Executive producer Julie Plec is mainly known for being the woman behind the CW’s The Vampire Diaries and its spinoff, The Originals. But she’s changing gears from writing about vampires and love triangles, to focus on the realities and threat of a widespread epidemic.
Her new show, Containment, centers on a group of residents living in Atlanta who find themselves essentially sealed off from the outside world after a virus gets out of control. And as the epidemic grows out of proportion, we see the inevitable deterioration of society as people are forced to go through drastic measures in order to survive.
On Saturday, we got a chance to sit down for roundtable interviews with the cast, comprised of David Gyasi (Interstellar), Chris Wood (The Vampire Diaries), Kristen Gutoskie (Rookie Blue), Christina Marie Moses (Nikita), and newcomer George Young, and executive producers Plec, Matt Corman, and Chris Ord. We went ahead and narrowed down some of the most interesting highlights from our chat, in order to prepare you for what’s sure to be another hit for The CW.
- The show is based on science-fact and it highly reflects what is going on in the world today with certain deadly epidemics with which we’ve already had to deal. It is not based on anything supernatural or out of the realm of possibilities. “The monster on the show is the virus itself,” said Ord. “You have a degree of separation when you see the stuff on the news,” Gutowskie added, “What’s great about this is you get to know these people, you get to fall in love with them and see them go through these chaotic times.”
- What separates Containment from other virus shows? Corman said they’re constantly drawing from what could really happen in real life, which makes things that much scarier. Being so reality-based, the research that went into this show was tremendous. The writers consulted with experts from different fields—including the CDC—in order to portray things with accuracy. Later, Ord said the reality of the situation presented is what makes the show so visceral to watch.
It’s geared towards the young and old. “I think we’re going to expand the CW audience,” added Corman, hoping that they capitalized on the already-established viewers but also draw in new ones who normally would not tune in to the channel. “This is a pretty sophisticated show, pretty dark show. It’s pushing the envelope in an exciting way for this network,” he concluded.
- The variety of relationships that will develop between those quarantined and those outside the cordon will make for compelling storytelling. And there will be characters everyone will be able to relate to at some point. Gutoskie commented on the female presence on the show, “What attracted me to the project was the well-written women. Strong women who are broken and have stories, and represent [real] women.”
- Wood’s coming off the heels of starring as a villain in The Vampire Diaries, but fans can expect to see a sharp contrast between Kai and police officer, Jake. “He’s a good guy, that’s the biggest difference. He’s something of an introvert, he’s very guarded and keeps to himself,” he said of his character. Wood also mentioned that what the show is really about is how humans interact during periods of duress and how they respond when put in life-threatening situations.
The show is based on a Belgian series but it doesn’t follow the same storyline or characters. Wood stated that Containment starts moving in a different direction right from the pilot, “They’re using the characters we created as opposed to trying to replicate them,” he said, “Our show will deviate in a lot of ways.” Plec, who is a fan of the series, said she felt honored that they were happy with her taking on the project.
- The pacing of the show is modeled after a “day in the life” of each character. Plec shared that the show will focus on small details on what it would be like to go through that experience. “It’s a mixture of things that go terribly wrong but also the nice, comfortable slow-play of the relationships as we figure out who’s who and what kind of person each one’s going to be in this situation,” she stated.
- The episode begins with a flashforward and goes back to the beginning of the epidemic. Plec said it will take about nine episodes for the show to reach that point—at least that’s the plan, since they haven’t been written yet. She also offered a quick recap of what we can expect to see during the first season. “You’re gonna see the virus begin. You’re gonna start to see it spread. You’re gonna start to see what happens to the people stuck on the inside and what it does to them as they try to dodge out of the way.” She also added that there are people on the outside who are going to feel helpless as they watch their loved ones inside go through this ordeal.
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