Tonight, Syfy will debut Vagrant Queen, a new miniseries event based on the comic from artist Magdalene Visaggio and artist Jason Smith. The series stars Adriyan Rae as a former child queen, driven from her throne and wandering the galaxy on the run from the revolutionaries that deposed her. As you might expect, the end result is that she becomes something of a Han Solo-style action hero, blasting and punching her way around the universe trying to carve out a role for herself that is not defined by the mistakes of her family, her culture, or what happened when she was ten.
Being the lead on a sci-fi and action-oriented series is pretty exhausting, even if it's the role of a lifetime, and we talked to Rae about her love for the source material, the fun she had playing the role -- and how hard it was to be in virtually every shot during an arduous shoot. Rae, who hadn't read the comics before she was invited to audition, ran right out to pick them up and pore over them before she decided to go out for the role of Elida -- and fell in love right away.
"The role was my dream role," Rae told ComicBook.com. "So, I got the [audition] sides and I just fell in love with Elida and instantly connected with her."
That made the demands of the job -- from travel and being a leader on set, to doing stunts and working long hours -- worth it for Rae, who headed to South Africa for the shoot and spent some nights so tired that she couldn't bring herself to eat before she fell asleep.
"Luckily, our costumes are made for the stunts, because I did all my own stunts," Rae told ComicBook.com. "There's only two of them that I didn't do, and it's high falls that I wasn't allowed to. They made our outfits so that they weren't super, super tight leather, and they were materials that could move with us. The costume is department is amazing. They made it distinctly so I could do all these great things in the outfit."
She said that the stunt team were great, and that they helped her through learning action work in much the same way genre veterans like Wynonna Earp's Tim Rozon -- who appears in Vagrant Queen as well -- helped her adjust to the surrealities of the hardcore fandom that comes with these kinds of adaptations.
"We were also filming in South Africa during the rainy season. There are different parts where one day, we would be in an area that's very dry, and then all of a sudden we get very windy, and then on the set, it was like it was burning hot an hour ago, and now it's freezing cold. There was the wind storm. It was just a lot going on. So all of those, combined with being in everything and having stunt work, and having physical training with your personal trainer and things like that, wears you out after a while."
In spite of that, though, she's thrilled with how the show came out, and hopeful that -- like Syfy's Happy!, which was based on a limited series comic but got a second season that blazed new ground -- there could be more Vagrant Queen.
"I'm excited for the second season," Rae said. "I am hopeful that we will get one. I think that the work that we've put in -- everyone from the cast to the crew to Syfy...I think that the work we've put in will show, and I think it already resonate with people allowing us to have that."
Vagrant Queen premieres tonight on Syfy at 10 p.m. ET/PT.