If one thing in Legion is actually ‘true’ it is that FX finds new barriers to break every week.
So if the mind-bending, X-Men episodical seems unlike any project Katie Aselton -- star of The League and more -- has ever been part of it is because the show is unlike anything any of the cast has been in before.
As David Haller’s sister Amy, Aselton carries some of the most terrifying moments in the show. She spoke exclusively to ComicBook.com about the hit show and how everything transitions from unique production to overwhelming pride as all of the elements layer together.
“To dive into these moments, while bizarre and surreal, we were all doing it together. We definitely had moments [asking ourselves], ‘what the hell are we doing?’ Then you look up, and you realize that you're not in it alone,” she said. “I think those are the moments, as an actor, when it's the scariest, because you're like, ‘I'm out on this limb, and is anyone gonna catch me?’ But there was also a huge level of trust that we had built, and trusting that we were doing something great together, so the limbs never felt that scary.”
Amy sets herself apart from the rest of the Legion storyline because of what she means to David.
In his memories -- and his visions -- she’s his fixed point of focus; it requires a unique approach to the character and Aselton embodies her perfectly.
According to Aselton, Amy represents the “proper” order, even when disorder takes over her surroundings.
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“The wardrobe and the styling informed her so much to me,” she said. “Having that feeling of tension and composure. [How] everything is together when everything you love is crumbling and falling apart and spinning out of control.”
Legion fans won’t forget what that looked like when Amy and David returned “home” in last week’s episode.
The radical turns Legion takes highlights the importance of maintaining flexibility.
When the first episode was shot, no one could have predicted the characters’ unexpected turns. In the first episode, Amy seems poised to be David’s safety net but later becomes a target for his enemies in many horror-esque scenes.
“All I knew [going in to Legion] was that it was a beautifully written script, and that Noah [Hawley] was there and he was gonna guide us,” Aselton said. “Then I show up for my wardrobe fitting, and I see what my wardrobe's gonna be, which was not on the page… for it to turn down this road of horror is no surprise either. It's a fun, wild ride to take.”
Although Legion has been called the scariest show on television -- and has earned the No. 5 placement in the ComicBook.com User Ratings -- its angle on the horror genre is as off-kilter as its take on a conventional superhero origin story.
“The way that they're approaching it is actually kind of my favorite sort of horror, in a way, where it's digging into the human psyche,” Aselton said. “You don't really have to be familiar with the genre. You really just have to be willing to explore those ideas and those notions. I think that is where terror can truly lie -- inside your mind.”
This keen understanding and observation of the mind is what makes Legion give its biggest fans night terrors, but it is the earworm soundtrack that keeps Legion buried in their thoughts. Synthesizing original compositions with unexpected soundtrack choices makes Legion as sensational for the ears as it is for the eyes.
Aselton said that the musical selections are not just there for the fans but as a tonal rally for the entire direction of the show.
“Listening to the soundtrack -- between Noah's picks and Maggie [Phillips, music supervisor]’s picks and Jeff Russo's score -- with your eyes closed I feel will be the most beautiful jumping off point for a second season,” she said. “It's beyond mood. The music just speaks to the soul and tells so much of the story. It's really incredible.”
A frequently-noted example is Thomas Dolby’s “Hyperactive!” which concluded the second episode with Amy in the clutches of The Eye. As anyone who heard it knows, Legion doesn’t sound like anything else on television. By knowing some of the music that would play, Aselton and the cast had even more to guide their compelling performances.
“I think what's so interesting about their choices is nothing is on the nose, you know?,” she said. “I think that that's sort of the way the whole show has been skewed, and what Noah has done so beautifully with this show. Everything is so unexpected, and yet works so beautifully.”
The collective sounds are one of the many ways Legion shuffles media to mix messages and keep everyone watching on their toes. Like the episodes before it, this week’s Legion (10 PM/9 Central on FX) will give all new meaning to the shocking revelations about David and Amy shared in the chapter before.
-- Zach Ellin will provide coverage Legion coverage for ComicBook.com throughout the entire season of the show. Follow him on Twitter for more of his insights.