Felicia Day Draws from Personal Struggles in Hollywood for Audibles’ Third Eye

Mike Villarreal

During San Diego Comic-Con, we got to sit down with Felicia Day and Jonah Ray of the Third Eye audio series. The new Audible Original Series stars Felicia Day, who is also attached as the producer and writer. The story follows Laurel, a wizard who is dealing with the fallout over her defeat at the hand of Tybus the Terrible played by God of War’s Christopher Judge. A decade has passed since her failed attempt to save San Francisco, and now Laurel must pull herself out of her funk for the good of the realm and to save her friends.

During the roundtable interview that we were a part of, Felicia made it clear that she is still striking as both an actress and a writer. Being that Third Eye is not a film or television production, she was allowed to appear at the convention to promote the audio series.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – JULY 20: (L-R) Jonah Ray Rodrigues, Felicia Day, and London Hughes attend The “Third Eye” Panel at San Diego Comic-Con at Hilton San Diego Bayfront on July 20, 2023 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for Audible)

Felicia Day: I am a double striker right now. I’m on strike, double strike. I’m happy to be able to talk about this project because it is an audio project. But again, I’m very SAGAFTRA/WGA strong. We got to stand up and do this.

So what made you want to tell this story in this kind of format?

Felicia Day: So this project was my dream TV project actually. I tried to sell it in 2015. It was my follow-up to other things I’ve done, and it didn’t happen to sell and it was very heartbreaking because I put everything into it. The wonderful thing is that I got the opportunity to talk to Audible about doing it and they decided to do it and they were like, “You’re doing 10 episodes,” which was such an incredible gift. And because it was happening over Covid, I wrote pretty much everything myself. So when you’re writing 10 episodes of essentially television, I made it exactly the way I wanted to make it. I will say that having been a part of a torturous development process for Hollywood over and over again, this was an incredible experience and it’s exactly the way I want it to be.

You play the main character Laurel. What’s your favorite part about her as a character?

Felicia Day: My favorite thing about Laurel is the arc that she goes through. The reason I wanted to tell the story was I wanted to do something fantasy-like. I wanted to talk about something fantastical but I also want to talk about a failed prodigy. I was a violinist when I was a kid. I was a prodigy in that. I was also kind of a prodigy in the internet world because I was so early, but with that kind of overachievement at a very early age, you kind of can’t ever live up to the expectations that people have for you, and having that sort of crushing self-doubt and not really valuing yourself for who you are was something I really wanted to talk about. So I was able to put that in this very common trope of all the genre stuff that I love which is the “Chosen One.” Somehow you’re anointed to be the one to save humanity and whatever supernatural additive in this supernatural world. And what if you fail, how do you live with yourself? How do you live at all? And how do you heal yourself in a way? And that’s what I wanted to talk about. So that’s what I love about Laurel is this journey I take her through and the fact that it parallels a lot of the healing I’ve done personally in my life.

Did you write the script with actors already in mind for certain roles?

Felicia Day: I definitely wrote a part for Wil Wheaton because he’s one of my favorite collaborators and he’s so incredible in this part. I think it’s that one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard him in and it’s also heartfelt. All the people who are in the cast except for one person were personal friends of mine and that one person, who is London Hughes, blew me away.

So my friend Jonah Ray, who I’ve worked on with the project with, came in and did the vocal direction because I’ve worked with him on camera and we worked so well together. I said, “Can you direct this for me?” I said, “We have one of the main parts uncast and it’s my best friend. So it’s one of the most important parts and I just had this idea of this hot mess British girl and I don’t know somebody like this.” And he’s like, “Oh yeah, I know this girl who I did stand-up.” I watched 15 seconds of a Youtube video of her stand-up and I fell in love with her. If you meet her, you’re gonna fall in love with her too. She’s a star and she’s one of the sweetest, most talented people and she embodies “hot mess” in the best way. Of course, I always wanted Neil Gaiman to do the narrator but you never know. Thank goodness everybody was able to make time to do the part, and honestly, it’s a dream cast. Everybody just brings the characters to life in ways I could never even imagine.

During the production of this series, did you want to have all the voice actors come together to record with each other?

Felicia Day:  A lot of the time you can hear audio and you can tell they aren’t in the same room together. And that was something I think Jonah really added is that sort of on-camera energy so that we know that we never had stale/weird moments where we didn’t feel like people were physically in a space together. There were a couple of relationships that were super important that I was like, “We have to have these people in the room together at all times.” I was there for everybody, so my character was there with everybody. Me and Sybilum, me and Danny Pudi, me and Lilypichu, who plays Kate, one of the major characters. Wil Wheaton, Janet Barney, and Sean Astin… There were just certain characters I wanted that chemistry together and I wanted to be able to play with each other. So Audible was able to help us and Mumble and Clamor. They were able to help us schedule it so we could get a lot of the actors in person which is really cool.

Can you talk about the role of Tybus the Terrible? Is there any specific inspiration for that character?

Felicia Day: Well again we have the “Chosen One” against the “Big Bad” right and these prophesized characters take over all of our fantasy and sci-fi tropes, right? Christopher Judge plays that part and it’s because I love him in God of War so much. He’s such an incredible performer and actor in person. So I was like so thrilled when he agreed to do it because it’s an audio project, it’s different. At the same time, everybody had to be funny and it’s really hard being the biggest badass evil person and also be funny, and he nails it every step of the way. So I’m really excited for people to hear him play this character. The style of the project, it’s a comedy fantasy, but it’s not sketch. Nobody’s playing a sketch character; these are real characters, real stakes, real life or death circumstances. That’s what I wanted to view in the project.

To what extent does Third Eye take place in our world? Like are there other magical worlds within where this series takes place?

Felicia Day: The world is very deep because I’m into world-building. We don’t even get to explore the tip of the iceberg of the world, which is really interesting. We stay in our world, but basically, there’s a supernatural world that’s secret among us. So an unhoused person might be a legendary Russian folklore god or something like that. So all the creatures and people from folklore and fantasy exist, but they’re hidden amongst our world and that’s kind of what I wanted to do. I want people to listen to this and then drive down the street and be like, “Oh, I wonder if that psychic shop is a front for a fairy.” I really want to bring magic to the world that we have around us versus escape into a different world. This one is all about grounding in reality and that kind of is reflected with the soundtrack. Most of the songs are from the 60s and 70s. I wanted a place in a time in San Francisco with that kind of hippie vibe. I wanted that to be embodied and in the world.

Third Eye is scheduled to premiere on October 5th, 2023. You can listen to the whole first episode while it is available for only a limited time here on Audible