There’s no question that J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series easily became a modern day classic for American pop culture and has set a high bar for this particular genre. Many millennials, like actress and musician Alison Sudol, 31, were instantly cast under the spell of compelling storytelling; completely transfixed in a whirlwind of fantasy and friendship. She recalls, “I was such a huge (Harry Potter) fan growing up. I read all of the books and watched all of the movies as they were coming out… I just adored this world that Rowling’s created. The last one I read in my 20’s, I was actually on tour in Europe. Everybody else would go out and party, but I would stay behind in my bunk with my book.”
It has been about 15 years since viewers were reeled into the vision of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when it was brought to life on screen. And lucky for us, this year promises to enchant audiences with a whole new adventure in Rowling’s original screenplay and prequel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The film will encompass some of the same similarities that we all loved dearly about Hogwarts and the world of the Harry Potter series, but is set in New York City. In an entirely new storyline, the juxtaposition of lightness and darkness, imagination and sensibility, is led by extraordinary characters. Queenie who is played by Sudol, will remain relative.
With a childlike wonder, Alison Sudol has dove head first into the role of a lifetime of mystery and magic. Playing Queenie was nothing like anything she’s done before. Some of her past works in television include credits such as two time Golden Globe winning Amazon series Transparent and USA Network’s Dig. Alongside her acting career, Sudol is also a very successful musician. She is the lead singer, songwriter, and pianist of the alternative band A Fine Frenzy (Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream reference, anyone?), which has placed her as a performer in several other top rated television series such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, How I Met Your Mother, House, and One Tree Hill.
Through the lengthy audition process, Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, for his profound work in The Theory of Everything, was already set to be a central cast member... No pressure! Sudol was put to the test in several capacities to discover the lively and warm hearted, yet naive nature of Queenie. “There was a sort of rapid fire tryout where we played the same scene over and over, again, trying to get something from someone and I was interpreting different emotions of being Queenie. Being charming, afraid, cunning, joyful. Director David Yates (Harry Potter) would just throw words like that out and I had to figure out one after another how to be her,” she explains about the duration of trials.
“I was balling in yoga class when I found out that I was cast!” she said. “After I got home, I just face planted onto my bed and cried some more.” Based on the fact that her character Queenie wasn’t necessarily predetermined in description by coming out of a screenplay versus a book, this gave her an immense amount of creative freedom. With combined forces with the hair and makeup team, she tried on about every wig on in London until it was certain Sudol really had her.
“They gave me an extraordinary amount of freedom, much more than expected. The way Queenie was described to me, I took her to be this empath that was this fun, wonderful being that is a combination of stillness and flight. She would seem like these contradictions that really weren’t at all... She’s a lovely character to be able to bring to life. I had guidance, of course and, I was always making sure they were happy with how I played her, but during filming, there was a certain point where I was told ‘you understand her so go with your instincts’. That’s a great freedom to give to an actor that I’m so grateful for, so I took it and ran with it.”
According to IMDB, it has already been announced there is a sequel in development, although it’s unclear if Queenie will be returning. Equally in curiosity is the album that Alison Suldol is currently recording -- whether it be a fourth album from A Fine Frenzy or an independent collection. Either way, Rogue looks forward to see more of her talent and will be sure to check out Fantastic Beasts and Where Find Them when it hits theaters