The first thing that pops up in a Google search of actress Teresa Palmer are the words “vagina cake.”
Her acting credits quickly follow. She’s starred in a handful of dramas, like Nicholas Sparks’ The Choice and Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge, and she’s about to carry her first television series, a fantasy-romance on Sundance Now and Shudder called A Discovery of Witches.
It’s that last acting credit, a show based on a best-selling book series by author Deborah Harkness, that seems poised to thrust the laid-back Aussie into the spotlight. Palmer plays Diana Bishop in the series, which dropped across the pond late last year and has already been picked up for two more seasons. Bishop is a witch, albeit a reluctant one, who spends her time studying at Oxford and denying her supernatural heritage. That all changes when a fellow professor, Matthew Clairmont (Matthew Goode), enters her life and introduces her to the underground world of “creatures,” witches, vampires, and daemons who’ve been existing on the fringes of society and are slowly dying out.
Clairmont’s a 1,500-year-old vampire and the pair quickly become entangled in a forbidden romance and a dangerous hunt for an alchemical manuscript that may hold the key to their species’ survival. So the predictable Twilight comparisons are fair but, according to Palmer, there’s more to the show than bloodlust, witchcraft, and smut.
She shared with Uproxx what that “more” is, but first, back to the “vagina cake.”
When you Google Teresa Palmer, there’s a cake that comes up. It’s on your Instagram feed …
(Laughs) The vagina cake.
That’s the one.
That is hilarious, my girlfriend thought it was so funny to bake a vagina cake for me when she threw me a baby shower. I was waiting for something funny like that because that’s her personality. Yeah, the media picked it up, it was … I remember seeing one of those cakes online and I was like, ‘Whoa that’s so graphic.’ But the cake was delicious.
Well, the good news is this show will probably eclipse the cake soon. It’s a big undertaking for someone just venturing into TV. What part of this story hooked you?
When I read the script, I knew that it was something unique. The characters are very rich and radiant. I just love Diana and I thought, she was hyper-intellectual, but also brave and had wonderful human elements there as well. Then, of course, I met all the creatives and that just solidified the decision for me, because the people in charge had amazing taste and just wonderful passion about the project and its direction.
Well, you’re in good company. Witches are having a moment on TV. Why do you think that particular element of the fantasy genre is playing so well right now?
I think there’s something really enticing about fantasy. Probably because it’s so far away from reality and what people are navigating through, those tragic situations. It’s a form of escapism. It’s mysterious and exciting and you can take it in any direction, really. There are no rules with fantasy and I think that’s very appealing.
Female creatives are running this show which is still a bit of a rarity when it comes to TV. What was it like to have that energy on set?
It was so lovely because we were surrounded by so many females. Our crew, I would say, it was at least 60% female. The creatives and the writers and everyone, there were more females around than males and in the last few years, I feel like I’m seeing that more and more on film sets. It’s great. We really stuck together, and we told this woman’s story in the best way we could and made sure that she had a lot of substance and things to say. And that was important for us to surround ourselves with females. Two of our three directors were female. And I loved it that way. I hear that they plan on continuing that for the next few seasons as well. It’s just nice to have that feminine energy around.