INTERVIEW: Rhenzy Feliz and Gregg Sulkin Talk Marvel’s Runaways

Marvel’s Runaways revolves around a group of teens who – you guessed it – run away when they find out their parents are part of a villainous secret organization. Two of those kids are Alex Wilder and Chase Stein, played by Rhenzy Feliz and Gregg Sulkin respectively. Alex is the lonely video game lover who engineers a reunion between the six old friends after a tragedy, while Chase is the popular jock who is hiding his better angels beneath the surface. In our third installment of Runaways set interviews, we discussed the comics and the path each young man is on when the show begins.

Chase Stein hides his pain really well.

Neither actor was fully armed with knowledge of Brian K. Vaughn’s story before they auditioned for their roles, but both have delved into the world since in order to better understand their characters. Feliz actually did his research as part of the audition process, explaining, “I read the entire first volume… Then I understood the character, so I think that helped me out going into the audition room and testing for it.” Given that the scripts go a little deeper into the characters’ backstories and motivations than the books do, however, he made sure not to let said research unduly influence him. Sulkin, meanwhile, went into the audition blind and didn’t read the comics until he got the part. When it comes to the differences between the mediums, he said, “They’ve taken the heart of the comic and obviously the premise of the comic, but I think the show, they’ve made it our own. And I think they’ve definitely dived into the characters a lot deeper. Which as an actor, is exactly what you want.” While the story follows the same guidelines as the source material, Marvel’s Runaways will be attacking from a slightly different (and deeper) angle.

The teens each have their own special abilities or skills that they bring to the table, such as Chase’s iconic fistiguns – and Sulkin especially had a lot of fun with those. The actor gushed that he feels like a superhero when he puts them on. “Wearing the fistiguns is incredible and, obviously because Chase invented them – created his own super power – that’s the coolest part of it.” Part of the teenage experience is learning about yourself and creating a space to call your own, but that’s not the only part of Runaways that characterizes its young stars from a heartfelt and realistic perspective. Feliz credited this to the show runners. “I think Josh and Steph do a great job of understanding the voice of a teenager and understanding what they might be going through.” Of course, very few kids go through the process of learning their parents are evil, but “I think they do a great job of at least trying to understand the mindset of someone who is young, trying to figure themselves out and trying to figure out this crazy world around them.”

Alex has no idea what he’s in for.

In terms of these specific characters and their trajectories, they are both in a very interesting head space when the series starts. Sulkin confided that Chase is at a place where everything is boiling up. “He’s dealing with stuff at home that no one knows about.” That stuff has a lot to do with his abusive father, played by James Marsters, and Sulkin hopes Runaways can affect conversation in real life. “One thing I would like to bring out [of this character], is the awareness of abuse.” Awareness is definitely what everyone around Chase lacks in the first episode, as Sulkin went on to say, “I think you find Chase [at a] point where people don’t know him. People don’t know what he’s going through.”

Alex, on the other hand, is suffering in a different kind of silence. Feliz hinted that, “When we first pick up in the series, it’s the two year anniversary of some event. So it’s not a very good day for Alex especially, and you’ll find out more and more as the season goes on.” It is this mysterious tragedy that still haunts Alex and soon inspires him to bring his friends back together. “He wants that connection with people who he spent so much time. He loves them, so I think he wants them around again. And he hatches a plan, he gets them all together and then they witness something that maybe they wish they hadn’t.”

To learn what happens next, check out Marvel’s Runaways on November 21st when Hulu drops the first three episodes.