Deadly Class’ Taylor Hickson talks pranks, rats, and 80s fashion

DEADLY CLASS -- Photo by: Katie Yu/SYFY -- Acquired via Persona PR
DEADLY CLASS -- Photo by: Katie Yu/SYFY -- Acquired via Persona PR /

Taylor Hickson plays Petra in SYFY’s Deadly Class. Are you ready to learn more about the Goth rat and the behind-the-scenes fun in this exclusive interview?

Deadly Class is SYFY’s latest offering, based on the graphic novels by Rick Remender. In fact, Rick is directly involved with the adaptation and the writing, which Taylor Hickson admits has been excellent for the cast.

During this exclusive interview, she talks about her character and the freedom Rick offered throughout filming. She also shared details on pranks that happened and the fun everyone seemed to have on set. If you thought the school-aged assassins were crazy, wait until you find out about the off-screen antics.

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Hidden Remote: Can you tell us a little about your character on Deadly Class?

Taylor Hickson: My character is called Petra and she’s a “rat,” who attends Kings Dominion. She’s very broody, opinionated, and sarcastic. She attends as an honor student and is part of Marcus’ gang.

HR: I noticed there’s little of Petra in the pilot episode. Will we get to see more of her later? I could see there being so much of a backstory for her.

Hickson: Oh yeah, later in the series and especially in the comics, she becomes a lot more prominent. In the pilot, getting anyone screen time is a miracle. We have such a massive ensemble cast.

DEADLY CLASS — Photo by: Allen Fraser/Syfy — Acquired via Persona PR
DEADLY CLASS — Photo by: Allen Fraser/Syfy — Acquired via Persona PR /

HR: Yeah, it’s crazy how many main characters are in it.

Hickson: Yeah, and we only get bigger!

How Rick [Remender] is so deeply in 15 characters heads and they’re so different is incredible. I think he’s clinically insane.

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HR:  They are so different, too! Completely different.

Hickson: Yeah, they’re polar opposites. I don’t know how you can have so many people so far apart, from their morals to the style, the way they interact with each other. This show blows my mind.

HR: Did you read the graphic novels before getting the part or have you read them since?

Hickson: We received them as “assigned homework” when we got the roles. Before that, no. I didn’t understand the caliber of what I was getting into.

HR: And there are so many novels.

Hickson: Yes, there are so many and they keep you on your toes. They’re so beautiful, too. The intricacy in the design, the color, to see some of that translate into the show is so cool to watch.

HR: The show does have a great vibe from the comics and the 80s, but there’s also a modern-day feel at times.

Hickson: Yeah, Rick was very adamant on being on it with the late-80s culture. We had to stay true to it but not come off tacky. This takes place when my mom was my exact age in the show. She would have been 17 in 1987, so she’s just over the moon.

She’s loved it. She’s like “I remember that song. I had those same pants.”

I think it will be really cool to see how broad of an audience it will attract. There something for all generations.

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HR: Did you go to your mom for tips and advice for the time period?

Hickson: Yeah, she did. She showed me some of the music she used to listen to. And a lot of the pieces I had in my costume, she said she’d wear something of the sort but not all put together.

HR: Petra has to go through so much in terms of wardrobe and makeup. How long does that take to get right?

Hickson: At the beginning, I think it was closer to three hours, but at the end, I think we got it down to two. Lana [candor] had loads of tattoos and hers took closer to three on the best days.

There were a lot of different makeup artists coming in and out because of others who needed the makeup. It was trickier when we had new people coming in and learn how to keep up with the pacing of the time.

I also had to do wigs every day, which takes time every day. María [Gabriela de Faría] and Siobhan [Williams] had massive hair pieces, so that took time for them.

HR: Not something you’ll be repeating at home?

Hickson: Definitely not I’d repeat on my own time! I’ve had enough for the rest of my life, but it is something I’m willing to sacrifice for the show.

HR: I get the feeling that Petra, Marcus, and the “rat” group want to have fun. What’s been your favorite part to play out without giving away spoilers?

Hickson: I can tell you that it involves Jack [Gillett], Liam [James] and I and it’s my favorite thing of all filming. It was our seventh episode shooting, but I think for you guys it’s going to be Episode 8. It’s got all of the funniest, crude scenes I’ve shot in my whole career. I’m excited for people to see it because I think it’s going to be a shock to the system.

It’s funny but also risqué. This part isn’t in the comics.

DEADLY CLASS — “Pilot” Episode 100 — Photo by: Allen Fraser/Syfy — Acquired via NBC Media Village
DEADLY CLASS — “Pilot” Episode 100 — Photo by: Allen Fraser/Syfy — Acquired via NBC Media Village /

HR: With having Rick there, I get the feeling he’s delving deeper into the characters he’s created.

Hickson: Oh, having him on set was a lifesaver. I don’t know how he did it. He mustn’t have slept at all. I never saw him eat. I never saw him do anything.

He was always full of energy. He’s one of the most creative people I’ve met in my entire life and he’s such a refreshing showrunner to have coming out of Hollywood. He’s nothing like any straight forward showrunner. He does the polar opposite of what you’re expecting and always keeps you on your toes, and he gives you so much creative freedom in your character.

We got to improv. So much of the stuff you’re gonna watch, especially with Liam, is a lot of improv. Having that creative freedom was a blessing as an artist. And I think I can speak to the entire cast about that.

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HR: How much mischief did you get up to then? You and Liam in the poisons class was hilarious.

Hickson: On camera or off? I think there was more ongoing mischief off camera. If we ever had nude scenes, we were always running around in our underwear. Nobody really gave a s**t and nobody was scared of what others thought. It was just a great place to work, and I think that could be a bad thing because we’d forget we were there to work.

It was a loving place with the lack of judgment.

HR: Nothing like what’s going on in the show.

Hickson: Yeah! Siobhan and I played pranks on Ben [Wadsworth]. We’d have cucumber scooped out with dill cream cheese in the middle, so everything we could, we’d hide under the cream cheese. M&Ms, mustard, relish, anything. I don’t even think he noticed when he ate it. He’s a bottomless bit.

There were a lot of pranks and a lot of goofing around.

HR: My last question is if you could do any role after this, what would your dream role be?

Hickson: I love anything that has an important message. I think it would have to be something I believe a lot in. It doesn’t have to take off or do really well. I think Giant Little Ones, which I’ve done recently, really motivated me to keep going in that direction and catch the right audience.

Next. Deadly Class pilot spoiler-free review. dark

What are you excited to see from Taylor Hickson in Deadly Class? Which storylines from the graphic novels do you want to see come to life? Share in the comments below.

Deadly Class premieres tonight at 10/9c on SYFY.