***The following contains spoilers for 1.04***
On tonight’s all-new episode of Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches
, things come to a head when Carlotta (Beth Grant), after seeing Rowan (Alexandra Daddario) wearing the necklace and believing her to be lost to Lasher (Jack Huston), locks her in the dining room and sets it on fire. Lasher confirms her fears, telling her that Rowan is already his.
Grant knew right away that she was perfect for Carlotta and was excited to take on the role. “This is a character I related to immediately,” she told SciFi Vision during a recent interview. “I come from the Deep South. I come from a very strong matriarchal ancestry: my mother, my grandmother, my great grandmother, and from what I understand the great, great, great grandmothers, all these very strong women, and I just felt her in my bones. I had a visceral desire to play her, honestly. So, it's just a dream come true for me.”
During the interview, the actress talked about her character’s downfall as she became fanatical, and how she sees her. “[Carlotta]’s not just religious, she's a fanatic, and she loses herself,” Grant explained. “It's sad story. ‘Poor Carlotta’ is the way I feel about her. I love her. I know she's fun to hate, and that's okay with me. All the viewers that want to enjoy her in that way, that's fine, because that's part of storytelling, too. I think it's kind of delicious to have a character that's the bad guy, but not to me. To me, she's the good guy. She's trying to protect the family. She's trying to protect Rowan. And I think that when she meets Rowan…she thinks, ‘maybe this is the one who can change the curse.’
“…And I think up until the moment when, as you saw, she has on that necklace, I open the door and I see her in that necklace…and I know I've lost her to Lasher, once again. And I think that I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do. I think that I get lost in my desperation. She's a desperate woman, and she gets lost in trying to do what she thinks is best for everybody.”
“The one that's really trying to do good becomes the most evil of all, perhaps,” she added. “It's sad. I think that happens to people when they get lost. You can't suppress your humanity.”
Grant also delved a bit into what’s to come in next week’s episode. “I think you'll find out a little bit more about what has really happened,” the actress teased. “You might find a little truth that you don't know about, that you don't expect [about the family], and it's most unfortunate that you find that out, from my point of view.”
For more from the actress, including working with her costume, filming in New Orleans, and much more, read the full transcript below. Watch all new episodes of Mayfair Witches
Sundays on AMC and AMC+.
SCIFI VISION: How did you get connected with Mayfair Witches? I mean, did you audition? Was it offered to you? How did that go?
It was just a sweet, sweet call from my agent, and I was screaming in my backyard. Honestly, if you could have seen me. Because she had told me that this was happening, [but] you just don't want to ever count on anything. So, I was in the backyard, and she called, and I was screaming. And I might have said a few curse words, maybe. I know Carlotta wouldn't, but Beth Grant does sometimes. So, I might have lost it a little. I said “Are you kidding me?!” So, I was pretty high as a kite, honestly, very excited because this is a character I related to immediately. I come from the Deep South. I come from a very strong matriarchal ancestry: my mother, my grandmother, my great grandmother, and from what I understand the great, great, great grandmothers, all these very strong women, and I just felt her in my bones. I had a visceral desire to play her, honestly. So, it's just a dream come true for me.
Now, was that all from the script, that reaction, or had you known about the book series?
Yeah, well, I mean, I had read the script, or…they might have just sent me pages, but whatever they sent, I loved. And I certainly knew about Carlotta and loved Carlotta, although I hadn't studied these books. I hadn't gone deeply into them prior to this. So, I know much more about Carlotta now than I did, but it was as I say, it's a funny thing about acting, because sometimes you have to really develop characters. You have to do a lot of research, and you have to really, you know, find it somewhere out in the ether. But some just are there, and this was one of those that I felt I understood her. My husband said, “You play so many religious fanatics, because you are one,” and I think well, that's not really true, but I am spiritual, and I do believe in great myths. I believe in mythology, and I believe in archetypes. And I know that Carlotta is a very important archetype to these stories, and I'm willing to go there to tell these great stories. So yeah, I would say that it was, as I say, physical. It's like she was living in me waiting for this moment.[laughs]
Now, I know from talking to some of the other cast that they had sort of changed some things based on the performances performances, because everything wasn't, I guess, written when you guys started. Was there anything though, that you sort of added of your own that you can think of, to change her as you were kind of developing her or anything like that? Or did you just take it all from the script and the book?
Well, you know, I don't think I added anything in terms of lines.
No, I mean, like in terms of her personality or just something that you kind of thought about as you were creating her.
I tried to bring my vulnerable self. I tried to open myself up and let you in to see my pain so that you could see her pain. I'm a woman of a certain physical appearance, you know, with a square jaw and pointed features, and as my little girl used to say to me, “Mama, why are you mad?” And I’d say, “No, no, I'm not mad. It's just my face. It's just my face that I have.” I've learned to smile around people a lot.
And so I was very happy to bring this face to this character, and very happy to bring my vulnerability and my pain, because I've had a lot of pain growing up. I mean, you grow up in a world where certain things are valued, and girls that look like me aren't necessarily, and I've had to deal with my jealousy and sibling rivalry. You know, with Cortland (Harry Hamlin), that was very easy for me. I have a younger brother.
I don't have any siblings, so I can't I can't relate to that!
