The “Reign: Noble Gestures” panel on Saturday at 11:30AM in the Marriott Atrium Ballroom began with rousing cheers from the crowd. Panelists Adam Croasdell, Rachel Skarsten, Adelaide Kane, and Megan Follows began by showing their appreciation for their fans and for the wild, wonderful celebration that is Dragon Con. Fellows said it was a blast to wander the streets Friday night. “I danced with a banana. How often can you say that?” Skarsten may have said it best, though: “You can’t explain Dragon Con. You have to experience it.”
Asked about how she prepared for the role of Catherine de’ Medici, Follows said that she read some history books, which helped her get a sense of Catherine’s past. But she felt that her real-life experiences were her best preparation. “I’ve been married and divorced… The whole thing of the king with the mistress, I could relate to [it]. I didn’t have to do a lot of imagining to know what it was like to want to kill your husband,” she added with a laugh. She also talked about the relationship between Catherine and Narcisse. She thinks Catherine was more in love with Narcisse than he was with her. “Narcisse was in love with whoever was the most powerful player in the room,” Fellows said. “He obviously had this thing about Lola. He was having a hard time letting go of her, but I think he had deep respect and fear of Catherine—for the right reasons. When he wanted to act…like a grownup, he came to Catherine.”
The panelists seemed just as disappointed as the fans that the show got cancelled. Croasdell admitted that he’d “felt gutted” because he thought there was a lot left to explore. They didn’t know the show had been cancelled until they were halfway through filming the last episode, and then the end had to change. Kane agreed that it was a tough time. “I just got a baby [in the show],” she said, and they never got to see Croasdell shirtless. “We can now,” Skarsten said to hoots of anticipation from the crowd. Unfortunately, it was not to be. The hunky Croasdell just laughed.
Each of the panelists managed to snag something from the show’s unique fashions before it ended. Skarsten took the shoes she was wearing today at the panel. Kane also took some shoes and some jewelry, including a pair of earrings that she had never gotten to wear on the show, plus a pair of riding boots (because comfortably broken-in riding boots are hard to come by). Fellows took a black and gold coat, which she later wore to the Canadian Screen Awards. The lovely gowns and clothes were tailored specifically for each member of the cast. Even Croasdell’s riding boots were tailored specifically for the size of his foot and calf. “The attention to detail was astonishing,” he said. The rest was all sold to a costume company in Toronto.
Kane and Skarsten became good friends on the set, after Kane did her best to make it happen. “Adelaide is so deliciously candid about things,” Skarsten said. She thought after meeting Kane, “Who is this chick? I love her!” When Kane found out that she liked ice hockey and gave her a pair of ice skates, hoping that they could go skating together and become friends, their friendship blossomed. When asked what present would make a friend of Fellows, she promptly replied in Catherine’s intimidating voice, “Long walks and bottles of poison.”
Fellows thought that her character had to be manipulative because of her precarious position. “It was crazy all the trials and tribulations they let Catherine go through,” Fellows said. “She had a terrible temper; she also could be really coy and playful. It was a great challenge… How lucky [she had felt] to be playing this powerful, unpredictable [character].” Kane, on the other hand, saw Mary as the straight man, always needing to stay calm and collected. “She was really passionate and followed her heart,” Kane said. In those days, Fellows pointed out, a woman had to find a husband and have a male heir.
“Says you,” Skarsten said in Queen Elizabeth–regal tones, which drew laughs of appreciation from Fellows and the audience.
The panelists celebrated Reign for being driven by so many deep female characters and for having such a female-centric cast and crew. In the end, though, they agreed that the show’s most important characteristic is that it was a great story about powerful people. They discussed the high expectations for this summer’s Wonder Woman, and the dire predictions of never filming another female superhero movie if it tanked. Skarsten pointed out the unfairness of that logic. Think of all the movies with male superheroes that have tanked, she said, and they keep making them.
A favorite-scene question brought up recollections of misplaced knees, leather pants tearing open at the posterior, and bodice-ripping from the front being far more practical in a hurry than unlacing from the back (watch Dragon Con TV’s replay for the salacious details). Fans also heard about calligraphy practice and a surprising lack of weapons training (Bothwell preferred to kill people with his bare hands).
Thanks for a great panel. Long will you reign in your fans’ hearts.