'Mayfair Witches': Tongayi Chirisa Talks 'Nostalgic' New AMC Series (Exclusive)

Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches will premiere on AMC on Jan. 8, and fans are looking forward to what the network has in store for the second show in the Anne Rice Universe (the first is Interview with the Vampire). One of the more interesting characters in the series is Ciprien Grieve who is played by Tongayi Chirisa. PopCulture.com spoke exclusively to Chirisa, and he explained why the series will be appreciated by Anne Rice fans. 

"I think I'm more excited for the people that didn't know about who Anne Rice was," Chirisa exclusively told PopCulture. "I think a lot of us, I know when I first saw or came into contact with Anne Rice was through the movie Interview with the Vampire, with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt and obviously, Aaliyah and Queen of the Damned. But to kind of have this new reinvention, so to speak, and resuscitate her works and just bring it to a newer audience and those that are obviously lifelong fans, to see this world finally come into fruition, I think it's nostalgic for a lot of people."

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(Photo: Alfonso Bresciani/AMC)

The show focuses on Dr. Rowan Fielding who is played by Alexandra Daddario. Rowan finds out she is the heiress to the Mayfair family which features a dynasty of witches. Ciprien is a new character created by AMC as he's a combination of Michael Curry and Aaron Lightner, two characters from Rice's books. He helps Rowan figure out her family history and abilities while dealing with his own powers.

"I love that he is an empath," Chirisa said when asked about the best thing about his character. "I think it's being allowed to be as vulnerable with emotions because you are experiencing somebody else's life through touch. I think that was one of the things I really loved about it because it just showed the kind of man that he is and also allows the world to see a lot of the history of people through his experience and just how it affects him."

"And not only that, but just being able to mitigate how much of this gift he allows himself to truly experience because we know that he wears the gloves, and that's simply purely because he's trying to keep the world outside. What happens when he's allowed to embrace all that he could potentially be? Which is what I think is more interesting, as we move along with the season, and obviously, hopefully, more seasons to come, safe to say. Does he fully embrace that? And if he does, what does that look like?"

With Ciprien working together with Rowan, this means Chirisa got to work closely with Daddario, who was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work on the HBO series The White Lotus. "I think just being able to work with somebody that allows the environment to feel like you are just hanging with a good friend," Chirisa said about Daddario. "It allowed for the walls to be removed, and it allowed for us to go into spaces where we knew we could trust each other and were safe within the confines of what it is that we're doing, to be as authentic as we could be. And that's kudos to her." 

New episodes of Mayfair Witches will air every Sunday on AMC. The first two episodes are available to stream now on AMC+.