I love that we aren’t getting the Six of Crows storyline in Season 1, but rather a great prequel for those characters. Leigh, how was it bringing origin moments that we’d heard about in Six of Crows to life?
LB: It was something we had to talk about fairly extensively. If you were to just slap together Six of Crows and Shadow and Bone, it really wouldn’t work. It messes with the stakes and there’s a lot of road that gets blown up by that. So, we sort of had to step back and talk about being in prequel territory. This is a prequel that sits adjacent to the flashbacks that are written in Six of Crows. So, with Nina and Matthias, you are seeing things that you saw in the book, but with Inej, Jesper, and Kaz, we had a different opportunity to ask the question, “Who were they before Six of Crows?” They’re not quite the same characters. You recognize them fully, but I think they are evolving into the people that you encounter when we hit Six of Crows. That, to me, was very compelling. Not just from a plot perspective, but from a character perspective as well.
BuzzFeed: And I’m assuming the prequel aspect is one reason why we didn’t see some characters from Six of Crows in Season 1?
LB: Is somebody missing Wylan?
BuzzFeed: I mean, I might be missing him a little. Clearly just a little though.
LB: All I can tell you is if we’re lucky to get a second season, you will not be missing Wylan for long.
When adapting a popular book series, casting is always super important. What was the casting process like for Shadow and Bone? Was there a character that was particularly hard to cast for the series?
EH: We had some that we thought would be very hard that wound up being early finds. Jessie [Mei Li] is one example. She was in the first batch of auditions and wound up being the one we could not stop thinking and talking about. Then, there were others that we thought would be a lot easier to cast and it wound up being an excruciating process. It would be that we found people who worked so well, but at the very last minute. So much so that they were getting fitted right as they got on the plane [to go to set], those kinds of situations. It was either end of the spectrum. There was certainly a lot of agony and a lot of frustration, but then a great sigh of relief once we got all the cast together and saw the chemistry that this group of kids had.
LB: I feel like it’s like childbirth, like you forget the trauma. Looking back, I’m like, “And we found Jessie and it was magic!” Meanwhile, Eric is like, “Excuse me? We were texting each other being like, ‘We’ve got to get her! What if we lose her to another show?'” I literally forgot all of that. There was a period where I would wake up every morning and check my texts and be like, “Eric, have we heard anything about Jessie?” I somehow blocked from my memory the anxiety that went with the casting process. After seeing Jessie, it was like when you fall in love and you know there’s not going to be anybody else for you. We got very lucky.
EH: Another example is Amita [Suman]. Amita was audition number three for Inej. I went to Leigh after and I was like, “This is Inej. We found Inej.”
LB: I, very skeptically, was like, “Already? Okay, sure.” And then when I saw Amita, I was like, “Oh my god, it’s her! It’s Inej!”
EH: And then, we had to sustain another two months and 280 auditions with other potential Inej candidates just so that everyone else in the chain, beyond me and Leigh, were fully convinced that we had found the right person so early. I remember we were sweating and being like, “Ugh, Amita is gonna get cast somewhere else. Something’s gonna happen.” It was so stressful.