Doom Patrol is well into its second season on DC Universe as well as on HBO Max and it's a season that has seen the heroes of Doom Manor deal with not just the challenges and complications that their unique traumas bring along but something entirely new as well: Niles Caulder's (Timothy Dalton) daughter, Dorothy Spinner. Played by Abigail Shapiro, Dorothy presents a new challenge for the team not only in the fact that they now have a child among them, but a very powerful one at that who could very well end the world.
While the rest of the team deals with having Dorothy around -- as well as the realization that their powers and the accidents that caused them were all part of Niles' efforts to find a way to outlive Dorothy -- Dorothy herself is having to deal with having been kept from the world for decades, the difficulties of growing up, and her "imaginary friends", especially the dangerous Candlemaker.
ComicBook.com recently had the opportunity to sit down with Shapiro to talk about Dorothy, how her getting the role of Dorothy seemed almost meant to be, Dorothy's biggest fear, and how that surprising twist in this week's "Finger Patrol" will impact the young girl going forward.
ComicBook.com: How did you get the role of Dorothy? She is so delightful. I did not expect to enjoy that character as much as I do.
Abigail Shapiro: I actually sent in a self-tape. I was in school at the time, so I didn't think much of it. So I sent in a self tape and did your normal audition process. I actually had a really cool audition story. I had a lot of synchronicity throughout the process. The day before I got the call for the self-tape, my friend was telling me about the show and I was watching the trailer right when I got the call back. And then when I got the role, I was in this cafe called Argo Tea and my agent called me and she was like, "You got the role of Dorothy Spinner." and then I turn around and I see a poster of Diane Guerrero on the wall. So there was a lot of really cool synchronicities. And there were little signs telling me like, "Ooh, something big is coming."
That's clearly the universe telling you it was meant to be.
What research did you have to do in order to prepare for the role?
I researched the comics a lot. I read the Grant Morrison comics and the Rachel Pollack comics and I really liked the character in the comics. I had to learn a British dialect, which I wasn't the best at in the beginning because I had the wear fake teeth.
So that was a little difficult. That's basically the research I did for the role, just researched the comics as much as I could. And a little bit of the Wizard of Oz, too.prevnext
Dorothy, on the show, is a character that despite her age is really still a child. How did you prepare to play a character that is so unique in that regard? She's still a child, but she's also technically old and in an extent has a lot of life experiences that most young people don't have, but is still stuck in the in between place.
She's been kept away for so long and hasn't seen the world. So the last time she was really a part of the world was when she was exactly 11 years old. So she's stuck there emotionally and artificially, too. So what I did to prepare, I just imagined myself as a child. And when you're a child you don't think you're young. You don't think you're a little kid. So I try to put myself in that mentality and I try to see the world through her eyes as if I hadn't seen the world in decades.prevnext
Just in watching the season thus far, it seems like Dorothy has really interesting ways of relating with each of the Doom Patrol members, her chat with Rita in the “Sex Patrol” episode, they mention a tea party this week with Vic, driving in the toy car with Cliff, of course she's got this really unique connection with Jane since they kind of have a similar situation. What character do you think Dorothy most identifies with or has the best relationship with?
Oh, that's a difficult question. I feel like she has moments of good in each of these relationships, but also moments that aren't the best. Like in episode five with Jane's character, she has a great relationship with Baby Doll at first, and then things kind of go downhill. I think she connects with Jane the most because they're the most similar.prevnext
Speaking of this week's episode, I was not expecting that. This week's episode really illustrates just how intense and dangerous Dorothy's powers can be. Particularly when it comes down to the Candlemaker. How do you think Dorothy's wish and Baby Doll's subsequent death is going to impact Dorothy going forward.
I don't want to say too much because I don't want to spoil anything, but it impacts her a lot. She's devastated, because she didn't mean to kill Baby Doll. It was the Candlemaker and she doesn't really have much control over the Candlemaker and her making that wish haunts her the rest of the season.prevnext
When it comes to some of Dorothy's other relationships in particular, she has an interesting relationship with her father. They clearly love one another, but he also literally imprisoned her. Granted, it was with Danny the Street and Danny's great. But how would you describe Dorothy's relationship with her father and will we see any tensions about her time basically being hidden away?
You're going to see a little tension. Their relationship is very complicated. Dorothy loves her father because he's, basically, the only person who's been taking care of her for all these years. So when she realizes the things he's done and that he's not the perfect person, she's a little bit in denial. But you're going to see how their relationship grows throughout the season.prevnext
Of Dorothy's imaginary friends, do you think she has a favorite?
Ooh, her favorite was Manny, but then Manny just died. So, that's very sad.
How about you as the actor playing Dorothy, do you have a favorite?
I really liked Manny, also. I also really liked Darling Come Home. It was so cool to see what they did with the face for Darling. Because when I was filming, Darling was played by this lovely actress named Vanessa. I don't quite recall her last name, but I loved working with her. So I think that's why Darling's one of my favorites, too.
Do you think we'll be seeing more of Dorothy's imaginary friends? I know in the comics she's got quite a few more.
You aren't going to see more than what we've already seen right now, but you're going to see more of her current imaginary friends.prevnext
Is there anything that you can tease for us in regards to what's next for Dorothy?
I think I can say this because it's been in a few of the trailers and promos, but space a little bit of space.
That's going to be exciting.
I was obsessed with NASA and space travel growing up, so it was kind of cool to be able to pretend I was going to space.prevnext
What would you say the biggest challenge you faced in bringing Dorothy to life in season two was?
My biggest challenge was probably working with the prosthetics, because I had never done anything like that before. And it was really challenging for my skin, but I'm so grateful for the makeup artists who helped me overcome that and helped me find the right skincare routine and the products that really helped heal my skin a bit. Because for a while there was a little rough, but I'm just so grateful I was able to work with the prosthetics as well because I just thought it was so cool. And the two guys, Derek and Eric Garcia, who did the makeup every day, we all three got along so well. We had so much fun every day.prevnext
How long did it actually take, at least initially, to get into that?
In the beginning, it was about three hours. And then by the middle of the season, we got it down to two hours. And then when we were filming the last episode, we had one day where we got it to an hour 45, which was really cool. They're so good at what they do. They're so talented, the whole makeup team on the show.
Absolutely. Because they've got some pretty incredible effects to pull off that are practical in terms of makeup. What do you do in that time? When we've got that time when you're in the chair, how do you utilize that time for yourself?
Well, I mostly zone out and stare off into space. We would also listen to a bunch of music and stuff. We had this '80s playlist with the cringiest '80s songs on it that we would listen to and make fun of. And we listened to some reggae every so often. And we would take a break at the hour mark usually and watch a few cat videos or something.prevnext
What would you say was the most fun or the most memorable thing you did on set for season two?
Ooh, the very first day was very memorable for me. It was the scene with me and Cliff in the car. It was so fun. It was my first day on set and it was my first time ever being on camera for something. I come from the theater world. So this is my first TV gig. So it was such a great day. And Brendan Fraser was on set that day. So I got to meet him. And he's a big inspiration for me. So that was really cool. And I love working with Riley Shanahan who plays Robotman in the robot suit. So it was just a really, really fun day.
Also, filming episode five with Diane was a lot of fun, too, just running around and stuff. I had a lot of fun filming episode eight. You'll see why.
New episodes of Doom Patrol land Thursdays on both DC Universe and HBO Max.0comments
Note: this interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Header Photo: Emily Assiran, Hair&Makeup by Chelsea Gehr / DC Entertainmentprev
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