If you’ve had the pleasure of watching AppleTV+’s series See, and if you haven’t you really should, you will no doubt have become quite familiar by now with Queen Kane played by Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks. Sometimes unbalanced but always intriguing, she is a character fit to rival Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones with her ecstatic belief in the rightness of her reign.
See is set in a dystopian future where sight is no longer the norm, and further, the ability to see is considered evil and the product of witchcraft. In the first episode, two children are born with sight, and their mother (Hera Hilmar) and adoptive father (Jason Momoa) soon find themselves on the run with their entire clan in an attempt to save the children from Queen Kane and her Witchfinder General Timacti Jun (Christian Camargo).
It is a brilliant story, as brutal as it is beautiful.
I had the opportunity to speak with Hoeks about how she became involved in the project, and the process she underwent for bringing Queen Kane to life.
**This interview contains some spoilers below this line**
As so often happens today, it began with a self-taped audition after Hoeks was contacted by series creator Steven Knight. As she began to dig into the sides that were sent to her, she felt an instant connection to the character.
“I really loved what I read of the queen and this intriguing new world,” Hoeks explained. “I had quite an idea already about how I wanted to pursue the role if I got it. I really wanted to make it weird and awkward and a bit crazy.”
That included going to director Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) and explaining that she wanted to shave her head. Lawrence agreed and slowly her inner thoughts and ideas began to form Queen Kane on set.
This also included developing a peculiar and intriguing cadence to her speech giving it a lilting sing-song type quality that, among other things, leaves the listener off-balance, unsure of what her motives or intentions are from time to time.
“I though of Lou Reed and some of his interviews that I had watched,” the actress said laughing. “He toyed with the journalists during those interviews. He was definitely under the influence of a lot of things but he does it in a way so that he sounds a bit crazy but in a way that’s very intriguing. It’s almost like a cat who is playing with a mouse so I tend to take it from there. Queen Kane uses her voice to play with her mice.”
That is, essentially, one of things so fascinating about Queen Kane. You’re really never sure what she is thinking, but you know, without doubt, that she is the Queen. Moreover, she says it was an amazing experience to play a role written for a woman in power who didn’t depend on her body or sex to hold onto her throne.
“She handles herself in different ways. She doesn’t rely on sex or her charm but instead her wits,” Hoeks said. “She believes in what she believes in and she does what she does and she doesn’t care what you think. If she were wrong, her whole world would fall apart. She stands on a cliff and she needs to keep standing.”
This especially became important when, late in the season, it was revealed that Hilmar’s character Maghra was actually her sister and had a claim to the throne. It brought an unexpected but exciting dynamic to the series finale, but also gave fans something to look forward to in the second season.
It’s something that Hoeks is looking forward to, as well.
“I think that we both, as strong women, can be in each other’s way a lot which will be funny,” she aid. “But they can also learn from each other. I’m already excited about playing it.”
I must admit I’m looking forward to seeing that play out myself.
You can watch all of season one of See on AppleTV+. Be sure to check out the series and Sylvia Hoeks brilliant performance as Queen Kane!