Last week, Legion gave us an almost Twin Peaks-ish dive into the bizarre, then this week it’s followed up by an episode that felt more like a horror movie. (Legion is not your typical superhero television series, as Alan Sepinwall is quick to point out in his recap of “Chapter 5.”)
Dan Stevens will be seen by many, many people when Beauty and the Beast opens next week (Stevens, of course, plays The Beast), but while talking to him about his new film (more on that later), we had to ask him about this episode of Legion. More specifically, that wild ending (not surprisingly, he’s not saying much about that) and the fact he plays a creepy version of “The Rainbow Connection” on a banjo.
(I keep imagining an X-Men fan telling his or her friends, “Oh, yeah, I love the X-Men! Cyclops shoots lasers from his eyes! I can’t wait for Legion!” Then, smash-cut to that same person watching Stevens as David playing “The Rainbow Connection” on a banjo. I’d pay five dollars to see that person’s face.)
As it turns out, “Chapter 5” is one of Stevens’ favorite episodes. But when he got the script he was worried because, well, he had never even picked up a banjo before.
“The script came along,” remembers Stevens, “and I saw that and it’s like, ‘David sits there on the banjo playing “Rainbow Connection.” And I turned to Noah Hawley’s assistant and I said, ‘We’re going to need a banjo.’ And I had ten days until we shot the scene, and I said, “We’re going to need a banjo!’ She went away and came back five minutes later and said, ‘There will be one here in 90 minutes.’ They had a banjo for me within 90 minutes! These are the kind of superpowers that people have on the set of Legion. And I’ve never played the banjo in my life! I’ve never picked up a banjo. So, yeah, I took it away and just developed the creepiest cover you’ve ever heard of that song.”
The ending of this episode of Legion will have people talking this week. (Honestly, that’s the kind of ending that could work as a season finale.) Is it David just messing around with the others? Or has the whole series just been upended? Stevens isn’t saying, but he does love that scene.
“It’s fantastic,” says a very excited Stevens about the shocking reveal. “We had just one of the crazier directors on the series, a Belgian director named Tim Mielants – who did the whole of Peaky Blinders season three – who was just the right amount of crazy for our show. And there’s some incredibly ambitious camerawork in that episode. Yeah, it’s one of my favorites, episode five.”
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