WotSeries: Hi Daniel. Nice meeting.
Daniel Henney: Nice to meet you, too. How you doing?
WotSeries: Good, good, thank you. Congrats on season two, first things first.
Daniel: Thank you very much. Yeah.
WotSeries: And happy belated birthday.
Daniel: Thank you very much. You’re you’re a man of good… Is that an Ibanez behind you? (referring to guitar in the background)
Daniel: Nice, nice. Okay.
WotSeries: Failed musician!
Daniel: We all are… we all are! I’ve got like five of those in my house and I just look at them and I’m like “what am I doing?”
WotSeries: Do you play?
Daniel: I’m a campfire guy, you know?
WotSeries: Uh, what kind of music do you mind asking?
Daniel: I grew up in the 90s, so 90s sort of like, pop-rock grunge Bush, Nirvana, Pearl Jam.
WotSeries: Pearl Jam. Nirvana. A little bit of Dave Matthews Band
Daniel: Yup. Absolutely!
WotSeries: First, one of the things that came out of season two: the storyline of Lan and Moiraine was very intriguing. It’s new to us. And honestly, personally, I like when new things come to a known story like The Wheel of Time. It just keeps it fresh. You went from being such strong partners in season one. And then, moved to a strained relationship in season two. What was your process like to make that shift between season 1 to season 2?
Daniel: I think there was a variety of different thoughts, concerns, emotions that went into that. It was unexpected from my point of view. But I saw it as a challenge and I thought, look, my partner’s Rosamund Pike.
So we have these really intense scenes in the first and second episode of season two. They were fiery and difficult. And we spent a lot of time on those trying to find the right tone. Especially the scene where they kind of split up. That was a really tricky night for various reasons. We were battling the sun that night as well, and an unruly horse that wanted to keep turning while I was talking. Simply put, you go with the flow, the scripts are great, and we thought, okay, if it’s going to lead to a really great payoff for Lan, then let’s do it.
At that point, I didn’t quite know what that payoff was going to be, but as we proceeded through all the Alana stuff and Lan spending time with other warders, and ultimately being a catalyst to sort of pushing toward the end and getting everything together. That was really redeeming, and I think it was great for Lan. It sets a good foundation for him.
Also, it’s nice to see these characters in their own containers, sometimes on their own. So you can empathize more with him as a human. So it’s not always a duet. People understand him more now and I think that’ll only strengthen his relationship with Moiraine as we move forward. And now that they’ve got their bond back, I think they’re going to be stronger than ever.
WotSeries: Great, thank you for that. You mentioned that one scene, the difficult scene between you and Moiraine. One thing that stood out, I think, for everybody was when Moiraine tells Lan “you’re not my equal”, right? When that came to you, I mean, honestly all of us wanted the payoff, because we sort of have a familiarity with Moiraine and Lan, that that’s not how it goes, they’re better than this. When you saw that, did you know what the payoff was going to be? Or was it a surprise to you at the end? Because that was a really emotional moment at the very end when she reversed that.
Daniel: I did not know what the payoff was going to be. I knew there was going to be something, but as an actor in the moment, I simply play the moment as it is. And a lot of times these scenes are shot eight months apart and we had no idea what was down the road.
So no, I didn’t know and I think that worked better. It’s very difficult to hear those things, but it’s the truth. I think that Lan knows that. And I think in his meditation scene with Ihvon, it makes it very clear. I mean, it’s laughable to think that they’re equals, you know? Like he says, “Aes Sedai can move thunder and lightning,” and Warders are simple men that are benefited by the One Power.
But it hurts of course. Look, we were pretty happy with how it turned out. But I think that the ending, especially in 208, when they rebond again, without those moments leading up to that, and without the struggle, it wouldn’t have been as powerful.
WotSeries: And that was a powerful moment and how was filming that, on that beach with just the two of you, with the one power. How was that scene?
Daniel: Unbelievable. It was 45 minutes to set through absolute desert on two tracks, on ATVs. Tents and tractors. And tides coming in. We set that Waygate up, actually out there, that was not CGI, it was a real Waygate. We were in Dakhla, in Morocco, and it was absolutely incredible.
We practiced that sequence a few times. Just in our own hotel rooms together, working on what we thought it would be. We worked with Rosamund’s movement coach, Scarlet, and we came up with what we thought was very fitting, intimat, quiet and powerful. That’s what we wanted. And we think it turned out really well. Of course, the location was unreal and that really helped; we thought it was a real beautiful moment.
WotSeries: What are the ways that you personally relate to Lan, the character.
Daniel: Well, I mean he’s like one of the baddest warriors in fantasy history, so I don’t want to pretend that I relate to him too much (chuckles). I think he’s a really loyal man. And I am too. I think he’s fiercely loyal to his friends and his family and the people that he loves, he’s very duty and mission oriented, which I am too.
I’m very focused on my work and I expect a lot from myself and from others, and I think Lan does the same. I think he’s very, he’s quite athletic and physical and I’ve always been a very physical person. I work from the outside in. Even with Lan, it helps me to get the physical down first before the inside stuff starts to work. I think we’re relatable from that standpoint. I grew up outdoors. When I was a kid, I used to hunt. I’m from Michigan. I know how to use a bow and all that stuff, the outdoorsy stuff. So maybe there’s something there.
