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Interview: Annie Wersching

Pardon the pun, but Marvel’s Runaways was a runaway hit for Hulu in its first season. Fans couldn’t get enough of the brewing drama between the members of PRIDE and their children.

One of the reasons for the success of the series was the incredible work from actor Annie Wersching, who plays PRIDE member Leslie Dean. To say that character had an up and down season is definitely an understatement. Wersching is one of the most versatile actors in the industry today.

Wersching should be no stranger to people who are fans of television. She’s had memorable appearances in series such as 24, Bosch, Vampire Diaries, Extant, Dallas and most recently, Timeless.

The second season of Marvel's Runaways is now streaming on Hulu We sat down with Annie to talk about the events of the first season, what the situation is now with the members of PRIDE and what fans can look forward to with the second season of Marvel’s Runaways!

Pop Culture Principle - What attracted you to the role of Leslie Dean and the series The Runaways?

Annie Wersching - The series is shot in Los Angeles and I could be near my family and the word Marvel. Ha!

Pop Culture Principle - It’s interesting, it seems that the Leslie Dean character in the comics is different than the Leslie Dean character in the television series. Would you agree?

Annie Wersching - Yes. Leslie is very different than in the comics. In the comics The Deans are aliens! And they are actors on General Hospital (Go figure! Amelia Joffe anyone?) as part of their cover here on Earth!

Pop Culture Principle - When it comes to playing a character like Leslie Dean, some viewers like to box her in as a bad person or villain, yet do you think she feels there is a purpose and an end game to what she’s doing?

Annie Wersching - Leslie always believed that everything she did for the sake of keeping Jonah alive was in the best interest of also keeping humanity alive. She always saw the bigger picture, but couldn’t share that with anyone besides Jonah. At the end of Season 1, when she sees what she believes is Jonah trying to hurt Karolina; everything changes for her. Everything she ever believed she now questions.

Pop Culture Principle - Would you consider Leslie Dean to be the leader of the Pride?

Annie Wersching - In Season 1, yes. Leslie was the “actual” leader of Pride although she was fine with other members believing they were running the show. She knew the truth.

Pop Culture Principle - Although the Pride is on the same page when it comes to specific goals, it seems there may be some tension growing between the members., especially with the latest impromptu sacrifice. Would you agree?

Annie Wersching - Yes, Pride has always come together out of necessity. Most members would be perfectly happy to never have to see each other again. Leslie was always very good at manipulating and guiding Pride members into doing what she needed whether they knew it or not. But now with the kids having run away and Leslie learning the truth about Jonah, she could care less about the Pride. In Season 2, she just wants her daughter back and Jonah dead.

Pop Culture Principle - One thing we noticed in Season 1 is that Leslie Dean dresses in white all the time. Is that something that was written for the character and does it mean anything?

Annie Wersching - Dressing all in white is part of her persona as the leader of the Church of Gibborum. She speaks to her congregation often about the “light.” And I believe her wardrobe choices are a continuation of that. 🙂

Pop Culture Principle - We also find out that Jonah is the father of Karolina. How will this revelation affect the relationship between all three as the series continues?

Annie Wersching - Everything Leslie has ever done has been for Jonah. It is obviously not a reveal to Leslie that he is Karolina’s father, but the big reveal for her is that he has lied to her all these years and manipulated her. Karolina will have a lot of questions about her own identity, Jonah, and her powers now that she knows the truth and she’ll for once will have to be upfront with her daughter. That may or may not bring them closer together...We shall see!

Pop Culture Principle - In the Season 1 finale, we see the parents finally have a confrontation with their kids. What was it like shooting that important scene?

Annie Wersching - It was a lot of late nights! And shooting a scene with 16 people and special effects is no joke! But it was really great to finally have a big scene with everyone all together and exciting just knowing that the end result of the hard work would be a scene that looked all “Marvel-y”!

Pop Culture Principle - How surprised were the parents to see not only that their kids had powers, but were willing to fight their parents with their powers?

Annie Wersching - Leslie always suspected that Karolina may have powers similar to Jonah’s and it’s what she was always afraid of.

Pop Culture Principle - Your character realizes that Jonah has been keeping secrets from her as well and that him being back may not be a good thing. Would you agree?

Annie Wersching - Yes, seeing Jonah try to hurt Karolina turns Leslie’s entire world upside down. She’s done all of these awful things for him and to find out he wasn’t being completely honest with her.

Pop Culture Principle - We find out that Leslie was involved in the death of Molly’s parents, but she did try to warn Amy. Does her trying to warn Amy offer any redeemability or hope for her?

Annie Wersching - I think it at least keeps her from being seen as a complete monster and offers a glimpse of hope that maybe she has some redeemable qualities.

Pop Culture Principle - The members of PRIDE seem to be in a bit of disarray right now. How will the dynamic change with the group moving forward?

Annie Wersching - Yeah it’s a common theme among all of the Pride members that they’d all be perfectly happy to never see each other again. And that feeling only grows as we enter Season 2.

Pop Culture Principle - Which is more important to the members of PRIDE heading into Season 2, finding their kids or dealing with Jonah?

Annie Wersching - I think it differs for each family, but obviously, it’s a very close tie for all of them. Leslie would LOVE to simultaneously destroy Jonah and get Karolina back if possible.

Pop Culture Principle - What can fans look forward to with the second season of Marvel's Runaways?

Annie Wersching - Season 2 of Runaways amps up the action big time. The pace is faster than Season 1 which I think will be refreshing, and a few characters from the comics come into play which will be fun for fans to see. As for Leslie, she goes on quite a journey in Season 2 and her life and outlook could not be more different by the end of the second season than it was in Season 1!

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As many of you may already know, Annie just recently gave birth to her third child with husband Stephen Full, so she definitely has her hands full! She was still gracious enough to take some time out and answer our questions, so we send a huge THANK YOU to Annie for taking the time! Marvel's Runaways season two is now streaming exclusively on Hulu!

**All photos courtesy of Paul Sarkis/Patrick Wymore/Greg Lewis/Hulu**

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