**Spoilers for 1.05**
The NBC series Midnight, Texas
, based on the series of novels by Charlaine Harris, centers around a town that is home to supernaturals wanting to live their lives in peace. However, the town sits on a veil between the worlds of the living and Hell, and the veil is weakening.
Parisa Fitz-Henley stars as Fiji Cavanaugh, the town witch, who has been crushing on pawnshop owner Bobo Winthrop (Dylan Bruce).
At the end of last week's episode, her feelings were revealed to Bobo when she finally kissed him.
In tonight's episode, things take a turn when Fiji is kidnapped by white supremacists, because Bobo has something they are after.
Fitz-Henley recently spoke with SciFi Vision about Fiji's backstory, her relationship with Bobo, and more about working on the series.
Did you research witchcraft or anything like that before taking on the role?
I did research some witchcraft. I met with some folks in the Pagan community in Albuquerque who are just wonderful. In the books in particular, Fiji is less of a Wiccan, and more kind of, how do you say it, a nondenominational witch? [laughs]
And I think you see that in the show, even though at one point, she does say she practices Wicca. I believe that Fiji practices whatever works.
So, I met with different people who practice all sorts of things that work, from intuitive healers, to people who work with crystals, who work with energy, who work with herbs, who work with oil. And a lot of that was already a part of my life, so it was just kind of doing it with a bit more focus. Is there anywhere else other than the script and books that you took inspiration from when creating the character?
From the writing, from the research, and from my own intuition. Fiji came to me really fast and really whole as a character. That doesn't always happen, but I just felt like she jumped into my body or was already in there. When I read the books, I felt like all the thoughts she'd thought I'd had about myself and about the world. So, I just felt very full with her right away, and it was a huge gift. So, I moved from there and then took extra information from wherever I could get it. We know that the characters are being affected by the thinning of the veil, but they haven't specifically talked about how it's affecting Fiji. I assume it affects her magic in some way?
Obviously the voice that we're hearing from beneath the earth keeps calling to Fiji, so the big part of the effect of the veil on her is this loud [voice] that's ominous and that's focused on Fiji, so it feels very personal.
The thing is, the thinning of the veil also has the potential to draw out the negative in different supernaturals. We see that much more strongly in characters like the Rev (Yul Vazquez) or in Lem (Peter Mensah), the more vicious characters. But I think one of the things we see with Fiji as the veil starts to thin, is also that she loses her hope and her faith and her light, which are super important powers of hers. I feel like those really get tested.
And I think that's an important thing to bring up, because very often we look at the masculine things associated with force as the only things that are powerful, and I think Fiji's hope and faith and love and sweetness are extremely powerful for her, and we see those tested. I think that's also related to the thinning of the veil. Is there anything you can tease about why it's interested in her?
No. It's too big a spoiler. Since we obviously haven't gotten much of Fiji's backstory yet, as her episode hasn't aired, is there anything that you're allowed to tell me, like about her family, where she comes from, how she became a witch? That sort of thing.
There's stuff that I'm still waiting to find out about history wise with her. You will find tons of that in [her upcoming] episode, but there's also tons that you won't know yet, and God willing, we get a second season, and then I'm sure we'll explore those things more.
I can say, that in the book, Fiji comes from a line of witches, and the witchcraft gene doesn't necessarily pop up in everyone. So, it's meant that her family life has been fractured, because not everybody's on board with it.
So, Fiji has really made a family for herself in Midnight for a number of reasons in the book. And I expect that a number of those reasons will be similar in the show, but I can't confirm that. Someone told me to ask if we'll get to see any of her family members, but I guess you probably can't tell me that either.
I can say it's a possibility, but I can't tell you for sure.
By the way, Mr. Snuggly (voiced by Joe Smith) is obviously family. Let's put that on the record. [laughs] Of course. Another fan asked if we will see her teach any classes at Inquiring Mind?
I think she might in the future, but it doesn't happen in this season. Can you talk more about Fiji's relationship with Bobo?
Bobo and Fiji are best friends, and with the two of them, there's a real level of comfort between them that partly I think comes from living down the street from each other. You know, when you're in close proximity, you're like family, so it's easy to take someone for granted. So, I think there's a bit of that.
Fiji has an extremely important reason for not letting Bobo know that she loves him, but anybody with eyes besides Bobo can see how she feels about him. So, it's a confusing situation, I suppose, for her in particular, because I think there's a part of her that would like to be bold and reach out, and certainly she wants all the positive things that would potentially result from that, but also for very good reasons, she's holding herself back. Can you tell me why she's holding back, or is that something that something that's coming up?
I know exactly why, and I can absolutely not tell you. [laughs]
Now, specific to the recent episodes, Fiji kisses Bobo at the end of 1.04, but before they kiss, he makes a comment that it seems like it could be more than friendship between them. Do you think there was any part of him at all that had been aware that she had feelings all along, and it just didn't work, because of Aubrey (Shannon Lorance) or timing or whatever, or did he not see what was in front of him until that moment?
