Natalie Dormer oozes menace in first look at Penny Dreadful: City of Angels

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels

Shortly after the surprising conclusion of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, the network asked creator John Logan whether or not he would consider doing more. At first, Logan refused, but then “the world changed with such a seismic crash everywhere around us,” and Penny Dreadful: City of Angels was born as Logan’s response to “the worldwide resurgence of political extremism, atavistic nationalism, dangerous demagoguery, and the vehement racism and antisemitism.

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, which John Logan describes as a “spiritual descendant” of the original series, takes place in 1938 Los Angeles, a time and place deeply infused with social and political tension. When a grisly murder shocks the city, Detective Tiago Vega (Daniel Zovatto) is embroiled in an epic story that reflects the rich history of Los Angeles: from the building of the city’s first freeways and its deep traditions of Mexican-American folklore, to the dangerous espionage actions of the Third Reich and the rise of radio evangelism. Before long, Tiago and his family are grappling with powerful forces that threaten to tear them apart. Entertainment Weekly has the first look at the series in the form of two photos featuring Natalie Dormer as a shape-shifting demon named Magda.

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, Natalie Dormer

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, Natalie Dormer

Natalie Dormer describes Magda as “delicious, multi­dimensional thrill,” an “agent of chaos” who can “sow the seeds of disorder.” Given Magda’s shape-shifting nature, it’s only natural that we’ll meet several of Magda’s human manifestations, who the audience will discover as the series continues. Dormer told Entertainment Weekly that the role was a “dream come true as an actor,” adding, “There was an opportunity to get in the dressing-up box and play a range of iterations. You have a number of characters all under the guise Magda morphs into for the price of one.” It certainly sounds like Dormer is delighting in playing the villain.

We can heighten the life and death and the violence by using a supernatural figure within the storytelling. She brings the sauce, basically, is what I’m telling you.

As far as what Magda hopes to gain on earth, Natalie Dormer said, “she’s fundamentally a skeptic of humanity. She says in the first episode, ‘I give human beings a choice, but they choose time and time again to be seduced by the more baser, selfish roles.’” Penny Dreadful: City of Angels is set to debut on Showtime in 2020.

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