News

A Discovery of Witches’ Sexy Book-to-Screen Love Story Is More Outlander Than Twilight

Star Teresa Palmer explains why Matthew Goode makes the perfect vampire boyfriend, the coolest part about playing a witch, and what to expect from seasons 2 and 3.

by | January 18, 2019 | Comments

There might be a forbidden romance with a sexy vampire at the heart of A Discovery of Witches, which is now available to stream on Shudder and Sundance Now, but there are no shades of Twilight in this love story. For one, the heroine is no helpless human — she’s a witch, and possibly one of the most powerful witches who’s ever lived.

The latest book-to-screen supernatural romance follows more in the footsteps of Outlander, chronicling a relationship of equals between modern-day witch Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer) and wise, ancient vampire Matthew Clairmont (Matthew Goode) as they race to learn secrets that will ensure a safe future for all magical creatures.

When historian Diana, who has spent her life ignoring her magical powers, discovers a long-lost manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, all sorts of magical creatures descend upon the quiet city in pursuit of the mysterious book. While different supernatural species — witches, vampires, and daemons — are not supposed to fraternize, Diana finds both comfort and protection in biochemist Matthew as the rest of the magical world attempts to track down the all-important book, putting both Diana’s life and the future of all creatures in danger.


Book Diana vs. TV Diana

Photo Credit: Sundance Now

(Photo by Sundance Now)

The Diana Bishop of the books is a single-minded historian and Yale professor who is laser-focused on her research. She’s so fiercely independent that she refuses to use her magical powers, which are inherited from family lines on both sides that she can trace back to Salem. (Part of her denial of her powers is tied to the fact that her parents were both murdered when she was a young girl, and using magic reminded her too much of them.)

In the show, however, Diana is more mild-mannered and patient, slow to embrace her power as a woman and as a witch as she learns more about her lineage. Palmer, who plays Diana, told Rotten Tomatoes that her character’s slow burn toward empowerment is a result of the fact that she’d spent her entire life wanting to fit in and just be “normal.”

“It’s this part of her that she hasn’t liked and she’s ignored, and I think when someone has something that they feel so antagonistic about, it’s hard to just flip the switch and jump into that wholeheartedly,” she said.

When Matthew arrives, however, he makes her feel grounded and stable — and thus more confident in herself and her abilities.

“She had it all there, she just also needed a cheerleader to say, ‘You can do this and you are powerful and you are worthy.’ Once she realizes who she is, she dives into it so passionately and is rewarded for that,” Palmer said.


Embracing Magical Powers

Photo Credit: Sundance Now

(Photo by Sundance Now)

One benefit to Diana’s self-discovery: getting to do badass stunts. Palmer’s character can harness different elements — including wind, allowing her to fly. That meant plenty of time in harnesses being flown around on a crane, but Palmer was thrilled to face the challenge.

“All the wirework I especially loved because she has magic powers and she has the ability to fly,” Palmer said. “I don’t want to give too much away, but I got to do so many stunts on this one. I was upside down on wires and getting swung around, and got to do a lot of work like that, which was just brilliant. At times I remember being on the wires and being up so high and thinking to myself, ‘This is my job! This is me at my job. This is really cool.’”

Then there are the non-supernatural skills Diana has: she’s a runner and a rower, both things Palmer had to train for, and she’s a historian specializing in alchemy, something Palmer had to research to get a grasp on.


Matthew Goode, Dreamboat

Photo Credit: Sundance Now

(Photo by Sundance Now)

Diana’s journey to discover her powers couldn’t be possible without the right foil, and The Crown veteran Goode provided the perfect pale skin, sharp cheekbones, chiseled jaw, and steely gaze to embody the sexy-but-scary vampire.

“I always laugh about it because Matthew and Matthew are very similar,” Palmer said. “They both love their red wine, they’re both hyper-intelligent, they’re both prone to brooding — they’re very similar in real life. Matthew Goode just embodies Matthew de Clermont so seamlessly and organically that there were moments I was like, ‘Oh, this is such a walk in the park for you! He’s British and pale and tall and handsome, and he’s got the deep voice already. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to be playing a handsome vampire.”

While the duo smolders in front of the camera, behind the scenes things were decidedly less serious. Palmer credits their onscreen chemistry in large part to the fun, lighthearted friendship they struck up while filming.

“He’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, and we would spend our time cracking each other up and laughing and mucking around and just being total goofballs,” Palmer said. “And then we’d have to remind each other that we’re at work, we have to get stuff done.”