That's what Dylan is saying whenever he's asked, so I can say that. He's been saying it's something where Bobo was kind of unaware of what was right in front of him. I'm sure fans and shippers are going to want to hear about it, so can you talk about filming the kiss?
First of all, Dylan is a consummate gentleman. He's an amazing husband and father, and having a love interest played by an actor that has that kind of energy about him is such a pleasure, because, you know, it's intimate. You want to be able to trust the person and feel like everything is beautiful and professional, and that's exactly what it is with him.
So, sometimes you hear horror stories about actresses and actors being inappropriate on set and stuff, and I've been very fortunate to have real gentlemen as my love interests in projects, and that means a lot. It makes me feel safe.
So, that was real gift to be able to just act with somebody who's like that.
Now, shooting the scene of course was a little nerve wracking, because you're also friends with somebody. You really have to stay in the character's mind and not in your mind as an actor, who's going like, "Oh my God, my mouth and the mouth of my friend are going to touch each other!" [laughs]
You know, it's overwhelming. You just focus on character; focus on what's happening in the scene, and things flow naturally from there.
But we had a really funny experience, because the writer of that episode was on set, and she's an incredibly supportive and fun person. And at one point during one of the kisses, they're supposed to be cutting. We're supposed to kiss until they cut, and the scene was taking a really long time [laughs]
for them to cut. And at one point, back where video village is, we could hear somebody go, "Ooh yeah! Mmm hmm!" [laughs]
and I'm like, "Okay, wait a minute; what's going on?" Because everybody, we're fans of the show; everybody's invested. So, we're like, "Are we supposed to cut?"
I think at one point, someone forgot to cut, because everybody was so absorbed in what was happening on the screen, which I think is really funny and speaks to the fact that really everybody that works on the show is a fan on the show. So everybody's like, "What's going to happen with Bobo and Fiji? [laughs]
It's happening now; we're watching it!" So that was funny. My first thought actually after seeing the kiss was, "I wonder if there is Fiji/Bobo fanfic?" [laughs] Although, for the show, I have to say, I was surprised. I hoped it was coming, but it was faster than I expected, but I haven't read the books yet, so I didn't know what happened originally.
It's much faster than in the books. And as you'll see in the season, you'll understand why. Monica Breen has really kept the spirit of these books, and I'm a lover of these books. She's kept the spirit of these books and the characters, but then has also chosen, I think, to embrace the themes that Charlaine Harris brings up. She's been able to have the freedom to move around with all of that and place things in the appropriate timing for television and also to build. So, we're not married to the order that things happen in the book, and we're not married to any of their ultimate conclusions. Fiji is obviously rightly upset with Bobo after she finds out his secrets in 1.05. Would you say it's more about the fact that he didn't tell her than anything else?
I think there's more going on than meets the eye. Obviously his family history is a big dent in her image of him as this sweet perfect boy next door, and obviously there is a huge betrayal of trust, but I think there's more to it than that. We'll probably be able to get to that more as time goes on. In the episode, Fiji is captured and tied up. I was curious how acting wise you got into the headspace of playing that scene.
[Certain] activities take you out of your head, and it can support you in your acting. Your body tells your brain certain stuff when it's in a certain situation, and when you're tied to a chair in a box, it's very informative for your mind. So, to do that, it was really powerful to be in that position, and to be put in that position, by the white supremacist.
At the time of shooting it, it was right after the election, and there was a lot of talk of white supremacy, and even driving to work - I would drive to work sometimes at five o'clock the morning, and it was still dark out, or drive home from work five in the morning, and it was dark out, just depending on our schedule. And I would wonder sometimes with the climate in the US at the time, "Am I going to run across someone who's going to want to hurt me, because I'm not white?"
So, shooting that then, there was a lot to think about, a lot to draw from in reality, to inform what was happening in that scene.
The other thing is, we had such a wonderful actor in our villain, who was actually a sweet person in real life. Anytime I feel safe as an actor, I feel more free to do my work. So, I felt safe with him. I loved the choice he made of wiping his hand off after touching me, because it's such a telling choice, that you're dirty to someone. I could only react to inwardly, because my character's drugged at the time, but it all really helped.
I'm curious. When I talked to you on the set, you mentioned that you loved Fringe and Lost and other sci-fi shows. What are some of the others that are your favorites?
Let's take it to the first one that I truly loved that I wished there was more of. It's not heavy, heavy sci-fi, but Fantasy Island
. It's a really old show. It was about a fantasy island. I love fantasy stuff, so that was awesome.
I started watching Game of Thrones
and had to put it down, because I need to take it in in its entirety in a way that feels appropriate, because it's so badass, but I love things like that.
. It's British. It's on Netflix. I was just curious, because I knew you said Lost and Fringe, and those were some of my favorites. And The X-Files was my other favorite growing up.
Oh God, The X-Files
. I was obsessed with The X-Files
! I was obsessed with it; like I was an early watcher, but I haven't watched the recent stuff. But The X-Files
was amazing to me. You need to do that.
Lastly, can you describe Fiji in three words?
Sweet, powerful, blessed.