'Legacies': Danielle Rose Russell on Hope's Emotional Breakdown, 'The Dress' & Final Episodes (Exclusive)
By Liz Calvario
Quantrell Colbert/The CW
Warning: Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched Thursday's episode of Legacies.
Tears, gasps and dropping jaws are what Legacies fans experienced after Thursday's episode.
Titled "Let's Just Finish the Dance," many revelations and secrets unfolded over the course of the night, which will change the lives of many of the show's beloved characters. From Lizzie (Jenny Boyd) and Josie Saltzman (Kaylee Bryant) getting one step closer to finding out about the Merge, to Roman's (Jedidiah Goodacre) return and MJ's (Quincy Fouse) mom perhaps working for the mysterious Triad Industrious, there was a lot to unpack after that episode.
However, there was one character in particular, Hope Mikaelson, who had quite an emotional journey. The stoic tribrid usually keeps her cool, but her emotions after seeing Landon (Aria Shahghasemi) dead, before he rose from the ashes, brought back pained memories of losing her loved ones. ET caught up with Danielle Rose Russellover the phone on Thursday to discuss the impactful episode and how her character will handle the new developments before the season is over.
ET: What an emotional episode for Hope. How have you prepared yourself to handle the character's emotional journey?
Danielle Rose Russell: I spoke a lot with the writers about making sure that she was struggling [with her emotions], because after what happened in the last episode [with Landon], she came to terms with some of her worst fears. You saw her deal with that immense trauma. I didn’t want that to be forgotten or lost because it really matters. I enjoyed getting to continue that story for her because it felt right.
In the episode, Hope tells Lizzie, "I'm not struggling anymore. I've dealt with it and moved on.” But clearly she hasn’t. How do we see her dealing with her pain in the last two episodes of the season?
The part of the grieving process that Hope hasn’t really done is allowed herself to love again, and allowed herself to really experience life and not be so deathly afraid. And she does, she puts herself out there and she finally does that in one way or another. This episode was a catalyst, in my opinion, in how the season ends and Hope’s journey. It will all eventually make sense.
Let’s talk about the dress! People were so excited when they saw that it was the one that Klaus gave Caroline. Tell us about putting on the dress, getting into the moment and what it meant for Hope?
I look at that whole series of moments -- not that she would have been affected that much by it on a regular day -- and I don’t think it was the dress that was causing that immense emotional outbreak [for Hope]. It was really a series of all the things that have happened in this past season all coming to a head and she finally lets herself cry. She finally lets herself be upset without being hurt by someone or something. She just lets it happen. But being in that dress was definitely hard, it was a long day of shooting and we did all that in a day. So I was definitely over the dress by the end of the day (laughs). But I think the dress, for Hope, symbolized that she wants her dad and she is like a little girl again in the dress.
We also see Roman returning. We're not sure if he has good intentions, but he admits to still having feelings for Hope. Where do they stand?
Right now where they stand, Hope has done a lot of work in trying to move on from the traumas in her life, and Roman was a huge part of that. I genuinely believe that she has forgiven him and has moved on from that chapter. And you see in the episode, he’s been around the school, so it’s not a shocker that he is around her. I’m sure that in the last several years they’ve seen each other and said hi to one another. I always loved the thought of the Roman/Landon/Hope dynamic. It's a fun love triangle. Maybe we will see more of Roman, never say never. Who knows?
Speaking of love interests, if everyone at school knows that Rafael (Peyton Alex Smith) has feelings for Hope, does she?
I always say that Hope is really smart and people don’t give her enough credit (laughs). Yeah, she definitely is very aware of the things that go on around her.
Fans also saw Lizzie and Hope's relationship moving in a positive direction. How will they continue to get along, and will it put a strain on their individual relationships with Josie?
As far as Hope getting along with either one of them, I don’t think it’s really up to her at this point. The twins are in a static state at the moment. You will see that develop more in the two next episodes. I, personally, would love to see them band together and develop that friendship more.
What would you say was something that you really loved about this episode?
I really liked this episode because you got to see the school. We have been so focused on Triad and fighting that, and it was nice to bring it back home. It was definitely an homage to The Vampire Diaries. I [also] never thought that it would make sense for Hope to be Miss Mystic Falls. But as someone who watched The Vampire Diaries when I was 10 or 11, getting to be Miss Mystic Falls was very surreal for me. It was a fun thing to do and pay tribute to The Vampire Diaries. And now I can say that I have been Miss Mystic Falls once in my life!
Switching gears, you have Roman and Landon, but a couple of episodes ago we found out that Josie had a crush on Hope. You teased "Hosie" on social media, how much validity is there to that?
Kaylee and I actually started “Hosie” as a joke. We still joke about it, and we like the idea of protagonists of a show being sexually fluid or without a label. At this point, it doesn’t really make sense for Hope. I always say that a relationship between Hope and Josie could develop, given the right time and circumstances. If there will ever be a day, who knows? But we joke about it after Josie revealed that she had a crush on Hope...Hope definitely has other things on her mind at the moment, but I don’t think she lets it affects her opinion of Josie whatsoever.
As season one comes to an end, how do you feel about Hope's evolution since episode one, where she was pushing everyone away, to now where she has a boyfriend and friends?
For Hope it was absolutely terrifying [to let anyone in], but it had to happen in order for this character to arc and to go on an emotional journey. In order for her to fully heal and move on with her life, she has to allow herself to love and have relationships in her life again, otherwise she would stay stagnant and a very boring character. I really enjoyed playing that, especially with Aria and the whole Hope and Landon dynamic. To her, that is probably the most important relationship at the moment and I’m happy that we didn’t start the season with it being easy for Hope. [The whole season] definitely justifies where Hope should be and where Hope ends up. But it’s The Vampire Diaries universe and nothing stays happy forever.
And where do you hope to see Hope in season two?
Oh, that’s so difficult because once you see how the season ends, there are so many things that are unknown. There are so many things are unknown to me, too! I have had so many conversations with [creator] Julie [Plec] and [executive producer] Brett [Matthews], and our writers about what’s going to happen with Hope, because I’m anxious about it. I’m waiting to get the first script and see where she is at.
Do you know anything about season two?
I know some things, but it’s still unknown, where Hope is in her development. I’m going back and forth with it, thinking a lot about it and asking myself where I want to see her grow a little bit more. I obviously love playing badass, fearless Hope. But I think, for me playing Hope, a really significant relationship for her is Landon and I enjoy playing a protagonist who is learning how to not be afraid to be vulnerable and showing that vulnerability with the world and Landon. And I love playing romantic Hope, too. I would love to see that relationship go whatever which way. I think one of the beautiful things in her life is doing whatever she can for love.
As we wrap up, what can you tease about next week’s episode, “I’ll Tell You a Story?”
It’s one that you will want to be glued to the TV for for the entire hour because a lot of things are revealed in the next episode. That is all I can say.
Legacies airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.