‘Warrior Nun’ Star Sylvia De Fanti talks Netflix’s New Series and Playing Mother Superion

Photographer: Skino Ricci

Warrior Nun has finally made its debut on Netflix and let’s just say you need to be watching it. I mean, demon-hunting nuns… that’s it, that’s the sentence. The new series tells the story of an ancient order that’s battling demons in the name of the church and we follow a 19-year old named Ava (Alba Baptista) who wakes up in a morgue with unexplainable superpowers. Hooked yet? How does this chosen Halo-Bearer for a secret sect navigate the new power she possesses… with the help of Mother Superion, of course! Italian actor Sylvia De Fanti, plays this intriguing character and is there to guide the warrior nun’s through their battle between good and evil. 

Originally developed as a feature film adaptation, Netflix’s Warrior Nun is based on a comic book character Warrior Nun Areala by Ben Dunn. Although there have been some minor changes to the character you see on screen, at the end of the day, she’s still conditioning these warriors for the conflict of the century. De Fanti chatted about this role, the love her character feels for these girls and doing her research prior to landing the role. 

Check it out!

MCKENZIE MORRELL: Tell us about Netflix’s Warrior Nun and the character you play. 

SYLVIA DE FANTI: I’ll answer you as I answered my friends before the series began airing: ‘nun’ of the things that I can say will be enough to describe it. The show ignores gender limitations and there is so much female badassery that is painfully lacking in series programming! It could be viewed as a show targeted to a younger audience, because Ava is a teen and all of the sister nuns are young women, but that is not the case, as there are also us “older” characters with our backstories and entanglements!

MM: What drew you to this role? What was the casting process like? 

SD: I received the material for this audition and immediately felt a connection to the character; she is powerful, and has some very deep emotional things going on under the surface. Obviously things in her past caused her to hide behind a detached veneer. 

MM: Mother Superion is the one that’s training the warrior nuns’ for battle. What do you admire most about this character, and what’s one thing that you think she needs to work on. 

SD: She genuinely loves these girls. She doesn’t express it in the warmest way, but she does. And she is determined to protect them. The weight of her past is a burden and a mystery that hopefully is communicated to the audience. I hope the viewers FEEL her dignity and the heaviness of her experience.  She needs to work on accepting her vulnerability, and learn to trust. 

MM: Did you get a chance to read the comic book Warrior Nun Areala prior to delving into this role? Was the biggest difference between book-to-screen characters the physical attributes?  

SD: I did my research as I always do when I’m facing a new role. Mother Superion in the manga is strong and fierce, but is different from the woman written in the series. Manga Mother is a sexier character, her wardrobe and style MUCH less reserved and conservative.  But her essence is brought to the show.  My Mother Superion’s demeanor has a stoic and stern nature.

MM:What did you do to prepare for this role? There’s a physicality to this character that I’m sure was not easy to portray/uphold for long periods of time. 

SD: Once I found her walk, her posture, her rhythm and found the way she breathes, it was easy to embody the character. 

MM:What’s the best advice Mother Superion can give to Ava to help prepare her for battle? 

SD: Give them Hell.

MM: I like to add my signature question to all of my interviews. If you were to construct a donut based on Mother Superion’s personality, what type of donut would it be and what toppings would be on it? 

SD: I don’t eat a lot of donuts, but let’s see… It would of course have much more on the inside than the outside. The inside would need to surprise. The outside – perhaps sparse – but perhaps dipped in chocolate of course, because who doesn’t love chocolate! Fondant, though; none of that milk chocolate business. On the inside would be something soft, but strong, so a creaminess; perhaps tangy lemon custard. Ha! Perhaps the “donut” would be a gastronomic version of an éclair!?

Sylvia De Fanti as Mother Superion. Photo Credit: Netflix
MM:If you were to acquire the halo and it would allow you to do/achieve anything in the world–what would it be? 

SD: It’s difficult not to reply in a cliche, Miss Universe, “I want Peace in the world”, but I genuinely believe that there’s no individual happiness. I believe that when our individual actions are driven by a desire for the collective in society to be “happy”, only then can it be realized. So I would make sure everyone could access and harness their  own inner power and feel empowered, I would be certain that each human understood that they have the right to be happy in this world. Right now, today. And the right to remain that way.   

MM: Netflix is a great platform to stumble on hidden gems in the form of shows, movies, etc. What’s something you’ve been watching lately that doesn’t get enough credit? 

SD: The Miyazaki movies! I think they all should be mandatory in schools! I also really like alot of the original series. I’ve discovered a wonderful show called “Giri/Haji”, and a great British show called “Marcella”.  

MM: With everything going on in the world today, and more people staying home/safe have you picked up any new hobbies? 

SD: I have learned how to organize my time better and my cooking game has gotten stronger! My Carbonara may be the best in the World!? Which is funny, but also may be a fact. 

MM: Lastly, why should viewers catch Warrior Nun on Netflix? 

SD: Because it’s fun. It’s entertaining and the characters are diverse and international. It’s the perfect show for these times. Many current global themes are there. This is possibly why the show has been such a huge success. Obviously the viewers are connecting to the characters and there is absolutely a reason for that. I think it ticks so many boxes. It also generally has a very strong degree of folie.

Now streaming on Netflix:

Photo Credit: Netflix