STEPHANIE CORNELIUSSEN [LEGION]
Danish artist Stephanie Corneliussen is one of the rare types who command her stage wherever she goes. Whether she’s acting, modeling, being an animal rights advocate and rebelling against the societal conformity, she delivers. Her memorable role as Joanna Wellick in Mr. Robot is only one testament to her talents and commitment to her craft.
She recently played Gabrielle Haller Xavier in the third season of Legion in FX.
In this exclusive interview, we chatted with the Danish beauty about her acting career, Joanna Wellick from Mr. Robot and we learn more about the dynamic character of Gabrielle Haller in Legion.
How would you describe your own style?
Very much as my own. I dress for my mood. I’ve never used fashion as a reflection of my own personality, as I’ve always considered fashion (haute couture) art - designers are artists. And I’ll gladly represent their art, but I don’t incorporate it into my own expression.
How and when did acting start for you? What inspired you to pursue acting?
It was kind of ‘in the cards’ from the beginning. I was always a story teller; In retrospect, I was also definitely that obnoxious child who’d put on a show at any opportunity. Haha! My fascination with storytelling and cinema and the performing arts started at a very young age. My grandmother would always read Norse mythology to me or the fairytales of H.C. Andersen and the Bros. Grimm and my mother spoiled me with theater, musical or ballet outings whenever we could. I’ve always felt such a connection to this world, to the arts.
Tell us about your most memorable audition experience.
You know what, I get asked this all the time, and previously I’ve tried to dig up some memory, but in all honesty; they are all as important and as insignificant. They’re auditions. They are a pre-state to where my talent actually applies. It’s before the nitty gritty of it, it’s before the depth and character development is either divulged to you or available to you - it’s words on a page to determine if you fit into the creative vision of the people who’ve invested blood, sweat and tears into the story. Auditions are important, sure - but you can give an amazing performance and still not be right for a part - so I try to give them, the auditions, meaning in the moment and then forget them when they’re over.
Auditions are important, sure - but you can give an amazing performance and still not be right for a part - so I try to give them, the auditions, meaning in the moment and then forget them when they’re over.
What other roles do you look forward to playing?
Something sci-fi would be fun. I’m open to all opportunities. I appreciate characters that offer up some resistance or challenge, meaning I have to learn something new about myself. I’m also keen to keep exploring the superhero universe. However, if they ever do an Angelina movie - let it be known that I raised my hand first! Haha.
Do you have a favorite character from all of the roles that you’ve played? Why?
Joanna. Joanna Wellick from Mr. Robot, because Sam (Esmail) wrote such an amazing character outline and then let me make her my own. She was my Lady Macbeth and those who know me, know that I have a real hard-on for Shakespeare. Ha!
Let’s talk about Mr. Robot for a bit. It’s been a few years but have you gotten over Joanna Wellick’s death
No. I miss her. If the opportunity to revive her ever comes about, I would be happy to do it.
If she is still alive, what do you imagine her doing?
Oh she’d probably be running the show from the shadows like the Grey Eminence to the Cardinal Richelieu. But all in all, I think we need to still believe that people like her, people with utter disregard for anyone but themselves suffer consequences in the end.
Can you tell us about your character Gabrielle Haller in the latest season of Legion. How big is her influence especially to David Haller’s storyline?
She is Gabrielle Xavier, in our version as she marries Professor X, but Gabrielle is a victim of interference. She’s strong and beautiful, but she’s never been allowed to grow organically. Throughout her entire life, she’s been interfered with. I believe that’s what our society does to us - the ones before us and those who will come after, if we don’t change the construction that we’re in. Guidance is one thing, but we’re constantly being conformed, indoctrinated, shaped by others agendas. For Gabrielle; she was deemed subhuman. Then she was deemed unstable. Then she was deemed a damsel in distress. She was constantly deemed unable to save herself when really, if given the chance, she could’ve been capable of doing so, and if not - at least perfectly capable of asking for help when and IF she needed it. Her story is incredibly impactful on David because his human side was never able to grow organically either. He needs to know his mother and her struggles to recognize his own.
Last book that you’ve read.
If you were a book, what book would you be and why?
An unfinished one.
See Stephanie as Gabrielle Haller in Legion only on FX.