. It's that British Simon Pegg and Nick Frost movie. That's about as "zombie" as I can do.
Would you say Astra is an official member of the Legends now? Or does that still remain to be seen?
I would say it still remains to be seen. The thing to remember about Astra is she is very much going out for what she wants, and the great thing about her is that you don't actually know if you can really trust her, which is always wonderful to play. At this point, she wants her mom back and that's kind of where she's at, I'd say.
I really want to like Astra, but she makes it so difficult at times. Is it hard playing a character whose defenses are up so frequently?
No, I actually find it surprisingly easy. I think because she's written so wonderfully well by all the writers, I can play her without questioning why she's this way. It makes sense for her to be this way, having grown up in hell and having the backstory that she does. She is so defensive, and so against what all these guys are doing. She's very much out for herself, but only because she was raised that way. That's all she knows. It's always good fun to kind of be on the opposite end of the spectrum from the Legends. They're all about teamwork and "Let's do this together!" She's the opposite. She's more like, "No, let's maim people and murder! I can get the things that I want very easily this way!" So, yeah, it's really good fun to do that.
Another thing I’ve come to really enjoy about Astra is she has a great physical presence on the Waverider. The way she stands, it’s like she’s closing herself off and holding herself apart from the rest of the Legends. How did you land on that?
I think that mainly came out of nerves from being in scenes with everyone for the first time. But I think it does work. There's like this moment you realize, "Oh, I'm now with everyone. I want to be as good as everyone." I want to fit in, but also be confident because she's Astra and she doesn't fit in. I think that really kind of reflects wanting to fit in myself, but also not acting like I fit in.
There are some pretty shocking twists in this episode. Without spoiling them, can you describe your reaction when you first read the script?
I loved it. I mean, from script to screen, it's a very intense epic-feeling, cinematic episode. Even just reading the script, you're kind of scanning through it and you're like, "This reads so well. It's so fast-paced, so much goes down." You can see the stakes are so high for everyone, which is really exciting to read and to watch. Seeing what goes down in certain moments, you're like, "You know what? Yes!"
It all makes sense in an odd way, and it's all earned. The stakes are so high for all the characters, you're kind of there with them. I think Andrew Kasch did an amazing job of directing it because his vision of it is great and it came together very cinematically.
You and Amy Louise Pemberton both get to share some pretty wonderful scenes with Adam Tsekhman’s Gary. What’s it like acting opposite him? Do you ever find yourself just cracking up?
Working with Adam is glorious and difficult because he is so fully committed when he becomes Gary. He has these little moments of ad-libbing, but just in terms of like the sounds that he makes or his facial expressions, that's what gets me the most. I was desperately trying not to laugh because it's just so wonderful.
I can imagine! Just watching him cracks me up, I can only imagine how hard it must be to have to act opposite him.
All in the best way. It's kind of like, "Oh, you're so funny, but I shoudn't be laughing at you right now because it's not part of the scene."
When we first met Astra, she seemed to wield a lot of power in hell, but that’s all been taken away. How hard do you think losing all of that has been on her?
Oh, incredibly hard. I think what I loved about the “Freaks and Greeks” episode was that we were seeing Astra in a very unnatural habitat for her. She's used to having so much power and so much control, and losing that I think is where we see her a little bit vulnerable and a little bit like a fish out of water. Trying to imagine what it must feel like going from being Boss Hell Demon Woman to suddenly not being that anymore. I was like, "How do I do that? How do I figure out what she's thinking? How do I figure out what she's feeling?"
To be honest, it kind of felt almost unnatural because I was so used to her being so confident and so in her own space and ruling everything. She detests not being in control after so many years of fighting her way up the ladder in hell. To have so much power, and to lose it instantly, it's horrible.
Do you think Astra’s opinion of John has changed since she left hell? You learn in this episode that he still really wants to do right by her.
I think Astra's a very, very difficult woman to please. And at the moment, her mother is still not back, so John has not done what he said he would do, so therefore her opinion of him is still pretty low. We've got a lot of making up to do, I think, before all that changes.
If you, Olivia Swann, found yourself joining a team of time travelers, what’s the first time period you’d want to check out?
I think I'd want to check out, like, New Orleans 1920s. You know, the jazz era. I imagine being there felt very different, but in my head it was a very vibrant time with free-flowing music, but I'm probably pretty off. In my head, though, it's a nice time.
Finally, this season is all about the Loom of Fate. Do you believe in fate? Do you think it’s possible to change it?
I believe we all have journeys, personal journeys, that we go on, and potentially there is an initial destination. But I feel like our actions and how we live and what we do determine if you reach that destination or not, and of course, the destination you're heading towards may not necessarily be the right one. But I do think we are in control in some way of how our life goes. I think it does change. I believe in something like that.
"I Am Legends" airs tonight on DC's Legends of Tomorrow at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. CST) on The CW. Visit our official Legends of Tomorrow page for more news, features and articles on the Waverider's journeys.