'Bad Blood's Anna Hopkins on what makes a great antagonist: 'Only way to play a villain is to not see them as a villain'

Hopkins' Teresa is driven and calculating – she is stunningly beautiful, cunning, manipulative and terrifying. Just like us, what attracted the actress to the character was her "very unusual character".


                            'Bad Blood's Anna Hopkins on what makes a great antagonist: 'Only way to play a villain is to not see them as a villain'

Watching a good antagonist on the screen is always a delight – there is complex history behind their story, often imbued with pain, longing and grief. Other times what makes a great antagonist is sheer blindness - a tip to the evil side just for the heck of it.

And there's nothing more engaging than a complex female antagonist who go beyond the shackles of the society - uninhibited and fearless.  One such specimen is Lilith, played by Anna Hopkins in Freeform's original series 'Shadowhunters'.

More recently in 'Bad Blood', she was seen essaying the role of the power-hungry Teresa Langana, Christian Langana's (played by Gianni Falcone) twin sister, and the daughter of a Ndrangheta mob boss in Italy looking to expand their Canadian territory from Hamilton into Montreal. 

The Canadian crime drama is a dramatization of the rise and fall of the real-life Rizzuto crime family, a Montreal-based organized crime family, and is based on the 2015 book 'Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto's Last War' by Antonio Nicaso and Peter Edwards. The second season, which strays away from the book and is completely fictional. stars Hopkins. 

Hopkins' Teresa is driven and calculating – she is stunningly beautiful, cunning, manipulative and terrifying. Just like us, what attracted Hopkins to the character was her "very unusual character".

In an exclusive chat with MEA WorldWide, Hopkins says, "A female mob boss is unique to television, although many powerful female crime bosses do exist in real life. So to bring this dimension to the mafia genre felt like a really exciting opportunity."

Anna Hopkins in 'Shadowhunters' (Image: IMDb)

But in a show with sinister characters and even more sinister plotlines, where does Hopkins' Teresa find redemption, if at all? 

"I think it becomes clear that Teresa is simply trying to follow through on order from her father. She is human (albeit a strange one, and arguably brainwashed by a crime lord), and feels the inadequacy of disappointing her domineering dad," Hopkins points out. "Everything she does is to prove she is good enough to him."

On 'Shadownhunters', Hopkins essayed the role of Lilith – a Greater Demon, the first woman made by God and is said to have been Adam's first wife. However, she was disobedient so she was cast into Hell. 

With two major negative portrayals, we ask Hopkins what, according to her, is the trick to playing a great villain on the screen.  

"I wouldn't call it a trick, but the only way to play a villain is to never see them as a villain. To find that one human motivation for why they do what they do, and find a way to justify that behaviour."

The first and the second season of 'Bad Blood' is currently streaming on Netflix.

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