HBO’s new show “The Leftovers” premieres this Sunday on June 29 at 10 PM.
The show tells the story of a post apocalyptic world where two percent of the population has disappeared and follows how a group of people in a town deals with this tragedy.We had the opportunity to interview many of the show’s leading ladies at the show’s New York premiere at NYU’s Skirball Center. Read our exclusive chat below:
How excited are you to be premiering finally?
I’m thrilled that we’re finally here! Still filming the last last episode, which we think our viewers will really enjoy once it’s done. I’m thrilled for this moment and I just want to live it out right now and take it all in.
Tell me about this world that we’re diving into.
This world is lost, and we’re in a small town in our world, and we’re coping with and grieving, for a lack of better word, of the disappearance, the sudden departure of these hundred or so people that we don’t know if they’re going to walk in the next day or what. People are very lost … and trying to cope and managing day to day and with that, comes with real like challenges. The viewer will be able to have a peek inside of all these folks.
Speak about going head to head with Justin.
It’s just fun, working with Justin is an amazing experience. He’s a producer, writer, I think he’s directing too, and he’s one hell of an actor. It doesn’t get any better than that to just sit down and listen to someone on set and it just works because you’re both ready and you’re as good or as great, dare I say, as your scene partner. To have Justin as scene partner, most days, let’s just say I go home and eat my milk and pie every night.
What are some challenges facing the Mayor?
Just getting the town back on track.
Tell me about your character’s emotional journey.
Tell me about collaborating with Justin, he plays your dad.
I love Justin so much, he’s such a sweet guy, he’s so talented, we have a lot of fun on set – as much as you can have in that dark setting.
How would you describe the show?
Basically the show is about just being human. 2% of the population goes missing and they refer to it as “The Departure.” In that process, it sort of takes away some of the bullshit in life, and it kind of gets down to a more raw, emotional state.
I’m a free spirited young lady who is dealing with the post-apocalyptic world in a very sort of “be here now, take it as it comes” way.
What did you love about the script?
I loved that I actually wanted to know what happened on it and I’m not a huge TV watcher and I actually cared about what was going to happen and between the mixture of the exciting rapture, post-apocalyptic qualities, but the development of the characters and the humor and the specificity of it, it created a world that I really wanted live in and see what happened in, which is a chance you always take when you sign onto a TV show. You’re entering a world that you don’t what’s going to happen in, but this is a cool world.
So tell me about your character on the show.
I play Christine, who is the spiritual wife of Holy Wayne and she is his most devoted disciple and number one groupie.
So what’s it like playing that out?
It’s fun! I know it’s a really somber show, but it’s really fun getting to do all of that and Chris Zylka and I get to do some really physical stuff.
So tell me about diving into this world.
Oh, it’s so great. It’s just one of those things everyone can relate to. When I first read the pilot, I just knew right away I had to be a part of this show because everyone deep down inside can relate to what it’s like losing someone and what that’s like and feeling that void and kind of suffering, even if it’s something you don’t wear on your sleeves.
Tell me about how you got your start in acting.
I went to the High School of Performing Arts LaGuardia.
Did you just start getting roles after your graduated?
Yeah, I’m really lucky. Upon graduating, I booked a recurring role on this TBS sitcom called “Are We There Yet?” and have just been working ever since.
Do you love creepy scripts?
Well you know something, I don’t think I’ve worked on something this creepy in a while. I’ve been doing a lot of comedy so coming back to this was like a deep breath in.
Are you going back to comedy?
Well, I did a movie with Hugh Grant (“The Rewrite”), a romantic comedy, so that’s due to come out. It was directed in Britain by Marc Lawrence who did “Miss Congeniality,” so really light stuff. I did that right before this actually. It’s very different and it’s very fun.
What was it like working with Hugh Grant?
