TONY GIROUX takes on the supernatural in Freeform’s highly anticipated series where witches rise up to smash the patriarchy, Motherland: Fort Salem premiering March 18th.
Freeform’s new supernatural drama reimagines history in a way that allows witches to take control of their fate for the first time. The feminist, action-packed series is set in an alternate, present-day America where witches ended their persecution 300 years ago by cutting a deal with the burgeoning U.S. government to fight for their country as the most competent and powerful soldiers ever.
AC: What can audiences expect from Motherland: Fort Salem?
TONY GIROUX: Motherland: Fort Salem is going to be a ride. It is an edgy and darker sci-fi themed show that roots itself in honest human emotions and struggles. More importantly, it presents a matriarchal society and gripping female narratives, which I believe is what we need in this industry and our media.
Can you give us any teasers about what is in store for your character?
Dilemma. Adil is continually torn between his strong values and soft heart, causing some tension with the established order, yet falling right into it. A fight, I believe, we as people all go through in our day to day lives.
Do you have a favorite line of dialogue from the series?
Adil stands for values that aligned with my own, making it a delicious ride for myself as an actor. One of my favorite lines thus far is: “Every war, people starve. We contract horrible plagues like the one attacking my sister. And for what?”
And I also got to speak in a made-up language, which was pretty slick.
Can you recall any funny moments from on-set filming?
Perhaps the appropriate question would be can I recall any non-funny moments! First day on set with my co-star Ashley Nicole Williams, we looked at one another and just started making funny faces, rest was history and lots of giggles. She is an incredibly warm and generous human being and actor. Never a dull moment. The entire cast and crew were a family. And once I start being goofy, it’s hard to stop.
Have you ever had a supernatural experience?
Carl Jung says, “you are not the master of your own house, there are spirits that dwell within you.” And I do believe there are spirits both within and outside of us. Just a few days ago, I was walking in nature and randomly felt like a person pushed me from behind, like a hand pushing me on my upper right shoulder to move forward. I was a little bit weirded out, but I really do believe there are beings that our conscious selves cannot see.
How can you tell when you’re reading a great script?
A script is like a house. You look at it from the outside, and it might look well done, have a nice roof, might be intriguing, yet you don’t know what is inside. So I take a look and search for a window, something that pulls me in and makes me eager to discover it all. With great scripts, that window presents itself very quickly and makes the ride so riveting.
As an actor, what are you still trying to learn?
A struggle for myself has always been deep and genuine vulnerability. I spent a lot of my teenage and young adult years repressed due to different influences. The journey to accepting all aspects of me has been challenging, and extremely rewarding. I hope to continuously unpeel the layers and showcase myself in all my ability and catastrophe.
When did you begin to see acting as a potential career avenue?
In my late teens, I fell in love with performing through the medium of street dance. The feeling of being on stage was like no other. Exhilarating yet terrifying. I discovered acting and found so much joy and fulfilment with being able to express myself beyond my body movement: through speech, subtle nuances, and human moments. I now love it and don’t see myself steering away from it!
How important is social media to you right now?
Very. I feel it is an important time in history with environmental issues, political differences, questioning our own past. And I believe social media is a huge tool to spread a message I stand for: #HeartTalk, listening and speaking from our hearts and being there for one another.
What do you want the world to look like in 10 years?
A little more smiles, little more laughter, little more love.
Everyone seems to have an app idea at the moment, what’s yours?
A worldwide dating app. Only to find Tony’s future wife.
If you had the chance to put something on billboards worldwide next week, what would it be? Or what would it say?
Convinced an act of love can change the world. Or Motherland: Fort Salem is going to ROCK YOUR SOCKS!
In front of the camera, what is a fear you’d like to conquer?
Not fart. Or Feeling completely free.
What can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
I am also a filmmaker. I’m just wrapping up a short documentary series which we are premiering in London and might take on the festival route, and I’m developing a short film I wrote, directed and acted in, which tackles the theme and struggles of new-age alternative relationships.
Aside from your upcoming projects, is there one thing you’re particularly excited about for the future?
To continue to experience this crazy ride called life and get ice cream right after this.
PHOTOGRAPHY: RICHIE LUBATON
INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES