Virginia Kull and Toby Stephens talk about shooting episode 7's pivotal scene.
ByBelen Edwards on
All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers. If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.
Virginia Kull and Toby Stephens in "Percy Jackson and the Olympians."Credit: Mashable Composite: Disney / David Bukach
Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a rollicking fantasy adventure, complete with frightening monsters, high-stakes battles, and gods pulled straight from Greek mythology. So it may come as a surprise that one of the show's best — and most talked-about — scenes is a quiet discussion between two parents.
Of course, these aren't normal parents. One is the Greek god Poseidon (Toby Stephens). The other is mortal Sally Jackson (Virginia Kull), who has spent the last 12 years preparing her son Percy (Walker Scobell) for his heroic destiny — and protecting him from the world of the Olympians.
SEE ALSO:How is 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians' different from the books?
Like many stories from ancient legends, Sally and Poseidon's relationship is a tragic romance. Separated by circumstances of literally mythic proportion, unable to raise Percy together because Olympian law dictates that Poseidon shouldn't even have a child, their story has no clear solution. Sally carries the burden of the truth about Percy's parentage, while Poseidon is unable to help without endangering both his son and the woman he loves. It's a tough dynamic to understand solely through Percy's eyes, but in episode 7, "We Find Out the Truth, Sort Of," Percy Jackson and the Olympians offers us a bigger window into Sally and Poseidon's connection, in all its painful messiness and surprising beauty.
Toby Stephens in "Percy Jackson and the Olympians."Credit: Disney / David Bukach
"We Find Out the Truth, Sort Of" marks our first introduction to Poseidon and what his relationship with Sally really looks like. Because of this, our first glimpse of Poseidon in the flesh is not some bombastic display of godly power, but of a man and a woman simply talking in a diner about the difficulties Sally faces in raising Percy alone.
"It was a really clever way to introduce their relationship and introduce Poseidon, because it makes them very human," Stephens said of the scene in a video call with Mashable. "It's a domestic scene between a mother and father, and at the heart of it there's this pain. It's a yearning between two people to be connected who can't be, but Poseidon is also yearning to be connected with his son but can't because he's protecting him."
SEE ALSO:Jay Duplass talks Hades' big introduction to 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians'
The diner scene was the first scene Stephens shot for the series, yet the chemistry and history between Poseidon and Sally were already well within reach for the actors. "I really liked working with Virginia, and she's a really great actress," said Stephens. "We found that very quickly. The scene just had a very intimate feel."
Percy Jackson and the Olympians began creating that sense of intimacy between Sally and Poseidon right from the very first episode, with a scene that sees Sally sitting on her fire escape, taking in the rain.
Kull was incredibly excited to see the fire escape scene when she first read the script. "In television, you typically don't have time for things like quiet, ordinary moments. And this seems like a humdrum moment, but I think it tells such a huge story," Kull said. "It's not just Sally sitting in the rain on the fire escape — she's sitting in the rain communing with the great love of her life and the father of her kid, and this is the way that she feels close to him."
Virginia Kull in "Percy Jackson and the Olympians."Credit: Disney/David Bukach
The diner sequence feels like a natural progression from that fire escape moment. Sally and Poseidon are connecting in both, but there's still a distance between them. On the fire escape, Poseidon isn't actually present. But even when he's next to Sally in the diner, there's a tragic divide between them. They're close, but still far apart.
Director Anders Engström achieved this paradoxical nearness by telling Kull and Stephens to play the whole scene without ever looking at each other. For Kull, that became a key to unlocking the power of the diner scene.
- How 'Snakes on a Plane' shaped Medusa in 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians'
- Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition review: The upgrade is worth the money
- 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians' review: The adaptation fans have been waiting for
- Prime perk: Grab two free Kindle books this month
- Best streaming services: We compare Netflix, Hulu, Max, Disney+, and more
"What that did to us as actors was that all of the feelings of, 'I need to see how this is affecting the person that I'm speaking to, I want to know what he thinks about what I'm saying,' we couldn't act on," Kull explained. "Therefore, the desire to be heard, to be understood, and to connect was so heightened and so charged, it was electric. It meant that any bad impulse to 'perform' went away, and I was just desperately listening to and clinging to what he was saying. Even the silences were powerful."
In these silences, where Sally and Poseidon sit shoulder-to-shoulder yet never look at one another, Percy Jackson and the Olympians builds an entire world of a relationship that, up to this point, we haven't fully understood.
