'Dwight in Shining Armour's Sloane Siegel fights medieval villains and hordes of enemies in this coming-of-age fantasy comedy
Bagging the lead in a fantasy/period comedy might seem huge for the 18-year-old actor, but what his character goes through in the series is even bigger!
While the whole world might be busy debating on whether 'The Office's Dwight Schrute is a loveable man or not, there's a new Dwight on screen, in the form of Sloane Siegel's character in the BYU TV series, 'Dwight in Shining Armour'. But while bagging the lead in a fantasy/period comedy might seem like a colossal achievement for the 18-year-old exceptionally talented actor, what his character goes through in the series is even bigger. And we are saying fighting medieval villains and hordes of big enemies!
Sort of like a live action version of the Netflix animated series 'Disenchantment', the reason Dwight's character in the BYU TV show stands apart from the rest of his teen counterparts on screen is the giant leap of faith the artsy teen takes as he decides to battle villains that aren't even his own enemies.
From being a regular teen interested in photography to coming across a sleeping medieval princess Gretta (Caitlin Carmichael) who must defeat her enemies alongside her sidekick, Baldric (Joel McCrary), Dwight's path is one filled with action and nothing short of epic as he goes through the typical coming-of-age journey.
"It’s been a pretty amazing journey, one that I never really expected growing up, but one day your life gets sent down a specific path and I happily followed," spills Siegel in an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW). "I’ve taken it one day at a time and learned how the industry works, made friends along the way and became a better person. I learn something new every day, whether it’s about writing or cinematography, or even how to empathize and portray a new type of character."
With Dwight, he says, "I get to fully embrace a rich world of fantasy with monsters, witches and warlocks. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for and I never get bored as my journey continues."
Grateful as he might be for the milestones he has achieved, Siegel also insists that Dwight wasn't very hard to relate to; in fact, not at all. "Dwight is very nature conscious and nature savvy and I like to think I am too. We both share a big love for animals and a respect for the world around us," reveals Siegel. "The biggest attraction for me was probably the story and writing. The writing because the first time I read the script, I remember thinking, 'Wow, that’s me'."
The young actor adds, "The way Dwight was written to talk and act came very naturally to me. It was like someone used me as a template for the character, so I instantly knew I would be perfect and it would be fun to play. The story is like every kid's dream, or it was certainly little me’s dream — to live in a fantasy world with knights, magic, and fairy-tale creatures. So, basically, everything about the show or character really drew me in."
But of course, it's not just knighthood and swords that his character Dwight encounters in the mini-series that premiered this March 18, and is set to run for 20 episodes this season.
"One of the things that make up the heart of this show is Dwight and Greta's relationship and how it blossoms," says Siegel. "The show starts them out as complete strangers and through every episode you watch their friendship grow, especially in episode 5 when they are forced to set aside their differences when they are shackled together by bandits. It’s really neat watching their dynamic as you see a tough warrior princess and a sensitive do-gooder guy learn how to accept each other for who they are. So, the show really does focus on their friendship and dependence on each other to survive… for now. Who knows if there’s something more than friends between them down the road," he teases.
Friendship, bonding, and coming of age aside, what 'Dwight in Shining Armour' also does is showcase Siegel in a new light as an action hero — a journey the young actor has admittedly thoroughly enjoyed. "There is one fight I get to do later in the episode we prepped two whole days for," Siegel reveals. "It was really fun working with the stunt coordinator to create something equally cool and hilarious. Other times I’m falling into things or getting hit with clubs or dodging swords — that stuff doesn’t take too long to prep for though. The challenging thing about the champion’s journey is pacing it out. I really want to make him tough right away, but for the character’s arc, I need to take my time with allowing Dwight to be more comfortable with the medieval world that has so quickly embraced his aloof presence."
And of course, he has his personal favorite picked when it comes to all the hilarious scenes he, Carmichael, and McCrary shot as part of the golden trio their characters become in the series. "My favorite scene so far that I can reveal is in the latter half of the first season when Baldric runs in slow motion and dives into a wishing fountain, then charges out soaking wet and steals a kid’s ice cream cone. I was in tears laughing the first time I saw it!"
Which only makes sense, because as tight as the trio's bond looks on screen, their real-life friendship has reached certain milestones already. "We very quickly became a family, and have a slew of inside jokes," reminisces Siegel fondly.
"Caitlin is a super duper professional actress, but she’s always the quickest to laugh in a scene. She’s the first person I usually see in the morning on set and the last to say goodbye to. I couldn’t have a better partner in crime. At first, working with Joel was intimidating because of his extensive experience with comedy, improv, and the industry. But very quickly we became good friends and you can usually find us singing songs or trying out new restaurants together."
And for all of this, he thanks 'Dwight in Shining Armour'. "I absolutely love our show and its world, so being a part of creating an episode and seeing our names on the front page of the script gave me one of the giddiest feelings in the world," concludes the exceptionally talented actor who — when not shooting medieval scenes — can be seen advocating for the world and our environment passionately. What a lad!