He is the sweetest guy ever. Hugh is so down to earth, you see him and he seems just so chill that you forget how great he is and when you’re working with him, working long days with him, he is in every freaking scene. He never acts like a diva, he’s always just so present with you and I noticed once when we were working a 17 hour day, and at the end of it, we were still doing the same scene for some reason, but he was still doing something new with it and that was so inspiring for me to see.
Other than your show, what other HBO shows do you watch?
“Games of Thrones” and “Sex in the City.”
And who’s your favorite person that graduated from LaGuardia?
There’s so many, but there’s Jennifer Aniston standing right there. So let’s go with that!
How would you describe your character?
Well, we don’t answer to anyone. I think Patti is the senior member, and the one perhaps who has the conviction through and through so she’s a natural leader in that way. So I think when people first come to the Guilty Remnant, it’s a transition and it takes time to let go of living the way you used to live. They speak for a while and then they go to the choice of no speaking. The same with the dress, they give them time, and when they’re ready, they’re in.
Tell me what attracted you to the project?
I think it’s imagination. I’ve never done anything like this. At first I was like what is this, but then it tugs at you. And then meeting him and working with these people has been an extraordinary experience.
How was working with Justin?
I’m mad about him. He’s a prince, he’s a fine actor and he looks after everybody. To be in a scene with him is a pleasure, we hung out for hours in the woods, I can’t say enough about him. He’s our leading man and he’s up to it and it’s a great, great pleasure.
Speak about working with Liv Tyler.
She’s a doll. A sweetiepie. Just a really great pleasure. Same with Amy, we’re like sisters you know. It’s just been fabulous, it really has.
Tell me about your character?
I am one of the Guilty Remnant which is a cult/a group, that dresses up in all white, they smoke, they’ve taken a vow of silence. And our goal is to recruit as many people to our cause, but also to not let people ever forget what happened, and try to go back to there old life because the world is no longer what it used to be.
And tell me aboutthe tone of the show, it’s a very interesting show.
It’s dark, it’s sexy, it’s violent, it’s got a lot of heart, it’s got true struggle, it’s got mystery; a lot of mystery, suspense, scary sometimes, disturbing, but I think with a real heart, with a real care, a real smart …. Really smart … I find when I even watch it … the other story lines I’m not part of it makes me think about our relationships with each other, about civilization, what does it really mean, and I really find that that’s the smart part … if everything we’re confident about starts to unravel, what is left?
What do we hold on to, how do we behave, how do we attract with each other, what kind of government institutions get developed, what happens to the core of society and where does rage, grief, humanity, where does that go? Particularly how they handle the youth, how they handle young people, it’s not just young people at a wild party, there’s a loss, there’s a sadness and there’s an underlying tone of – does life matter anymore? But in all of that, there’s a drive to still keep living, and in that sense, there’s that struggle and that’s where the Guilty Remnant are people that are in peoples faces who PUSH BACK! And so there’s a real struggle between those two forces and that’s what it’s been like working on “The Leftovers” and playing a member of the Guilty Remnant.
So you start the show off, with some dramatic events.
I’m a frazzled mom having a really bad day like we all have, kid won’t stop crying and she’s dealing with a million other things, and not paying proper attention and just trying to get some piece and quiet in order, and then the most horrible thing in the world happens to her, and her life changes in the most horrible way in about point blank seconds.
What did you love about the story and the script?
I loved the book. So excited that they were making this, and I knew Damon and Tom were involved in the pilot anyway, and Damon was running the show, and he made some of my favorite TV of all times.
So what can we expect for the season?
I think a lot of surprises and a lot of insight to human nature.
It;s very dark, but luckily, we are surrounded by extraordinary actors who are feeding Damon’s process in such a way that the characters are taking off in a way that we could have never anticipated, which makes the show very exciting to watch.
What can we expect this season?
You can be surprised, and be expected to encounter some ambiguity, and it’s the thought provoking kind.I think it will have people coming back for more every week.
$haina lives, breathes and sleeps entertainment. You can keep up with her musings on her column here.