CS Interview: Toya Turner Talks Netflix’s Warrior Nun
Warrior Nun, now streaming on Netflix, is definitely worth checking out thanks to a solid cast and a kick-ass storyline that delves deep into religious mythology and the battle between Heaven and Hell. To promote the new series, one of the show’s main stars, Toya Turner, who plays the appropriately named Shotgun Mary, spoke with ComingSoon.net about her character and her hopes for a second season.
Inspired by the manga novels, Warrior Nun revolves around a 19-year-old woman (Alba Baptista) who wakes up in a morgue with a new lease on life and a divine artifact embedded in her back. She discovers she is now part of an ancient order that has been tasked with fighting demons on Earth, and powerful forces representing both heaven and hell want to find and control her.
ComingSoon.net: Hey Toya, how’s it going?
Toya Turner: It’s going really, really good!
CS: Are you absolutely ecstatic about the show?
Turner: Yeah, I was just like, it’s coming in three days. It’s coming in three days. I’m just like, it’s happening in three days. It seems like it’s happening so fast, yeah.
CS: So what’s your life been like since you’ve been a part of this project?
Turner: I mean, everything professionally and personally has changed. I officially moved to LA. This is like the biggest role that I’ve ever booked, so it’s just, it’s changed my perspective in everything.
CS: How were you introduced to Warrior Nun? And what was your first reaction when reading the script and learning about the synopsis?
Turner: So the first scene that I received was the script from my manager. My manager was like, “There’s the script right now and there’s this role in there called Shotgun Mary and I think that you’ll be right for it.” And he sent it to me and I read it. And I was like, oh, this is — sci-fi is my favorite genre, first of all. And I was just like, oh, there’s a lot of heart in this script, too. And there were a couple of parts, especially some of the things that one of the lead characters go through, and it just made me really, really sad, sad and happy at the same time. It just made me cry. And yeah, then I auditioned for it and I fell in love with it and I was just like, “How many girls are in this script that are leading? How many?” I was like, oh, it’s not just one or two? It’s like, five, six? And that made me very excited, and I just went at it.
CS: So were you familiar at all with the original comic book?
Turner: No, I wasn’t. I had Googled it during the audition time, and once I booked it, I picked up a couple of volumes and I read them. And that’s when I became more familiar with them. But when I first read — I was like, what is this? Warrior Nun? I was like, okay.
CS: Okay, so Shotgun Mary. Talk about that role, because she’s a badass who wields shotguns.
Turner: Yes, Jeff. You get it. You get it. Okay, yes. I was like, Shotgun Mary? Are you kidding me? That name alone, are you kidding me? I was just like, she’s everything. She’s the dream role that I want. You know what I mean? Like she’s the role that I’ve been looking for. She carries around a shotgun. She rides a motorcycle. She’s telling people to fuck you, fuck this. I’m like, I’m just like, I love her.
CS: Had you ever ridden a motorcycle before?
Turner: So I have never actually driven a motorcycle before, but I’ve ridden on the back of one. And as far as shotguns, though, I have actually shot firearms and shotguns and you know, rifles and stuff before. So I have gone to the range. And but I don’t think I’ve ever had to hold one with one hand. So that was a little difficult to do. My arms were very shaky and wobbly because a lot of them were not replicas. So it was the actual ones. But and then the motorcycling, I learned how to ride for the show. So it was so cool.
CS: Okay, so what’s it like to shoot a shotgun?
Turner: Yeah, the first time I shot a really heavy duty firearm, I want to say it was an assault rifle, I think. And it was really, really big and they just kept telling me, you know, push the handle, the butt of the gun to your shoulder because it could kick back and it could end up like, hitting you in the face because of how much power it has. It’s terrifying to do it. So you pull the trigger and then you’re like, oh okay. Then it’s like this rush that happens. Yeah, you should try it. You should go to the range and try it.
CS: I know. I need to try it. I’ve shot smaller guns before, but never the big stuff. That’s a bucket list thing.
Turner: Yeah, you have to.
CS: When did you finally become comfortable with the role?
Turner: Oh, to be honest, I don’t think I really, really got comfortable in it until like, episode five or six. And I don’t think I was officially settled. And I think that I was no longer learning new things because we had did the training with the guns. We had did the training with the team. We had did the training with the motorcycle and I was like, okay, I have my lines and things like that. But I don’t think Mary really got settled until episode five. And then she kind of takes off from there. I think Shotgun Mary was kind of doing her own thing. She was kind of speaking through me instead of me just like, doing the part.
Turner: Yeah, but the first day? The first day we actually had to do a huge CGI fight scene. That was our first day. It was a fight scene.
CS: Oh wow.
Turner: And it was a lot. It was definitely a lot. But it was fun, though. They threw us into it, for sure.
