Elizabeth Hurley is no stranger to her dark side, having played deliciously evil characters in the past like the literal Devil in Bedazzled or, more recently, a corrupt monarch on The Royals. She’s tapping back into that villainous side of herself now for what she says is her darkest role yet on Marvel’s Runaways.
Hurley joins the Hulu superhero series in the upcoming third and final season as classic Marvel villain Morgan le Fay, an evil sorceress from the Dark Dimension. While she’s been trapped in the Dark Dimension for a long time when season 3 begins, her connection with Nico (Lyrica Okano) gives her the tools she needs to cross into our reality and begin her plans to take over the world.
When EW visited the set of Runaways during production on season 3, Hurley revealed that while she had heard about the figure of Morgan le Fay “for forever,” it wasn’t until she was cast on the show that she learned about the Marvel version. “The Marvel Morgan le Fay is particular and she’s special,” Hurley told EW along with a small group of reporters on set. “So the first thing of course I did was Google images of her and loved them. I mean, really, really loved how she’d been portrayed in the Marvel comics. I liked the fact that she’s almost always portrayed as a megalomaniac. And whenever she crops up somewhere, she usually wants to take over the world. So what’s not to love? That seemed to tick every box I wanted.”
While it’s not her first time playing a villain, Hurley says she’s going even darker this time around. “I have played bad many times,” she says with a smile. “I think she’s probably more bad. The way The Devil was portrayed in Bedazzled, she very rarely showed the real — I mean, obviously, it was ludicrous, it was a comedy. The interesting thing about that movie was that all the test audiences wanted [Brendan Fraser‘s character] to end up with me. And we’re like, ‘No, no, no, no, that’s not the point!’ That’s how she chose to seduce him into giving up his soul. She’s not really like that, she really is with horns and a dagger, but nobody ever got that. She was just being charming and nice and vulnerable and seductive and obviously evil underneath.”
She continues, “But Morgan is a lot darker than that. At least she shows more of her dark side, or rather, as the season progresses, you see a more complex character. Even though she is absolutely convinced that what she’s doing is for the greater good, like all good villains, her actions are questionable at times… In some ways, she’s not a black and white villain. She has a little vulnerability. And she has a kindness in her. When she interacts with kids, she genuinely doesn’t understand why they shouldn’t immediately follow her. She thinks she’s got all the answers and will make everything fantastic. She does her utmost to be convincing. And she believes it; she believes it totally.”
But, of course, the fact that she wants to take over the world puts her firmly in the villain category, no matter how vulnerable she may seem. “She wants to take it over. She wants to rule it,” Hurley says about Morgan’s plans for the world. “She wants to bring elements of how she thinks the world should be run into how it is today. Morgan’s way. Some myths say that she should have ruled a long time ago, but was cast out by Merlin. This is how she fights her way back into this world. She’s been away for thousands of years, before she emerges in Runaways.”
And when it came to Morgan le Fay’s costume, Hurley knew exactly what she wanted it to look like. “It was more important for me to be influenced by the Marvel portrayal of Morgan le Fay,” she says. “I just love the way that she’d been drawn. I am thrilled with [the costume]. I’m really, really happy. I think the fans of the comic will see what they want to see in the real-life version.”
What Hurley didn’t expect with this role, however, was how much extra homework she had to do.
“I’ve never visited a Dark Dimension before, really. To be honest, I didn’t really know what a Dark Dimension was until this job,” she says with a laugh. “So now I have been educated. I’ve done more blue screen work on this show than I’d done previously. It’s very much a different sensibility as an actor. It’s hard, actually; it’s quite difficult.”
Plus, she had to learn how to move her hands the right way for Morgan to cast spells. “It’s called tutting,” Hurley says as she performs some hand choreography as an example. “I’ve learned some. It’s not as difficult as learning Latin. That might be a bit of a giveaway, but I’ve had to learn quite a lot of Latin in this. And, in fact, I have a scene where I have 18 lines of Latin which I chant. And tut! At the same time. It takes a while to learn.”
Marvel’s Runaways season 3 begins streaming Friday, Dec. 13 on Hulu.