Well, it's a it's an interesting journey. [laughs]
Yeah, I was very jealous of my brother. He seemed to get all the attention, especially being a male. And I think Cortland, being the hedonist that he is - and [Carlotta]’s trying to be a good girl. I'm suppressing my sexuality, and I'm suppressing my anger. And I'm suppressing, and I'm going to church, and I'm a becoming a fanatic, really. I mean, she's not just religious, she's a fanatic, and she loses herself. It's sad story. “Poor Carlotta” is the way I feel about her. I love her. I know she's fun to hate, and that's okay with me. All the viewers that want to enjoy her in that way, that's fine, because that's part of storytelling, too. I think it's kind of delicious to have a character that's the bad guy, but not to me. To me, she's the good guy. She's trying to protect the family. She's trying to protect Rowan. And I think that when she meets Rowan, who’s played by the most beautiful woman in the world right now, Alexandra Daddario, I mean, when she first sees her and those eyes, she falls in love with her. And she thinks, “maybe this is the one who can change the curse.” And I do want to bring her back to the house, and I invite her to the funeral. I talk to her, and I try to explain, “don't listen to those people; there are people who are gonna lie to you.” And I think up until the moment when, as you saw, she has on that necklace, I open the door and I see her in that necklace, and I see her touching herself sensually, and I know I've lost her to Lasher, once again. And I think that I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do. I think that I get lost in my desperation. She's a desperate woman, and she gets lost in trying to do what she thinks is best for everybody. And I think that in the incantations and the smoke and the prayers for Antha, the prayers for Stella, I get lost. And there's the sage, and there's the tapestry, and next thing I know, bam boom fire, you know, and then I accidentally stab Cyprien.
Yeah, I don't think she intended to necessarily stab him. I mean, I think is willing to do what it takes. I think she might have if she knew she had to.
It's ironic, isn't it? The one that's really trying to do good becomes the most evil of all, perhaps. It's sad. I think that happens to people when they get lost. You can't suppress your humanity.
Yeah, I was going to say, I haven't read the books, but with the show, I have gone back and forth a little bit with her. Because, I mean, obviously, she did some horrible things to Deirdre (Annabeth Gish). I mean, you can’t exactly overlook that! But, yeah, sometimes it seems like she does just want to stop Lasher. It's kind of hard to tell with this character.
Look what Lasher did to Deidre!That's true. That’s true.
I am protecting her, I am! [laughs]
Talking about the last scene where you stabbed him, it's got sort of a little bit of stunts and stuff, and you also have a stunt…in the next episode.
I do all my own stunts. No, we had a stunt woman there to help certainly with the smoke and everything they would bring me, because I obviously I would have need a voice and they protecting my voice and so on. But I yeah, I did do my stunts in this. So, if you like the stunts, that's [me] doing them.
Everybody I’ve talked to so far sort of talked about this house and being in New Orleans. How much does that do you think affect your your creation of her and getting into character? Does it really help you a lot being there in that environment?
Well, and my grandmother lived in an old colonial mansion that had been in disrepair; they couldn't afford to keep it up. They broke it up into apartments. There was a landing; the staircase went up to the apartment, just a dead end. Oh my god was I fascinated with what was above that landing. There was an ancient old desk there with an inkwell. So, I grew up in this as a little girl. So, I think the house is a character. I think New Orleans is a character. I had been to New Orleans once before, but it was great for me to get there and be on location and really be in that environment and to remember what it's like to be in an old, unique, unusual city like that, because it's its own character too, Audubon Park, going down to The Fly, The Mississippi, the levees, and the Garden District is so beautiful. I mean I love the downtown and everything about New Orleans I love, and so I understand why a lot of people move there. A lot of California go there to shoot, and then they buy a house and move.
So, you seem to have like you have had a really easy time getting into her, but is there anything that you really found difficult about this character?
Let's see, did I have a challenging moment? Well, I think in my preparation, not while I was shooting it. I mean, once I was into it, I was into it. In my preparation, I did know that I was going to have to go there. And I'm a girl; I like to look pretty. I mean, I like to be in touch with that femininity, and when I first started talking to Jennifer Jane about the hair and the makeup and the look of her, we knew that she needed to not have that soft feminine look. So, making those choices and then working with Janie Bryan on the costumes and choosing the shoes - I don't know if you've noticed her shoes, but I've got orthopedic comfortable shoes. And her suit fits her rather boxily, and she's got kind of weird hairdos. It’s Susan Buffington that did the hair. I mean, they're almost period from another era. [It’s] just like she's stuck in time, in some way. So, making those kinds of choices, but all of those decisions, in my mind, I had accepted before I ever got there. But yeah, those are always a struggle for me, because I want to be Marilyn Monroe just like anybody else.
Well, we're almost at time, but can you give a little tease for Episode Five without without revealing spoilers?
Well, I think you'll find out a little bit more about what has really happened. You might find a little truth that you don't know about that you don't expect [about the family], and it's most unfortunate [laughs]
that you find that out, from my point of view. So I'll just say that…Anything’s going happen. I mean, I just love this immortal universe. I mean, I know that being immortal would be hell, but boy don't we all want to be? And Mark Johnson to be coordinating all of this rich Anne Rice material, I mean, he's the greatest. So, we're in very good hands with him. So, I'm excited to see what they do.