In the first episode of The Gifted, Lauren Strucker’s world was turned upside down when she was ripped from her home after her brother Andy accidentally destroyed the school gym as his powers manifested. Now on the run from Sentinel Services, she has had to adjust to life in the Mutant Underground, where she is still struggling to come to terms with her identity as a mutant.
Speaking to CBR, The Gifted star Natalie Alyn Lind — who plays Lauren — offered some insight into the way her character is adapting to her new life. She revealed Lauren will make a new friend in a mutant named Wes, who will “open up a new world” for her, and that she will begin working with Polaris to hone her abilities. She also discussed Lauren’s relationships with her family, which mutant she’d like to work with and whether or not her character will ever get a codename.
CBR: The description for Monday’s episode says that Lauren makes a new friend. What can you tell us about that?
Natalie Alyn Lind: So a new character is coming into play. His name is Wes. I think that the viewers are going to find him extremely amusing. He has a very cool power… I guess you’ll figure out what his power is on Monday, but I think Lauren… is sort of missing her old life, so — when this new character comes and she meets him — I think that it kind of opens up a new world for her.
Lauren has seen quite a bit of action since she joined the Mutant Underground. How does that continue moving forward?
Everything gets bigger and crazier. These next couple episodes are definitely about character development and just trying to figure out exactly — I think last episode, you see Pulse, who we find out is one of the old Underground mutants, who used to be in the society, and you see that he’s different and he’s not the same person anymore and he has this weird tattoo. So I think these next couple episodes are definitely developing and trying to figure out exactly what that means, but at the same time, my character starts training with Polaris. Polaris is back in the underground, so she’s bringing it down. She’s trying to teach some of the newer mutants how to use their abilities, and they kind of develop a cool little relationship.
What was it like to work so closely with Emma Dumont’s Polaris?
Emma is one of my favorite people! She’s the coolest person of all time, and she’s a lot like her character. She’s strong-hearted and she’s extremely passionate and I think that she brings such an important element to the Underground society. She’s one of the original founders of the Mutant Underground, so when she’s gone I think that everybody kind of falls apart, but now that she’s back, I think everything’s starting to come back together and she reunites with Marcos, played by Sean Teale. I think everything’s starting to fall back into place. I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s not going to stay together for much longer.
Which mutant would you like to see Lauren work with more?
Well, one of my favorite mutants here is Shatter. He’s such a cool guy, and his power is he crystalizes elements. He also is shatter-proof. Now, he can get shot at — he does such an amazing job portraying this character. His name is Jermaine [Rivers] and he’s such a cool guy, but also his character is so interesting. The backstory and the comic book character have a lot of levels to it, so seeing how his storyline plays out would be really cool.
Andy has begun to show some rather violent tendencies. How does Lauren feel about that?
Well, I think something that Andy has always struggled with is bullying, and I think that after he goes underground he starts realizing that he’s been different his entire life, and he’s just now realizing it’s because he is a mutant. So I think he just kind of has a building resentment towards the human race, just because they’ve always made him the underdog and they’ve both put him under and now that he has this power to destroy, he kind of just wants to push everything away and push away anybody that’s ever hurt him. My character Lauren wants to make sure that he stays grounded and understands that we’re not just mutants. Our parents are humans, so they make sure we keep the relationship with him stable. I think the entire series is just making sure he stays stable and understands that not all mutants are good, not all humans are good — it just depends on who the actual person is, you know what I mean?
Unlike her brother, Lauren really seems to miss her normal life. How does that continue to affect her?
Well, that’s kind of where everything changes in episode six. I think she definitely starts becoming more comfortable underground. I think that she’s always going to miss her normal life, but I think she’s coming to a realization that she’ll never be able to go back to that. Things are a lot different now, and I think that she starts kind of accepting that and being okay with it, which I think is pretty cool, because she starts developing into a mutant more than a human.
Will they continue to work together as they learn more about their powers?
Oh yeah! I don’t know how much I can say about that, but just know that that was just the beginning. I think they’re about to get a lot crazier and you start seeing them develop not only as each other but as a whole and they kind of start to having rely on each other and use each other together to get through. Their relationship is extremely vital as the series continues.
Now that her father is reunited with the rest of the family, how has Lauren’s view of him changed?
I think her relationship with her father is always going to be extremely interesting, because — for a long time when she was growing up — her father was a prosecutor of mutants, and she knew that she was a mutant for a long time. I think she grew up with a growing resentment of her father, just because she saw him locking up mutants for such a long time and that’s why she never felt like she’s comfortable with her full self. When he comes back to the Mutant Underground, one of the first things she discovers is that he tried to set up the entire Mutant Underground, which would have put all of her friends in jail. So I think she’s always going to have a little bit of a question of what side he’s on. In the long run, that’s her father and that’s her family and I think her first priority will always be to protect them.
As we’ve seen in the show so far, her mother is pretty overprotective. How does that impact Lauren’s relationship with her moving forward?
Well, I think Caitlin has to start realizing that her kids aren’t kids anymore and we’re kind of turning into adults… I think that when you start with the show, you see Lauren go on a journey of self and at the end of the series you find this grown woman who is completely developed… but at the same time she has to kind of start letting go of her parents. Amy Acker is such an amazing actor and she kind of has to start figuring out who she is… She also has a really vital skill: that she’s a doctor. So I think she starts being able to use that in the Underground, and that’s her mutant ability. That’s her power.
When you were getting to know Lauren as a character, what did you find you had in common with her?
Well, I have two sisters and I love them dearly, and I think that my biggest goal — I mean, they’re actors too, so I can kind of relate on the fact that I’ll always be there for my sisters and Lauren will always be there her brother, and I think that being the oldest sister in my family, there’s a lot you have to teach your siblings and I find that really interesting about my character, kind of being a mentor for my little brother Andy, who is played by Percy Hynes White. He’s like my best friend in Atlanta and he’s such an amazing kid. He definitely teaches me stuff, which I find really interesting, and that’s kind of what’s happening in the show too, is that it’s not just Lauren protecting him anymore; Andy starts protecting her a little bit, which I think she’s quite taken aback by, but definitely adds a really cool element to the show.
So pretty much everyone around the Struckers has a cool codename based on their powers. Will Lauren get one soon?
I hope so! Me and Percy have been asking for codenames the entire show. Well, there’s two things I’m looking for. I want some sort of cool… like, everybody else gets colored hair or colored eyes or weird ears, so I want something to happen… My wish is that something happens to my character that gives her a very identifiable cut or bruise or something on her face that’s weird or something happens where her hair changes colors, and definitely I’m looking for a codename.
If you got to choose it yourself, what would it be?
I can’t think of any. I’ve been trying to like come up with something, so I’m going to leave that to the writers, but that’d be awesome if we got codenames. That is what I keep on struggling with. I can’t think of anything! Maybe something with Strucker? I don’t know what my own individual codename would be. I honestly cannot think of anything. I said this at [New York] Comic Con too; if somebody ever asked me… I think the people who would understand the codenames the best are the fans, so if any of the fans have any cool ideas, the writers would definitely love that.
Airing Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Fox, The Gifted stars Stephen Moyer as Reed Strucker, Amy Acker as Caitlin Strucker, Sean Teale as Marcos Diaz/Eclipse, Coby Bell as Jace Turner, Emma Dumont cast as Lorna Dane/Polaris, Jamie Chung as Blink/Clarice Fong and Blair Redford as John Proudstar/Thunderbird, Natalie Alyn Lind as Lauren Strucker and Percy Hynes White as Andy Strucker.
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