Impulse star Maddie Hasson: ‘It’s a worthwhile story to be told’

With Impulse season 2, Maddie Hasson delivers another intense performance, and she told Hidden Remote why the YouTube series is important to her.

Impulse is one of the best shows streaming today, and the biggest reason why is Maddie Hasson. Her performance as Henrietta “Henry” Coles, the young woman who develops superpowers while being sexually assaulted, is heartbreaking and inspiring simultaneously.

The YouTube drama’s second season, streaming now, continues to see Henry deal with the effects of both these massive changes in her life. While TV fans will see more of Henry’s powers in action, she’s also got trauma that will never go away.

Hidden Remote spoke with Maddie to discuss what it was like exploring more of her character in the second season, and what it takes out of her to deliver one of the best lead performances on TV.

Impulse Season 2 is currently streaming for free on YouTube, and ad-free for YouTube Premium subscribers.

Hidden Remote: Impulse is the longest time you’ve ever played one character. How has it been for you to live in Henry’s skin this long?

Maddie Hasson: Henry really feels like a part of me. She’s kind of felt that way from the beginning, and now she really does feel like a part of me after sitting in the character for so long.

I think coming into Season 2 was a lot easier than coming into Season 1, because I didn’t feel like I had to reinvent the wheel, in terms of connecting to her. It was like second nature, which was nice.

HR: How is Henry mentally and emotionally this season, considering everything that she went through in Season 1?

MH: It’s hard. We had a whole year between Season 1 and Season 2, so it was hard to come back in. We pick back up a second later. It’s hard to put yourself back into those emotional shoes, so coming into Season 2 was difficult [in that way]. You have to backtrack and remember, where was I last year when we shot this?

HR: How is it for you? She experiences so much, and Impulse is such an intense show, so is it a challenge for you to play?

MH: It really weighs on me. But I think at the end of the day it’s a worthwhile story to be told. And I get to meet people who can really relate, such as this guy at New York Comic Con—not someone who my own character has affected, but there was a guy with autism who was interviewing us, and he said that normally in TV shows when he sees autism portrayed in a TV show it’s seen as a weakness.

He feels when he watches Impulse, it’s portrayed as a superpower, which makes him feel empowered and good. He was saying that it’s his favorite show because of that, and we’re so fortunate as actors to be able to do things like that—that we can connect to real people with real stories and hear their stories. That’s why we do it.

Photo: Impulse Season 2.. Maddie Hasson and Daniel Maslany.. Credit NBCUniversal

HR: How would you describe Henry’s journey in Impulse season 2? How does she move forward?

MH: You get to see her discover maybe she has more control over her power than she thought, and that’ll change her view on some of the decisions that she’s made and some of the things that have happened to her. She has to decide whether she’ll let one bad thing in her life snowball into a lot of bad decisions, and make her perceive herself as a bad person.

She gets to really decide whether she’s going to be the hero or the villain in her own story. I think that’s really interesting, because in real life there’s no evil person or good person. You have to decide for yourself, how you see yourself and what kind of story you’re going to tell with your own life.

HR: Was it fun for you to utilize more of her superpowers this season?

MH: Yeah. The show is really fun in a lot of ways. It’s not all doom and gloom. I get to go and do the things I love the most in the world every day, so it’s fantastic and I feel so lucky. We got to do a lot of fun stunts this year. I was dragged through the mud backwards on my stomach. I was rigged to this rope, and I was dragged pretty far through the mud screaming. Honestly, it was very fun.

I think it’s fun to know that we got to travel to a lot of cool places. There’s one place that I’m not allowed to talk about, but in season 1 we went to Sri Lanka, and in season 2 we go to Bucharest, Romania and somewhere else at the very end.

HR: Your portrayal of Henry has been nothing short of amazing. Have you noticed a difference in how people have perceived you since they’ve seen you in this role?

MH: it definitely doesn’t hurt your career to be in a show and be in so much of it, and Lauren [LeFranc] and Doug [Liman] have thankfully written such an incredible part for me. Henry is such an interesting character, especially for a young female character in a young adult sci-fi show. She’s just written as a person. She’s not written to fit into any kind of mold, which is great.

Impulse Season 2 is streaming now exclusively on YouTube. You can watch the entire series free with advertisements, or upgrade to YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience.