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Exclusive: Into the Badlands' Eugenia Yuan on Kannin's loyalties in 'Curse of the Red Rain'
Tonight's episode of Into the Badlands delivered once again on the unsettling reminder that no one is truly safe — and now, with the war between Pilgrim's army and the rest of our faves finally kicking off, chances are we've only just begun to feel the ripple effects of the losses that will soon follow.
But the show's also come through with some shocking revelations recently — uh, like the fact that the Widow is pregnant(?!), for starters, as well as the reveal that Sunny's sister Kannin (Eugenia Yuan) is not dead, but has been alive and well and in service to the mysterious order known as the Black Lotus all this time. Sunny (Daniel Wu) doesn't have much time to catch up with big sis before she helps him and his best bud Bajie (Nick Frost) make their escape, but it turns out that these newly reunited siblings may be at odds in terms of their future plans.
SYFY FANGRRLS had the chance to speak with Yuan ahead of tonight's episode about joining the show this season, playing such an integral character to the series overall, and where Kannin's loyalties ultimately lie heading toward the finale.
You’re one of the newest additions to the show this season. How did you come to be involved with Into the Badlands, and how much did you know about the role ahead of time when you were cast?
Way in the beginning, I've known Daniel [Wu] for a long time. We were supposed to work together many times, but we didn't. When the show started, I hoped that I would get a chance to read. My dad got sick, and I was actually in the hospital with him and I got a call from Al [Gough] and Miles [Millar] and Dan and they all wanted me to read for the role.
Within a couple days, I was on a plane going over to Ireland, and when I landed they had that big storm, the "Beast From the East" or whatever. [laughs] It was a blessing in disguise, because I got a week where I could first get over jet lag and I watched everything. I asked for all the scripts, and I watched all the episodes leading up. So I had a big crash course on my character.Kannin is someone whose existence has been teased out for a while now, and as of last week, we finally got the reunion between Sunny and his sister as well as a lot of important backstory. Was there any pressure at all in regards to playing such an integral character to the story, and did you and Daniel collaborate on how that relationship would unfold on screen?
When I arrived, we would text and talk back and forth. When you get to work with people who you know already and are friends with in real life and you have that relationship, when you get on set, you sort of naturally bring that connection and the chemistry on-screen. I already felt like he was my brother, you know? So just being on set, we would talk just like we always did whenever we would hang out. That just helped, because that's how our relationship in real life is. I think that helped us do our scenes very naturally, and it just came and we didn't have to think about it so much.
I had to think about the story of Azra and the Badlands more because I'd just jumped into the series at the time, whereas everyone else was very established in their characters, but whenever I had questions I just asked Dan and he was so kind in helping me understand it more. Because I didn't want to screw up, you know? [laughs] I feel like she is important in building up to finding out who she is and what her place is in this world, especially the power that she's kept from Sunny and why. She's very protective, she's always been protecting him even when she doesn't seem like it. Her bottom line is always to protect him, and I think she feels she failed the first time. She's not going to let that happen again.
Last week’s episode also offered a look at Kannin’s history with Black Lotus and everything she endured — but when it came time to follow Magnus’ orders, she helped Sunny escape instead. Did Kannin’s reunion with Sunny set her free too, or was she always secretly trying to find a way to resist her situation?
Maybe way deep down in her subconscious, she'll always be loyal to Sunny. I think Magnus had brainwashed her so much, and she was also just a child when he took her and told her his truths about the gift and Azra and why it's not good for the world, and she believed that about herself. It was an abusive relationship, and when you grow up with that person as the only person who has told you what the truths are, then you can't see anything else.
I do feel when like she sees Sunny, he's the one who reminds her of their shared past and their truth and sets her free. But I do think that with the Black Lotus — it's not that quick, that you can get rid of that type of abuse.Sunny wants to trust his sister solely on the basis that they’re family, but when Kannin offers him escape from the Badlands he chooses to go with Bajie instead. How is this decision going to affect their relationship moving forward?
When we get to the place where Sunny feels like he's been tricked by Kannin, because he trusted her and believed that she was going to be doing the right thing in saving him — and when she doesn't do that, what matters most to him is his son. But she's not thinking about that. She's thinking about saving Sunny. When they split up, she feels that they're going to come back again because she has something to take care of and so does he before they can get to the final battle. They have to tie up some ends.
There’s a big battle coming up, and it feels like everyone has something they’re fighting to protect. At this point, do Kannin’s loyalties mostly lie with her brother, or is she going to wind up pitching in for a greater cause?
I believe that Sunny is part of the greater cause, and what is part of him is Henry. They're all linked. Under the greater cause are the people that Kannin cares so much about. All of us — the Widow, Gaius, all of us — we need to fight for this greater cause because we have to fight Pilgrim, the one who is our ultimate challenge, the person we are putting all the other stuff down for to fight and unite against. He is the person who is most dangerous.
Sunny wants Kannin to turn his gift on, but do you think, in the long run, her resistance to doing so might be tested — especially once they realize what a threat Pilgrim poses at this point?
Just like she said in the last episode, "it's not that easy," because it could kill him. There's too much, and it's been locked up inside him for so long. It's not just that, though. There are other reasons why it's not that easy, and that's all I can say.