Q&A: Madison Davenport on “FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: THE SERIES”
Currently six episodes into its first season, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: THE SERIES has become a major talking point for horror fans. Robert Rodriguez’s vision for the series has subverted expectations and spawned one of the more exciting horror programs currently on television. Yet for every Robert Patrick and Jake Busey, Rodriguez’s vision also includes several up-and-coming actors, including Madison Davenport who now fills the shoes of Kate Fuller.
Besides appearing in the Sam Raimi-produced horror hit THE POSSESSION and having a small but pivotal role in Darren Aronofsky’s NOAH, Davenport looks to land on the maps of horror fans everywhere with her role in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN. Davenport spoke to FANGORIA about her take on Kate and teases more surprises that the series has in store…
FANGORIA: When you came aboard the project, were you familiar with the FROM DUSK TILL DAWN film?
MADISON DAVENPORT: I actually was! I’ve seen it before with my father and I’m such a huge fan of [the film.] I’ve always loved horror movies and I loved every person in the film. I was a huge fan of Robert [Rodriguez] before I saw the film and now that I’ve gotten to work with him, I love him even more.
FANG: In this iteration of FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, Katie Fuller is a considerably younger character. Did that help you add to building that character and making her your own?
DAVENPORT: Well, Juliette Lewis was such a unique actress and I can’t compare her to myself, because we’re very different. You can never play a character the way someone previously did or else you’ll be compared too much. I’m also younger than Juliette was, who was either 22 or 23 and I’m only 17. I’m trying to bring more youthfulness and innocence into this character, and that way Katie is very sweet at the beginning of the character arc that the show goes on.
FANG: This version of Katie has a much more complicated relationship to her family and religion. What was your inspiration to get to the emotional core of Katie?
DAVENPORT: I don’t have any experience with that much tension in my actual family, so I look into the material for my inspiration. Obviously, Pastor Fuller has taken his kids out of their environment as well as Katie’s senior year of high school, which is such a pivotal moment in anyone’s life. So I ask myself how I would feel about that, and of course I’d be pissed off! I would not be happy about that [laughs].
I pretty much went on that, but as the storyline goes on, I created a world for Katie. Six months before where the series begins, Katie’s mom died in a car accident, so that pain is there. Katie wants answers and she’s going to be searching for them, because even though she’s sweet and loves her family, she’s not stupid. When she knows something is off, she’s going to dig until she gets to the source of the problem. As the show continues, there’ll be more tension, more answers and more things that are uncovered that you won’t expect. I didn’t expect them when I was reading the scripts!
FANG: As you mentioned before, you were a fan of Robert Rodriguez before you came onto the series. What was your first impression on set and working with Robert Rodriguez in his environment?
DAVENPORT: The first scene that we shot was a super quick scene, and I only had one scene that day. It was our first scene in the RV and it was myself, Robert Patrick and Brandon SooHoo. Robert Rodriguez wasn’t in the car with us filming; it was just Robert Patrick driving the RV. I remember Robert Patrick saying, “You know, I went to stunt driving school. Watch this!” And he just cuts the RV backwards without looking in any mirrors! So that was my first experience working with Robert Patrick!
Working with Robert Rodriguez was great. He’s so bright and passionate, and I actually watched him film scenes in BENNY’S WORLD OF LIQUOR with [D.J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz.] Watching him work is like watching a film on its own. He gets these angles that I would have never thought about getting and I think they turned out so cool. I don’t remember our first scene together, though, because he was always so quick with the camera. It was a lot of fun though. I think the most fun scene is in episode eight, which you’ll just have to see.
FANG: Considering the eventual place that the series is moving towards, how was it like as a young actress working with the special effects team? Were the blood effects mostly digital or practical?
DAVENPORT: Oh, it was a mixture of everything. The facial features are real, as in they did prosthetics on everyone and they all looked incredible. I’ve never seen make-up done that well. Obviously, there are other special effects as well, like for explosions and blood and stuff like that. Most of the time when blood is squirting at us and getting all over us, that’s real. It’s not real blood, but it’s fake blood really hitting us.
FANG: Robert Rodriguez has gone on record multiple times talking about how many of the guns used by the characters are real guns out of his personal collection. Safety precautions aside, did that aspect help you get to a certain spot psychologically considering your character is taken hostage?
DAVENPORT: Oh, definitely. What I love about working with Robert Patrick is that whenever I feel uncomfortable, he’ll say, “You know, I could have loaded that gun when you weren’t looking. That’s a real weapon. These are real weapons.” He’s like a teacher and I feel like I learned so much from him. That aspect does add to that tension and we all tried to keep that in mind because after a while, you do get numb to that fact. I feel that our character’s never really do [get numb] until we start getting into the action end of it.
FANG: In the film, Katie is one of the few survivors who escape the climactic vampire siege . Now considering how far they’ve deviated from the film on the series…
DAVENPORT: Are you asking if I’m going to die on the series [laughs]?
FANG: No, no, no! I was wondering that when you received the initial scripts and saw the first changes in your character, did that possibility ever cross your mind?
DAVENPORT: Well, “dun dun dun”, I can’t tell you what’s going to happen in the end. But I will tell you this: there are definitely quite a few changes from the original script and I think there are a lot of twists and turns that the audience will not see coming. So that’s that [laughs]! But I do agree with you, in that there were moments where I was reading the scripts going, “Oh my God! Oh my God! No! Please don’t! No!”
You can catch up with the entire run of FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: THE SERIES during their marathons tonight at 9 p.m. EST and on Sunday, April 27th, at 12 p.m. EST on The El Rey Network. FROM DUSK TILL DAWN returns with it’s seventh episode, “Pandemonium”, on Tuesday, April 29th at 9 p.m. EST.