We are super intrigued about the upcoming ABC supernatural drama “Emergence” set to premiere on September 24th at 10:00 pm. ABC revealed the first nine minutes of “Emergence” via Twitter and we are already on the edge of our seats looking to see what happens next!
Written and executive produced by Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters, Emergence follows Jo ( Allison Tolman), a police chief who takes in a young child, Piper, (Alexa Swinton) she discovers near the site of a mysterious accident who has no memory of what has happened. The investigation draws Jo into a conspiracy larger than she ever imagined, and the child’s identity is at the center of it all.
Owain Yeoman, Ashley Aufderheide, Robert Bailey Jr, Zabryna Guevara also star, along with Donald Faison and Clancy Brown.
We had a chance to catch up with the cast members Allison Tolman, Donald Faison, Alexa Swinton, Owain Yeoman, Ashley Aufderheide, Robert Bailey Jr., and Zabryna Guevara, as well as, writers/executive producers Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters during San Diego Comic-Con to discuss the upcoming series.
Writer/producer Michele Fazekas reveals that the series is “part conspiracy thriller and part family” and is based upon a real story surrounding a woman that her husband used to work with who was a cop and took a child in and adopted her. Tara Butters reveals that the influences for the series were “very Speilberg orientated such as “E.T.” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” where there was a little bit of magic and the family dynamic. We wanted to share that kind of story with our own kids because as a parent I am always searching for something we can watch together as a family.” Butters goes on to say “That is what “Agent Carter” was for me, it was exciting and fun and with this show scary and we wanted to extend that experience, so I hope that is what we deliver with this show.”
When talking about the bigger mystery surrounding Piper Butters says, “We will develop that throughout the season” and Fazekas adds, “We will give you answers sooner rather than later, but keep in mind those answers may not be whole answers.” Discussing what they are most excited for viewers to see with the series Butters tells us, “We want it to blend genres, so hopefully there’s tense action sequences and sweet emotional moments.” Fazekas adds, “There’s something for everyone. If you don’t like sci-fi there are a lot of other elements to this show that you can delve into, as there is a lot here that will appeal to a variety of different people.” Both Butters and Fazekas say that the cast is fantastic especially scenes between Alison [Tolman] and Donald [Faison] as well as, Alison and Clancy [Brown] and that they are a very unique and incredibly talented group.
Speaking with Owain Yeoman, Zabryna Guevara, and Robert Bailey Jr, we asked if there was anything they were surprised to learn about themselves as they continued to explore their characters. Robert Bailey Jr. reveals, “At this time we have only shot the pilot, however reading the scripts I am surprised by how fast the series moves along. You delve into the mystery right away and it affects different characters at different points throughout the seasons. I will say I’ve been pleasantly surprised about where things are going for my character and what I have to do as an actor.”
Owain Yeoman comments saying, “We are in a new era of television with live-streaming and such and people are impatient for information and the pace of the show has been incredible. The mystery and sci-fi element is just one facet of the show, you also have a very strong family drama and this is a very character-driven show. Think the pace and speed of this show will satisfy audiences who are looking for information quickly and that makes for more powerful storytelling because it moves things along.”
Speaking about how much of the mystery they all know ahead of time, Zabryna Guevara reveals that “we all have different parts of the mystery that we know about as it relates to our characters. I feel like if all of us pulled together we could figure out the whole season.” Yeoman says, “Tara and Michele are very aware of current affairs and the world in which we are living in and the things that are impacting our world at the moment. They are also very sensitive to who we are as individuals, so when we come to the pilot it’s us coming to these characters, but with further episodes it’s like ‘here’s a little bit of Robert in here or a little bit of Zabryna in there’ and I feel like they are already absorbing those kinds of elements of our character in there and that kind of sensitivity really relates to the world we are living in as real human beings.”
Telling us what they “nerd” out about, Guevara emphatically says, “Star Wars!” while Bailey Jr. reveals he adores playing Halo, but in a “full Master Cheif costume, as it’s an emotional experience”! Yeoman jokes, “He still at the table read wearing it!” Bailey Jr. also says that if he had one item in a Comic-Con survival kit it would be “Jon Snow’s fur coat, it’s good swag!”
Discussing with us the reasons behind taking on “Emergence” as her next project, Allison Tolman reveals, “I love sci-fi and I love thrillers and I love that they have made a transition to television. This is the kind of show I like to watch, as I like to watch things with a little bit of intrigue, a little bit of spookiness and mystery, so the fact that I found a script with a role in it that spoke to me with writers that I love so much that I want to spend my time with and hopefully my years with, I just feel very lucky that I can be in the type of show that I want to watch.” Alexa Swinton comments, “Like Allison, I love sci-fi and thrillers, if you go through my book collection on Kindle for the books I do not have at home, it would be mostly all sci-fi, mystery and Harry Potter. This show is right up my alley.”
Tolman continues, “Every so often you read a script where you feel like you could talk about this story and subject all day and that is how I feel with “Emergence”.” Swinton chimes in, “I agree, but if I spoke it about all day I might spoil it!”.
Talking to us about what makes “Emergence” stands apart in the sci-fi genre, Tolman says, “It’s the family element and you have sci-fi series that are female-centered and some that have a sweet family core, but the fact that this is these two things together makes it work.” Swinton adds, “It’s basically about a new family member coming in and really they adopted Piper, just kind of illegally. Michele and Tara like to take ordinary situations and then throw in that bomb of surprise.”
Talking about why he would not make a good bad guy, Donald Faison tells us, “I would really hate to be the bad guy! You don’t want to go through the hate from fans. If I’m the bad guy and I hate a little girl, there is something really, really wrong! That’s how people run up on you in the supermarket and are like ‘Listen man… No! not for me!” Telling us what attracted him to the project, Faison says, “I’ve done comedy my whole career pretty much, even the dramatic movies I was the comedic relief. This came up and it was the one audition I had that was actually a drama and everything else was a sitcom or a single-camera comedy, so I decided I wanted to go with the one that was sci-fi and had more of a journey, so I auditioned for it and after the audition I remember going to my kids soccer practice and meeting up with my wife and she asked me how it went and I told her ‘I think they just watched Turk when they watched my audition’ then I found out I got the part and our producer Michele tells a great story where she says when I came into audition they were like, ‘Oh, it’s the guy from “Scrubs”, he’s probably not going to get the part, but let’s see what happens when he reads’ and after the audition she was like, ‘Wow, I think we found our Alex!’ I’m quoting her, I’m not making this up!” I found that out today and it absolutely made my day!”
Joking about how much he knows about the show, Faison says, “I know nothing! I have a big mouth! I would let it slip out somehow!” Faison also reveals to us that he “nerds” out over “Star Wars”, he says, “I don’t keep that a secret that I adore “Star Wars” and I have to say I was the first person to fly the Millenium Falcon at Galaxy’s Edge. It was me and Bobby Moynihan and we went before the park even opened up and there was construction everywhere, but it was amazing and I gave Han Solo a run for his money!”
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