Interview with Allegra Acosta and Ariela Barer of Marvel’s Runaways

In anticipation of Marvel’s Runaways premiere on Hulu, we had a little chat with actresses Allegra Acosta and Ariela Barer about their characters, Molly Hernandez and Gert Yorkes respectively, and excitement for the show. We spoke about Molly’s powers, Gert’s musical talent and representation for the Latino community.

While molly is a telepathic mutant in the comics thanks to the X-gene she inherited from her parents, Acosta clarified that she is not referred to as such in Runaways. “I’m referred to as a person who has superpowers, but I kinda feel I’m a mutant. I feel like with my eyes and my ability- even though on the show I’m not referred to as a mutant – maybe we’ll get that later on in the season.” If she’s ever revealed as one, maybe next season will include the infamous moment where she beats up Wolverine? Her costar Barer joked, “I bet Hugh Jackman would come back just to get beat up by a teenage girl.” And after getting schooled by one in Logan, why not?

Despite not wanting to turn Runaways into a variety show, both actresses confirmed that their other artistic skills would be part of their characters. Acosta’s dancing ability makes its way into the first episode because Molly “would be that very enthusiastic girl who went to dance tryouts,” while Barer’s singing is given a voice through Gert as well. Once the producers “found out about the band [The Love-Inns] and the music I make at the table read, Josh and Steph came up to me and said hey do you want to maybe write the song for us?” Barer did, and it makes for a lovely look inside Gert when she plays is.

Runaways is famous for Gert’s pet dinosaur, Old Lace, so many fans assumed it would be worked into the show with CGI. But instead the creature is built as a practical puppet and actually maneuvered by crew members. Barer was more than happy to praise the work that went into her. “There’s one guy holding her and he knows like all the moves of a dinosaur… I’m just so happy that I get to work with her. You just see her eyes and you see pure innocence, what an animal should have.” She also added, “When so much care goes into something like that, it really ups the passion of everyone around it. When you see something that so many people worked on, and really poured themselves into, it really just makes everyone work that much harder.”

Allegra Acosta had a lot to say about the change from Molly Hayes to Molly Hernandez, and spoke eloquently on what it meant to represent a young Latina onscreen. “We are representing a stronger voice and we are not basic stereotypes. We are much stronger in reality. We do have a responsibility.” At the same time, thanks to the diversity of the cast in general each character of color is given permission to be flawed and human without turning into a stereotype. “It’s not like one person has to represent this blanket version of this race, and no one has to be the perfect role model.”

Ariela Barer, meanwhile, addressed how the show made Molly into Gert’s adopted sister. “A nice thing in the comic is the way everyone kind of looks after Molly. It’s a really nice relationship, so it’s cool to just bring that one step further.” The additional bond between Molly and Gert creates new and interesting ways of exploring the different dynamics between the main characters.

Be sure to check out the first three episodes of Marvel’s Runaways on Hulu this November 21st, and come back to find new cast interviews until then.

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