Interview with Olli Haaskivi

TV Interview!

Olli Haaskivi

Interview with Olli Haaskivi of “Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” on Disney+ by Suzanne 4/14/21

This was a very fun Zoom interview! Olli is very personable and easy-going. He’s done a lot of different shows, so we had much to talk about.

Suzanne:   So, tell us about your audition process for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Olli:   Yeah, it was, it was pretty straightforward. I made an audition tape in my apartment in New York City, right where I’m sitting right now, with a sort of fake audition scene that had no identifying details; there were no specifics to it. It was a version of what you ended up seeing in the series, but very generalized.

So, I made the tape, and I, for some reason, was in a bit of a time crunch making the tape. I don’t know if it was due immediately or what. Maybe I had something else going on, but I sent it off pretty quickly and really didn’t feel great about it. I sort of felt like – I remember waking up the next morning thinking, “You know, that was a really good opportunity, and I don’t know that what you said was good enough.”

I didn’t hear anything for about a month or so; it took a little while, which is kind of uncommon. Usually you hear within a couple of days that there’s maybe some interest, or maybe you’re in the last two people they’re considering or something like that. There’s usually some sort of medium step between auditioning and getting the job, and this was just radio silence for about a month.

Then, out of the blue, I got an email saying that I got the job and that I was going to have to go shoot pretty quickly after that.

Also, I didn’t know what the job was when the audition came in. It just said it was for Untitled Marvel Project Number Five or something like that. So, when I got the offer, it wasn’t an offer for the Falcon and the Winter Soldier; it was an offer for Untitled Marvel Project Number Five, and it took a little while before anyone told me what I had gotten myself into.

Suzanne:   Well, I assume you knew by the time that you shot it.

Olli:   I didn’t. The person who sent me the script pages, the official script pages, I emailed them back and said, “Is there anything you can tell me about?” I didn’t know if it was a film; I didn’t know if it was a TV project, and they very graciously filled it a little bit.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s good. Do they say, “Don’t tell anyone or we’ll send someone to kill you?”

Olli:   Yeah, truly, they’re not. I’m used to that with some projects that I’ve been a part of, but Marvel is obviously a whole other level of security.

Suzanne:   So, when you generally audition, do you usually feel like you did a good job, and then you get the part? Or how is it usually?

Olli:   I mean, there’s no one formula, which is freeing in a lot of ways, but it’s also can be maddening. I’ve auditioned for things and felt like I really nailed it, and sometimes people clap and cheer in the audition room, and that doesn’t mean you’re going to get the job. Then, this Marvel job also feels like an example that you can feel terrible about what you did and still end up with a job. I think that it’s so easy for actors to want to micromanage every second of their audition and get very sort of detail obsessed, and I certainly am guilty of that often. But, usually, the thing that gets you a job is something totally out of your control. It’s just some sort of intrinsic part of your essence, or just your face is the kind of face that the writer had in mind while they were writing that part or something. I think, usually, the thing that seals the deal is not in your control, as much as you might want to think it is.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I guess you would have to just after a while just start to say, “Oh, well, next project; let it go. Don’t worry about it.

Olli:   You’re always doing your best, and you don’t always have a lot of time sometimes. It can be 6pm and you get eleven pages that need to be taped by noon the next day. So, I’m always doing the best that I can in the time that I have, but sometimes it’s frustrating to feel like, “If I only had one or two more days, that really could have settled into something.” But hopefully there’s another audition a couple days later. Then, you dust yourself off and continue hoping for the best.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I don’t know how you guys do this. I mean, the closest thing a non-actor can relate to is a job interview, and you’re just constantly interviewing for jobs over and over. I understand. So, what was the actual shooting like? Tell us about that.

Olli:   It was such a blast, especially, because it was my last big job before the pandemic shutdown, and I’m so thankful that my last job before that was such a phenomenal experience. It’s such a warm and wonderful experience and also a gigantic experience. I think it might be a little while before we have massive sets like that with everyone able to co-mingle and not have to stay far apart wearing face shields. It was really wonderful.

You never totally know what you’re getting yourself into when you show up for a couple days of shooting something, because you really can feel like a guest in the house. I’ve said this analogy before, but it always sort of feels to me like you’re trying to jump on board a moving train but not attract attention and not stick out for not knowing where you are or what you’re doing. I’ve mostly had really great experiences guest starring on a lot of shows and recurring on a lot of shows, but you still never know. You can show up on a day where everyone is tense for some reason, and you still have to figure out how to perform your best, even though you don’t know anybody, and you’ve never been there before.

So, I definitely always show up wondering what the mood will be, what the style will be, and this at every single turn was so welcoming and so inclusive. I think everybody on the set was so excited about the show they were making. And what’s even more remarkable than that is that they were excited to include a new person in that excitement. Because if you think about it too, my sequence is me and the stars of the show. It’s me and Anthony (Mackie) and Sebastian (Stan) and Daniel (Brühl) and Emily (VanCamp). They could have very easily sort of been in their little group over there and then [been] sort of like, “It’s cute that you’re here, but this is sort of our thing,” which happens sometimes, and that’s fine, but they really brought me into their circle. These are people that have been working together for a decade now in a lot of cases, and they made me feel like I had been there with them the whole time. I can’t say enough about how much I love those guys.

Suzanne:   Yeah, nice. Anything you can tell us in particular about shooting your your part? I mean, fun things or interesting things.