CS: How comfortable are you with the CGI and the green screen and stuff?
Turner: How comfortable am I with the — I’m better. I’m a little bit better, but when i first started, I was like, okay, so where’s anything, just anything, anything to place a piece of tape or something? And sometimes, they would have, sometimes, I don’t know. Am I supposed to give away the magic of it all? Is that done?
CS: I guess we could put on there spoilers just in case, but yeah, sure. Go for it.
Turner: Yeah, it’s just like, you know, there was like this man on stilts, I’ll say that, walking around. And he helped a lot. So if it wasn’t for him, yeah, I don’t know what I would be looking at.
CS: So I’ve always wondered about that because people always say it is challenging to work with a green screen, but did you feel like it affected your performance at all?
Turner: Yeah, I think you just get more comfortable as you go along, you know what I mean? You just start adapting and you start growing into it, but it takes a minute to adjust for sure.
CS: So this show deals a lot with religion — the battle of heaven and hell and all that kind of stuff. And there’s a very spiritual aspect to it. Is that something that drew you to the project as well? And what do you think audience reaction to that will be? Because we don’t get a lot of religious type of content anymore, you know what I mean?
Turner: Absolutely. Especially not in like, the comic book world at all. There’s like a mild commentary they’re making, even though our world is like, based in fantasy. There’s this commentary that they’re kind of making on the religious belief that I think is very, very interesting, like about idolatry. You know what I mean? And I was like, oh, they’re going there, okay. Okay, let’s go there. I thought it was really, really interesting, yeah. It was different.
CS: Yeah, and that’s the thing, that’s what I noticed when I was watching the show, it felt like something I hadn’t seen before, and I liked the mythology that’s crafted from that. So obviously, you’re still waiting for season one to come out, so we can’t really jump into too many details about season two. But have you guys discussed season two? And where would you expect that to go?
Turner: Tricky, no one knows what I know. I think maybe they’re definitely going to go further with what they’ve done with the series. Like after you watch the series, you’ll be like, oh, they’re going to go further on this. I think they’re definitely going to push it further, if that’s not a spoiler.
CS: And so, what are you most excited for audiences to see from this first season?
Turner: Is it bad to say me? I’m really excited for people to see me. I’m like, oh god, yeah, I’m really excited for people to see me, see my work, see like, all of these kickass women, you know what I mean? Seeing women in roles that you’ve probably never seen them in, like where they’re not good, they’re not bad. You know what I mean? They’re just human, you know? Yeah, that’s what I’m most excited about. And just how diverse the show is, yeah. There’s so many shows where I’ve been like, oh my God, they’re doing the mythology. They’re going back into time. They’re wearing this beautiful armor with like a Joan of Arc show. And it’s just not diverse, you know? So I’m excited for people to see that. They can really see themselves in this show. That’s what makes me excited.
CS: Speaking more about that, how important do you think it is to have shows jay feature an all-female cast or a very diverse cast, and you have characters like Shotgun Mary kind of leading the helm? How important is it for audiences to see this type of show?
Turner: I think it’s very important. Representation is very, very important. So I know for me growing up, like seeing Angela Bassett leading in her films, like if I could’ve seen her in a comic book movie or a comic book show when I was growing up, oh my goodness. But I had to just see her as the warrior that she was in everything she did. You know what I mean? I think it’s very, very important and things can get really repetitive sometimes if you keep doing the same thing. This is something different and I think that’s very important, yes.
CS: How would you pitch this show to a general audience?
Turner: I think this show is like a genre-bender show. It blends the best of sci-fi, period, fantasy, action, YA fiction. You’re going to get life, you’re going to get some love, it’s going to be about family, sisterhood, all that. And then, you know, ass-kicking, too.
CS: Is there a specific scene that you’re really excited for people to see?
Turner: Okay, so my favorite scene — there’s actually a lot of scenes in episode five that I like. There’s a lot of ass-kicking in that one. You can just take your pick on whichever scene that was. And five and six are my favorite episodes. They’re my favorite episodes, so anything from them will do.
CS: That’s awesome.
Turner: Yeah, and you’ll see why. You’ll see why. Oh my goodness, there’s a scene in two I want to say, in two and it’s where I like, kick this dude’s ass in this alley. That’s a good scene.
CS: I’ve seen that scene. And then you interrogate him on the cliff, right?
Turner: Yeah. Oh, there’s another one, too.
CS: That was awesome.
Turner: Oh thank you.
Turner: As with like, many of the good ones, it’s so many. Any one where I’m kicking some dude’s ass, that’s my favorite one.
CS: I appreciate you reaching out to us and good luck with the show. I hope it’s a big success for you.
Turner: Yes, thank you so much, Jeff, for the opportunity and your time. It was really, really great.