Motherland: Fort Salem is chock-ful of badass and noteworthy women who are challenging what it means to be a woman on TV. One of those characters is General Alder, played by Lyne Renee. This tough as nails and kind actress found herself and so much more playing this character. We got a chance to speak with General Alder herself about playing this character, working with dynamic women, and so much more!
1. How has it been for you as a woman to be surrounded by so many women?
Oh my god, I think it’s one of the best things ever. It’s nice to see. It’s important for us to create things like that and Eliot Laurence has done that so beautifully. He’s created a world where a lot of ‘what if’s happen. What if roles were reversed? What if females were the leaders of the country and the army. And I think it’s just a beautiful concept to start with. And I was very intrigued by it all. It was the first time that I got an audition where I went, “Omg, a female general. How cool is that?” But it also made me really nervous because of the level of difficulty was quite high. But I love a challenge.
And on top of that I got to meet all these women, a very international group of women from Sweden, Atlanta, Texas, South Africa, Belgium, and Vancouver. They’re all these different women that just come together and form such a beautiful cast. And I think together we really cared about the process of our series and who we were cast as. I think we approached it, each of us, with such love. It’s a beautiful thing to see because when I look at it I just see that we’ve created something special.
2. Women, no matter their position of power, are usually relegated to storylines on TV that have to do with romantic entanglements. How does it feel challenging that notion in Motherland Fort Salem?
You know that’s why I liked playing General Alder because all of a sudden you’re written about in a completely different way. You’re not a sex object. It’s all about the role you play and the status that you have. And a female general, she’s got a lot on hand. She’s got a lot to deal with and she’s been doing this for over 400 years. She takes it very seriously because leading America is a very serious role. It’s her life, it’s what makes her heart tick.
3. City Drop was a powerful and amazing episode that tested everyone, even Alder. How does Alder feel about what happened?
The thing is when you have to make decisions like that…the Spree is coming at her in different ways with different weapons. They’re challenging her in ways that, attack after attack, she’s really puzzled. She’s trying to get ahead of them. And sometimes you’ve got to make decisions where yes, you’re going to sacrifice and lose lives. She’s dealt with this before and she’s got less of an emotional connection to make the decisions that she’s making. Where people around her, that are from a younger generation, haven’t done this for years.
I mean, Alder crossed the Delaware River. Alder has been in war and on battle scenes since forever. Alder has been through these and now she’s facing a new enemy. And this new enemy has new weapons and she’s still living. So, when she’s made a decision like City Drop, of course she’s hurt by that even though she’s a leader, but she can’t show emotion and have a cry. She needs to stay focused, intent, and continue what she’s doing.
4. General Alder really really wants those ancient and secret vocals from the Tarim. What is she willing to do for them?
The vocals she hears she hasn’t heard in a long time. It obviously takes her back to the tribe she descended from. She’s been through a lot of loss her entire life. And I think one of the things that drives Alder most is the death of her sister. That she feels guilty for. And these vocals take her back to her youth. I think she’s unsure of them. She feels like she’s heard them before but she’s not sure if they’re the one. The authentic ones.
Alder just wants to get that information so the people around her can turn it into weaponry. But I think Alder is just used to that. She wants those songs those because they take her back to what she came from. And like anyone she wants to hold onto her roots and where she comes from because she comes from such an ancient line of witches.
5. How was it walking around Motherland: Fort Salem looking like such a badass?
The thing is I’m anything but Alder. The people who know me, I walk around with flowery dresses and my curly hair everywhere. And now it’s all pulled back. I’m very stern in the suit and I’m anything but me. It’s interesting what it does to you because to portray a woman like Alder and make your audience believe that she carries that knowledge for all those years. She carries all that loss. She’s become that leader that’s ruled for so long. There’s a certain incredible strength and charisma that comes with her. And that’s a challenge.
I had to sell that and I was petrified in doing that. But when you’re being given this incredible costume, and they pull your hair back, you kind of match her together in your head. And I just thought, “I need to make the people around me believe that I am Alder.” I needed to believe it. So whenever I have that costume on it was as if I put on this cape with a zipper and went onto set without speaking to anybody. I just kept in Alder. And two to three weeks into shooting, crew members when I passed them, they’d go, “Good morning, General.” And I was like, “Ha! I got it!” And I had to make her so different from me to do that.
I’m so glad to have played her and that she transformed me into such a strong woman because being an actor for so long in this industry, I feel like she also stands for giving women a voice and that leadership should be equal. I’ve never felt so powerful in a way, playing her. And she’s just taught me so much.
6. What have you been doing during quarantine and any advice for fans stuck at home?
I’m in home and in Belgium and the biggest gift to me is spending time with my parents. Which I don’t often have. So I truly try to make the most of that. And then I paint and draw as well. I’m an artist so I’ve been doing that on the side for a couple years. I have an Instagram page for that too called @lyneartrenee. So that keeps me busy. It’s my therapy. I’ve been learning a new language, Spanish. I’ve kept myself busy. I’ve been working in the garden, walking a lot, meditating, and reading as well. I’m happy to have this time and I think it’s important to do that.
Motherland: Fort Salem airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Freeform.