The Wheel Of Time's Rand And Perrin Talk Acting Against Wolves And What To Expect In Season 2 [Interview]

"The Wheel of Time" is an ensemble series, a show that starts out focused on a group of young people from a small village (and a powerful Aes Sedai and her Warder) who find themselves thrown into a battle where they will influence the fate of the world.

Two of those youths who find themselves thrust onto this journey are Rand al'Thor and Perrin Aybara, who are respectively played by Josha Stradowski and Marcus Rutherford. /Film talked with Stradowski and Rutherford about taking on these major roles for Amazon's adaptation of the books by Robert Jordan, including the secretive audition process and what they thinks fans will be excited about when season 2 rolls around.

The Wheel Turns ... Through a Secretive, Lengthy Audition Process

The casting process for "The Wheel of Time" was unsurprisingly kept tightly under wraps. It was so hush-hush, in fact that neither actor knew what roles they were auditioning for. "I knew it was the Wheel of Time and it definitely felt important," Stradowski said. "And then coming into the room, we didn't have any context whatsoever of what everything was ... we didn't have any information."

Rutherford didn't know much during the audition process either, even his character's real name. 

"I was auditioning for Peter, and I remember Googling Peter and couldn't find anything. My agent was like, 'I think it's a big role.' I was like, 'I can't find anything. This is terrible.'"

After several rounds of auditions, the two finally found out they were playing Rand and Perrin and found themselves on the way to Prague for a month of prep that included things like horseback riding and archery practice. While in Prague, they also met many others from the cast, though Rutherford as Perrin had to work with another co-star named Fluffy.

Fluffy is a dog-wolf hybrid that looks very wolf-like. Without getting into spoilers, there's one scene early on where Fluffy had to walk up to Rutherford and lick his leg. "I've been working with her [again] recently," Rutherford said. "That was all her, man. I feel like she'll be annoyed everyone thinks that she's CGI ... she's amazing. She hit her mark. They put a little bit of meat pâté on my leg."

Come for the Epic Fantasy, Stay for the Characters

The two actors are also very aware and very appreciative of the fans that are coming into the show knowing Robert Jordan's books. And they also hope that what the fans see on screen will speak to them. "I think the characters are integral to everything really," Stradowski said, continuing: 

"I think there's obviously on a big production like this, there's amazing sets and incredible visual effects. There's an array of beautiful costumes and cultures, but I think what people really seem to connect with is the characters. And I think everyone who's been cast just brings something really, really cool to the show and they bring an energy that is there in the books. And I think if they fell in love with the characters in the books, I think that's very much there in the show, plus all the beautiful visual aspects as well."

The two are now shooting season 2, and while they couldn't go into details, they did give us a hint on what to expect. "The characters they really mature and they really are far away from Two Rivers now," said Stradowski. "It's really exciting to see in the second season already what the arc is for these main characters. And it's exciting to see where they go, even in hopefully further seasons."

"There's some wicked characters that come in," Rutherford added. He continued:

"That's the thing about the show — the characters that are coming in continuously, it's amazing. They keep on adding to the story and then every actor that comes on board just gives you an injection of charisma and energy. So even though we've been out here for a while, there's so many characters and new people from all over the world, keep on coming in. So it's constantly just evolving, which is really, really exciting."

Season 1 of "The Wheel of Time" premieres on Amazon Prime Video on November 19, 2021.