For a 16-year-old, Sabrina Spellman has a lot on her plate. Not only does she have to deal with, well, everything that comes with being 16, but the fact that she’s half-witch means she also has to figure out how to navigate the Church of Night. Thankfully, she has two women guiding her in all of her decisions, her aunts Zelda and Hilda. Although both characters existed in the 1990’s sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Netflix’s upcoming Chilling Adventures of Sabrina gives new life to Sabrina’s beloved aunts, played by Miranda Otto and Lucy Davis. And much like the show itself, the aunts are a bit darker than fans might expect.
“At first impression I would say Zelda’s quite a foreboding character,” Otto says of her character. “She’s quite controlling. She’s a decision maker, and she’s fiercely protective but also very pushy about what she thinks Sabrina should be doing and very domineering over her sister, Hilda.”
As a recent trailer showed, Zelda’s not scared to kill her sister if she gets out of line. (Don’t worry, Hilda comes back to life.) After all, the sisters rely on each other far too much to ever really be separated. “They’re such different characters but they complement each other so well,” Otto continues. “I find it such a fascinating dynamic between the two sisters, this co-dependent relationship that they have.” Lucy Davis, who plays Hilda, adds, “I hadn’t met or worked with Miranda Otto before and it was super easy straight away. Miranda and I were delighted with the differences between Zelda and Hilda, so we play off of them and find areas where that can be shown more because we find it quite funny. Hilda’s definitely the more nurturing one.”
But as the season goes on — there are 10 episodes total in the first season — both aunts will get to explore other facets of their personality. “There’s certainly things that you find out about what their strengths and weaknesses are, what their fears are, and there’s a lot of surprises in their relationship along the way,” Otto says.
In terms of Hilda, that means she’s not simply the “funny” sister. “You’ll see different sides of both of them,” Davis says. “Hilda can’t be forever cheerful. Then we’ll just see her one day on the news, you know what I mean? She just snapped.”
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina premiere on Netflix on Friday.
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