Entertainment, Interviews

Interview with Parisa Fitz-Henley on “Midnight Texas”

Best known for her role as Reva Connors in the Marvel Netflix series Jessica Jones, Parisa Fitz-Henley has appeared in several films and television programs, including The Jane Austen Book Club, House of Cards, Blue Bloods and Grey’s Anatomy. In Midnight Texas, Parisa is Fiji, a powerful witch who joins a close-knit family of vampires, psychics and assassins in a small town offering safe haven to anyone who is “different.” In this one-on-one interview, Parisa reveals what drew her to the series and insights about her character, Fiji.

Parisa Fitz-Henley as Fiji (photo: Cathy Kanavy/NBC)

What attracted you to the role of Fiji?

Parisa Fitz-Henley: She was described as this quirky, hippie witch, and I thought, that feels like me. As I read the pilot script, I felt a familiarity with Fiji, like I was with my people in a sense, like she kind of jumped into my skin right away. So I had to play her.

What did you draw from to bring the role of a powerful witch to life? Have you talked to people who believe in witches?

Parisa: I talked to people who practice witchcraft and who are around people who practice the art. I also feel that magic and science are maybe the same a lot of times. I believe that magic is basically science that hasn’t been proven yet. So there’s a lot that I already brought in because I’m such a huge believer in the use of herbs, energy, and various things that the Earth offers to us to heal. So it was easy for me to get into Fiji.

Yul Vázquez as Rev. Emilio Sheehan, Parisa Fitz-Henley as Fiji, Francois Arnaud as Manfred (photo: NBC)

Will we go into Fiji’s backstory?

Parisa: We will. As the story progresses, you’ll see the backstory of different characters. With Fiji, you’ll definitely see some interesting things about her that will help you understand who she is today. And it will take more than one episode to cover Fiji’s entire backstory. You’ll get some really good stuff this season. Everyone has tons of secrets and reasons why they’re in Midnight, things we can only touch on for now.

Mr. Snuggly

Is there more to Mr. Snuggly that meets the eye? Is he or was he ever a person?

Parisa: That’s a very good question. I wondered the very same thing. A lot of people were asking that and I don’t have an answer for it.

Will we learn more about the malevolent presence in Manfred’s house?

Parisa: Yes. But, I can’t tell you. It’s interesting that it knows my name.

Parisa Fitz-Henley and Francois Arnaud as Manfred (photo: NBC)

When the dark-voiced demon dragged you up the walls in Manfred’s house, what was that like and how did they film it?

Parisa: We have an incredible stunt team. I had a double if I needed it. But they harnessed me up and they said let’s try it with you. I wanted to try it, and they agreed to let me. My stunt double made sure I was rigged in properly. So when you see me getting dragged on the floor and up the wall, it was actually happening. Whenever you get to do something really physical as an actor, I find it frees you up, gets you out of your head and into your circumstances. I was stuck to the ground, suspended in the air, stuck to the wall. So that gives you a lot to pull from as an actor.

Why is Fiji saving clips of hair in jars?

Parisa: She finds it useful for different purposes. And I also kind of wonder personally if she doesn’t just like to visit with everyone.

Francois Arnaud as Manfred, Parisa Fitz-Henley

What did you find most challenging in playing Fiji?

Parisa: Running in her shoes. We run a lot on the show. We’re shooting in a desert environment and it’s rough and dirty. Sometimes, we were shooting in the woods where it’s rocky and twiggy. Fiji wears these high heel clogs all the time. We’re shooting group scenes so often and you can’t just change out of your shoes. So between me and poor Arielle Kebbel, who was wearing spiked heels much of the time as she’s fighting people, we’re were running through the woods just praying not to break our ankles.

Will Fiji become romantically involved with anyone?

Parisa: Interesting question. We look forward to it. But for some very good reasons, Fiji is not romantically involved with anyone—at this time. One thing we know is that Fiji has feelings for Bobo, her best friend. And those feelings run deep. And while they care for each other, for extremely good reasons, Fiji will not share with him her feelings. And we’ll find out why.

Will Fiji ever go to the dark side and become a threat to others?

Parisa: Good question. The veil thinning brings out certain things. Who knows what will happen? God willing, we’ll get another season and we’ll see. Everyone has the potential to go to the dark side. I would hope that if she ever went to the dark side, her true highest self would win out in the end.

 

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Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of film reviews and celebrity interviews for a wide variety of online and print outlets. He has covered red carpet premieres and Comic-Con events for major films and independent releases.