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Interview with Marcus Rutherford

Kathy Campbell
  • Marcus Rutherford is the epitome of Perrin, and it was so wonderful to speak with him about Season Two of The Wheel of Time, especially about working with Ka Lupinka and the rest of the bestest boys and goodest girls.

When Amazon asks if you want to talk to four cast members from The Wheel of Time on Prime Video, you drop everything and reschedule your day to make ten minutes for each one available. Now that the SAG-AFTRA strike has ended, the media is finally able to communicate with the cast, and it’s been so wonderful. I know how excited the actors have all been to talk with the fans as well!


We were lucky enough to gather together questions to ask Ayoola Smart (Aviendha), Kate Fleetwood (Liandrin Guirale), Marcus Rutherford ( Perrin Aybara), and Dónal Finn (Mat Cauthon).


These interviews will make you want to rewatch all the episodes of Season One and Season Two of The Wheel of Time on Prime Video…I know they did for me.


Marcus Rutherford has such a soothing presence and was wonderful to take some time to talk to us! Here is a snippet of our interview with him.


Dragonmount: You have had the opportunity to befriend some of the bestest boys and goodest girls, specifically the Best Supporting Actress Nom of our hearts, Ka Lupinka. How have those friendships strengthened and grown during S2 and do you have any stories about them that you can share?


Marcus Rutherford: Yeah. It was amazing, man.


I had a very kind of brief encounter in Season One, but I didn't really get to kind of work with the animals. And then Season Two… You kind of forget this is a real animal, man. It's like a real animal, look, it wants to do its own things. It's kind of like when you work with your horse and stuff, you can’t cheat it. 

The animal needs to want to kind of stay near you and work with you and listen to you and all those kind of things. It was insane. I think with that Czech wolf dog, they are sort of like a half breed, so it's not particularly easy to get them to like, you know, there was one scene for me that was really important. Where the makeup and effects built like this sort of “deer carcass,” that the wolves are kind of like eating and they (production) kind of just needed Hopper to stay next to me. It wasn't like on a lead or anything. She just had to sit there. And when you see all, these are the dogs eating, their natural instincts you think would be to follow. It was kind of like a scene that I could tell everyone was like (thinking), this is going to go wrong. 


We just put a load of meat in front of a dog, and its friends were eating… and yeah, it just stayed there instead for the whole scene. It was a really beautiful scene with Elyas and it was just one of those moments that was just so sweet, and I kind of needed the connection there, and you don't really want to have to think about, “Is the dog wandering off or is it not calling for the owner off camera or whatever?” And she just stayed there and she just looked at me at the little moment as a little look where he says, like his mate died too, and all this kind of stuff.


And I think there were a lot of moments with that dog where I was just like, “You've made this really easy for me,” which is just like, really special, really special. It could have been, you know, it could've been really tricky. And she, um, she really trusted me. And I think, I think the owner, an animal handler named Maria was amazing.


She (Maria) was just like, she (Ka Lupinka) doesn't really connect with people that easy. And it was special. And I think, you know, I think Rafe was kind of torn between like sort of big sort of visual effects kind of animals or like, you know, real animals. And of course you can get a bigger scale with some of those kind of things.


But I think for an actual human connection, you just can't like you can with a real animal. I've had so many messages with people talking about their own animals. And I just, I just, I think that's the connection that it needed for, for the show. It needed to be a real bond, a real creature, a real thing in camera that people could connect with and understand with their own dogs when they sort of look at them after the episodes.


DM: Season Two's journey for Perrin has ultimately been the battle between the Way of the Leaf and his desire to protect others. How did you prepare for a role that relied on so much internal struggle in such a visual medium?


MR: Yeah, it's tricky because in the books you have these POVs that can get, especially for a character like Perrin, you get so in-depth with what he's thinking and everything, and then to translate that into a show with just 8 episodes…. is hard, man. It's really hard. And I think what was good about Season Two is he kind of gets thrown into a lot of positions that are quite challenging for him.


You see it with… when he's with the Sheinarans or he's with Aviendha he's kind of like… There are kind of those lovely conversations that he's had with Ila and the Tuatha’an in Season One. You can kind of see that still surfacing. But it's becoming apparent he can't avoid violence at war, and it's kind of surrounding him and something that might be within him as well.


But this idea that you can kind of just like turn away from it is becoming quite a difficult road to take. So I think with the introduction of the Seanchan and that kind of very, you know, horrible, horrific kind of culture in a way, in the terms of how they use violence and stuff. 


I think what was lovely about Season Two is that, for a character that isn't really saying everything that's going on his mind, you can kind of see him going through it. 

Being put in these situations that are hard for him and traumatic. 


That dichotomy between violence and being a pacifist in a way is still kind of put to a test really. It's not just a conversation around some wagons that you had in… Season One.
He's getting dragged, but he's getting dragged around (literally)... I think that happens a lot in Season Two. 


DM: What scene from Season Two were you most excited for the audience to see? 


MR: I think…. in general or…?  


DM: Either way! However you answer the question is the perfect answer. 


MR: Um, I mean, ok. I remember (when I was) reading the book, I remember saying to somebody… to Maddie (Madeleine Madden), you know, I remember reading that book and actually feeling quite sick, reading it, like the way it is described is horrific.


It's, it's really, really hard. I remember saying, like, you've got some hard stuff coming man. I've seen this one shot of her where she's sort of like crying. And I don’t know why, but I'm just like, I think it's beautiful. 


But I think in terms of the stuff, the scenes I loved, I really loved when he [Perrin] meets Aviendha. I think you needed to kind of isolate him away from the group a bit in order for him to grow. Like I said, you don't really have a lot of time, and we have to squeeze a lot into those episodes, and they do such a good job.


And I think when you've got a lot of big characters who, you know, who’ve got their shoulders back, they're quite confident. I think they’ll naturally, you kind of speak and Perrin, he's probably thinking in the corner a little bit. So I think I'm putting him by himself and getting to meet someone who has such contrasting ideas and philosophies around violence, warfare, and fighting, I think, I think was lovely and I think Ayoola (Smart) was incredible.

And I think that scene where he releases her from the cage, and they fight together, and even that little scene afterwards where he can't really gauge her humor like at the campfire or whatever… I think, I think that was a really nice part.


DM: I know from speaking with the stunt team at Jordan Studios that you and the rest of the cast have worked to do as much of the stunts and fighting as you can yourself.


How is your training, in particular, different from the others because of your use of an axe versus a sword or a shield?


MR: What's really interesting with Perrin, in particular, is he's not really fighting to kill, or like I said (before), he’s still in this mode of like kind of defending himself and others and being thrust into these positions, whereas you kind of see some of the other characters, like Aviendha, she's just having fun. She’ll just go ham. So I think that was quite interesting. You kind of have to have a fighting technique that isn't particularly kind of like a bravado or showing your skill or your kind of like, a hunger for kind of violence in a way. It's kind of something that, it's really interesting, and I’ll talk too much, but it's really interesting seeing it develop, you know,  going forward and all that kind of stuff and how it all changes. But I think it takes a lot to kind of show off his strength, but also his kind of resistance as well. 


For the full transcripts with the full conversation for this and the other interviews, sign up on our Patreon!

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