"Because Poseidon has been absent for the whole show, the audience is going, 'What a jerk, this guy is this absentee father.' And then when you meet him, you go, 'Right, I get it. It's much more complicated, and actually he really does care,'" Stephens said. "This scene is not in the book, but I think it's needed in the TV version, because it gives you much more context."
Percy Jackson and the Olympians is now streaming on Disney+.
Recommended For You
'The Zone of Interest' review: A chilling portrait of complicity
As lives are destroyed over the garden wall, the Höss family pours itself more coffee.
By Shannon Connellan
How is 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians' different from the books?
Now that Season 1 is over, relive all the biggest changes.
By Belen Edwards
'Expats' review: Lulu Wang and Nicole Kidman team up for a painful exploration of grief
Sarayu Blue and Ji-young Yoo also star.
By Belen Edwards
Jake Gyllenhaal answering Stephen Colbert's quickfire questions goes off the rails fast
By Sam Haysom
Jay Duplass talks Hades' big introduction to 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians'
The God of Death is here.
By Belen Edwards
More in Entertainment
Get 20% off all Ava sex toys at Amazon for Valentine's Day
It's always the right time for pleasure.
By Brittany Vincent
12 products on sale that make great Valentine's Day gifts
Save on stuff that isn't chocolates and roses.
By Christina Buff
Send sweet Valentine's Day gifts for less with these flower delivery service deals
Send beautiful bouquets and more for a hefty percentage off.
By Brittany Vincent
Best Buy Plus and Total members can score a $120 discount on the Dyson Airwrap
Curl, shape, smooth, and hide flyaways.
By Tabitha Britt
Want to buy that viral TikTok Shop product? Think twice.
Buyers should be vigilant of TikTok Shop scams.
By Chase DiBenedetto
Trending on Mashable
NYT Connections today: See hints and answers for February 8
Everything you need to solve 'Connections' #242.
By Mashable Team
NASA rover finds damaged helicopter in the middle of Mars desert
It's a poignant image.
By Mark Kaufman
NASA found a super-Earth. It's in a tantalizing place.
Scientists are investigating this curious new world.
By Mark Kaufman
Move over, Ratatouille: TikTok's newest musical is about a groundhog named Phil
A magic elixir, eternal life, and marital strife — another famous rodent takes TikTok by storm.
By Elizabeth de Luna
Wordle today: Here's the answer and hints for February 8
Here are some tips and tricks to help you find the answer to "Wordle" #964.
By Mashable Team
The biggest stories of the day delivered to your inbox.
Thanks for signing up. See you at your inbox!
Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts
As an expert and enthusiast, I have personal experiences or emotions, but I can provide you with information related to the concepts mentioned in this article. Here's what I found:
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
"Percy Jackson and the Olympians" is a fantasy adventure series that features elements from Greek mythology, including gods, monsters, and epic battles. The story revolves around Percy Jackson, a young boy who discovers that he is the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. The series follows Percy's journey as he navigates the world of the Olympians and fulfills his heroic destiny. The series is available for streaming on Disney+ [].
Virginia Kull and Toby Stephens
Virginia Kull and Toby Stephens are actors who appear in the series "Percy Jackson and the Olympians." Virginia Kull portrays the character Sally Jackson, Percy's mortal mother, while Toby Stephens plays the role of Poseidon, the Greek god and Percy's father. The article highlights their performances in a pivotal scene in episode 7 of the series, where their characters have a quiet discussion [].
Sally Jackson and Poseidon's Relationship
In "Percy Jackson and the Olympians," the relationship between Sally Jackson and Poseidon is described as a tragic romance. Due to the circumstances and the laws of the Olympians, they are unable to raise Percy together. Sally carries the burden of knowing the truth about Percy's parentage, while Poseidon is torn between his love for Sally and the need to protect his son. The article emphasizes that the diner scene in episode 7 provides a deeper understanding of their connection and the complexities of their relationship [].
The Diner Scene
The diner scene in episode 7 of "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" serves as the first introduction to Poseidon and provides insight into his relationship with Sally. The scene depicts a domestic conversation between the two characters, highlighting their pain, yearning for connection, and the challenges they face in raising Percy. The actors, Toby Stephens and Virginia Kull, praised the scene for its intimacy and the opportunity it provided to explore their characters' emotions [].
Director Anders Engström instructed the actors, Virginia Kull and Toby Stephens, to play the entire diner scene without looking at each other. This approach created a sense of nearness and heightened the desire for connection between the characters. The actors found that this technique allowed them to focus on listening and understanding each other's words, resulting in powerful performances and conveying the complexities of their relationship [].
I hope this information helps! Let me know if there's anything else I can assist you with.