THE MAGICIANS at SDCC 2016 | Interview with Jason Ralph and Olivia Taylor Dudley

The Magicians’ Jason Ralph and Olivia Taylor Dudley talk about the difficulty of finger tutting and the ability to express their characters’ emotions. 

If you don’t know already, we love the Syfy show The Magicians and we were so excited to spend some time with Jason Ralph and Olivia Taylor Dudley at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. We only got to spend a few minutes with them, but they were worthy minutes.

First off is the finger tutting that was used throughout the series for the magic that they do, and how they studied it. They reveal that they are given the lessons by their choreographer for the show and then adjust accordingly.

Olivia admits to not being very good at it despite everyone else’s assurance. But they both agree on one thing about it:

“Tutting’s hard, man!” Jason exclaims. “It’s really, really hard, and it’s painful. I broke my finger last year, so it’s even harder now.  But I think we’re getting better at it little by little. And I think we’re finding interesting ways to film it.”

When asked about joking with each other about their tutting skills, Olivia notes their support for each other:

“We’re so supportive of each other’s tutting because it’s so hard for all of us.  Nobody gives each other crap about tutting. You can’t go there!”

When asked about Jason Ralph’s childhood obsession, or his Fillory, he revealed his obsession with a familiar obsession for many still today:

“Obviously it’s Harry Potter. It’s what I grew up with, and I was into all the midnight book releases. Usually I dressed up as Lupin… as like a young Lupin. And kind of made like a Harry Potter fan film. it’s ingrained in who I am.”


In regards to the seriousness and angst of their characters, Olivia said this much:

“That’s the kind of work I enjoy doing. The magic’s really fun to do on the show, but the characters and the relationships are the most interesting thing to me. The relationship between Quentin and Alice is a very frustrating one and just thinking about it can make me frustrated. Working with Jason has been a dream. We work together pretty well, I think.  When we come to the table, we love the same ideas. It’s been a really lovely experience.”

Jason adds to it, talking about his character’s state of mind and bring it out externally:

“We get to get first hand experience of his anxiety. And trying to translate that, the self-doubt, to film has the physical manifestation in my body became this sort of speech pattern and this thing I’m doing, I don’t know what it is—but that’s how the idea has channeled outside of my body. So, that’s what that is. I’m trying to give you all his thoughts with my body and hopefully that works.”

Both Jason and Olivia note, as Summer and Hale did, the writing on the series, and Jason expands on it:

“Lev Grossman did such a beautiful job of creating those people who then get to comment on the kinds of roles that they find themselves in. It’s not a typical fantasy or superhero where they take it and accept it. We get to see it happen, and go, like ‘God! That’s not how I imagined it would be, but here we are.’ So, we get to be as fully-fledged regular human beings as much as possible.”

As far as what they can tease for the upcoming season, they don’t know themselves at this moment. But we expect they will soon enough. Watch the full interview and listen to Jason’s wonderful, hefty laugh.

Season 2 of The Magicians will air sometime later in 2016.


By Molly

Molly is a proud Canadian who is currently attending university in Scotland. She loves to read, write, watch films, and talk about Sarah J. Maas books. If not snuggled up with a book, Molly can usually be found tapping at the dance studio, or writing yet another essay.

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