'It was intense': October Faction's Aurora Burghart on the scene she wishes had made it into the final edit
October Faction's Aurora Burghart has opened up about her favourite scene to film for the series - and the "intense" one she wishes had made it into the final edit.
The actress played Viv Allen in the Netflix series, which is based on the comics of the same name by Steve Niles and Damien Worm.
October Faction follows Fred and Deloris Allen who, after the death of Fred’s father, return to their hometown in New York with their 17-year-old twins Geoff and Viv.
But the twins' lives are quickly turned upside down when they find out that their seemingly normal and unremarkable parents aren't who they seem: they're not insurances sales representatives, they're trained assassins who hunt monsters.
And she spoke to Her about why she wanted to become an actor, why she felt "bizarrely calm" during her first October Faction audition and her favourite scene to film in the series.
How did you get started in acting? Was it something that you always wanted to do?
When I was at school I always did bit and bobs in school plays. I remember being about 5 or 6 and playing The Rainbow Fish. I had this amazing outfit and I had to give out my golden scales to the other kids in the audience. That’s probably when I realised that acting was about sharing bits of yourself — although I literally just made that connection! But then, when I got a bit older, I focused more on my studies and stopped acting for a long time.
I didn’t act at all for years. I found thespian crowds very hoity-toity, and whenever I tried to speak to the thespy kids I felt really out of place. That was a lot more to do with me and how I felt about expressing myself creatively. But without any creative outlet, I felt like I’d shut a part of myself down. So, in a moment of crisis, I asked myself, “What do I want to do more than anything else in the world?” The answer was acting, and that was that. I poured all my energy into applying for drama school, and was utterly amazed when I got in the first year of applying.
How would you describe October Faction to someone who hasn’t read the comics or maybe doesn’t know anything about the show?
Two things. (1) A grand and extrapolated metaphor about prejudice in the modern world. (2) Fun fantasy about an unusual family of monster hunters and warlocks whose union might make the world a better, safe place to be. With lots of teen angst and some gratuitous violence.
Did you read October Faction before beginning work on the series?
I didn’t have the opportunity to read the comics before the series started shooting because I was cast in the show days before I flew out to start filming. But then I was given copies, and I made a huge scrapbook with art and ideas, trying to make sense of Viv’s relationships — both with her family and with monsters — and I tried to get my mind into the whole universe of the comic, which is totally amazing by the way. The show is more of prequel to the comics, so a lot of my work was about unlocking how the character in the show might transform into the character we meet in the comics.
What was it like when you found out you had been cast as Viv?
I was speechless. But thrilled. It was odd. When I read the scenes before the audition, I remember thinking, “I get this girl. I get her. She makes complete and utter sense to me.” And that is rare. To feel like you completely and wholly understand a character, and you can’t even begin to articulate why. So when I did the first audition, I remember feeling bizarrely calm. And peaceful. Which is weird because I had literally just left drama school and really I was full of angst. The next day I was in for a Skype audition to meet the North American casting directors alongside the showrunner Damian Kindler and one of the directors. And I could feel the excitement in the room. It was palpable. And then there was a bit of a wait, whilst they figured everything out. I rarely let myself think about a job after the audition is done, but this one just wouldn’t leave my mind. And when the call came, I just thought, “Wow. YES!!!!!”
The Allen family is at the heart of the series, and you guys had a really great chemistry on-screen - was it the same kind of family atmosphere behind-the-scenes as well?
Tamara, Gabriel and JC are my family now. Gabriel and I especially just got on so well, it’s insane. We are very different people, but fundamentally I think our world views align very well and when you have that, you just get a great sense of ease with a person. So we would be mucking around all the time, and talking furiously, which translated on screen.
Tamara and JC were incredibly generous with me, and really acted as my guiding lights in the whole process. Tamara is a very, very kind person — and she’s quiet about it. She’s also super quirky and super fun, and very wise. JC kept me nice and grounded, and was always funny, always up for a heart-to-heart, very generous. I was lucky! I also have a soul sister bond with Maxim Roy, who plays Alice. Honestly, the entire cast is made up of people who are just incredible.
Did you take any mementoes from the set once filming had wrapped?
We got October Faction hoodies, and a cute Herschel travel bag. There were some little gifts swapped here and there. I tried to get everyone, crew included, a little something to relax after the intense shoot (the usual: candles, soaps, etc.) because everyone worked tirelessly under a really rigorous schedule.
But honestly, the best bit of the job was the people I met! I’ve kept in touch with a lot of people, both in front of and behind the camera.
What was your favourite moment to film?
I loved filming the seance in Episode 1, just because it involved lots of technical things for the levitation. But also because I really wanted to sell the connection between Viv and Alice from the very beginning.
I made a conscious decision that whatever happened to Viv in that moment had to be about how Alice is feeling. So I settled on this concept of Viv suddenly feeling like she’s drowning, to correspond with Alice being imprisoned under water.
Were there any scenes that you wish had made it into the final cut of the season?
Originally, Cathy’s brush with death in Episode 10 was a lot more explicit, and her fall into the fire had a longer visual sequence. It was pretty intense. I can see why it wasn’t included in the final edit!
Have you watched October Faction in full yet?
I watched the show about a month or so before it aired, when it was still in rough copy and didn’t have full visual effects. I have yet to sit down at home and watch it on Netflix... I watched the first episode with my childhood friends, because they really wanted me to be there. That was nice! But for now I’m happy to let the rest of the final air be watched by other people!
What do you think is behind the door at the end of the final episode?
Who even knows. Honestly, the Allens need to stop keeping secrets. I’m sure we’ll find out if we go for Season 2.
Where you do you think things will go for Viv in season two?
I think Season 2 will see Viv’s true self emerge in some very unexpected ways. I’ve had lots of conversations with producers and writers of the show about the twins in Season 2, and how we might see their relationship fracture, and at what cost. I think Viv is very moralistic, so there is something exciting and challenging about the idea that she might go against her own morality and do something very wrong. It would be interesting to explore what would make her do that, and how she would react to it. She’s also very powerful. She’s full of magic that she has no idea how to use or control. So that opens up a lot of possibilities. How does she cope as a warlock?
October Faction is produced by High Park Entertainment in association with IDW Entertainment. IDW Entertainment is the worldwide distributor for the series, except for in Canada. October Faction builds on the success of IDW Publishing’s comic book series written by Steve Niles.