In 2018, Lana Condor starred in Netflix's adaptation of To All The Boys I Loved Before, a story about a high school girl whose love letters are delivered to her crushes. *Insert facepalm emoji here* In 2019, she's headed back to high school, only this time embarrassment isn't the most likely cause of death.
SYFY's Deadly Class, which premieres this month, is based on the comics by Rick Remender about a school of teenage assassins set in the 1980s. So is King's Dominion anything like a real high school?
"Maybe the lunch room," said Condor. "Finding a place to sit. I would say the lunchroom is very cliquey and in my experience it was, so finding a place to sit I think is the most high school thing about King's Dominion. And then also just like all the love triangles, I would say."
That's right, these kids are assassins, but that doesn't mean they aren't dealing with the same drama your average non-killing teens deal with. But Condor says the portrayal of some of these classic tropes looks different on Deadly Class, especially in the love triangle between the new kid Marcus (Benjamin Wadsworth), Maria (Maria Gabriela de Faría), and Condor's character Saya.
"I think it's rare to see women who are fighting over the same guy be on the same team," said Condor. "I think in television, you usually see women who are in a love triangle like super catty, right? Or like, 'Oh my god. No. He's my man.' But I think in this show it offsets that and shows Saya and Maria are still together and they're still supportive."
But that doesn't mean Marcus' appearance doesn't make waves for the students at the school notes Condor.
"I feel like Marcus is definitely a disruptive force," she said. "I think that in King's Dominion we were used to...we were doing our thing, we knew how it went, and then all of sudden this unknown disruptive force comes in and I know the girls are very thrown by it and it's threatening to people like Chico."
Condor's character Saya is one of those people most impacted by Marcus' appearance at the school. He is assigned as her pledge by Lin (Benedict Wong), the Dean of the school, which means that whatever Marcus does reflects on Saya. But that's not the only reason they are drawn together.
"I think that Saya sees Marcus' pain and there's a lot that she can relate to," explained Condor. "So even though she might not want to let her guard down, she does because when you connect with someone, you can't help it."
It sounds pretty much like a standard high school at this point, but let's not forget these are assassins, being trained to kill with ruthless efficiency. So what did it take physically to become an assassin? Condor said the physical transformation helped her get into character.
"For me, I think I focused the most on training for it 'cause I knew how much Saya was going to have to physically fight," explained Condor. "So I did a lot of physical training for this show and the pain my body went through in that physical training, I felt like actually, I brought that into the character because she has so much pain in her past. And that pain I felt like lifting a weight, I was like 'This is what it must felt like that.'"
And like many of us, she used Chris Hemsworth as inspiration to get the job done.
"My body was broken. It was horrid," she said. "But I wanted to try ... I think Chris Hemsworth said this, where he said he builds himself up like the first four months before a movie so that when he shoots the movie, he knows he's not going to have time to work out so his body's like physical strength will slowly decline but like start off good and then slowly decline. So I was like, 'I wanna be him.' So I just did that."
The physical transformation had other unexpected benefits, like learning how to defend herself, Condor said, but she also brought up the sense of power it has given her and the other women on the show.
"For me, I think one of the coolest parts is learning how to defend yourself because that, for just as Lana, being able to now have the tools and the training to know how to defend myself if ever I get into a situation," she noted. "And I think the women are so badass and I think... the show has really given all of the women on the show the sense of power that they maybe didn't have prior to going to into this, for sure. So I quite like the school for assassins and I think Saya — Saya wants to be here. And she wants to be the best. Does she like to kill? No, she doesn't like to kill. But I think she will if she has to."
Deadly Class takes place in the 1980s and it's a show about teenage assassins — but they're still relatable. They're still dealing with issues we all face. They still have to figure out where to sit in the lunchroom. And that's why Condor says the show is relevant today.
"I think it's the perfect show to watch right now because a lot of people right now can relate to feeling misunderstood or isolated," she explained. "And I think that with all the craziness that is going on in the world, this show will provide support in your isolation that you feel you're not alone."
Deadly Class premieres January 16 on SYFY.