Formerly a witch, Scarlett Byrne now plays an alien


  • TV
  • Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014

Beautiful breed: Scarlett Byrne as alien-human hybrid Lexi, in Season Four of Falling Skies.

British actress Scarlett Byrne goes from playing a witch in Harry Potter to an alien-human hybrid in Falling Skies.

Scarlett Byrne totally loves alien dramas, so it was only fitting that she landed the role of Alexis “Lexi” Glass-Mason in the post-apocalyptic series Falling Skies, which is currently in its fourth season.

For a fangirl like her, playing Lexi, an alien-human hybrid, was a dream come true.

“There really isn’t anything one dimensional about Lexi. She’s very complex and has these powers. That definitely drew me to her. She is ageing very quickly too. For me, as an actress, I just thought, ‘Gosh, she’s just so cool.’ There aren’t many characters on TV like her at the moment,” the actress who hails from London, England, said in a recent conference call with the South-East Asian press.

Lexi, who is Tom Mason (played by Noah Wyle) and Anne Glass’ (Moon Bloodgood) daughter, has extra-sensory powers such as telekinesis and superior strength as a result of a mysterious alien intervention while she was still in her mother’s womb.

Although Byrne was initially anxious about doing her character justice, everything fell into place once the look of Lexi was decided on.

Stepping into character became easier after the hair and make-up test was complete. Prior to that, she didn’t know Lexi would have white-blonde locks.

But that was merely one of several hurdles.

“I was told in the beginning that I would deal with a lot of dirt and rain. So far, Lexi deals with the complete opposite of that. I wasn’t around a lot of dirt, but it was very, very cold. There were some scenes that were quite challenging where I’m not wearing a lot of clothing,” she disclosed.

There’s also the added challenge of acting with computer-generated aliens.

“It is quite hilarious when you are doing a scene and you’re staring at this big silver ball or tennis ball that is supposed to be this big, scary alien,” she revealed.

“When I first saw some of the aliens for the show, I was completely gobsmacked; I had no idea they were going to look like that. But what’s great about this show is not all of them are CGI.

“There are people in costumes. For example, Doug (Jones) playing Cochise (an alien soldier) – his make-up is just incredible and that’s always such a plus because it really does help, as it doesn’t always have to do with your imagination. It’s just fascinating,” the 23-year-old added.

The mood on the show can get pretty grim and that’s understandable since the humans are facing an alien invasion.

But the mood on the set in Vancouver, Canada is anything but sombre.

The pretty actress – who is dating Cooper Hefner, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s son – said: “Considering that there are a lot of hours and the weather can be very tiring, everyone is genuinely in a very good mood. There are days when you don’t want to get up at 4am or 5am and sit in a chair for two hours and do hair and make-up, or wait all day and be in the cold outside, but everyone genuinely wants to be there, having a great time doing it.”

Byrne is no stranger to joining an already established ensemble cast, having previously been a part of the final three Harry Potter films as Pansy Parkinson.

Her introduction to the performing arts world started even earlier, when she was a little girl.

“I used to do Irish dancing so I’m used to being up on stage. It wasn’t until I was 11 or 12, when my mum thought I should try getting into a particular school, that I discovered acting.

“My first day, I just totally fell in love with acting and performing and I knew that was what I wanted to do. My parents were horrified,” she explained.

She went on to briefly describe being dropped for a lead role because they wanted a blonde instead, how she was devastated by the news, and how her mum was concerned about the competitive nature of the industry.

But her parents, who are both hairdressers with no connections to the acting world, allowed her to continue chasing her dream. It paid off because shortly after that, she got the part in Harry Potter.

When asked what her favourite alien movies were, Byrne didn’t hesitate: “I love E.T. and it is definitely my No.1 favourite. It just reminds me of when I was younger; my family being together. I love the Alien series, too, with Sigourney Weaver.”

However, she was coy about what lies ahead for Lexi in Steven Spielberg’s Falling Skies, even with the series scheduled to end next year.

“I do not know what Lexi’s endgame is. And if I did, unfortunately, I wouldn’t tell you. I’m just going to be safe and say: ‘No, I don’t know’,” she said with a laugh.

> Falling Skies Season Four airs Thursdays at 10pm on AXN (Astro Ch 701) and AXN HD (AstroB.yond Ch 721).

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