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ABTV Loves ‘Motherland: Fort Salem’ Weekly
There have never been many male witches depicted on television. We’ve seen even fewer whose magic is rooted in eastern beliefs. The archetypal witch of popular media is a powerful woman drawing power from a Pagan mythos. Motherland: Fort Salem has built a literal army of these witches for its company. Nevertheless, the newest cast member of the series is a displaced male witch from Asia’s Tarim Basin with new ideologies that challenge everything the show has stood for so far.
When Tony Giroux took the role of Adil, he was immediately aware he’d be stepping into a matriarchy as one of the series’ few male characters. More so, his character comes from a world outside the militaristic structure that is Fort Salem’s setting, as well as the western philosophies of the Motherland. Giroux recognized Adil would approach things differently and took it upon himself to do the same. In an interview with AfterBuzz [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibFI5abSjXA], he shared his approach by asking questions:
“What are the different uses of witchcraft? Cuz in Fort Salem they use it a specific way. Then, me being a male witch from the Tarim Sect, how is it that we use it? I dove into a lot of research.”
He built an idea of what actual witchcraft for China’s northwest region would be, drawing inspiration from Eastern practices of channeling energy, like Shi-Gong and Tai Chi. Once he started researching, he went further, looking into the natural world for supernatural clues. The magic of Adil and his sister Khalida (played by Kylee Brown) lie closer to nature, so Giroux found particular interest in a biologist’s study of morphic fields in the animal kingdom. He summarized,
“It was a lot of mixing what we know as humans and going into a lot of different avenues of magic and superpowers.”
These new ideas of magic don’t exist purely for Motherland’s world building, but to thematically challenge the ideologies of its characters. The Tarim as a culture want no part in the ever-present militarization of Fort Salem, and aim to keep their sacred secrets just that. Secret. Giroux stated early on,
“Culturally they don’t necessarily operate the same as we do in the western world.”
Those clashing ideals present what he believes will be some interesting dynamics for the show.
But Adil’s presence at the Fort has caught the attention of series protagonist Abigail Bellweather, and the chemistry between the two invites debate, pertaining to the Bellweather ideals of duty and glory through battle. The two characters share a scene in which Adil reminds her that the army’s actions have consequences and affect peoples’ lives. For all the pride and stubbornness we’ve come to expect from the young Bellweather, Adil’s words seem to be getting through. Giroux believes in the impact others can have, saying:
“When love comes into your life, it’ll challenge you, and challenge your thoughts.”
We expect plenty of challenges in the coming episodes.”
Motherland: Fort Salem airs Wednesday nights at 9pm on Freeform.
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Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence
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