Search
Close this search box.

Mirren Mack

With her performance in The Witcher: Blood Origin, Mirren Mack proves she has franchise level talent.

In a world full of ever growing fictional worlds, securing a lead spot in a well-loved franchise, for however long, guarantees actors new fans, as well as an eye catching resume. For Scottish actress Mirren Mack, her role as Merwyn in Netflix’s The Witcher: Blood Origin showcases her talents beautifully as she portrays a modernly feminist character in the expanding fantasy universe. Mirren, who graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, is no stranger to the streaming giant, having played fan favorite, Florence, in season two of their quirky comedy Sex Education. She is also known for her role as Kaya in the BBC drama, The Nest, and for a multitude of stage performances including Wound by Philip Radley in 2020, Small Island for The National Theatre in London, and, most recently, Hamlet at Bristol Old Vic in which she portrayed Ophelia.

The Witcher: Blood Origin is the newest instalment in Netflix’s “The World of the Witcher,” but will likely draw both newly inquisitive and die-hard fans alike. The limited series is a prequel to the original, telling the story of the creation of the first Witcher and the “Conjunction of the Spheres,” an event pivotal to the action of the main series, but does not require audiences to have seen the hit show before. While it remains to be seen how audiences will react to the Christmas release, The Witcher is still in the Top 20 of the platform’s most-streamed shows with season 2 totalling 142.4 million viewing hours in its first two days.

Mirren Mack spoke with 1883’s Sydney Bolen about the upcoming prequel, what she has learned from her characters, what she plans on toasting to on New Years Eve, and more.

 

Dress Armani Necklace Ottoman Hands Earrings Phoebe Walsh Rings Daisy london 
Jumpsuit Stella Mccartney Shoes Gianvito Rossi Necklace Ottoman Hands Earrings Phoebe Walsh

 

Congrats on The Witcher: Blood Origin. I loved it. It works really well as both a stand alone for people not familiar with the franchise and as a prequel for people who are already fans of the universe. Prior to getting the part, how familiar were you with the material? 

I was familiar with The Witcher world from having watched the first series but I didn’t know what to expect from a prequel.

 

I honestly think Merwyn is one of the most complex characters. She has a very modern mindset, which was refreshing to see. Who is she to you?

To me Princess Merwyn is an ambitious and driven intellect and dreamer- she has huge dreams of being an architect of the new golden age of elfkind, of shaping the world she belongs to and won’t stop at anything to make her version of what’s right happen. She lives in a very patriarchal society and is in the shadow of her brother, seen only as a pawn to be used in a marriage alliance. That doesn’t cut it for her, and she wants more. She wants power and for her voice to be heard.

 

What did you find most challenging about portraying her?

Merwyn and myself are different in many ways, especially being able to make the choices she made to be sure her voice was heard. I had to reason with myself that Merwyn is completely convinced she is saving people and that elfkind are family to her, they are who she loves more than her own flesh and blood. 

 

Dress Armani Necklace Ottoman Hands Earrings Phoebe Walsh Rings Daisy london 

 

If you could give her one piece of advice, what would it be?

I’d say talk to people, most importantly talk to your people. If you want to lead the people you have to understand what they need and want, and living in your palace assuming you know what’s right isn’t going to do that.

 

While Merwyn is a completely new character, you recently finished a run of Hamlet at Bristol Old Vic in which you played Ophelia. How did it feel to take on such an iconic role?

It was really exciting. I always come to a character accidentally having dreamt up my own idea of who they are from reading the scripts or in this case from having seen her portrayed before, but it all changes as you meet the other characters through the people playing them, the director with their vision, and you find yourself walking a set and wearing clothes that you inhabit differently to how you are normally. It’s such a collaboration that I feel like no Ophelia or character that has been played through history will be the same which is a freeing feeling. I felt that I wasn’t ready to finish though as I still had a hundred questions to figure out and I would love a chat with all the other Ophelia’s there have been.

 

Did you learn anything about yourself from your time portraying the character?

I learned a lot of things but something I think is present in both Merwyn and Ophelia is their need, as we all need, to be listened to, sometimes that being heard is enough to feel like a valued person and how important it is to listen properly. Something I already knew but those roles in particular showed me that at epic levels. 

 

Prior to this you played Queenie in the revival of Small Island for The National Theatre in London. That is a huge achievement. Did acting in that venue feel any different as a performer?

This was my very first Theatre job and I remember the first time walking onto the stage to speak and it was as if all the words just fell out of my body- I was really quite awe struck by just the way it looked. It was an amazing project to be a part of with extraordinary people and in a beautiful theatre and I felt very fortunate and grateful.

 

Dress Armani Necklace Ottoman Hands Earrings Phoebe Walsh Rings Daisy london 
Pink Suit BITE White blouse BITE Shoes Manu Atelier Necklaces Dinny Hall Earrings Ottoman Hands

 

In 2019, you graduated from Guildhall School of Music and Drama. You have accomplished so much in the short time since. What is the best advice you received while there?

I was encouraged to find something outside of acting to love, to focus on that would bring me joy. I think that’s so important for myself as I can get caught up and consumed by thoughts of work and wanting to be better, and whist that’s great, sometimes it means that it feels the only good in life is when working and then your sense of self and worth can become dependent on people who may employ you. So finding something else important to fill my days and to be excited about when not acting seems to be a good bit of advice. That and to look for coins on the pavement, if you look you’ll usually find them.

 

As we get closer and closer to 2023, what will you be toasting to this new year’s eve?

I’ve met some great people this year and also there are sadly some incredible people who are no longer here and who will be missed very much, so I think I’ll be cheersing to all the people I have met and those yet to come and just being glad of having known good folk as cheesy or sappy as it may sound.

 

Pink Suit BITE White blouse BITE Necklaces Dinny Hall Earrings Ottoman Hands

 

Finally, to bring everything back to The Witcher: Blood Origin, I loved Merwyn’s wardrobe. Did any outfit in particular stick out to you good or bad? 

Many stuck out for good but I think I’ll say there’s this electric blue dress that feels incredible to move in, the material sort of ripples and catches the light and looks like it’s always in motion. I just loved the feeling of it. I wish I was wearing that or in fact any of Merwyn’s outfits this Christmas/New Year.

 

The Witcher: Blood Origin, available now on Netflix. 

 

Photographer Jemima Marriott 

Stylist Ella-Louise Gaskell at Stella Creative Artists

Stylist assistant: Sara Sorayanejad

Hair by Brady Lea at Premier Hair & Make-up using Bumble and bumble.

Make Up Chantelle Phillips using Elemis and Charlotte Tilbury 

Location Soho Hotel, London

 

Top image credits:

Suit and blouse Paul Smith 

Earrings and Necklace Dinny Hall 

 

Related Posts