Every week, Emerald City EP David Schulner will bring EW behind the scenes and explain the ins-and-outs of the new NBC dark fantasy series inspired by the Land of Oz books. Here, Schulner dives deep into the “quiet explosions” of episode three, “Mistress New Mistress.” Take it away!
“Mistress New Mistress” was a massive episode of Emerald City. Dorothy’s storyline alone required it to be shot in four cities (Seville, Cabo de Gata, Calahorra, Budapest) across two countries (Spain, Hungary). Castles blew up. Three stuntwomen had to free-fall from the top of a giant. And, spoiler alert, a major character took an even greater fall.
But, for me, my favorite “explosions” were the quiet ones between our characters. West revealed, in a stunning performance by Ana Ularu, why she hates magic, and would rather be the Wizard’s lackey than own her powers as a Cardinal Witch. Dorothy confided in Lucas for the first time, recounting the moment she found out she was adopted. In a speech completely free of sentimentality, thanks to Adria Arjona’s performance, we came to understand where Dorothy’s determination and vulnerability came from. Tip’s confusion and rage in regards to her new gender erupted in a painful monologue that, heartbreakingly, is still relevant today.
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Then there was The Wizard Of Oz. Or, rather, the man behind the curtain. In one scene Vincent D’Onofrio delivers such a small, nuanced performance, filled with massive reveals, that we all debated whether or not he gave away too much too soon in the series. Heated arguments (for nearly a year) between Universal, NBC, and myself. All because of a quiet moment. Where director Tarsem Singh’s camera barely moved. And the truth finally came out.
Quiet explosions. We couldn’t promote them. They didn’t make the sizzle reel. But they shook the very foundation beneath our character’s feet.
We hope you enjoyed this episode of Emerald City. If you haven’t seen it yet, Lucas (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) appears half naked on a sun-drenched beach in Spain. You’re welcome. So what are you waiting for?
Emerald City airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on NBC.