Published: Friday, 28 May 2021 14:39 | Written by SciFi Vision
Today Netflix dropped the eagerly anticipated season 5B of its hit series, Lucifer. The series follows Lucifer (Tom Ellis), who after coming down to Earth, works as a consultant for the LAPD with Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German). Lesley-Ann Brandt stars as the demon Mazikeen.
In the back half of the season, Maze is on the search for a soul, and she also reconnects with Eve (Inbar Lavi) on the way.
Yesterday, Brandt talked to Jamie Ruby for an exclusive interview with SciFi Vision about working on the series, creating a musical episode, Maze's relationships, her motivations, designing Mazikeen’s look, and more.
SCIFI VISION: First of all, can you talk about filming the musical episode, what were some of the challenges in doing that along with the acting? LESLEY-ANN BRANDT:I've had experience, obviously, singing on the show, and so [with] that part of it, I felt really comfortable. I think the thing that I was probably more concerned about, for me, personally, was how does it fit in with our show? Because there're so many shows that have done musical episodes, and then it falls flat. I was concerned, you know, like, can we pull this off? Is this gonna detract from where the series is going - not detract from that, but does it fit in with the tone of our show? Which, it is light-hearted at times, but with the presence of God, you know, I personally always gravitate towards darker storylines. So, I was concerned, but I completely one hundred percent on the flip-side of that trust our director, Sherwin Shilati; he’s incredible. And Ildy, who wrote it, she has always wanted to do a musical episode. And I think the gift of this cast is that everyone just threw themselves into it. We had those concerns, [but] then we were like, you know, “Let's just go for it.”
And from what I'm hearing, there are a lot of people in the business who feel like it's the best musical episode of a TV show they've seen, or it's done really well, I should say, so that makes me feel really good. I'm super proud of the fact that we're able to challenge ourselves in that way.
Then, the way they worked it in with why we sing I thought was really smart.
Yeah, even the characters breaking out and dancing, I think, really worked. But yeah, I agree. It's definitely been my favorite musical episode. I also like how they integrated both your song and Ella (Aimee Garcia)’s song together; it worked out.
I think as soon as I heard you start singing, I'm like, “ ‘Bad to the Bone’ is perfect for Maze.” But I'm kind of curious, if you had picked the song, do you have another song in mind that maybe would be Maze’s theme song? And how has that maybe changed from the beginning of the show until now? I don't know you maybe haven't thought about that, and I’m putting you on the spot.
I mean, I think “Bad to the Bone” would have been her in season one, if I’m honest. Then, her having found her humanity, I don't know, “Complicated” by Rhianna, maybe? [laughs]
You know, she's just so layered and terrible, but I think in the moment, for where the character is at, that is actually perfect. “Bad to the Bone” is a perfect song.
I was a little worried just how I would vocally make it my own, because it's not a song that I thought was that well-matched to my voice, but then, we figured it out. That's the great thing about challenging yourself on a show like Lucifer.
Well it sounded good.
Do you know if they're going to put out another another soundtrack this season? I hope so.
I imagine so. I imagine they'll probably just add it to the Spotify list. That’s above my pay-grade. [laughs]
[laughs] All right.
So, can you talk about how Maze’s relationship with her mother, or not having a relationship with her mother, has affected her other relationships - her friendships, but also her relationship with Eve?
Yeah, you know, I spoke about this with someone I'm very close to who has a complicated relationship with their mother. It's challenging. Me being a mother, I couldn't imagine ever, no matter what, sort of leaving my child or not participating in his life or knowing what is important to him or trying to anticipate his needs as he grows. So, a part of me was like that; I fought really hard to relate to Lilith in that way, but I, as the actor, can never judge her decisions. I think some of the worst decisions that have ever been made in history come from a place of hurt, fear, or thinking they're doing the right thing. I think in Lilith’s case, it's the latter. It's her thinking, “In order to never feel the kind of pain I did by being called out of the garden of Eden, I am going to forge my children to be these basically iron rods,” you know, unflinching, unwavering, rolls completely up. She thinks she's doing the best thing [in] service to her kids…I don't think she gave her daughter Mazikeen the opportunity to discover those things on our own.
So, I think what’s very challenging for Maze is family, a sense of family, feeling like she probably deep down really always wanted it, but then knowing that it comes with disappointment or betrayal, or, you know, all those kind of human feelings.
So, I think Maze keeps her rules very high when you meet her in the beginning of our series, and gradually those rules start to come down, but it's a balance, because we must feel her humanity, but they never really forget that she is a demon. She has that dark side, and she can certainly go there with a drop of the hat.
So, it's tricky, but it's been a lot of fun. I will say that.
Speaking of family, obviously, her family has come from the friends that she's made. Do you think, by the end of the season, that hopefully she's maybe accepted that? Because I know every season she kind of ends up betraying Lucifer [laughs]. Does she maybe, do you think, by the end of the season, finally believe that these people have her back and that she's not going to need to do that again?