SPOILER WARNING: The next two sections contain mild spoilers relating to the second and third books in the All Souls trilogy, Shadow of Night and The Book of Life.


The Books and Beyond

Discovery of Witches keyart (Sundance Now)

(Photo by Sundance Now)

The series has already been renewed for second and third seasons, which Palmer confirmed will roughly follow the stories in the second and third books of the trilogy. But while the second book focuses almost exclusively on Diana and Matthew’s journey back in time, Palmer said the story will be expanded to include other characters.

“The second book takes place, obviously, in the Elizabethan Era — that’s where we left off in the first season, time jumping through that well — but it’s going to be exploring that time and that era and the way things were, and it’s going to feel completely different, I think, from the first season.”

As a historian, it’s a “dream come true” for Diana to be interacting with people she’d only read about in books, Palmer said. Plus, the dynamic between Diana and Matthew will be completely different in the past versus the contemporary setting where they fell in love.

And after introducing a stellar supporting cast — Alex Kingston and Valarie Pettiford as Diana’s witch aunts; Edward Bluemel, Owen Teale, Malin Buska, Lindsay Duncan, and many more as other supernatural creatures — it makes sense to follow their stories further rather than focus solely on the main couple and the people they meet in the past.

“I think we’re going to try and figure out a way to have some of the contemporary world still in there, so that we don’t lose those amazing characters,” Palmer said. “So there’s going to be some slight tweaks to the second book in terms of the TV show, but I don’t know what they are yet.”


Season 2 Specifics

Photo Credit: Sundance Now

(Photo by Sundance Now)

While Palmer will be joining the production a little bit later than everyone else owing to the impending birth of her third child — she’ll film from July through January, after the birth of her daughter in April — she already knows one plot point she can’t wait to visit.

Palmer listened to the audiobooks after she got the role, and there’s one character in particular she’s excited to meet: Kit, a.k.a. Elizabethan playwright (and Matthew’s BFF) Christopher Marlowe.

“There’s some tension between us,” she said. “I won’t give anything away, but it’s very interesting where the root of that tension comes from. I am excited about character dynamics, truly. There’s so many amazing people we get to meet in the second season, and I just want to know how that rocks the boat for Diana and Matthew, and how they can stay a solid unit throughout all the things that get thrown their way. We will see!”

A Discovery of Witches season 1 is available to stream in full on Sundance Now and Shudder.

