EXCLUSIVE | 'Doom Patrol' star Abigail Shapiro reveals how Dorothy Spinner fits into Season 2
In an exclusive interview with MEAWW, Abigail Shapiro talks about the mysterious Dorothy Spinner and the challenges of bringing the character to life
All the trauma that the Doom Patrol has been through at the hands of Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton) has been done to try and help one person: Dorothy Spinner, who's played by Abigail Shapiro. We only caught a glimpse of her at the end of Season 1, but Season 2 will be featuring her a lot more heavily. In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), Abigail Shapiro talks about the mysterious Dorothy Spinner and the challenges of bringing the character to life.
Shapiro begins with a quick summary of just who Dorothy Spinner is. "Dorothy Spinner is the daughter of Niles and the primitive woman he met on his expedition back in 1917. She has an ape-like face and she has the ability to bring to life anything can imagine. She has this group of imaginary friends who emerge whenever she's overly emotional in some way. Some are good, and some are bad and she doesn't have much control over them and that causes her to be a potential threat to the end of the world."
Expanding on Dorothy's imaginary friends, Shapiro says, "Most of them are from the comics. The one that's not - I don't think - is the Manticore. You saw him last season, briefly, with the story about her mother Slava the primitive woman back in Episode 10," she says. "So, her mother's kind of passed down the Manticore...but you're gonna see a few from the comics."
The actor then went on to talk about the work she put in to prepare to play the character, not knowing a lot about Dorothy Spinner, to begin with. "All I knew was the character description for the audition. When I booked the role, I did as much research as possible. So I read the Grant Morrison comics, Rachel Pollack comics and I also did a little bit of research on the 'Wizard of Oz,' because in the comics Dorothy's based on Dorothy Gale from the 'Wizard of Oz' and I guess she's kind of a mix of the flying monkeys to with the ape face if you kind of think about it. I didn't know much going in, so I did as much research as possible to be as well informed as I could."
She also caught up on Season 1 of 'Doom Patrol.' "When I got the call back I was like, 'I should see what this show is,' and right when I watched the show I immediately fell in love with it. It's so weird, and I really like that," she said. "So many quirky moments that the show's really well-known for. I also liked it because it's not afraid to explore the darker side of our humanity and follow really imperfect people that aren't your normal role model that a superhero would normally be."
Stepping into the role of Dorothy Spinner had some physical challenges as well. "I wore a full-face prosthetic and I wore a fake forehead, a fake nose, a chin, ears and fake hair. It was about a two-hour process, in the beginning, it was three hours. It was really cool to be able to do that because it was like my face was a piece of art," she said, "And I was just so impressed by these makeup artists who are doing this art on my face almost every day. I got to witness that and I learned a lot about makeup and prosthetics, and I have a whole new appreciation for that field."
Working with those prosthetics wasn't easy. "For some reason, whenever I had it be surprised in some way, it was hard. It didn't always come across," she said. "The most difficult thing was that I wore fake teeth. So I had a few diction problems in the beginning, and I also have a British accent. So, that was definitely a challenge. What I did to overcome that was I watched all the seven 'Harry Potter' movies with the big teeth in and repeated every line back."
Dorothy Spinner, despite being technically 90 years old, is mentally a lot younger than the rest of the cast. "She's artificially capped at 11 years old and she hasn't really had the opportunity to grow up because she's been isolated and by herself for so long," said Shapiro. "I tried to look at it as thinking of myself like I would, when I was a kid, 'cause when you're a kid you don't think of yourself as a little kid. So, the way I approach Dorothy, I wasn't thinking, 'Okay, I'm a little kid now.' I was thinking more, 'I'm Dorothy Spinner.'"
Abigail Shapiro shared a little about what shooting Season 2 has been like. "It's been really, really, fun. This is my first ever on-camera gig, so I'm really grateful for it to be this really cool show. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming," she said. "One of my most memorable moments was the first day of shooting. I did a scene with Riley [Shanahan] - me and Robotman. You see this briefly in the trailer, but we're in the car. It was that scene. It was really fun to film, and it was really cool to start on that kind of positive note."
On Dorothy's relationship with Niles Caulter, Shapiro had this to say: "It's definitely complicated because he locked her away for so long, so there's a little tension because of that, but she also loves him so much, and she really wants to impress him too, as I guess any little girl would."
Abigail Shapiro also summed up just what fans could expect from Season 2. "Season 2 is all about growing up. And even when you're an adult, you're still growing up and growing up is inevitable, that's the whole journey of Season 2," she said, adding one last message for the fans about what to expect: "Get ready for a crazy time. That's all I have to say."
'Doom Patrol' Season 2 premieres on June 25 on DC Universe.