'Locke & Key': Laysla De Oliveira on playing Dodge, who is 'completely unapologetic about her awful behavior'

In this exclusive interview, Laysla De Oliveira talks about her experience playing Dodge, the character's motivations, and potential threads for Season 2

'Locke & Key': Laysla De Oliveira on playing Dodge, who is 'completely unapologetic about her awful behavior'
Laysla De Oliveira (Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
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Spoiler alert for Season 1 of ‘Locke & Key’
 
‘Locke & Key’ is a show that is filled with mysteries, and perhaps none so enigmatic as the form-changing Well-Lady - Dodge. The shapeshifter villain of the series is mainly played by Laysla De Oliveira, who talked to MEA WorldWide for this exclusive interview.

DeOliveira recounted the story of how she first found out she would be playing Dodge.
 
“I auditioned for the role. I was Christmas shopping when I found out I got the part. I didn’t think I would hear anything until after the Christmas holidays and so I was in complete shock when my team called me and told me I would be playing Dodge,” she said. “I ran out of the mall without my jacket, in freezing Toronto weather and called my family to tell them. I was screaming because I was so excited. I looked like a crazy person but it was awesome.”
 
Having read the graphic novel by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, De Oliveira was prepared for the season’s biggest twist - that Dodge, the Well-Lady, was an echo of a possessed Lucas Caravaggio. But the show added a twist of its own - that Dodge was also Gabe (Griffin Gluck) and had been going to high school with the Lockes right from the start.

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“In terms of the final twist, I think it was supposed to be a surprise, but very early on the writers were really excited about it. Meredith Averill kind of told me - I think it was at our first table read, so I knew pretty early on that that was the direction it was going in.”
 
Still in possession of the Identity Key, Dodge is able to assume the persona of pretty much anyone she wants. When asked if the form of the Well-Lady is the form Dodge prefers the most, Laysla De Oliveira certainly hopes so. “I hope that's her preferred form. I would like that a lot.  I think it started out that way, so that's cool, but I think it can go in so many directions because she can really be anybody she wants to be.”
 
She talked a little bit more about what it’s like to play Dodge. “Dodge is such a delicious character to play, and especially in the form that I played her, it was written that way, it's super fun and salacious,” she said. “And yes, she is evil, but she has a lot of fun doing it and she's very unapologetic about everything. So when I got the opportunity to play this role, I was just over the moon because I feel like sometimes there are very few roles where you're not apologetic for what you've done, so she was, she's really fun to play.”
 
The actress compared Dodge to some of the other characters she’s played. “Every character I play holds a very special place in my heart so it’s hard for me to choose one over the other because each experience is so different. The thing that is so special about Dodge is that she was written to have fun while being mean,” she explained.

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“I’m simply bringing to life the material I was given. Our writers did such an amazing job making her powerful, evil and also funny at times. I had never played a bad guy before so I had a lot of fun milking the character as much as I could, while also trying to ground her because she is pretending to be a human at the end of the day. It was really wonderful getting to play a character that was completely unapologetic about her awful behavior.”

Dodge isn’t exactly human - she’s an echo of a demon possessing a kid who died years ago. She expanded on how that impacted her performance. “In terms of how to play it, I think the main thing that we all try to concentrate on is what human form Dodge was taking,” she said. “So, you know, we have Dodge in a woman's body. How is that going to read? If Dodge is in high school, how is that going to read? So I think we just played to who we're manipulating and whose body we're in.”
  
Speaking of manipulations, De Oliveira was highly amused at the idea of possibly seducing Nina Locke, having already gotten close to both Tyler (Connor Jessup) and Kinsey (Emilia Jones). “Oh my god, that's hilarious. I hope so. That would be great.  In man form or in woman form? I don't know....that's a good idea for the writers. Maybe I'll tell them about that. I love Darby, so maybe.”
  
She also talked about the scenes she had the most fun shooting. “I love episode 7 because that’s when, in my opinion, Dodge is the most manipulative,” she said. “I also love all of the black door stuff from episode 10 because I got to do about three days of wire work which was pretty fun. I had never done anything like that before.”
 
 Laysla De Oliveira’s Dodge isn’t just the most salacious and manipulative version of the character - she’s also the most fashionable. “Dodge fittings were so fun to do! Our costume designer Megan Oppenheimer did such a terrific job. I LOVE the coat I’m wearing during the ring of fire scene with Bode. It’s a piece by Yves Saint Laurent and every time I wore it I just wanted to run away with it and never come back!” she said.
 
 “The finale outfit was also incredible,” she continued. “We wanted something that looked like a gown so Dodge could have her finale moment but that was also a pant so I could execute all the action sequences required in that episode, so we settled on this beautiful cape that was custom made by the wardrobe department and inspired by Cersei Lannister’s outfits in ‘Game of Thrones.’”

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Working on the show has been a dream come true for the actress, all around, and she has nothing but enthusiasm for ‘Locke & Key.’ “I'm so glad it's out there and people get to see it cause I know it took about 10 years for it to get to the screen,” she said. “So I'm very happy with it and I hope everyone is, too.“

Besides ‘Locke & Key,’ Laysla De Oliveira also stars in ‘Guest of Honour,’ a film by Atom Egoyan that was screened at the 76th Annual Venice film festival.
 
All episodes of Season 1 of ‘Locke & Key’ are now available to stream on Netflix.

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