Warrior Nun star Sylvia De Fanti talks Netflix’s newest comic book adaptation

The actress also shares how she prepared for her role as Mother Superion

Sylvia De Fanti as Mother Superion

Netflix has had a lot of success with its original comic book adaptations over the past couple of years, and the streaming service is hoping to continue that trend this summer with its upcoming fantasy drama called Warrior Nun. We spoke to Sylvia De Fanti who plays Mother Superion in the new series.

Based on the comic book series Warrior Nun Areala by Ben Dunn, Warrior Nun tells the story of a 19-year-old woman named Ava (Alba Baptista) who wakes up in a morgue with a new lease on life and a divine artifact embedded in her back. Soon after being resurrected, Ava discovers that she’s now part of an ancient order that has been tasked with fighting demons on Earth as well as powerful forces from both heaven and hell that want to find and control her.

But Ava isn’t just an ordinary member of the order of the Cruciform Sword. As revealed in the trailer for the series, Ava also happens to be the bearer of the Halo, signifying that she’s the group’s greatest weapon against evil.

In addition to Baptista, the Simon Barry-created series also stars Tristán Ulloa as Father Vincent, Kristina Tonteri-Young as Sister Beatrice, Lorena Andrea as Sister Lilith, Toya Turner as Shotgun Mary, Thekla Reuten as Jillian Salvius, and Sylvia De Fanti as Mother Superion, who will serve as Ava’s mentor as she takes her first few steps as the Warrior Nun.

In a recent interview with Geekspin, De Fanti talked about how she prepared for her role, how the TV adaptation differs from the source material, and what she feels about the series being released during the pandemic. Read the full interview below:

For those who are not familiar with Warrior Nun, what can you tell them to expect from the series? What sort of person is going to love this show?

Definitely expect adventure and suspense and fun and coups de théâtre! A good story about an organization of very different young women; how they are very different, but also what they share… what they have in common. The men are also of course quite interesting, but I’ll say no more and leave that for the viewers to discover! And at the time when it’s complicated to travel because of COVID, it’s fantastic because the locations transport you to these beautiful places!  I had such a great time working on the show, so hope EVERYONE loves it!

Are you a Manga fan?

I can’t really say I’m a FAN per se, but once I read the material, I did fall in love with the mystic, introspective Neon Genesis Evangelion and I recall from my childhood all of the blood splatter they have in Tiger Mask.

Did you read Warrior Nun Areala before joining the series?

As a serious actor who actually cares about their role should always do, I did my research, yes. I read the manga to prepare for the audition and tried to understand the references of the material they gave me to read for the role. The character of Mother Superion certainly jumps off of the page!

Sylvia De Fanti as Mother Superion
Sylvia De Fanti as Mother Superion

What are your feelings on having the series be released during the pandemic?

I’m not sure the timing of the show’s release, is either positive or negative in relation to the tragedy of this coronavirus… but I’m sure that some of the themes that emerge from the story will resonate more strongly because of the pandemic.

The experience of the contagion has certainly been different for everyone.  Depending on a person’s geography, emotional and physical health and maybe even more importantly, their social class, the pandemic revealed the deep interconnection all human beings have. For people who didn’t already know, the pandemic showed the importance of solidarity and caring for others, while also highlighting social, political and economic conflicts already existing in our society. It showed how much our actions do matter. The Butterfly effect is real.

Your role in Warrior Nun is certainly very different than your previous role in Incantesimo, how has that challenged you?

Hahaha. Incantesimo was SO long ago! And it was an Italian story, with Italian characters, set in Italy. Warrior Nun isn’t nation-specific and we have an international cast. The actors are from at least half a dozen countries, which makes me happy because I’m glad to be part of a show that looks more like the world we actually live in.  I like to think that every character I’ve ever played has challenged me. It’s that challenge that makes me interested in a role in the first place.

What do you love about the character Mother Superion?

Everything. I wish I could say more, but let’s leave some mystery. And also, I’d get in trouble with Netflix! (Laughs).

If you had a magic wand, what show would you do next?

If not Warrior Nun, how powerful is this wand (laughs again)??? There are so many great series these days; Handmaid’s Tale, Normal People, Succession, Ozark…I read for a wonderful role in an upcoming Ryan Murphy mini-series that I didn’t get…I love his vision. Also, there’s a long list of brilliant filmmakers that I’d give my firstborn to work with. No, wait! Valentino needs his mamma.

Who is your celebrity crush?

Ooh…another long list. But it wouldn’t be very Mother Superion (nun?) of me to discuss these things.

Warrior Nun arrives on Netflix on July 2nd.

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