Interview: Marcus Rutherford and Josha Stradowski Discuss Bringing ‘The Wheel of Time’ to Life [EXCLUSIVE]

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Marcus Rutherford as Perrin and Josha Stradowski as Rand. Images: Amazon Studios

The Wheel of Time turns, Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again.” And so it is now, with more than thirty years passed since Robert Jordan’s fantasy epic began with The Eye of the World that we now get our very own live-action version of The Wheel of Time. Nerdy children of the nineties rejoice!

For those unfamiliar with the fourteen book saga, The Wheel of Time series follows a group of friends from a small village called The Two Rivers as they get swept up into an epic adventure (that includes magic, Aes Sedai witches, and monsters), and learn that the fate of the entire world is entwined with their own.

We were lucky enough to have a moment to chat with two of our young heroes – Marcus Rutherford (who plays Perrin Aybara) and Josha Stradowski (who plays Rand Al’Thor). We spoke about cast bonding, filming during a pandemic, and familiarizing themselves with a lesser-known fanstasy epic.

Nerds and Beyond: Hi! I was curious, since your core group is playing childhood best friends, – you know, small town, known each other since you were babies and the like – what was the cast bonding like? Did it begin right after you were cast or while you were on set? And was it made challenging at all because of pandemic requirements?

Marcus Rutherford: Yeah, I think at the start, we were kind of, you know, we all had to relocate to Prague for like, ten months initially, and we got put into these sort of training camps to do horse riding and stonework and swordfighting. So, we were having all these new experiences together, and were kind of forming bonds. But then yeah… to be on a show that kind of stops and starts, and you have this global pandemic hit us on our first season. Yeah, you kind of become stronger and realize in that moment that this thing’s bigger than a TV show. And that when everyone’s okay we’ll come back to it. But you realize that most people definitely still want to escape and have real, magical worlds to escape into and so on. It’s been amazing to share this with the world. 

Nerds and Beyond: So fantasy language can get very complex. And Wheel of Time’s vocabulary is particularly complicated. And there is a glossary at the back of the books, but I was wondering what the show’s approach to that language was, and what you guys did to help familiarize yourselves with it. And if there were tricks to help make it feel more natural?

Josha Stradowski: Well I guess, you know, as these characters go out into the world, the audience is being introduced to all of these times and all of these places, but the characters are as well. So that’s the same, you know, because they grew up in the Two Rivers and they’re quite unfamiliar. It’s really unknown territory for them as it is for the audience. So I think as the characters are finding new cultures and new worlds, and like you said, new languages and things, it probably will seem quite overwhelming. But I think that kind of matches how it feels in the books. Everything’s new in that and it will be quite similar when you’re watching the show.

And I think that’s how it is, that this world is so expansive, new things are coming in. And this season is basically about establishing as much as possible, really. All the new languages and cultures and people that you come across. So I think it’s really exciting. 

The Wheel of Time hits streaming on November 19 on Amazon Prime.

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By Britt
Britt is a Los Angeles based writer, burlesque performer, and life long nerd. A former drama kid turned playwright and classic ambivert, (shout out fellow ambiverts! There are dozens of us! Dozens!) her love of books, snacks, and cats makes her a Ravenclaw with Hufflepuff leanings. She is a voracious reader, writer, and unapologetic binge-watcher. Her lifelong obsessions include Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, Arrested Development, Neil Gaiman, and Frank Herbert's Dune series. Her current obsessions include: Sherlock, Black Mirror, The Great British Baking Show, RuPaul's Drag Race, and Counterpart. She will also gladly talk people's ears off about graphic novels if they let her, which they usually don't. Find Britt on Twitter @MsGeorgiaOQueef
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