Motherland: Fort Salem‘s Amalia Holm on Scylla and Raelle’s Arc, and Saying Goodbye to the SeriesPhoto Courtesy of Freeform TV Features Motherland Fort Salem
Since it premiered in 2020, Freeform’s Motherland: Fort Salem has been one of the most original teen dramas on TV. Set in a United States where the army is made entirely of witches, the series has followed Raelle Collar (Taylor Hickson), Abigail Bellweather (Ashely Nicole Williams), and Tally Craven (Jessica Sutton) as they navigate military life at Fort Salem. Motherland left fans with a major cliffhanger in its second season finale from last summer, which found the Bellweather Unit on the run from the Army alongside Spree members Nicte Batan (Arlen Aguayo-Stewart) and Scylla Ramshorn (Amalia Holm). As the witches try their best to blend into civilian life on the run, they face their greatest enemy yet: The anti-witch terrorist group known as The Camarilla.
With this upcoming season being its last, there’s so much to look forward to from this show, and thankfully, Paste was able to jump on a call with series stand-out Amalia Holm to talk Scylla’s past and what audiences can expect from her in Season 3.
Note: The following conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Paste Magazine: Scylla has had such an incredible journey over the course of the show, her arc has been amazing, what can fans expect to see from her in Season 3?
Amalia Holm: I would say, nothing less than in Seasons 1 and 2. It’s still going to be, you know, same old Scylla who tries to be the good person, who is now, though, mesmerized by this incredible door to the real meaning of life that Raelle opened to her, where she found love instead of trying to do good in the wrong ways. So I’d say that we’ll follow Scylla—her emotional journey will be very present and evolved. Maybe in Seasons 1 and 2, especially in Season 2, she was off doing things with Anacostia, and because of that sometimes you just find out, like, “oh she thought that, she came to do this, and there was a lot of action,” but I’d say this season, Scylla’s emotional life will be much more present than earlier, which is something I’ve had a lot of fun with.
Paste: Speaking of her going off with Anacostia for Season 2, this season she’s finally with the Bellweather Unit. What was it like to get to work with Taylor (Hickson), Jessica (Sutton), and Ashley (Nicole Williams)?
Holm: It was so much fun. You know, we started this journey in the Pilot, and it’s just been like a heightened Motherland experience to get to share that with the girls this time. Instead of last year, when we were just like—because of COVID as well—we couldn’t even see each other because we weren’t shooting on the same days, we couldn’t pass by each other. Whereas now we’re sharing the experience, which has been so much fun. A complete joy.
Paste: Before we look ahead to Season 3, I do want to ask if you have a favorite moment from Seasons 1 or 2 for Scylla? I know it’s a tough one.
Holm: The first thing that comes to mind is slowly walking down that staircase in stilettos, which was nerve-wracking. So hard to do because they were like “Walk gracefully,” and I’m like “in these stilettos? Can I hold onto [the railing]?” But the trembling in her step because of my inexperience in stilettos worked for the scene, fortunately. But yeah, I would say that scene, or that moment, was so powerful to her—very reckless—but the only option she found herself having was to try to save that girl.
Paste: That’s one of my favorite moments too—instantly iconic. What can you tease for your favorite Scylla moment in Season 3?
Holm: Because I haven’t watched anything [yet], it will have to be from what we shot. I did very much enjoy a scene in Episode 3 with Nicte, a little bit hinted at in the trailer, but it’s not what it looks like. That was a lot of fun, but that was mostly for me, like personally, because of the things I got to do in the scene, and to get to play with that part of Scylla that we haven’t seen at all before: Scylla in pure rage rather than strategic or terrorist-y stuff. This is more from the gut.
Paste: Without getting too much into spoilers, in the premiere we see a couple of times where Scylla’s worlds start to collide in really interesting ways. How will that dynamic affect her throughout the rest of the season?
