‘First Kill’: Gracie Dzienny on Sinking Her Teeth Into Elinor Fairmont
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for First Kill Season 1.]
Netflix’s new vampire drama First Kill follows a Romeo-and-Juliet-style forbidden romance between Calliope Burns (Imani Lewis), the youngest daughter of a family of monster hunters, and aptly named Juliette Fairmont (Sarah Catherine Hook), the youngest daughter in a family of legacy vampires.
Sworn enemies linked by the illicit lovers, the Fairmont and Burns families become increasingly entangled and Juliette’s older sister takes on the role of sociopathic puppet master. While Juliette rejects her family’s cruel traditions and bloodthirsty nature, Elinor embraces them with open arms — and fangs.
Gracie Dzienny, who plays the glamorous vamp, spoke with TV Insider about sinking her teeth into the role of Elinor and all things First Kill.
Elinor is definitely a girl boss. She has so many great lines — a personal favorite is: “He’s a tool, but a tool I can use.” If you had to pick just one favorite Elinor line, what would it be?
Gracie Dzienny: I love that line. I was saying that line for weeks. I feel like that really defines Elinor. “I’m not moving to Toronto to pimp out my uterus” is another one of my favorites.
She definitely has some of the best lines, but I think Elinor might also have the highest kill count of any character in First Kill.
It was my first job back since COVID, and so it was so funny to go from being masked inside my house to meeting random strangers and being like, “Hello, I’m gonna sit on your lap and lick your neck now. Is it cool if I bite you here or here?”
Did your martial arts training from Supah Ninjas help at all with your First Kill fight scenes?
It did for real. Supah Ninjas and Jupiter’s Legacy were both great boot camps. I think it definitely helped to make me feel more comfortable, especially fighting in a stiletto.
The show has an amazing soundtrack — what is a song that you think best encapsulates Elinor as a character?
I had a playlist that I would listen to before work. I listened to “Boss Bitch” by Doja Cat. I’m a theater nerd, so there was “Take Me or Leave Me.” There was “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” I would listen to [the playlist] on the way to work to get into that mode. And I was really grateful because it did bring me more confidence in my own personal life. I felt really lucky that a little bit of that rubbed off on me.
I’m glad that part rubbed off and not the sociopathic murderer part…
The murdering people? Me too [Laughs]
You played Billy Burke (a.k.a. Charlie Swan from Twilight)’s daughter on the show Zoo. Are you a Twilight fan?
I found this old series of Facebook wall posts where me and my friend would just send each other our favorite lines from [Twilight]. That was the only thing I knew Billy Burke from when I met him. I was like, “You’re Bella’s dad.”
Are you a fan of any other vampire media?
Obviously, the show is called First Kill, and each of the episode titles is a “first” something. Did you have any acting or other firsts on set?
I have been really lucky in the last 10 years where I’ve always been one of the younger people on set and I’ve always had an actress take me under their wings. And I got to do that on this job with Sarah Catherine [Hook]. The mentee became the mentor for the first time. It just felt nice to pass on some information that I’ve learned to Sarah Catherine and to be there for her the way so many female actresses have been there for me in the past.
You and Sara Catherine have a great relationship in real life, but your First Kill characters didn’t exactly end on great terms. Do you think Jules and Elinor could still patch things up?
I think so. I think Elinor’s a little impressed. I mean, [Elinor] wanted Jules to be more like her and what’s more Elinor than throwing your own blood under the bus.
It seems like the entire cast had great energy on set, which translated to great chemistry in the show. Do you have a favorite memory from set?
We would have family dinners at [showrunner] Felicia [D. Henderson]’s house. One night, Will [Swenson] and Aubin [Wise] also sang a song. For some reason, everyone in this cast has the most amazing singing voice ever except for me.
So if you guys ever do a musical episode…
I could do a nice fan kick, some dance moves. I did all the school musicals growing up, so I can carry a tune. I just don’t think anyone wants to hear me sing a solo. [Laughs]
Outside of the family dynamics, the show is centered on Cal and Jules’ romance, but Elinor also gets to do a lot of flirting and seducing. Do you ship her with Apollo or any other characters?
I think she just likes to play with her food, to be honest. I don’t know if she really has a lot of time or energy for a relationship in her. But I do think that Elinor/Apollo storyline is really strong.
First Kill has been out for less than two weeks and already means so much to the LGBTQIA+ community and specifically to lesbians, and there’s been a huge push for renewal. How has this support made you feel?
The fans have been so supportive and kind and creative and fun to interact with. I’m just in awe of them, like the edits? I don’t know how they do that. I don’t know how they get those clips. I don’t know how they find the perfect song. They are also so funny. I saw the video of Emma Roberts, our executive producer, that went viral of her in that green dress and someone wrote: “bye mark guy in the lake !!”
I just feel really honored that they feel seen and heard on our show and that they connected to it. Hopefully, we can give them more of what they want because they deserve the world.
If First Kill is renewed for another season, it looks like Elinor will be turning in her gowns for prison jumpsuits. What do you want to see for Elinor in Season 2?
She can no longer be the keeper-in-waiting, so I think there’s a nice relief there. I’m excited for her to just have more fun. I know she’s really driven and power-hungry, but I’m excited to see what other ways she’ll go about attaining that power now she doesn’t have the family strings to rely on.
When you say “have more fun,” do you mean more Mark situations or…?
I think she’s at her best when she’s a little reckless [Laughs].
First Kill, Season 1, Streaming now, Netflix