Valorie Curry explains how “The Lost Symbol” masters history, science and the supernatural
“It’s a story of resilience,” says Valorie Curry. She talks about The lost symbol, a new series (streaming on Peacock) based on Dan Brown’s book of the same name. It was reinvented as a sort of Brown’s prequel The “Da Vinci Code, and Curry plays Katherine Solomon, a scientist whose father Mason has been kidnapped by a dark villain determined to find out what he knows about the mysterious relics and their fearsome powers.
“Katherine embodies the true human perception of what’s going on more than anyone else on this show,” said Curry. “Some of the adventures they go through are so extreme and surprising, but they all land on her in a very real way. Which means each week there is a little more to carry.
LOOK THE LOST SYMBOL
The character isn’t the only one with big problems to solve. How did Curry prepare to play a scientist in a world of code breakers, religious fanatics, and ancient world experts? Here she shares her process with CGV.
Master the material
For a world as complicated and loved as the one Brown created, it was important for Curry to learn all she could. “So many of the characters that I have played in my career have been based on already existing properties,” she says, noting roles inAmerican pastoral, Witch Blair, and The Twilight Saga: Dawn of Dawn. “It was something that wasn’t new to me, although the fan base around Robert Langdon’s universe was.”
she had seen The “Da Vinci Code movie but hadn’t read Brown’s novels, so she immersed herself in The lost symbol in print and binged all film adaptations of the books. Still, she notes, “The series is a little off the book, because we’re setting it up as a prequel to the Dan Brown stories audiences have seen before. Katherine from the book is not Katherine from the series; she is 15 years younger and as for her relationship with Peter Solomon, it is her daughter, not her sister.
Still, immersing himself in Brown’s world provided an invaluable foundation for who his Katherine would become. “There are details of things we weren’t able to explore on the show,” she says, “that fed me.”
At The lost symbolCurry’s character works in the noetic sciences, which focuses in part on the ways the brain might influence the physical world. While the pandemic prevented Curry from visiting the California-based Institute for Noetic Sciences to follow an actual scientist whose career might resemble Katherine’s, she was not without Scientific North Stars.
“What really excited me about research is digging into the realm of noetic sciences,” says Curry. “As we all know, symbology is not a real field – religious iconography is, cryptology is, but symbology is not. The noetic sciences, however, are and the Institute of Noetic Sciences is. Very early on I came across the work of [author and professor] Dr Marilyn Schlitz, who is undoubtedly an inspiration to Katherine, or at least she was to me. Her work was exciting and showed me a lot about who Katherine could be, as much of the show is about the perceived duality between science and spirituality, and Katherine is neither a material skeptic nor a believer, she is in a space in between. “
Consider the character
While Robert Langdon (played by Ashley Zukerman) may be an expert on the ancient world, Katherine Solomon is definitely a modern scientist. Take, for example, one of the first episodes of the series where the couple try to decipher what could be a secret message hidden in a page of Hebrew text. Langdon questions the mystery, but Solomon is more pragmatic.
“Langdon’s instinct when looking at a page is to try to figure it out, but Katherine pulls out her phone; she won’t let her ego stop her from finding this information as quickly as possible, ”says Curry. “She’s got the big picture and doesn’t solve puzzles in the same analytical way as Langdon. She could, but she doesn’t.
This same idea plays into the way Curry researched the history of Masons, which plays an important role in the series. “Rather than digging up information about Masons, I found it more helpful to speak with one of our crew members whose father is 32 years old.sd-Mason degree, ”she said. “How does that impact your family, how much of your lift does it affect?” I was able to see the impact this would have had on Katherine’s education without focusing too much on Masonic traditions.
Leave work at work
Considering the world of secret codes and hidden meanings in which The lost symboltakes place, it might have been easy for Curry to let the story bleed into his own life.
“Confirmation bias is real,” she says. “Once you are aware of something, you see it everywhere. Dan’s books raise awareness of how much religion is embedded not only in our culture, but also in our government. We can look past it until we remember it, then it comes out.
Still, she didn’t let living in Brown’s fictional universe make her paranoid. “I get asked a lot of questions about what I believe in terms of conspiracy theories,” she says. “It’s especially telling about people and what they think of these ideas.”
Plus, her character isn’t one to adhere to them either. “One of the things that Katherine does really well is that she learns all of this information about the power of the mind, and in her practical way, she wants to use these tools,” says Curry. “Living with her is a good reminder to me of the importance of mindset and taking the time every day to focus and be intentional rather than just passive or reactionary. It is a reminder of the power we have over our own day-to-day experience.
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