Teresa Palmer casts a spell in bewitching new role
FOR a spell of powerful viewing, throw into a cauldron an all-star cast, a detailed script based on the best-selling trilogy of novels by Deborah Harkness, brilliant camera work and the right incantation of direction and you have a series worth watching.
A Discovery of Witches stars Australian actor Teresa Palmer, who plays the part of Diana Bishop, a historian and reluctant witch.
"It's wonderful, it's sophisticated and action-packed, thrilling and exciting and scary and incredibly romantic all in one," Palmer said.
"The feedback so far from the fans of the show and the fans of books has been entirely supportive - they're passionate and excited about the series."
Boiled up together, simmering away in the city of Oxford, a host of supernatural beings are keen to get their hands on an ancient alchemy book from the Bodleian Library that causes all sorts of weird stuff to happen. But events threaten to unravel the fragile peace that has long existed between witches, vampires, demons and humans.
To prepare for her lead role as Diana, Palmer started jogging, learnt to row and familiarised herself with alchemy and science by reading chemistry texts and history books.
"I actually handled some of the Ashmole collection with Deborah Harkness, who showed me how to handle the books because it's very specific," she said.
"I had to have a lesson on where to hold the pages, how to turn them, what things I would pick out and what I would note down in my journal about what I'm looking at. It was really helpful."
Palmer found it a big job to step into the character of Diana, who was so beloved by the books' fans.
"I felt a sense of pressure to make sure I was playing her right," she said.
Set in a contemporary world, Diana is reluctant to be a witch and denies her heritage, trying her best to not be noticed.
It's Palmer's first television series and she has enjoyed the ongoing nature of shooting this format in contrast to the film process.
"It's been wonderful to be able to explore the depths of a character over a prolonged period of time knowing there's another series to come," she said.
"The cast and crew become your family and I love the sense of camaraderie."
An accidental discovery forces Diana into the path of the enigmatic geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont, played by UK star Matthew Goode, and the actors' on-screen connection is truly believable.
There's a strong dynamic between the pair, probably because of their great friendship off screen, where they share parenting stories and have a laugh at the absurdities involved in filming some scenes.
The series will take viewers on a gripping and emotional journey of history, mystery and magic.
A Discovery of Witches airs Thursdays at 7.30pm Qld, 8.30pm NSW on Fox8.