Fired up for the final season of ’Lucifer’, Lesley-Ann Brandt says she will be filming in SA soon
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I interviewed Lesley-Ann Brandt several years back when many people had not even heard of “Lucifer”. It was, of course, a time when streaming platforms were a futuristic notion.
The Cape Town-born actress, who emigrated to New Zealand with her parents and younger brother in 1999, was starting to get noticed.
Interestingly, she pursued acting after bagging modelling work on the back of being a promo girl for Red Bull.
In that interview, she said: “I was doing a lot of TV commercials, which were mostly performance-based.
“One day, the casting director pulled me aside and said: ‘You should take this seriously’.
“And I tried to find classes. New Zealand is an amazing industry, but they don’t have the resources we have in the States.
“But, in saying that, I auditioned for a comedy (’Diplomatic Immunity’) and ended up getting it.
“And I met my friend Craig Parker, whom I worked with on the Spartacus TV series (’Blood and Sand’) and ’Legend of the Seeker’.
“And, I was fortunate. I started and never looked back,” said Brandt.
She went on to do cameos in several prominent TV shows and bagged a five-episode part on “Librarians” before landing her breakthrough TV role in “Lucifer”.
This time around I was chatting to her about wrapping up the final season and bidding farewell to a character that’s not only a fan-favourite on “Lucifer” but one who has left an indelible impression.
On her incredible six-season journey as Mazikeen aka Maze, she explained: “Well, it’s been sort of like you and me I guess, like a full-circle moment in the sense that I got to see her from her genesis on the show to the end.
“I’m really, really grateful for that journey. I’ve certainly learned a lot from her.
“I think she and Lucifer have probably had the most growth as characters in terms of just understanding where they fit in and also what a new life outside of what they’ve always known hell-to-be and home-to-be, what that new life could be.
“When you see her relationship to humanity and humans at the beginning of our show, she detests humans, she doesn’t understand them, to now having these really strong-bonded friendships and experiencing very human emotions like love and rejection and, as we saw in the last season, pain.
“Feeling what real heartbreak feels like. Especially when Dan (Kevin Alejandro) passed away.
“So I’m really grateful to have had the honour of playing this character and a multidimensional female character to be honest with you.
“Because I think she represents the best in women, our ability to access our masculinity and femininity at the same time. And take no BS while we are doing that.”
The series kicked off with Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), who reneges on his duty as the ’Lord of Hell’ to run a sophisticated nightclub called Lux in Los Angeles.
That’s where he finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation and so begins his relationship with detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German).
It’s purely a working one at first as he helps her solve cases by using his powers on unsuspecting humans.
Meanwhile, his right-hand Maze detests this world but does his bidding all the same.
His older brother Amenadiel (D. B. Woodside) arrives to talk some sense to Lucifer and ends up staying on earth too.
Of course, over the seasons, the characters have gone through different life changes and experiences while, at the heart of it all, remaining a dysfunctional yet loyal “family”.
Although Maze comes across as cold and menacing, she’s very caring and protective of those close to her.
Brandt explained: “She always has the best intentions even though she perhaps doesn’t have the tools to show it in like a normal way.
“One of the endearing qualities that I love about this character is that, at times, she is so childlike but there’s a real gooey middle if you can break through the layers and the walls she has had to build up just to survive.”
Last season, Maze went through a turbulent period. Aside from getting her heart broken, her desire for a soul saw her partner with Michael against Lucifer.
“I think that is what I love about a character like Mazikeen is that she is so multidimensional and that she is experiencing a lot of firsts: first love, first heartbreak, jealousy. These are all new things for her as a demon even though she’s been on Earth for sometime now at this point.
“I love seeing her try. She really does try to be a really good friend and try to express herself but she sometimes falls back on those old behaviours and that is very relatable as people.
“Sometimes we are just chained to old patterns and behaviours in how we deal with situations that make us uncomfortable and her desire to get a soul, I think a lot of that is tethered to her mother you know.
“She sort of saw what happened to her mother at the end of her life, she is afraid, her caring and feeling all of these things, if she goes back to hell, she is going to be tortured herself.
“Again, it’s like survival instincts for this character. She tries to figure out ’what do I need right now in the moment so I don’t have to feel’ and sometimes she forgets that feeling is part of the journey, going through the uncomfortableness to get onto the other side of it,” said Brandt.
In the new season, Maze and Eve are back together in their love bubble.
On working with Inbar Lavi, Brandt said: “We are blessed on the show to have an incredible cast that started off on ’Lucifer’ and then we have been so blessed to have additional actors and actresses come on, who just added to that already great chemistry that we created in season one. So it was really wonderful exploring this relationship with Inbar.
“She’s the kind of actress who will try things. She’s very present, no take is the same and I love that.
“Making that relationship really authentic was very important to both of us and I’m really grateful to have had a partner who was willing to get into the trenches with me.”
To sum up her journey, she shared: “I actually wrote a goodbye letter to her on Instagram.
“I think I said everything I needed to say to her. As far as the show goes, I’m just really grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this journey and this fandom.
“It is rare that a show gets to see six seasons, It is even rarer for it to come back from the dead, you know after cancelling and to move to the biggest streamer in the world and to be introduced to new countries and new viewers, so she will forever be a part of me and I will always look at the show and my experience with fond memories.”
She laughed when I asked her, “What’s next?”, as she’s been getting that a lot lately.
“So, behind the scenes, I am in the process of developing a show that I shoot in South Africa.
“Something that I created and it’s a very Capetonian story, so I’m really proud to be a part of that and to see that bearing some fruit right now.
“And I’ve teamed up with a production company in the US.
“And then I have another show that is currently being developed for me. I voice a character on an animated series on Netflix that is yet to be announced but that character is South African so you will hear a very Cape Town accent in that show,” she said.
“Lucifer” season 6 is currently streaming on Netflix.