Tag Cloud

TruTV ESPN blockbuster PaleyFest reviews MSNBC vs. monster movies Nickelodeon award winner Logo Stephen King Travel Channel black comedy marvel comics Legendary First Reviews Apple TV Plus SundanceTV dogs GLAAD Pet Sematary HBO Go Thanksgiving news Instagram Live golden globe awards all-time twilight Bravo superhero boxing know your critic comic book movie Amazon Prime scary Alien laika Premiere Dates VH1 Sundance Fall TV Spectrum Originals Winter TV thriller romance cooking 2020 Universal Pictures Best and Worst Arrowverse singing competition Kids & Family Ghostbusters biography DirecTV book American Society of Cinematographers Spring TV documentary romantic comedy dramedy gangster boxoffice spain Hallmark Emmys facebook BET Black History Month Extras king kong docuseries foreign kong rotten hollywood basketball Election YouTube Premium Grammys transformers 2018 comic book movies NYCC dark Film Wes Anderson Sundance Now sitcom travel Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt CNN Hallmark Christmas movies 72 Emmy Awards Reality Competition Universal Western adenture casting 1990s Animation unscripted CMT TCA book adaptation Britbox Nat Geo concert blockbusters Red Carpet comedies dceu The Witch Amazon Prime Video Countdown 21st Century Fox Teen The CW E! cancelled Holiday ABC Signature DGA Biopics CW Seed screenings black films MTV TV One 2016 National Geographic Comics on TV Funimation streaming movies 4/20 sports worst movies President obituary Discovery Channel halloween tv name the review marvel cinematic universe king arthur RT History Rocketman Black Mirror witnail rt archives scary movies YA Mystery international Pixar mutant a nightmare on elm street natural history nature archives legend Academy Awards mission: impossible science fiction FOX Action parents FX on Hulu Hulu Endgame Watching Series 93rd Oscars jamie lee curtis young adult Tokyo Olympics Country zombie chucky 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards screen actors guild Comedy Central saw Crunchyroll 71st Emmy Awards Cannes VOD sag awards Pride Month rt labs critics edition Pirates south america Polls and Games Dark Horse Comics what to watch Hear Us Out Baby Yoda Image Comics A&E Star Wars revenge toy story renewed TV shows Creative Arts Emmys pirates of the caribbean Shondaland biopic cars jurassic park WarnerMedia Neflix movies Summer TNT Amazon Studios First Look Columbia Pictures spider-man political drama crime thriller Drama high school USA Rom-Com spinoff cats dc remakes Family Toys Adult Swim San Diego Comic-Con Sony Pictures mockumentary police drama directors BBC One Opinion TCA Winter 2020 Nominations festival streaming Disney Plus supernatural breaking bad french Tomatazos Disney+ Disney Plus series Oscars Christmas Video Games slashers Ellie Kemper YouTube The Arrangement crime drama wonder woman kaiju new zealand feel good DC streaming service game show OWN zombies teaser IMDb TV YouTube Red Mary Poppins Returns Heroines criterion Spike Apple Awards justice league slasher IFC New York Comic Con serial killer Cartoon Network medical drama crossover scorecard TCA 2017 RT21 stoner Shudder Chilling Adventures of Sabrina DC Comics Turner Marathons Super Bowl LGBTQ Pacific Islander ITV Martial Arts mob cancelled television The Academy Lifetime Character Guide Netflix SDCC Cosplay latino X-Men Television Critics Association TCM lord of the rings richard e. Grant Pop mcc nbcuniversal die hard Starz critics joker television IFC Films Mindy Kaling comiccon royal family Food Network Comedy japanese binge based on movie ABC Family politics sequel Year in Review Apple TV+ TCA Awards prank Trophy Talk anime spanish language Star Trek Tumblr 2019 godzilla elevated horror Podcast 2021 Marvel movie adaptation werewolf razzies social media Infographic historical drama true crime asian-american Tubi satire christmas movies spanish Esquire robots Disney Channel Holidays Ovation james bond quibi Turner Classic Movies History versus disaster cancelled TV series Box Office Classic Film TIFF comic cancelled TV shows new star wars movies green book Mary poppins spider-verse 24 frames tv talk 007 trailers Awards Tour cinemax sopranos Freeform HBO Amazon CBS sequels Trivia indiana jones TV renewals APB Fantasy harry potter Winners independent Disney streaming service documentaries heist movie children's TV comics Paramount Women's History Month composers stop motion The Walking Dead Chernobyl festivals AMC rotten movies we love Certified Fresh canceled Musicals NBA Pop TV hist DC Universe Warner Bros. video on demand finale Lionsgate rom-coms Valentine's Day live action TBS Paramount Network emmy awards indie discovery Film Festival war Disney halloween classics video rt labs franchise Rock Set visit 45 SXSW comic books reboot nfl universal monsters aliens Schedule Netflix Christmas movies Fox News dexter technology Song of Ice and Fire Avengers Television Academy Peacock telelvision MCU PBS cops batman Comic Book superman Marvel Television Crackle Vudu theme song ghosts See It Skip It AMC Plus PlayStation WGN australia psychological thriller Marvel Studios dragons NBC fresh 99% Paramount Plus Quiz zero dark thirty golden globes anthology psycho hispanic heritage month CBS All Access Syfy Rocky Trailer Captain marvel diversity Exclusive Video Sci-Fi Tarantino A24 Interview Anna Paquin women The Walt Disney Company cults 2015 BBC America 20th Century Fox 73rd Emmy Awards FXX The Purge venice Music popular El Rey football aapi Emmy Nominations Lifetime Christmas movies BET Awards Superheroes Horror Walt Disney Pictures GIFs crime Writers Guild of America GoT period drama Mudbound olympics Sneak Peek toronto talk show vampires kids stand-up comedy blaxploitation deadpool Brie Larson ABC japan new york USA Network Epix child's play ratings target spy thriller scene in color Acorn TV fast and furious HBO Max space Reality action-comedy 2017 italian canceled TV shows miniseries OneApp TV movies best BBC Mary Tyler Moore genre Masterpiece ViacomCBS Fox Searchlight TLC art house VICE 90s Superheroe Calendar Photos Sundance TV cartoon free movies suspense LGBT debate adventure worst Lucasfilm Binge Guide docudrama E3 live event Comic-Con@Home 2021 FX hidden camera animated ID game of thrones strong female leads doctor who hispanic dreamworks TV Musical Elton John TV Land Showtime critic resources BAFTA Broadway posters