If you haven’t seen The Magicians on SyFy, I highly suggest you drop everything and go binge it ASAP. (Click here to watch the entire first season online for free! Legally!)
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the latest book-turned-series to hit the airwaves, here’s the breakdown: “Based upon Lev Grossman’s best-selling books, The Magicians centers around Brakebills University, a secret institution specializing in magic. There, amidst an unorthodox education of spellcasting, a group of twenty-something friends soon discover that a magical fantasy world they read about as children is all too real— and poses grave danger to humanity.”
Intrigued? I sure was. As an avid fantasy fan and TV-watcher, when someone told me that the adult-Harry Potter had arrived in the form of a smartly written and magnetic television show, I was hooked before they could say, “magic spells”.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with actress Rose Liston, who plays young Jane Chatwin on the show. This British-American talent brings timeless charm to The Magicians, and we can rest assured this is just the beginning for her. Enjoy!
Did you stumble into your acting career accidentally or on purpose, and what has your journey looked like? Did you have a good support system from the beginning?
R: I sort of stumbled in and then pursued it. I did a few tiny plays when I was 8, and then decided I really wanted to do acting classes. I started classes in a local large city & loooved it. Honestly, I was 9 and the teacher really praised me so obviously I enjoyed it, hahaha! Then I realized that I could do it more professionally so my lovely Mum and Dad helped me find an agency in London. My first professional job was in a music video, which was amazing! I did shorts and acting classes for about 3 years until I got a super cool audition for Sadie J, which I ended up booking a recurring guest star role on. After the first season of that I had to move with my family to Washington state (my Dad was in the Air Force). Finally, 3 years ago my Dad, Mum, and I got the opportunity to move to LA! I really did have to start all over again here, luckily with my fabulous family by my side. We have worked out the system in LA and I am finally feeling confident in this crazy place.
Where did you grow up, and how do you think that influenced the person you are today?
R: Oh man. I moved quite a bit. I was born in Ipswich, England, moved then to Virginia, next to Germany, back to another place in England, hopped to Washington state and finally moved down here to LA. I think it really influenced the person I am. I had lots of experiences many people don’t get to have at a young age. I would travel playing sports or following my brother who was playing sports. I got to do exchanges to other countries while I was only just in Middle School. I was shaped by the places and people around me, but also grounded by my family and the military community that would always be with us. Loved every minute. I really feel it allowed me to be able to understand people and cultures a lot more easily than if I hadn’t had my upbringing.
When you first started auditioning, did you start from the bottom with student films & non-union shorts, or did you go straight into it with an agent and union projects?
R: Well, since I started in London’s film and TV world, they don’t really have things they call “non-union”. We have a union called the British Equity, but if you don’t belong to it you can still be in everything if you get cast, you aren’t ever a must join or anything. I started with shorts, music videos and student films, but I also had an agent. Honestly, my first agent seemed to get me out more for modeling in the end, hahaha. It was great fun though!When I came here to LA I started completely with non-union shorts & student films, also doing music videos, non-union commercials & internet things! They all definitely helped me figure out the difference between the LA market & the London market’s way of working.
What type of training did you receive along the way, and do you still take classes now?
R: I have done TONS of different training, from summer intensives at internationally renowned theatre schools to little tiny improv classes in the depths of Hollywood. There was never anything I didn’t want to try. Saying that, I would also try it then never return HAHA! But you always have to “click” with training, in any form, so I think it really helped shape the actor I am by trying different classes.
What was the audition process like for The Magicians, and what was your reaction when you were told you would play the role of Jane Chatwin?
R: It was your standard TV Pilot audition! So, I got the email saying I had an audition for “Jane Chatwin” in a pilot called “The Magicians” based off the books by “Lev Grossman”. I then chose my best “British school girl from the 1940s” outfit, as that is what they described the character as and I was off! I had a callback & then a few days later a call saying I got it! I was beyond chuffed. I loved the character and the concept so much. I knew I could really do it justice! When I was told we were filming the pilot in New Orleans I was even more excited!
What was an average day on set like for you on The Magicians?
R: Long! But awesome. I would change into my amazing (yet very itchy) vintage costume & head to hair and makeup. The ladies would do me up all nice & Jane Chatwin-like! Then we would go to set, block the scene with all the crew watching and figuring out where they would position lights, cameras & all that jazz! After everything had been set up, we would get on with filming the actual scene. The skill of all the crew is just amazing.
Any important takeaways you’ve learned from your experience with the cast and crew?
R: I genuinely learned how amazing EVERYONE in productions are. I knew that already honestly, but like, The Magicians is a crazy hard production to bring together! All of the shots are always intricate and the emotions are always deep. The cast and crew do it so damn flawlessly.
Lastly, how do you see your career moving forward & evolving?
R: Well, all I can hope for my career is that it brings me happiness. It definitely has for the past 10 years. I would love to do more TV & delve into Feature Films, but I know all will come in due time. For now, I’m going to keep on moving and doing the LA grind! I am so excited for the future!
Make sure to follow Rose Liston on social media to see where she heads next!