I picked up my first X-Men comic by the time I turned seven years old. Polaris (aka Lorna Dane) almost instantly earned a spot on my favorites list. She persevered through witnessing a genocide, her fiance abandoning her at the altar, being possessed by a psychic vampire, the list goes on and on. Despite her difficult journey, at the core of Lorna Dane’s personality lies the naked struggle for a human being to survive, to persevere and thrive.
Polaris’s story is universal. We have all experienced it one time or another. Unfortunately for some, they experience these downturns a lot more than most. For more than thirty years, I imagined what the experience of meeting Lorna Dane might feel like. This Emma Dumont interview granted me that wish, a wish I never fathomed would become reality.
Emma Dumont Researched the $%@& out of Lorna Dane!
Once, a friend described comic book fandom as similar to the NRA. I wish he was 100% wrong. We’re all too aware the national conversation has descended into the gutter. It somehow managed to seep its way into comic book culture, a medium sprung out of oppression. In the past, comic book fans criticized movie counterparts from their favorite comics harshly. On occasion, cause exists when an actor’s disdain for portraying a comic book character is obvious. In the case of Emma Dumont, nothing could be further from the truth.
Recently, ComicsVerse conducted a two-hour podcast all about Lorna Dane (aka Polaris). I, personally, re-read over 200 issues in the months preceding the podcast. Before our interview started, I meant to ask if Emma had read any comics with Polaris in them. I felt so nervous that I forgot to ask. Not too long into the conversation, I realized Emma was as versed, if not more, in all the comics featuring Polaris we read, every comic book reader’s dream when it comes to how they want actors to approach their favorite characters!
Emma Dumont, the Artist
I often caught myself talking too much during the interview. Please accept my apologies in advance. Talking with Emma felt so natural, like talking with any number of my good female friends. Just when I thought things couldn’t get more awesome, something profound happened. We gave it lip service several times in the interview.
However, experiencing this felt so different than simply knowing it. Emma Dumont committed herself so intensely to the role of Lorna Dane that differences between them ceased to exist. I’m not hyperbolizing. I bore witness to art in its purest form — an artist sitting in their truth with their need overlapping their character’s need. It wasn’t a scene. Emma certainly wasn’t acting, and that didn’t take anything away from the experience.
Hollywood too often stinks of bullshit and huge egos. Emma Dumont’s humility and sense of self appear to allow her to create art on network television. Emma doesn’t hold any punches when it comes to expressing her fear that THE GIFTED too closely resembles life under the Trump Administration for minorities. Referring to herself as a privileged white girl, she states her plight.
Emma Dumont’s goal is for people to understand how closely the discrimination and oppression her character experiences in THE GIFTED is real for too many people. Emma’s commitment to understanding something she says she hasn’t experienced makes her goal even nobler. However, after discussing her history in more detail, Emma felt like an outcast growing up too.
What we are privy to in Emma Dumont’s portrayal of Polaris is nothing short of lucky. As the audience, we get to experience Emma struggling in a world that discriminates and judges. Every week, we get to see her live in her pain. The world isn’t safe for everyone. Emma Dumont wants us to know that so fiercely she surrenders her comfort and emotional armor in order for us to see what its like for people who have it worse than we do. In sacrificing that, Lorna Dane becomes even more of a living breathing human being.
Emma Dumont: “I am Polaris”
I grew up with Polaris as part of my life, and I care deeply about her character’s portrayal in comics and on the screen. I feel connected with her journey, and I meant it in the interview when I said Emma Dumont is the Polaris X-Men fans have been waiting for. My only regret is not telling Emma she’s the artist Polaris has been waiting for.
Emma Dumont isn’t kidding when she says “I am Polaris.”
I went into the interview knowing Polaris is a superhero. By the time the interview finished, I left knowing Emma Dumont is a superhero too.
For your convenience, you can also find this podcast on iTunes!
Don’t forget to watch THE GIFTED Monday nights on Fox 9pm/8pm Central!