Interview: BRIDGET REGAN (Kahlan Amnell) from “Legend of the Seeker”

Bridget Regan (Kahlan) - Legend of the Seeker

A few weeks ago, I got the chance to speak to BRIDGET REGAN who plays Kahlan Amnell on the wonderful series, Legend of the Seeker.

I have become a fan of Bridget Regan since Legend of the Seeker started, and it was really great to get a chance to speak with her. I expect this is not the last time we’re going to see her (so take note of her name). I have a feeling this is the beginning of a long career for Bridget Regan (remember that I said it first), and that’s why I am excited to share what she had to say with you.

Of course don’t miss Legend of the Seeker on weekends (go to www.legendoftheseeker.com to find your local time and channel).

Here is the interview:

Can you talk about how you first got the part?

Bridget Regan: Yes, it was just a regular audition I got from my manager and agent. I first auditioned in New York, and there was no script and I had “Wikipediated” the story all night and going “what’s going here?”, I have not idea. And I was trying to figure it out, and I just went it and gave it a try. And then I was in LA for something else, and they had me come in again, and they kept having me back again and back again, and next thing I knew, I was on a plane to New Zealand, and riding horses, fighting with daggers, and the rest is history.

How did you prepare for the part? How long did it take you?

Bridget Regan: When we came out here, they pushed the shooting twice, mostly because of the script and trying to get everything right. And we had enough time to work on riding, fighting and getting the costumes right and all those things. And I am so thankful because I needed that training, because I hadn’t fought enough or ridden to make it look like I had been doing it my whole life, and I knew I had to make it feel like it was second nature in order to pull it off. The beautiful thing about playing a character from a book is that if you read the pages, she’s described by Richard, and she’s described by the people, and there’s a section where it’s actually in her mind and in her thoughts, and I just read the book like crazy.

Do you do your own stunts?

Bridget Regan: I do. Occasionally they won’t let me do things like jump out of trees or roll downhills, and I have an amazing stunt woman – she has work on everything down here. She takes over when they won’t let me do it. And also there’s a lot of coverage they can do. We have two units going all the time for the show because we film so fast, so she’ll do stuff for me there when I can’t be there. But yes, I do almost everything and it’s freaking fun, I love this, it’s such a cool part of my job.

What is it like being in New Zealand?

Bridget Regan: I don’t think the show would work anywhere other than New Zealand, because it’s like every location is more beautiful than the next, and it wouldn’t work if we didn’t have such beautiful landscape and backdrop. The Midlands is a character, and it needed to be wild and look like no one had been there before in order to work. It’s beautiful, it’s summer right now, I’m in the midst of cooking every day in my costume, but it’s a small price to pay for what we get. There’s a reason all these fantasy shows and movies film out here, and the crew and the local cast is top notch.

What is coming up for Kahlan?

Bridget Regan: The episodes we shot that are airing right now, the relationship with Richard and Kahlan will be questioned and tested to see how much they can restrain. It’s some quite remarkable because, you know I’ve never played a character that I have so much respect for. I’ve played parts that are really great and you know it’s fun to play anxiety, or jealousy, or being really flirtatious, or things like that, those are all quite fun, but Kahlan has such integrity and passion for what she does I find it inspiring. Obviously Terry Goodkind created such a beautiful character, it’s such a pleasure to play. But… she’s being tested.

You guys have been picked up for a second season, do you know what it will be about? Will it be book two for “The Sword of Truth”?

Bridget Regan: They haven’t told us what it’s going to be yet. If it’s going to continue to draw on “The Sword of Truth,” or what it’s going to be. There is certainly no shortage of material to pull from. But they haven’t told us. You know sometimes the show really follows the book quite literally, and then other times it strays from them. So every time we get a new script I’m tearing into it, because it’s like “what is going to happen to these characters?” I’m interested, like a fan almost, about what’s going to happen.

Did you read all the books from “The Sword of Truth”?

Bridget Regan: No, I read “Wizard’s First Rule” and then “Debt of Bones,” I have a lot to go, because I keep going back reading [“Wizard’s First Rule”] over and over again because… – I bring the book out to set because every time there’s a guy who has been confessed on the show, they’re like “what is this?…” and then I come over and hand them the book and go “here you go, just read it” and it’s a part describing what it feels like to be confessed, and they’re like “wow, thanks” and I’m like “okay, good luck playing that now buddy” (laughs), and then they go and they do it. It’s fun to watch because I’ve confessed so many men on the show, and seeing how each of them interprets it and plays it. At first I was going “oh it should always be the same and you need to make sure there is continuity with all of them,” but now it’s like “n,o I like the idea that this magical power would affect people differently.” And you know because it draws on love, it’s cool to see how different people play how it affects them, what their idea of falling hopelessly completely in love is.

