So Very English: An Hour with the Cast of Sleepy Hollow

Photo by Will Blackhill

Janina Gavankar and Tom Mison didn’t wait for the moderator to introduce them to take the stage for the Sleepy Hollow panel Sunday morning in the Westin Peachtree Ballroom at 10AM. They popped out on stage waving and smiling at the crowd, at least pretending to be quite awake and lively at that hour.

While the audience was getting organized to ask questions, the moderator asked both of the cast members about last season’s crossover with Bones and whether a crossover with another Fox property might be possible, such as Lucifer. Gavankar laughed and said that would be “very English.” Mison agreed, saying that they’d just spend the whole episode trying to out ponce each other.

Early in the panel, Mison got questions about his character’s wardrobe, specifically whether the period clothes were comfortable to wear and whether we’d be seeing a new look for Ichabod in the fourth season. Mison said that the period clothes that he’s worn in previous roles in England were very comfortable, but then he came here (Sleepy Hollow films in the Atlanta area) with the 95-degree heat. “They’re not quite the same.” He also noted that period clothes are very stiff and force you to sit up straight and have good posture. “As soon as you wear something that immediately gives you proper posture, you realize how agonizing it is. It’s agony. It’s agony to be proper. That’s going to be the title of my autobiography!” he joked.

Gavankar and Mison both took a moment to acknowledge Julia Rusthoven, who minds all of Mison’s costumes for him and keeps them looking good and also happened to be in the audience this morning. She arrived in full Sheriff Corbin cosplay and looked absolutely amazing. A couple of other members of the Sleepy Hollow crew accompanied the cast to the panel, and they were also acknowledged.

As for changes to Ichabod’s look, Mison took a moment to confirm with Rusthoven that there weren’t going to be any major changes for Season 4. “Same four shirts,” Rusthoven confirmed.

Gavankar is coming into Sleepy Hollow as a new character for the fourth season, so a lot of the questions for her related to how her character, Diana, will interact with Ichabod and how it’s been for her coming into a cast after three seasons. Diana is a Special Agent for Homeland Security and very pragmatic, so when she first meets Ichabod, he’s just weird. “He’s just a weirdo. But he seems to know what he’s talking about,” she said. “She’s a former Marine; she’s done two tours and wanted to become an agent for Homeland. She’s seen a lot of weird sh*t. But she’s never seen anything supernatural before you meet her. So you are experiencing her seeing supernatural things happen for the first time in her life.” Mison added to that saying, “She is more linked to the supernatural world than she knows.”

Coming into a cast later in the game is always a dicey prospect, but Gavankar said that this isn’t the first time she’s done it. She always goes in assuming they’re a well-oiled machine and that she’ll be told where and how to fit in.

Naturally, the exit of Nicole Beharie at the end of the third season left fans with a lot of questions as to what the show would become. Mison said that it has been very peculiar to return without Beharie as well as other cast members who have left. He said that it feels like a different show. “It’s finding it new and accepting that it’s not really the show that it was the last three years,” he added.

In that vein, Mison teased in his particular way (“I’m not sure what I’m allowed to say, but I’ll say it anyway”) that the big bad for the new season is less supernatural and more of this realm.

When it comes to their own experiences with the supernatural, Gavankar revealed that she very much wants to believe and when she was growing up used to lie in bed at night and “ask” the aliens to please come to her house, promising them that she wouldn’t freak out and would give them a tour. Mison recounted an experience he had when he was younger and exploring a completely abandoned hospital with his brother. “It was completely empty. It was completely deserted. No one was there. No cars in the car park. No one around. All the doors were locked. We were walking around and came to this big double door that opened up into what must have been one of the wards. We tried to open it and it wouldn’t budge. We banged on the door and I swear there was a bang back. We sh*t ourselves and ran away.”

Neither Gavankar nor Mison are particularly fans of gory, slasher horror movies, but that they both enjoy smart horror movies like The Babadook and It Follows. Both of them also expressed a love for Stranger Things. Mison went on to wonder how many children will now be named Eleven and how many will be dressed as Eleven for Halloween. He then pointed to himself, indicating he just might be one of those in an Eleven Halloween costume. (If so, the Internet wants pictures.)

There were a couple questions about each actor’s process on the show and whether they ever have a hard time shedding their characters when they come home. Gavankar said that in previous roles there have been a few things that she’s taken home with her. For Sleepy Hollow, she says that she finds herself thinking a lot about the young actor who has been cast to play her daughter. Obviously Diana is concerned for and cares for her daughter, so Gavankar finds some of that care and concern bleeding over. Mison says that he doesn’t really take anything home with him, but he feels for anyone who has to work with him. When he was filming Lost in Austen his character was particularly bumbling and inept and he found himself being completely dense between takes. With Ichabod, as soon as the coat goes on, his fingers start going, too.

It was nearly startling to find that the cast had been talking with us for an hour when the panel ended. The interaction between Gavankar and Mison during the panel was fantastic, and it’s easy to see how that will translate to the screen. We’re certainly all interested in seeing how the fourth season plays out.

Author of the article

Max sees to the needs of her kitty overlords; polices the grammar on all kinds of published material including signage, menus, and food packaging; and cuddles with her wife while watching her favorite shows (Our Flag Means Death, Killjoys, Sense8, and Doctor Who among them). She continues to be far too excited to be working for the Daily Dragon.