While the characters of Cloak and Dagger were first introduced in a Spider-Man comic in 1982, fans of the current TV series Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger could be forgiven for mistaking the pair for a contemporary creation. After all the series, which just began its second season on the Freeform network, has a distinctly modern feel thanks to how it handles its subject matter and the lives of its two main characters, teenagers from very different parts of New Orleans who find themselves drawn together while the rest of the world begins to seem farther away.
And while, yes, the title characters have super powers, they also grapple with the kind of heavy emotional material that many caped heroes never do. Another part of the appeal is undeniably the show’s magnetic young leads, Aubrey Joseph (Cloak) and Olivia Holt (Dagger). Here, Holt talks to T&C about the lure of the show, what went into making the second season, and why after finishing it, she’s taking a bit of a break from the small screen.
The second season of the show just premiered. Last time around, you had no idea if people would take to it. Now that it’s been so well received, is there more pressure out of the gate?
With the first season, I had no idea what to expect. All of the feelings were exhilarating and exciting; this time, it’s been all of those emotions and more. Everybody has been so welcoming, and people have taken the show to heart. The point of the show is not just to entertain people, but also to give them something to take away from it. In the show’s first season, we tackled a lot of intense topics and we’re doing the same thing this season. I still feel all the emotions I did when we started.
What kind of topics do you think the show tackles well?
There’s definitely a note of fantasy and the idea that your imagination can lead you to places you never knew existed. So, it’s a world that doesn’t line up exactly with reality, but we want to make it feel as authentic as possible; we look at what it feels like to be a young black man in American in 2019 and what it feels like to be a young white woman in the same time and place. We have to really tell that story as authentically as possible. In the first season we looked at very real things, including drug addiction, police brutality, sexual assault, and suicide; in the second season, we’re focusing on human trafficking, which is also very real. These are things that have happened to real women, but at the same time we’re telling the story with teenagers who have superpowers. It’s all about what kind of heroes they need to be.
You’re tackling big issues, but you’re also playing someone with super powers. What does that mean for you as an actor?
It means that not everything is done through conversation. There’s a lot of physicality to my character, especially in this season because we’re taking on a lot more action. The characters have more tricks up their sleeves. And while some things are added in post-production-there are scenes we start and stop and pause to make room for that. And my character has a new ability, so that’s fun because [when we’re filming] it’s just a tennis ball on a stick, but when you see it on TV it looks incredible.
You just finished filming, are you going to jump into another project, or do you take some time between jobs?
I always need some sort of break to decompress, especially after a show like this which can be exhausting physically and emotionally. But I like to keep busy. Right now, I’m focusing on music and putting acting on the side for a bit. I’ve been away for months filming, putting my energy into that work, so now I want to put the same focus into music and not rush it.
The first season broke network records for viewership. What is it that you think makes people want to engage with these characters?
I look at my character and see so many layers, that’s what makes her interesting-and you don’t see people like her on TV all the time. Putting aside the superhero side of her, she’s a resilient, drive, complicated bad-ass, and I admire that so much. There are lots of other dimensions to her-the emotions are so raw- but those are the reasons people connect to her. People feel for her, and so do I, that’s why I love playing her.
When you finish a season and do focus on those other things in your life, what’s the most difficult thing to leave behind?
It was my home away from home. We filmed for five months in a different place, so we were in a bubble. You end up understanding the importance of people who want to create, and when you’re around that all the time, it’s so hard to see it come to an end. It’s like the end of a school year, we’re excited for the break, but it’s the hardest thing to let go out all of that.
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