NEW YORK – How did Adelaide Kane get from the far western reaches of Australia to be crowned Mary, Queen of Scots?
In between Kane’s schoolgirl years in Perth and her starring role on the CW’s “Reign” (it premiered Thursday night), there was a teenage stint on the Aussie soap “Neighbours.” Then her ramen-and-odd-jobs struggles in Los Angeles four years ago as she tried to break into the big time.
The dry spell she encountered there triggered self-doubt and even anxious migraines.
“I was so sick of being unhappy,” she recalls. “That’s no way to live.”
She came close to going back to Perth and getting back in school.
Then a final Hollywood push bore fruit. Kane was cast in “Power Rangers R.P.M.,” followed by “Teen Wolf.”
Then she got her hands on a script for “Reign.” The role of Mary Stuart seemed perfect to her, all the more so since Kane’s mother is descended from the House of Stuart. Kane wangled an early audition and was signed without anyone else being looked at.
“The hours are long and it’s hard work, but it’s fantastic,” Kane says. “I’ve never been happier than in the past year. I just need to remind myself to breathe!”
As history reminds us (as does “Reign,” whatever its historical indulgences), Mary is a 16th-century teenage monarch who arrives in the French court with her ladies-in-waiting entourage to follow through with her arranged engagement to the king’s son, Prince Francis, which will secure Scotland’s strategic alliance with her homeland.
Needless to say, complications arise and many challenges face Mary – romantic, political and life-and-death.
Kane happily rolls out adjectives to describe her: “arrogant, headstrong, vivacious, smart, short-tempered, likable.”
“I love it when you like a character and then she does something you don’t like and you hate her for a while – then you love her again,” says Kane. “I’d like to see her have unlikable moments that the audience understands and sympathizes with.”
The workload, along with her uncertainty about how the show will be received, weigh on Kane.
“I Skype with my girlfriends back home in Perth,” she says. “I’m not really dating because I don’t know how long I’ll be in Toronto (where the bulk of the series is filmed). It’s lonesome. It’s isolating.”
She’s not complaining. Just honest. Headlining a series, even one with a large supporting cast (including Toby Regbo, Torrance Coombs, Megan Follows, Alan Van Sprang and Celina Sinden), can be all-consuming.
But Kane leaves no doubt she loves acting.
“If my performance touches someone, or helps someone understand themselves a little better, or gives them a laugh, I feel like I gave them something,” she sums up. “I want to touch people’s lives, and bring them along with me.”
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