Hot on the heels of sci-fi favorite Mr. Robot, Colony is the latest genre television series coming to USA that may just be your newest obsession. Set in the very near future, Colony centers on one family’s struggle to survive in an occupied Los Angeles that is suddenly cut off from the rest of the world. While some citizens choose to collaborate with the occupation, others rebel and therefore suffer the consequences. After being separated from their son during the invasion, Will (Lost‘s Josh Holloway) and Katie (The Walking Dead‘s Sarah Wayne Callies) are willing to do whatever is necessary to find him.
The premiere episode is available to watch for free right now ahead of the series premiere on January 14, and we had the opportunity to visit the set of the series last fall. We spoke with stars Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies about the show–part spy series rooted in real life history and part science fiction–working with powerhouse producer and series co-creator Carlton Cuse, and what they’ve learned from their characters so far.
“Carlton and I, I joke about it, it’s like putting on your favorite pair of old jeans!” Josh Holloway joked, while discussing his long-time friend Carlton Cuse on a ridiculously hot day shooting in Los Angeles. “We’ve been friends ever since Lost and we’ve been talking; I follow his career and he follows mine, and we’ve been looking for an opportunity that made sense.”
That opportunity finally materialized when Cuse and Ryan Condal created Colony, which is set to premiere on USA later this month. Now that the perfect opportunity has finally come together, how does has Holloway found the experience of bringing the genre bending series to life? “It’s been fantastic. Good choice! Good choice. I put a lot of faith in, I went on faith because and maybe this is Carlton’s fault, he trained me to love mystery, but I am not the type of actor that needs to know everything. I just want a basic outline to see the scope of the story, if that’s something I’d be interested in and keep it immediate. So that’s what it was, they the pilot and they had some ideas, and I was like, OK, let’s go! Let’s do this!”
Also headlining the cast alongside Holloway is his long-time friend and former co-star from way back when, Sarah Wayne Callies, best known from another apocalyptic series, The Walking Dead. Here she plays Katie, married to Holloway’s character Will, who we find out fairly quickly has a lot more going on than we might expect. When I mention that both her character on Colony and Walking Dead are dealing with a post-apocalyptic lifestyle, Callies noted some interesting differences in the two series’, remarking, “You know, the post-apocalyptic thing is interesting because in a way, I think the circumstance we’re in for Colony is almost the opposite of what we’ve got going on in The Walking Dead. Which is to say that zombie apocalypse is all about chaos and anarchy and a lack of order and an occupation is about a hyper-organized super controlled–but this is a world where we are, you know, if Walking Dead is a lack of centralized control and a free for all for everyone doing their own thing and fighting for their own survival, this is a world where we’re surveilled, we have curfews, we’re not allowed to do anything outside of these very strictly controlled parameters, I think it does a very different kind of a thing to someone’s spirit. “
Real life history proved to be a major influence on the series, and it’s something that the actors were very aware of as they were shooting. “You know, Ryan and Carlton talked a lot about how the Nazi occupation of Paris was this big paradigm for them to be working with,” Callies revealed. “Ryan gave us an essay that John Paul Sartre had written after the war and the occupation had ended and in it he said–and I just thought this was amazing–the occupation is often more terrible than the war. The war is this big cool sexy flash bang, everybody makes movies about the war, the occupation is the slow relentless attrition of people’s will to fight or to resist or to, you just sort of get used to it.”
Holloway added, “I love history, I read constantly, everything… I was intrigued by that and yes, this is an old human story. We’ve either occupied or been occupied by someone throughout human history. It’s a part of our DNA in a way, a sad part, so I related to that. I’ve traveled all over the world before I became an actor so I’ve been in many countries so I’ve seen the differences of countries under dictatorship or that sort of thing.”
Holloway continued, “It’s such an interesting core question that people stand on one side or the other about. What would you do for your family and what would you do for mankind? And who comes first? And that is the biggest question this poses and I love that our characters have such a core love connection yet they are different people. They [Will and Katie] may be going about the same goal in a different way, much like marriage!”
Colony premieres on USA on Thursday, January 14, 2016.
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