Last week, I was lucky enough to catch up with Legend of the Seeker star Bridget Regan between takes on set in New Zealand. She plays the confident and lovely Kahlan Amnell, and she’s just as cool in person and you’d like to think.
And because New Zealand’s today is usually already our tomorrow – well, I was just glad we found a time to chat.
Allie Townsend: How did you create your own version of Kahlan and still remain true to the books?
Bridget Regan: I read the books before there was even a script for our show and I really gravitated toward Kahlan. That was the reason I decided to move to New Zealand and do this job without having seen a script, and I wanted to do it right because I felt there was a massive following of fans and I was joining the group as one of the fans of the series.
There were things in the books that I was thinking, “Oh gosh, how are we going to replicated?” For example, in the books her eyes are green and mine are blue and I thought I was going to be wearing contacts every day. There were things that we did change. My hair was really red and we decided to make it brown because that was more true to the book. It’s like I needed to come to a certain point to find my Kahlan without losing my sense of who I am. For me, it was more about finding the characteristics that are so strong in her within myself, finding this badass warrior within myself, and also this noble, powerful woman as well – things I didn’t always tap into in my normal, everyday life. Then it kind of became a squishing together of Bridget and Kahlan, that’s my Kahlan. And I just kind of kept my fingers crossed that fans would enjoy her.
It’s so personal when you read a book because you hear their inner dialogue, but what’s crazy now is that some fans will write in and say that they picture me when they read the books now.
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AT: Kahlan’s backstory is really interesting. How is it to reveal pieces of her like that?
BR: We’re actually doing an upcoming episode where Kahlan has to find her father for various reasons and the history of her father and mother is revealed. There’s so much pain that goes along with being born a confessor because her father was obviously confessed to her mother and she knew what that meant. So she’s seeing things from other sides. Her past is pretty dark and pretty heavy, which is why the season is so wonderful for me because there is so much love in her life that she never ever thought she would have. She’s had so much loss. I think that was one of the difficult things about the role for me. I was very lucky and had a beautiful childhood and family and that’s the tricky stuff, relating to that and getting to a place where you can absolutely hate the idea of having to look your father in the eye. That was tough. Especially when your father is being played as someone as cool as Michael Nouri.
There were other things for me, too. I wanted her to look like she has come through this life full of violent fighting and that demanded that I look good doing it, which required a lot of training.
AT: Kahlan’s confessor powers are pretty atypical as far as magic goes. Did you get a say in what it looked like for Kahlan to confess someone?
BR: Well, it’s a little crazy. When we were shooting the first episode last season, it felt like we were making huge decisions about the mythology of the Midlands and the rules of our characters. Every day there was something huge and you shoot quite quickly down here. You just have to go with your first gut instinct. They told me about the close up of my pupil going black and then the pupil of the confessed person’s eye going black, so I kind of had a picture of that and what it would feel like and look like and we just kind of ran with our first instincts. I said, “I think I’d grab them by the throat.” And that’s the way we’ve been doing it for two years.
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But it has changed, which has been cool. I’ve wanted Kahlan to get stronger and stronger. I’ve wanted her to change since starting with Richard and Zedd and now Cara, and having her strengths grow from the love she has for Richard and feeling that love back. She was alone when we met her. She was in kind of a bad place.