INTERVIEW: Marvel’s Runaways Kip Pardue and Annie Wersching

Hulu’s new series, Marvel’s Runaways, has just begun, to the delight of fans. For more details, check out this interview with Kip Pardue (Frank Dean) and Annie Wersching (Leslie Dean).

As with any Marvel project, there is a lot of secrecy, up to and including the characters’ names, and Runaways was no different. When Pardue got the role – and found out exactly who he was playing – he followed the usual protocol. “Go out and read the comic, see what’s going on. How long am I gonna be around? What’s happening? Where is this headed?”

While that might help many of the other cast members, Pardue’s and Wersching’s characters, Frank and Leslie Dean, are the most different from the comic to the television series.

Wersching commented, “And also, just for our characters, in particular, they are the most different from the comic, so we read it, and we got a sense of it, but going forward we had to go off the scripts we were getting, because we’re not aliens, and there are some major differences. And the Church of Gibborum is a whole new thing, so we really kind of started from episode one that they wrote.”

When adapting a comic like Marvel’s Runaways to the screen, there can be more opportunities to expand the relationships and dramatic attention.

Pardue noted, “That’s one of the things the show has done that’s different from the comic, is it allows those relationships to kind of roil and see where they’re gonna go. In the comic we don’t really get to know the parents that well, and we’re kind of doing this dance each episode of figuring out. It’s fun. Listen, it’s an awesome job. And it’s an awesome show to watch, I mean it’s ridiculously fun. But it is hard to play that … Everyone’s going into this series thinking the parents are evil and the kids are good, and that’s it. As you learn, just from the two episodes that you guys have seen, you learn quite quickly it’s nothing is that simple in this world.”

While Leslie continues her alliance and work with the “creepy” Church of Gibborum, Frank occupies a unique space as being the only one of the adults not in Pride. Their relationship with their daughter, Karolina, diverges as well.

“I’m gonna have to say Leslie and Karolina, in the beginning, have what Leslie thinks is a very good relationship. She puts a lot of pressure on her to smile and be perfect, and show up, and do what they need to for the church. She’s the youthful face of the church, but she really has no clue the other stuff that Karolina’s going through, and it’s mostly because she works so hard, and she has such demands that she puts on her. So I think that’s where Frank comes in and is able to support her in a way that Leslie is not. But obviously, it’s going to shift and change,” says Wersching.

As for Frank, Pardue commented, “One of the positive aspects of not having work as an actor is that Frank’s been able to kind of nurture a relationship with his daughter in an emotional way that Leslie can’t. So we get to have a little bit of a strong bond in a way that I think is really important for Karolina, and she needs in her life.”

And what drew them to these roles? “I think to begin with, just having the word “Marvel” involved, right? And then knowing that Joshua and Stephanie have done this before, where they’ve intricately been able to work in adults, and kids, and The O.C. and stuff, and done that pretty seamlessly, and given the parents an equal side in it. I think that was important for me, coming into it. And then, just the fact that we have the church aspect, I think makes us have a more unique dynamic that was gonna be fun to play,” says Wersching.

Go and check out this exciting new show. The first four episodes of Marvel’s Runaways are available now through Hulu’s streaming service.