Cara Delevingne, whose faerie character in “Carnival Row” finds herself washed ashore as a refugee in a foreign land, said she was immediately drawn by the show’s fantastical take on issues of immigration and assimilation. “It’s a cause that I have been involved in for a long time,” Delevingne told Variety at the premiere of the Amazon series on Wednesday night at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
“The first time I went to Uganda, it was about the refugee crisis there and South Sudan,” she continued. “Because Uganda is at the forefront of countries to take in refugees and people seeking asylum. For a country that has literally nothing, they are the kindest, most incredible country in the world. And it’s disgusting to see how such rich countries treat other people from other countries, who are just trying to seek places to survive and live and grow. So it’s a very close matter to my heart but also something that I just think people need to talk about and people need to understand what it’s like to actually be in that position.”
Arty Froushan, who plays Jonah Breakspeare, said he appreciated the nuanced approach afforded by the television medium. “It does operate as a beautiful allegory for the very troubling plights of refugees in a moment,” Froushan said. “And I think it tells both sides of the story. It tells the story of the nation or city that receives the refugees and how difficult that can be logistically and of course, the story of the journey of the immigrants. And it tells it in a very empathetic, rich way. And because of the long form nature of television, it can really spend time fleshing that out and that’s awesome.“
Orlando Bloom, who arrived at the premiere with his fiancée Katy Perry, also stars as Victorian-era detective Rycroft Philostrate, who is the ill-fated love interest of Delevingne’s Vignette Stonemoss. Creator and executive producer Travis Beacham originally conceived of the story’s plot 17 years ago but acknowledges how closely it reflects current refugee crises worldwide. “Being a storyteller and living in this world, it’s very difficult to tell a story that doesn’t in some way say something about it,” Beacham told Variety. “It’s everywhere you look.”
During the show’s panel at Comic-Con, Bloom claimed that the Republican mayor of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer, fled a “Carnival Row” exhibit that highlighted immigrant characters. “That was crazy!” executive producer Marc Guggenheim told Variety. “By the way, it’s like, come on, mayor. You can go through an activation and you are not making a political statement. I mean, that’s the silliness to me.”
Develingne also discussed headlining her first major TV project and making the difficult transition from modeling to acting. Her advice? “If you want to make the jump to acting, if you really to want to act, stop modeling,” Delevingne told reporters. “Because it will never help. And also it’s tough, and don’t think it’s easy.“
As a close friend and supporter of Taylor Swift, Delevingne also voiced her thoughts on Swift’s plans to re-record her earlier songs after the masters were sold to Scooter Braun. “Her taking control in any sense is important, “ Delevingne told Variety. “And any woman or any man taking control of their life and especially work. Artists usually get taken advantage of so it’s important that they take control back.”