'Deadly Class': Taylor Hickson drew inspiration from Siouxsie Sioux for Petra's 80s gothic look and attitude
In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), Hickson tells us why Petra turned down Billy's heartfelt proposal
'Deadly Class' has garnered quite a few fans ever since it debuted January 16 and though there's so much to love about the show, from Lana Condor's makeover as the katana-wielding Saya Kuroki to Benjamin Wadsworth's bad boy Marcus Lopez, one standout favorite has been goth girl Petra, who was humiliated by the white supremacist 'Legacies' at a dance ball, stabbed by the Kuroki men, and survived it all. Petra, played by Taylor Hickson, has not only become a fan-favorite but also a major essence of the series, so that is why when she almost died in episode 4, fans swore they would not watch the show.
And Petra better not die we can lose Victor but not Petra #DeadlyClass— Alan Edwards (@superxtreme87) February 7, 2019
MEA World Wide (MEAWW) had an exclusive interview with the 21-year-old actress where she talked about Petra's near future, her striking similarity with Harry Potter's Hermione Granger and even addressed why she turned down Billy's heartfelt proposal, "I truly believe Petra ran away from something that felt too real for her."
You play the goth girl 'Petra,' and she's already a fan-favorite. Could you help us understand her character a bit more as to who she truly is as a person?
Petra initially comes across as a broody, static, flat character. As the series continues, her character develops to become much more emotionally driven and vulnerable. The writing is immaculate, and it really allowed Petra to become someone who I think audiences sympathize with. I think this will help audiences justify future decisions she makes to protect herself.
King's Dominion has been likened to Hogwarts, but for assassins. If we were to draw the parallel, and given how smart Petra is, do you think she resembles Hermione Granger in any way?
One hundred percent! Petra can most definitely hold her own in a fight, but her strong suit is strategy. She's a thinker. She is most powerful in preparation, but if needed can think exceptionally on her feet in dire situations.
Can you tell us what was going on in Petra's mind when Billy confessed his love for her? Is there any future possibility for Petra and Billy to be together?
I truly believe Petra ran away from something that felt too real for her. Viktor was an easy way to grow her status, and fight for a place among the Legacies, to feel like she has a place to belong to. She's very lost in terms of her romantic emotions or trusting others and therefore suppressing anything revealing how she truly feels about Billy. I really hope Billy and Petra get a shot with each other, it's been my favorite character connection this far for Petra.
How was your experience working alongside Lana Condor and Benedict Wong?
Benedict is phenomenal! Very fun to converse with over a drink, so full of life and energy! Lana is just a goofball all the way around, so many laughs on set.
How similar or different are you from the character of Petra in real life? What was the biggest thing that drew you to the character?
Similar in the sense where I know what it's like to run from something. I know what it's like to feel out of place. It often takes a lot of soul-searching to find comfortability in your own skin, and your teenage years are a massive learning curve when it comes to this sort of development. I majorly sympathize in a lot of events, experiences and emotions Petra endures. Different very obviously in aesthetic, ha! My utmost attraction to Petra was and is still the challenging character arc. Such a fun piece for an actor, as well as the 80's backdrop!
'Deadly Class' is a comic adaptation of the graphic novel by Rick Remender, so was it pressurizing to bring his character alive on set when he was around? What is the biggest challenge of translating comic books into TV adaptations?
Rick gives off such playful energy on set. It was always better with him around, considering a lot of pieces from the comics and scripts are grafted from his own personal life. We had so many questions! When he wasn't there, we were constantly calling him for information. Of course, there was a pressure to make sure the characters and era felt authentic and true to the comics. The very obvious answer to our biggest challenge would be capturing the essence and physicality of the characters. Bringing ink to the screen can, at times, be very difficult to make feel human and lifelike.
What has been the most challenging and fun part of playing Petra? How did you channelize her '80s Goth vibe?
The most challenging was gauging her character development, and where I wanted her to feel more vulnerable as to her typical guardedness. This was especially tricky since we shot the episodes out of sequence! This was also the most fun. It kept me engaged with her. We used influences like Siouxsie Sioux to achieve her look and attitude.
How did you achieve your role as Natasha Kohl in 'Giant Little Ones'?
It was a very long audition process. From the time I auditioned, to when we began shooting, I think it was about 1.5 - 2 years. I met with Keith [Behrman] and Allison [Black] multiple times over coffee for character discussion, and to get to know each other better. I think they wanted to ensure the energies they were bringing to their art were ones that could carry the beauty of the story, as well as ones they vibed with. Although thorough, I'm very grateful they took the route that they did because it allowed us to make something extremely special with the right spirits! Such a loving film and crew.