Spike is getting into the original programming game in a very big way with the three-night miniseries event “Tut.” With the first night’s two-hour premiere set to kick off on Sunday, one of the show’s principal stars couldn’t be more excited for people to see what she’s been working on.
The “Tut” miniseries stars big names like Ben Kingsley and Avan Jogia. Actress Sibylla Deen, who some may know as Nusrat Al-Fayeed on the series “Tyrant,” was more than happy to throw her name into the credits of the Spike project. She plays the real-life Egyptian queen Anaksunamun, who was forced to marry her brother Tutankhamun in order to preserve the monotheistic society. While the subject matter of her character’s relationship may be a little out-dated, she had fun inhabiting a time period in history that she was a previously a fan of.
“I think I’ve always had a fascination with Egypt, but I didn’t know a lot about [Ankhe],” she told International Business Times in a phone interview. “I knew a lot about Tut and other people in ancient Egypt, but never her. You know they never found her body. They discovered that Tut remarried twice, but they never found her. We don’t know where she is.”
With such a rich back story from the pages of history, Deen faced an uphill battle in bringing the character to life. In order to do so, she had to really get inside Ankhe’s mind and flesh things out, starting with her relationship to the other characters around her.
“She goes through everything, more than anyone goes through in two lifetimes. She’s incredibly protective of herself and those around her. She does things that are questionable, but they always come from the right place. They always come from her heart,” she said. “She forms these really, really close-knit relationships with everyone around her, but as a result it’s hard for her to form real friendships. She kind of gets lost in politics along the way.”
This ends up coming to a head in the first night of the show when Ankhe, through a series of unfortunate circumstances, is given an immense amount of power over the political hierarchy of Egypt. When she’s forced to choose between her brother/husband Tut’s legacy and her love for his best friend, Ka (Peter Gadiot), Sibylla shines as her character struggles. When asked what it was like to play a character with such complicated personal relationships, she responded simply: “a pleasure.”
“You just invest in what’s there and how do you portray it,” she said bluntly. “How you bring it to life. I try to live as close as I can in the moment as different things come up. We had a beautiful script and a lot of beautiful people who allowed us to have a lot of moments between each other. You can see a lot of trade and nuance in people’s performance. I loved it so much. I think we do, as humans, have strange things like that happen to us.”
As for her relationship with the two men in her life, Deen said she was thrilled to portray such a unique and unrelatable struggle on screen. On the one hand, she has Tut and her political obligations. On the other, she has Ka.
“Now that’s straight up lust. Chemistry, hot boiling in your stomach lust. You know that feeling. When you look in someone’s eyes and everything just disappears. It’s this drive and force in her that she has to keep at bay,” she said. “It’s interesting, women are the ones who can multitask, they’re the ones that can do two things at once. She loves all the people around her, but all in a very different way.”
You can see Sibylla Deen on “Tut,” which airs three two-hour episodes July 19 - 21, only on Spike.