If you could only confess one person in real life who would it be?

Bridget Regan: Oh my God, what a question! Well, I don’t think I would want to confess anyone, it seems quite brutal. It probably would have to be somebody really, really bad, who really needed some turn around. I like the idea that Kahlan doesn’t want to do it, and she kind of hates her power and she wishes she was just a normal woman, that’s one of my favorite things about it, the complex feelings she has for what she is. So… it would have to be somebody really, really bad.

How has the fan response been?

Bridget Regan: They are so lovely. I get it because I love the characters of Kahlan and Richard probably as much as they do. I love the enthusiasm, and when they get upset about the [show] not being like the book I’m with them. I’m like “I get it man, I get it, I know what you want, you want to see the book,” because it obviously affected them. It’s such a great world to get into. And I adore the fans, I feel so lucky that we have any sort of fan base at all to begin with. It was quite lucky to have that.

Do you have any projects coming up?

Bridget Regan: We’re still waiting to see when the hiatus is going to be, but you know right now I’m quite devoted to the show and I’m quite happy to be. It’s such a blessing to play this part and work with these people. I may do a little something in the hiatus but it’s not that long of a time until we come right back and start shooting again.

Where would you want your career to go after the show? Would you like to do some more television or maybe transition into movies?

Bridget Regan: Before this I was doing a play on Broadway in New York and I love theater a lot. I ran off this weekend to Sydney to see Cate Blanchett in “The War of the Roses Cycle” at the Theater Company there, it was a beautiful play. I’m always drawn to who the character is and what the story is, not necessarily what the medium that it’s being told in. But I love the idea of moving back and forth from different things. I love TV, I feel like it’s such a cool idea, I mean it’s interesting, it’s somebody’s house you come into and you’re there every week, and I love the familiarity that it lends. I know I certainly feel like my favorite TV shows, you feel like you’re friends because you watch them on TV every week. But I do love movies as well. I’m kind of a what will be will be person, so I think that where I end up is where I’m supposed to be.

Do you have a part/character that you would love to play?

Bridget Regan: I did see the Shakespeare play this weekend and now I’m itching to do a Shakespeare play. Obviously everything that is opposite of what you’re doing at the time is going to be quite attractive, but I am certainly nowhere near done playing Kahlan, I hit it quite lucky. So I’m going to do that for a bit, ride that out (laughs). It’s such a joy, so many talented friends/actors are waiting tables and what have you, and just to be working is, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Do you have time to watch any television? What are some of your favorites?

Bridget Regan: Yes, I do, I mean I work so much that I do whenever I can. I just got the boxes [DVD] of Dexter and have been watching that. I am a devoted fan of Deadwood, that’s my ultra favorite show. And I do watch Flight of the Conchords and I love It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Did you have to dye your hair [Bridget Regan has red hair] for the audition or did they dye it after you got the part?

Bridget Regan: They dyed it once I moved to New Zealand and they chemically straightened it, and I was like “who am I?” It was like a good week of catching myself in the mirror going “Ha” (laughs). But it was definitely right for the role, and I knew that going into it. I think that’s true with any part you play, you’re gonna have to change and look at yourself in a different light. The makeup designer and everything she said “I just think it needs to be brown” and I was like “alright let’s do it” and she was absolutely right. Before I was going “couldn’t Kahlan have red hair?” (laughs), you know because I love my red hair, but then it was right, I think that the dark hair lends itself better to the character.
In the book they describe her hair and her eyes over and over again, green eyes, green eyes, and I was going “I hope they don’t want me wear contacts” because my eyes are blue. I was quite torn about it because part of me really wanted to do this character justice and really play her as written, but at the same time I am of the thought that every character you play is a bit of a blend of you and the part, so it’s not just Kahlan, it’s Kahlan/Bridget. And that was something that one of my teacher taught me, that if you don’t personalize it and you don’t bring some of yourself to it, it will never ring true. And so I am really thankful they kept my eyes as they are, I feel like it’s nice to not have any sort of untrue qualities.