oprah tom cruise

“There’s definitely going to be a lot of parallels drawn with Scientology,” says Annie Wersching, who portrays cult leader Leslie Dean, the mother of Karolina (Virginia Gardner) on Hulu‘s adaptation of the Marvel comic book ‘Runaways.’  On the series, the parents of the titular teens form the Pride, a group of sinister villains who head up the Church of Giborrim.  In the first episode, they seemingly sacrifice a young woman named Destiny (Nicole Wolf) in the name of Giborrim, their mysterious god.

And while the hokey celebrity-packed Church obviously draws some inspiration from Scientology, don’t expect to see Leslie jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch.

“As it was presented to me by [executive producers] Josh [Schwartz] and Stephanie [Savage] is that it’s actually quite different. It’s all based in science and it’s all about the UV rays and everything you can see in your spectrum and what’s beyond that. But, yeah, it definitely has a little bit of a creepy vibe, has a little bit of a cultish vibe. The smiles that they wear, I think in that alone, they’re a little bit creepy.”


The show has taken an unexpected, yet intriguing departure from the source material, in which the parents’ true nature was quickly discovered by their offspring and the entire conflict only lasted for one storyline.  The kids then went on to further adventures.  But by prolonging the interaction between the parents and kids, it increases the tension, but also fleshes out the most unique element of the premise.

So expect Leslie to play a major role in upcoming episodes.  Wersching said:

“Leslie is really the only one who truly knows what Pride is for, and I think she lets a lot of other characters believe that they are the leader of Pride, but she really is pulling all the strings. She’s the only one who knows the bigger plan, and what truly Pride is being used for.

Her loyalty does not waver. She’s doing everything that she has to do, even though some of them are awful things, but she believes they’re for the greater good. Later in the series, you learn more her reasoning and what she believes, and so the things that she has to do are horrible and she feels them very deeply, but she knows that they have to be done and no one else really is going to do them if she doesn’t.”

Wersching is quick to clarify that her character is not without vulnerability:

“I think that’s what’s really cool about her is that a lot of the stuff that you see Leslie do, if you were seeing, say, a Lady Macbeth or a Claire Underwood, you wouldn’t also see them break down and cry about it. I think what makes her unique and different is that she has so many facets to her and she feels everything very deeply even though she can be very manipulative and does these terrible things.”

The first three episodes of ‘Runaways’ are now available on Hulu with new episodes arriving every Tuesday.  There are ten total in the first season.

Source: Entertainment Weekly