The show’s lead, Eline Powell, is now scuba-certified and able to hold her breath for more than three minutes!
Are mermaids the new werewolves… the new wizards… our new obsession? That’s what Freeform is betting on with their upcoming mermaid-inspired series, Siren.
The show is set in the coastal town of Bristol Cove, known for its legend of being a mermaid haven. But this isn’t your typical mermaid tale, it’s much, much darker – as in, the mermaids have sharp fangs and claws!
Here’s what you need to know.
1. The plot – and the "dark" romance between the show’s leads.
Bristol Cove is turned upside down when a mysterious girl, Ryn (Eline Powell) begins wreaking havoc on the small fishing town.
But what’s behind the anger?
“I think maybe take away our loved ones, invade our home, pollute where we live… maybe kill off animal species that we rely on for survival -- things like that might make us a little bit frustrated,” Powell, who plays the show’s mer-lead, Ryn, told ET at Freeform’s Summit on Jan. 18. “Those elements are definitely played with like [they are] today, you know, those things are happening.”
A team of marine biologists, including Ben (Alex Roe), work to find out who and what drove Ren to land – and whether there are more like her out there.
“He's kind of a little bit of a rogue in the town, his father owns the fishery and he discovers this mermaid creature… he's initially a little bit of a cynic, but he gets to the point where he can’t really deny it anymore and he tries to help this mermaid,” Roe explained. “There's some dark history with his family… the mermaids have been here before and his family-- we're responsible for putting them back in the ocean.”
But what becomes of Ben and Ryn is not your typical “opposites attract” romance.
“You get ‘siren’d,’ Roe explained. “Our mermaids… she sings this kind of quite creepy song and from then it kind of gets into your head and it messes around with your feelings and emotions and thoughts, and I think during a lot of the series, he thinks that he’s doing things for a good reason and I think slowly realizes that maybe she's inside his head… there's a romance, but it’s dark.”
2. This isn’t anything like The Little Mermaid. And the scare is REAL.
“It is scary, but I think, you know, a great white is scary yet majestic... I’m a bit in that category I think," Roe teased.
“It is a very different side [of mermaids], but only because it’s looking a little bit more at it realistically in the sense that they are predators that have to survive in the ocean… there’s a certain level, for lack of a better word, badass-ness that has to come with that," Powell explained, adding that Ren is “a little bit more animalistic than the 'Little Mermaid' but that doesn’t necessarily mean she isn’t as lovely.”
Badass mermaids. We’re here for it.
”The things that the creatures [are] capable of is pretty scary,” Roe said. “Once you're in their territory, it's kind of like the gloves are off.”
3. Eline Powell is now scuba certified and her breath-holding skills are incredible.
“I’m scuba certified,” she shared after telling ET that it’s really her swimming in the series. “And I’m training free-diving, so static 3:12,” she said, as in she holds her breath for three minutes and 12 seconds while shooting!
“Obviously, that goes out of the window after a few takes,” she quipped while laughing. “It’s training, it's training. I’m not a special person!”
4. The magic behind the mermaid makeup is all done in post-production, but that’s not the case in the pilot episode.
“The underwater is all me just wearing a nude suit and then I get dots on me and then they change the skin in post,” Powell explained.
But in the pilot, she did have to sit through hours of makeup to get all those scales and gills just right.
“It was the case in the pilot, but they were like, ‘Hmm, that doesn't work that well,’ so I much prefer this process,” she revealed. “This is lovely, now I just pop in a swimsuit and I go for it… it's really me swimming but they, you know, change the skin [in post]."
Siren will premiere on Freeform on Thursday, March 29 with a special two-hour premiere.
Check out our interviews above and the trailers below.
And you can always share your thoughts and chat with me on Twitter: @Katie_Krause