Holm: I would say, in this season, Scylla is faced with just the fact that she has to grow up and be responsible for the people in her life. Like, a development for example from Season 2 where she recklessly took little Tiffany to take care of and then found a family for her and all that, which really worked out very well, but now she has a very strong bond with this little girl, and what do you do with that when you’re also a fugitive with your fugitive girlfriend and her new friends? And already in Episode 1, there’s a big challenge for her as she has used her contacts and her old friends to find a safe space for the fugitives, and when they’re not respected, that all backfires. Scylla’s caught in a little bit of a tricky situation. I would say that it plays out in the way that Scylla inevitably has to grow up in the season, and take much more responsibility, and try not to just be in her emotions all the time—which she’s about to learn much more about.
Paste: One of those moments for her is a cafeteria scene in Episode 1 specifically, which was so fun to watch, especially with all of those moving parts coming together. What was it like to shoot that scene?
Holm: It was a lot of fun, it was especially so much fun framing the scene. But group scenes on the day are always tricky because, just speaking from Scylla, on those days I’m glad I’m just a stupid little actor who’s not responsible for anything but myself because there are so many parts that need to work out in all those scenes. But Scylla meets someone from her past, and so the way that makes her feel and battling that with the way she wants to take responsibility for the way this all comes across to Raelle and the new friends and all that, is kinda complicating the scene a bit more for me as an actress. A common acting tip is, in a group scene, try to focus on one character and one person you’re always turning your energy towards, and that would be for me, throughout all of Motherland, always be Taylor (Hickson) and Raelle. So when this new person comes in, and just interrupts my energy flowing between me and Raelle, that is kinda what happened in real life as well. Because I had to take in this person, right, who’s from my past, but Melanie (Rose Wilson) was so wonderful to work with. This Vira character is a little bit of a whirlwind, and that was a lot of fun. I kinda wish there was more of it than what you’ll see, but I’m not gonna spoil too much.
Paste: And speaking of the connection between Scylla and Raelle, I know it’s a fan-favorite relationship—what’s it like to have played this incredible relationship?
Holm: Well, it’s been such an honor. You know, you never know what’s going to be a fan favorite or not, but it’s just been so nice to be part of a very dynamic relationship, where there’s so much space to play with things that me and Taylor just love communicating about. Just building that story together, you’re building an arc together. You get the scripts and of course you just read their lines, but other than that, we also dwell into “What does this mean,” and “who’s kissing who here,” if that stuff’s specified, or “why is it not [specified], what does that mean?” Because obviously we’re not with them all the time, but whereas maybe in Season 1 especially you would assume that “Oh, they’ve been sneaking off, they’ve been having some nights and moments to themselves,” because they’re getting to know each other.
In Season 3, all those things would be more I guess domesticated, or at least, getting to a completely new place in our relationship. All the scenes that we’re not seeing would’ve been very different, so there was a lot of talking about that to do. I was telling Taylor before I left Vancouver that like “I’m sorry, but I think I’m going to be jealous of your new on-screen love interest,” because she is—no competition—the absolute best love interest I’ve ever played with and I feel so much for that relationship, and I feel so much for Raelle. Like me, Amalia, has an attachment to the character Raelle, and Taylor as well, of course. So it’s going to be really, really weird to see any of the cast work on other projects because they’re, you know, they’re my coworkers; I feel a little bit territorial about it.
Paste: What’s it like to say goodbye to a show like this that has been so impactful and so incredible for its three-season run?
Holm: It’s probably like saying goodbye to… what else is like four-years running, maybe your college experience or your high school experience? Those things though I bet have much more negative things than this experience has had. It has been such a joy; no competition, the best job I’ve had. I don’t know, it’s gonna suck when I accept the fact [that it’s ending] because I still haven’t. I can’t really put words to that mourning because it hasn’t started yet. Catch me in August [after the finale], I’ll be a wreck.
Motherland: Fort Salem premieres Tuesday, June 21 at 10/9c on Freeform.
Anna Govert is an entertainment writer based in Chicago. For any and all thoughts about TV, film, and the wonderful insanity of Riverdale, you can follow her @annagovert.
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