That’s about it. Otherwise he’s far superior.
WotSeries: The physical stuff is really taxing, but we’ve seen some really amazing sequences. You had a big fight with the Fades and you had the fight on the beach against the Seanchan. Were those more taxing than what you did in season 1 where you had a really long scene in episode one of season one. How did that compare to the other physical stuff you ended up doing for season two?
Daniel: I think that the season one fight was probably more difficult, but it was more exciting too because we just started the show and it was the first chance to see Lan and Moiraine together. So there’s a lot of pressure put onto that fight. Now, in season two, especially the scene at the end, I really enjoyed that sequence because you got to see more precise sword work from him. We had a chance to really break down the scene. I could really focus on the strikes more. I did not know we were going to be shooting in eight inches of sand. It’s really easy to do kicks and stuff when you’re on a mat in a gym. But that changes. So you have to be ready for that kind of stuff. The Fade fight was tough because it was night time. It was dark. We wanted that fight to look messy and sort of sporadic and gritty. I think it turned out the way it should. I mean if you’re fighting two Fades you’re up against it.
WotSeries: You did grab an arrow, and stabbed someone in the neck with it, that was amazing!
Daniel: I did grab an arrow! Compliments of the One Power.
WotSeries: Will we see any mentoring moving forward from Lan towards the kids? Because we always look at Lan and Moiraine as the mom and dad of these five kids that you took out of the Two Rivers. Are we going to see mentoring between you and any of these characters?
Daniel: I wouldn’t bet against it. That’s for sure. Yeah.
WotSeries: How about any movement towards developing the relationship between Lan and Nynaeve in season three?
Daniel: Season three, yes, it’s more of a build season for those two. There are some really great scenes, some stuff we’re really happy with.
We do get to see some intimate stuff, not sexual stuff necessarily. So, some moments with them. But with Lan and Nynaeve, it’s this working toward what the book readers know it’s going to be. It all depends on how much time we get, how many seasons we get to do this thing. That’s a relationship that I’m really excited about and I love working with Zoë.
I’m excited about the relationship with Rand as well. When I first started reading the books, that was the relationship that jumped out to me, it was Lan and Rand. And I’ve always been excited to work with Josha. So we’re looking forward to that as well.
WotSeries: You had a lot of great moments in season two. One of them that stood out across the fandom was preparing Josha, Rand, to go meet with the Amyrlin and the mention of the sword forms. Do you know more sword forms than you let on on screen that we should expect to be seeing?
Daniel: I do. I do personally. Yes. I’m not allowed to divulge what’s going to show up. There’s going to be more mention of sword forms this season. I’ve already talked to the stunt team and worked out what we’re going to be using. There’s some pretty cool sword form focused sequences coming up this year, which I’m really excited about. Actually it’s going to be season three, right, because I haven’t finished season three yet. I’m still working on that. Not to divulge too much but I’m actually right now I’m training, dieting to be shipped off in two months to go do a bunch of stuff that you’re talking about.
WotSeries: This is a point of curiosity, there was one interview that you did with The Dusty Wheel and the question that was posed to you about the impact of the other characters on you and you said Lanfear, without pause. I know Matt Hatch and this guy’s been living and breathing Lanfear for 30 years. Did you know that’s how we felt about Lanfear when you answered that, was it just the truthful answer?
Daniel: I had no idea. No, I did not know. I mean, she comes in hot. Comes in real hot and she has a profound impact on Lan because she challenges Moiraine, and to Lan, that’s that’s incredibly impactful. Also, Natasha and I are good friends. I just love working with her. So it’s just such a pleasure, that’s why I answered it that way.
WotSeries: Thank you for. Last question, if you don’t mind. One thing I like to ask everyone, because we were part of the fandom, we like to always bring more people into the fandom, if you’re to tell your fans about the show, season 2, how would you pitch that? How would you pitch the show to people? Why do you want people to come and watch the show?
Daniel: What I would say for people who are not Wheel of Time book readers and are new to the show: every time I watch the show, like when I watched season two, I have a little theater that I built in Michigan in my summer house and we sat down and we cranked up the speakers and we were like, let’s do it. It’s “Wheel of Time” time. And I sat there with my wife, my dogs, and my friends, and I got my neighbors from the community and we watched the premiere, the first two episodes. Every single person makes weird noises at some point during the screening.
Then you finish it and everyone just looks around. Some people are like, “What is the show?” It’s so different. It’s so beautifully weird. Not to mention some of the issues that it’s confronting that are partly from Robert Jordan’s writing. Some of the societal norms that it challenges. How it has a different sort of take on the chosen one, which is not exactly what you’d expect from fantasy. It’s similar, but different. The worlds. I mean, the idea of a Waygate and you pop into a new world. If I was a kid watching this, my tongue would be on the ground. I wouldn’t know what to do. It’s so undeniably cool. Season two to me was just everything that we thought the show could be, despite being shut down three times by COVID. I don’t know if that answers your question, but I love walking away for something and just being like, you know if you go to a good movie and you’re like walking out to your car in the parking lot, you’re just like “What did I just watch?”
That’s what I love!
WotSeries: I appreciate the answer and again, appreciate your time. Thank you so much. This is great and good luck with season three. Can’t wait to see it.
All eight episodes of season 2 are available now on Prime Video. Go binge!