Recently, before she came to New Zealand as part of Armageddon Expo, we spoke with ‘Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’ star Abigail Cowen about the brand new season of the show, her character Dorcas, and her friendship with her fellow Weird Sisters…
Stand up for what you truly believe in and don’t doubt your conviction or your motives.
COUP DE MAIN: I really enjoyed how in the first episode of the new season of the 'Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina', Sabrina challenges the traditional gender norms of The Academy of Unseen Arts by trying to become ‘Top Boy’. Was it cool to see the show take on an issue of gender discrimination so strongly?
ABIGAIL COWEN: Yeah! I mean the show already does that in general really. It does such a good job addressing that and I really liked how we had a whole episode really dedicated to it. Especially, with the sisters, we use our sexuality as a force within us and I think that’s really cool - but then we also kind of submit to Father Blackwood which is very interesting. So it kind of challenged that and made us all have to think, and yeah, typical Sabrina, challenging everything! Yeah, it was amazing.
CDM: It’s something that even though it happens in the magical world, it is also something very relatable - being told that you can’t do something because you're a young women.
ABIGAIL: Exactly! Yeah, I love how we can do that within our art. And symbolically, because it is in the magical world but we deal with real world issues in our imaginary world. I think that’s amazing.
CDM: What were your first impressions of each of your Weird Sisters the very first time that you met Adeline and Tati?
ABIGAIL: We met in a chemistry read, so we were basically in the finals, Tati was already cast and there was Adeline and me in the waiting room and two other girls I think. I was the last one to come in and everyone was already practicing and getting ready to test with Tati. It was amazing when Adeline and I went in for the last time. They kept pairing us together, it was me, Adeline and Tati in the chemistry read, and we all kind of like had this look to each other. We talked about it afterwards, we felt the energy and were like, 'This is it.' Then we walked out together and we said our goodbyes and pretty much were like, ‘Good luck, hope you get it!’, and hugged each other. I had a feeling! We had such chemistry. Literally, it was like magic, it was really crazy. Now we’re like sisters in real life, they came to my birthday party last Saturday and it was amazing. We literally are best friends.
CDM: What first caught your eye about the script for the 'Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’ when you first found out about it?
ABIGAIL: Of course, it was Sabrina - I was freaking out over it. I remember my managers telling me like, ‘Oh no, it’s not like the old Sabrina, it’s gonna be very dark, very different.’ I just love that it’s so dark and I love that it really takes on a lot, we’re not afraid to kinda overstep boundaries with a lot of things and it is fun to be a part of. I like the way that it really does contrast light versus dark in the world as well. I’ve thought about that a lot, how Sabrina is kind of this figure who represents the struggle between light and dark, and is fighting it - I just really love that.
CDM: I talked to Chance Perdomo about his character Ambrose and how he kind of got to reinvent and have a lot of freedom with the character because in the comics Ambrose was a middle-aged man - and it’s similar for you with the Weird Sisters, who are very different to their portrayal in the comics. Did you enjoy having that level of making a brand new character, and set of characters with your fellow weird sisters?
ABIGAIL: Yeah! I really did, we were originally supposed to be in unison with everything, but I think it was really cool because our individual personalities started to come out as the show progressed. But again, we could choose that - I chose in certain moments to be more innocent with the whole thing and kind of dreamy and in my own world, and kind of a follower of the other sisters. I talked to Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa] about it and I was like, ‘How about I just have this thing for my character where I’m not so sure that I’m that committed to this way of life? I’m following my sisters because it’s all that I’ve ever known,’ so I kind of came up with a whole storyline for that, I hope that it comes out throughout the show. It’s been fun, picking those little moments - and even moments without any lines, because sometimes we’re just standing there staring, just having a presence in the scene.
CDM: You have to master your stares.
ABIGAIL: Exactly! I’m like, 'What kind of stare do I want? Do I want an evil one? Or do I want kind of a more dreamy one?' So it’s definitely fun.
CDM: Do you think the world would be a better or worse place if magic was real?
ABIGAIL: Oh gosh, I don’t know! My initial response is a worse place just because people could do what they want and get whatever they want and some people have really horrible motives, which I’m starting to learn as I’m getting older. I feel like that would scare me, but I also feel like we could really use it to change the world in a better way. But that’s also all relative - no-one knows what actually is good and what’s bad. So going with the sense of it all being relative, I would say it’s a bad thing. It would not work. Although to cure illness though, I think it would be great.
CDM: If you could give your character Dorcas one piece of advice, what would it be?
ABIGAIL: Stand up for what you truly believe in and don’t doubt your conviction or your motives. Because my character is very much a follower, so I would say that to someone that is dealing with those types of things.
CDM: I love the video of you and Adeline listening to Ariana Grande’s ‘God Is A Woman’ on-set - do you enjoy listening to any other music on-set to help you get into character as the Weird Sisters?
ABIGAIL: Yeah, I will text Adi, I’ll be like 'come to my trailer' or I’ll go to hers - we literally spend thirty minutes just jamming to music, just us two, and if anyone were actually to walk in and see us and see what we’re doing and dancing weirdly, it would be so strange! We love ‘Tie Me Down’ by Gryffin. We saw him in concert and we were freaking out, that’s like our favourite song. We listen to so much music all the time - it’s our thing, having a dance party in our trailers.
CDM: You’re going back to film at the end of April. Are you looking forward to reuniting with your fellow cast-mates in Vancouver? It must be like a family reunion when you get to see everyone again.
ABIGAIL: Yeah, it’ll be great! I mean, we see each other periodically in LA, so we’ve definitely seen each other. It’s like a little family up there and we’re all a little community which is fun. We live within a couple of blocks of each other and hang out when we have days off, it's like summer camp!
CDM: We just did an interview with Tati who has a question for you - she wanted to know if you’ve had any supernatural experiences yourself?
ABIGAIL: Yes, I have! I’ve had so many which is kind of strange. I know it probably sounds crazy, but I’ve had really vivid dreams when I wake up and I’m like, ‘Oh no,’ and it will happen the next day, exactly how I dreamt it, the exact same scenario. I’ve had that happen like five or six times. It’s crazy. I remember in high school I had a dream how my ex-boyfriend would break up with me, and sure enough, exact same place, exact same reason - everything he said, it’s so strange. And then supernatural? Yes, in Vancouver when I was staying at The Sutton Place Hotel, I literally woke up to - it was very scary, but it was also kind of a dream, but also that place is known to be haunted; I don’t know if I talked myself into it - seeing a ghost, and then I saw the same ghost again the next day.
CDM: I love the video of you stanning Andy Samberg. Have you been keeping up with the new season of ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’?
ABIGAIL: I have actually never seen ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’. I know that sounds crazy.
CDM: You have to!
ABIGAIL: Yes, I know! I’ve only seen his other stuff; his sketches, I’ve seen his music videos, I’ve seen ‘Hot Rod’, ‘Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping’. It takes a certain type of humour too - a lot of people don’t find it funny, I’ve shown them and they just don’t laugh. But I have not yet gotten into ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’. Everyone commented on that video, they were like, “Oh my god, ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine',” and I was so confused because I didn’t even know what that was. It’s on my list, I need to watch it.
The ‘Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina' Part 2 is airing now on Netflix - watch the trailer below…