Emily Swallow - The Supernatural Set is One of the Most Playful and Collaborative I’ve Ever Been On (American Actress)

Emily Swallow

Emily can currently be seen as The Armorer in the Disney+ series The Mandalorian, Natalie Pierce on SEAL Team, and Amara in Supernatural. She has appeared on TV screens in Elementary, The Mentalist, Monday Mornings, How to Get Away With Murder, Man with a Plan, and The Good Wife, among others. 

1. Tell us about your background and journey.

I grew up in a family that loved and appreciated music, and that was my first exposure to performing; I sang in the church choir and then did musicals in middle school and high school. I was passionate about many different things, so I didn’t necessarily know I’d be an actor early on. 

I pursued a degree in Middle Eastern Studies when I was in college and expected that I’d go into the Foreign Service. However, I was very active in the theatre department as an undergrad (at the University of Virginia) and had professors there who encouraged me to pursue a career as an actor. 

One, in particular, Richard Warner, helped me work on over a dozen monologues for grad school auditions, and I earned a spot in NYU’s Grad Acting Program at Tisch School of the Arts. I knew I’d always wonder if I didn’t take the opportunity, so I walked through that door and I’m so glad I did.

2. Did you ever think or dream of being an actor?

As I described in the first answer, I think that acting pursued ME long enough for me to fall in love with it before I knew I wanted to pursue it as a career. I always had other interests, so I didn’t feel pressure to make it happen before I knew I really loved it and wanted it above any other career.

3. If you could be any character which you played before, who would you be and why?

I played Freya, a Norse goddess, in a play called Nice Fish several years ago. If I could go back and live any character, it would be her. She was full of vitality, love, and mischief and had an incredible sense of humor. Plus, she got to live in an ice house sauna on a frozen lake. She was amazing! 

4. Tell us about your singing journey.

I sang from a very early age and, even though I loved it, I grew up with a formidable amount of stage fright. But I had wonderful opportunities to sing with other kids in the choir at my church, and the choir director encouraged me through my fears. 

My love of performing kept winning out over my stage fright, and eventually I started to explore musical theatre, which I did early in my career but haven’t done recently.

More recently, I’ve fallen in love with concert singing because of the wild fun we have at conventions and the enthusiasm that fans have for what we do. 

Louden Swain, the band that performs at all the Creation Entertainment conventions for Supernatural, is unbelievably talented, and they’ve encouraged me to try music I never knew I could take on. 

We’ve covered everything from Radiohead to the Rolling Stones to Brandi Carlile…I can’t wait until we get back to in-person conventions and we can all sing together again! 

I’m working on an album, but studio restrictions in LA due to COVID have slowed that down a bit.

5. Which are your favorite roles of yourself and what are your upcoming projects?

I loved playing Amara on Supernatural; the journey from start to finish for her was full of complexity and wonderful surprises. I was especially excited to come back in Season 15 to be part of the effort to take down Chuck. 

The Supernatural set is one of the most playful and collaborative I’ve ever been on, and it was a joy to be there for those episodes. 

6. What process do you follow to imbibe a character?

It varies from character to character but I try to always start by giving myself time and space to read the script without interruption and to take note of any images or ideas that come to mind in that first reading, no matter how odd they might seem. 

I allow my subconscious to give me ideas before I analyze things too much. After that, it depends on the demands of the role—sometimes I know the character moves very differently from me, so I’ll try to determine where the character’s center lies or what animal she might embody. 

I think about her voice and whether she speaks from a confident, grounded place or with higher energy. I think about how she dresses, even though I know I’ll be costumed by a designer.

I love to find music for characters; most of the characters I play have their own playlist that feels to me like it reflects their emotions and energy. I love to find images online—photographs, paintings, snippets of things caught in life—and put them together on a board I can look at as I work on my script. 

It’s all too easy for me to go to the intellectual analysis first, so I need things that inspire me sensually, emotionally, and spiritually.

7. How do you select the scripts or roles? what inspires you the most to take up any role or character?

What inspires me is being asked to audition! I definitely don’t have the luxury of sitting back and choosing scripts I want to do; I audition a LOT and deal with a lot of rejection, but I trust that the right roles find me. 

I have been fortunate to play a lot of women I really admire, and one of the most satisfying things about trying on a new character is that I get to find ways of expressing myself that are out of the ordinary for Emily. I always learn from the characters I play, and I’m so grateful for what they teach me.

With characters like Amara or The Armorer, I appreciate their confidence and how comfortable they are in their own skin. The Armorer in particular has taught me a lot—she is such a strong leader, but she is patient, level-headed, and quiet. 

She doesn’t make a lot of rackets just to show how important she is. And she moves through the world with such beautiful trust! I love how she trusts that Din Djarin will find his way and encourages him to be the best version of himself without trying to pressure him into anything. I aspire to have her level of trust and confidence.

Instagram Handle - @bigeswallz

Emily Swallow

Emily can currently be seen as The Armorer in the Disney+ series The Mandalorian, Natalie Pierce on SEAL Team, and Amara in Supernatural. She has appeared on TV screens in Elementary, The Mentalist, Monday Mornings, How to Get Away With Murder, Man with a Plan, and The Good Wife, among others. 

On stage, she most recently played opposite Tom Hanks in the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles production of Henry IV, Parts 1&2. Other theatre includes Disgraced at the Mark Taper Forum, High Fidelity on Broadway, Measure for Pleasure at the Public Theatre, and Nice Fish with Mark Rylance at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. She has an MFA from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts.

Emily Swallow 

American Actress

Interviewed By - Sandeep Virothu

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