Yeah, I mean, here's the thing. Her relationship with Lucifer is complicated, because, yes, they are forever tethered to one another, and they have this really strong relationship, [but] at the same time, Mazikeen’s the only one who's all - I feel like Mazikeen and Chloe (Lauren German) are the two women who are really truthful with him, in the sense that Maze has seen all sides of him, and so has Chloe, in very intimate ways, and both of them are able to call him out on his shit.I think, for Maze, it's like, "When I am there and showing up, and you take advantage of my friendship or my generosity or my demonic-ness or whatever it is, that makes me feel used." So, we see the beginnings of dependence, I think, more so this season and in the latter half here inside B. I think, as with with any friendship, those are relationships that need to be nurtured. That’s not to say that good people or people in your life can't make mistakes and hurt you, but if there is no growth happening, then those relationships are not good.
And I think more than just finding that she doesn't need to, quote unquote, betray Lucifer, I think what she's beginning to do with every single character in the series, is understand that they are flawed, and it's okay for people to have flaws. And it's okay for her to struggle to try and work through those flaws and her own. That is the journey of friendship as well as the difficult times, but that is reserved for people who are worthy, and I think she eventually finds that these people are worthy of that.
This is kind of connected to that, but talking about about her growth this season, we hear God (Dennis Haysbert) tell her she's perfect the way she is. Obviously, she doesn't believe that at the beginning, but do you think by the end of the season she's happy with her true self? Has she accepted who she is? And I was also curious, as a second part of that, I don't know, but for me, I feel like maybe she started to get a soul a long time before this, and I was kind of curious, do you feel that way? And if so, when do you think that kind of started?
Well, I think that the journey of finding her soul, or if she has one or even if she needs one, that is her growth, I would say, learning how to love herself for her. In that I learn a lot from this character, because you're not everyone's cup of tea, and she certainly isn't. It takes a very special person to be with her, to understand her…I think maybe a better way to phrase it is that she is, by the end of the season, going to figure out what is enough for her. What does fulfillment look like? What are priorities for her moving forward? What's important in the scheme of things?
Her mother, for her entire life, told her what her role was, as did God and the universe and all that sort of, you know, this is what angels do; this is what the Devil does. This is what a demon does. She gets to write her own story that is completely connected and also separate to Lucifer, and that's kind of the beautiful journey of this character.
You talk about it taking a special person to be with her, so can you talk a bit about her relationship with Eve this season? And what do you think it is about that that works between the two of them? And do you think that it will continue, hopefully?
I mean, I think what I love about that relationship and why it works is that they both are so imperfect in so many ways. Even though she's the first woman and made in the image of God or man or whatever, she's made some huge mistakes in [her] relationship to Maze, but were they really mistakes? Because Eve needed time to figure out where she was and what she [wanted]. I think Maze arrived at that point a little sooner in their relationship, and so with that comes rejection and with rejection comes pain, and coming back to the point I made earlier about knowing that in these separate relationships with people, people are going to make mistakes, and it's okay to work through them.
I think what we see in 5B is these two working through that, and that's kind of what I love about this particular storyline, that they don't get it right. [Maze] thinks it comes down to her self-worth and what she believes she truly deserves, and I'm not sure she's quite there as to whether or not she thinks she deserves to be loved like this unconditionally, because that scar, that abandonment, [which] sort of marries Lucifer’s storyline, that family sort of abandonment, that always manifests itself in adult life sort of in really weird ways, and I think that's really relatable to a lot of people.
Then, switching gears, I wanted you to talk a little bit about her costumes, because her look is so great. How much do you get to influence that?
I'm hugely involved in the overall creation of this character. I work really closely with our writers to make her truthful to the journey we've already established season to season and also, visually, because I think through her clothing and her makeup and her hair, she tells a story, and she certainly carves out her identity.
So, typically, I'm heavily involved in her costumes. Usually, I have the biggest rack on the show of clothes, [laughs] which is super fun. Agata [Maszkiewicz], our costume designer, and I just found this really wonderful working relationship. She has a great eye. I would always be online looking at things, and I would send her ideas, and she would get it in, and then we’d just figure it out together.
And I love layering pieces. Maze is a character that you can just try different things. Then, once we have a look, a costume, finalized, I have on my phone just saved images of ideas of cool trends, because I like to keep Mazikeen sort of up with what is in right now, you know, what real makeup trends are sort of in at the moment.
Then, from there, we figure out hair too, and, obviously, if it's a fight scene we make it functional as well, [like] if I need a double at all, do we have to hide their face, and what the day looks like, if a hairstyle can be complicated or can't be to save time, all that sort of stuff.
I'm very involved in it, and I like it. I think, I hope, it shows the sort of care and detail that we put into her as a character, visually, because I do think it's a big part of how she enters the room with this, like, confidence.
Definitely. Yeah, she always looks great that's for sure.
Lastly, and I know, obviously, you can't give me any specifics at all, but are you are you happy with the way the series ended? How do you feel now that it's over?
I am. I was a little afraid when we got the additional season, because our writers had just written this epic sort of way to end the show, and I was like, “Oh, no, is there enough story to put into sixteen more episodes?” But hats off to them, because they found a way to really pay homage to these characters that are so loved and this show that's been so embraced. And I do feel like at the end of the series, the fans will be happy. I certainly was, as the character, having played Mazikeen for six years. This was the first time I saw a character from beginning to end, for me, as an actress. So, I walked away sort of knowing that I left it all out on the line. I gave it two hundred percent.