Grace Byers on Reeva Payge’s Ruthless Fight for Her Fellow Mutants on ‘The Gifted’
'The Gifted’ actress and Co-Executive Producer Melinda Hsu Taylor discuss the Inner Circle leader and her severe tactics regarding how to best help her people.
“The Gifted” Season 2 began in a big way with the introduction of Inner Circle leader Reeva Payge, who we met as she ruthlessly dispatched the rest of the leadership, after they disagreed with her tactics and what she felt was the best way to help her fellow mutants.
Byers and “The Gifted” writer and Co-Executive Producer Melinda Hsu Taylor spoke about Reeva’s impactful debut, whether she’s truly a “bad guy” given her goals, Reeva’s perspective on the Mutant Underground, and more.
Question: Grace, you had quite the introduction. What did you think when you saw that scene in its finished form?
Grace Byers: Oh my gosh! It’s so fun to see just how the editing happens. You know what you’re doing in it but you don’t know what parts will be put where. I know I did the nail thing [at the table] but I didn’t know where. But it was really lovely because there was such a great build. So it’s like right when it came to the part where your breath is taken away and you’re wondering “What is she going to do?”, you go, “Ah, she killed everybody!” I just feel like it was built really well and I really enjoyed it. And it was great to see my [mutant] sound for the first time! I’d never heard it.
Question: Melinda, did you guys talk a lot in the writers about how you were going to bring Reeva into the story?
Melinda Hsu Taylor: Yeah, we always wanted to fill in the gap between how did we get from the end of Season 1 to the top of Season 2. We wanted to introduce our new Sheriff to town, as I call her, and remind people that we haven’t forgotten that we set up the Hellfire Club transitioning into the Inner Circle, because that’s kind of our offshoot for comic book fans. Hellfire was something very specific that we’re not doing. We’re doing the Inner Circle. She’s kind of overthrowing them which was both a way to bridge the gap between the two seasons but also show that she really meant business. And it was so fun to see the staging of it, the Frosts in action, and be like “Oh, those badasses are working for this badass!”
Question: You can look at Reeva and think “She has some good points.”
Grace Byers: Yes, exactly. And that’s something that [Showrunner] Matt Nix and the writers room brought to me when we were talking about formulating Reeva. It’s very important that, yes, she would probably be considered an antagonist, but when they’re like “Is she a bad guy? Is she a good guy?”, she’s a person who just believes in what she believes and you have to kind of admire her for that. Sometimes you don’t like what she does but all times you understand why she does what she does.
Melinda Hsu Taylor: Yeah, and I think one of the fun things about the mutants that we deal with is Reeva Page is directly from the comics, but your power is kind of like how you see the world. It’s like “This isn’t right - I’m going to disrupt it.” It’s so fun.
Question: We did see that Polaris had her concerns about Reeva. Even with how things ended in the season premiere, will there continue to be some tension there?
Grace Byers: I think so. I think what you’re dealing with is a lot of alpha females in one place. The Frosts are definitely alpha as well. They get the job done. Reeva has a plan but she hasn’t told everyone what her plan is. She’s kind of being like, “Trust me I got this,” and there’s only so far that can take her before people start questioning. So I definitely think you’re going to see a bit of a tussle there between the girls at some point that says, “Okay, we need to know exactly what’s happening because if we don’t we’re not going to go along with this.” And it’ll be really interesting to see that struggle.
Question: Will we see more of what Reeva makes of the Mutant Underground, who clearly do not share her tactics?
Grace Byers: Yeah, I think that Reeva looks at it less as “I don’t like you” and more of “Why don’t you join us?” …and if you don’t join us, then you disappear. That’s really all it is because if you’re not for us then chances are you’re against us and I can’t have anyone against us! This is too important. In a perfect world, even if they were at odds with each other, if at any point the Mutant Underground said, “You know what, girl, we’re coming over!”, Reeva would be like “Come on by!”, you know what I mean?
Melinda Hsu Taylor: I would say that’s true. If you look for the hashtag #MutantUprising, the one we had at Comic-Con, I think it’s very much for all mutants.
Grace Byers: But the question is whether or not the Mutant Underground will agree with that theory. And I don’t know… Something tells me they might not!
You can see what's in store for Reeva Payge when the next episode of “The Gifted” airs Tuesday, October 2 at 8:00pm ET/PT on FOX.
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