Olli:   Yeah, I mean, it links back to the previous question, but the thing I think about a lot is that right before we started shooting, we’d had a rehearsal day, which is almost completely unheard of. So, we had time, a full day, before we started shooting. We had time to sort of talk it out and walk through some blocking ideas and really sort of calmly and methodically talk through it, which is unbelievably rare. Usually, you’re trying to rehearse something as fast as you can; shoot it as fast as you can.

Then, I showed up to shoot the next morning, and before we started shooting, Anthony and Sebastian came over to me. They said, “You have the harder job in this sequence Do you want your close ups to be first or last?” which was mind blowing to me, because that recognition, first of all, that you have the heavy lifting here, “How can we help you?” is gigantic. It also means they had a conversation prior where they coordinated with one another, that they were going to do that. They probably ran it by Kari (Skogland), the director. It was just a level of kindness and a level of them sort of being good hosts. That was really phenomenal, and I don’t think I’ve ever – I’ve worked with a lot of great directors; I’ve worked with a lot of amazing actors, and I’m 99% sure that’s the first time anyone has extended that kind of generosity. I think that’s really, really special.

Suzanne:   How long did it take to shoot your scenes?

Olli:   I don’t fully remember. I think we shot for three days, but the final day was basically just devoted to the gunshot and the explosion. So, we had a day or a day and a half where we shot the bulk of it and then came back the next day for the special effects stuff.

Suzanne:   And you said it was right before the pandemic, or was it in 2019?

Olli:   It was… it was right before Christmas. 2019. I mean, it was really only almost a year and a half ago now, but it also feels like, you know, four decades ago at this point.

Suzanne:   Yeah. I imagine all the special effects and all the stuff they have to do afterwards takes a long time.

Olli:   Yeah, I mean, that show looks stunning. It’s so beautiful. I’m really in awe of those editors and those special effects people. What they do is extraordinary.

Suzanne:   Oh, it’s amazing. I’m sure by now that they must have it down to a fine science they’ve done so many of these things. Were you a fan of Marvel movies, comics, or TV shows before this?

Olli:   I was a fan from afar. I had so much respect for what they’re able to accomplish, like we’re saying, especially in the effects department. I had seen a couple of the films, but I was not a person that like ran out to see the new one every single time, but the ones I did see – you know…your hair is blown back just sitting there just going, “How in the world did they do that?” But I saw Black Panther, and I believe I saw the last Avengers film, but I’m not completely sure, to be honest.

Suzanne:   You must have been confused if you only saw the last one.

Olli:   Yeah, and I think that’s kind of why I hadn’t seen that many of them, because I was sort of intimidated by how much history there is and how much to keep straight. So, when I would see something and kind of jumping in the middle, I would go, “This is so amazing. I have almost no idea who these people are or what’s happening.” So, I also really had felt intimidated showing up to shoot, because I did as much research as I could, and there’s a lot in that scene that, you know, the scene told me almost everything I needed to know, but I didn’t want to reveal the depth of my complete lack of knowledge.

Suzanne:   Now did you go back and watch the movies after this?

Olli:   I haven’t. No. I know that so many people during their sort of lockdown quarantine watched all of them in order, but I think I was busy watching things that I’ve already seen and loved that I knew would just be comforting.

Suzanne:   Yeah.

Olli:   Yeah, not require too much thought.

Suzanne:   Well, you definitely saw the best one when you watched Black Panther. That’s probably the best superhero movie ever. I mean, they did such a fantastic job with that one, and it’s closer to the comics. I mean, just everything.

Olli:   Oh, interesting.

Suzanne:   It’s just fantastic, but also, actually, the ones that relate to your show, the Captain America movies, are really good. Then later they sort of segue into the Avengers movie. So, if you just watched the Captain America and Avengers movies, you probably do have all of the background that you would have needed for this show.

Olli:   Now, I mean, having first hand experience with how amazing those people are and how hard they work, I just want to go watch my friends now.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I can understand that, but I don’t think there’s really a bad Marvel movie, at least in the in the recent ones, the ones from the last decade, but they vary, but it depends on who you ask. I kind of like these things, but I grew up reading comics.

Olli:   Oh, cool.

Suzanne:   I have three older brothers, so that’s why.

Olli:   Amazing. You didn’t have much of a choice.

Suzanne:   They’re all total geeks, and I’m not saying anything that they wouldn’t say themselves. And you were on Manifest for a while too, right?

Olli:   I was, yeah.

Suzanne:   Do you still watch that or keep in touch with those people?

Olli:   I do keep in touch with some of those people. Melissa (Roxburgh), who’s the lead of that show, left in New York City the same day that I arrived back, and so we were sort of hoping that we’d be able to see each other, but we literally just missed each other, but I talk to Melissa pretty regularly.

Jared Grimes, who I did a lot of things on that show with, who plays Adrian, he and I are in touch.

I’m in touch with some of those writers. Some of the writers reached out watching The Falcon in the Winter Soldier, which was really sweet.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s nice.

Olli:   Yeah, it was so nice to hear from them. There are so many great people that work on that show, and that in particular is a great crew. So, I’m excited. I haven’t watched anything from their new season yet, but I am excited to.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I think they’ve only had a couple episodes so far.

Olli:   I think so. Yeah, I think they’ve only had two.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I interviewed some of them a few weeks ago, so, yeah, they seem very nice.

Olli:   Oh, nice. Who did you talk to you?

Suzanne:   Well, we had two separate ones. One was Melissa, and Matt.

Olli:   Yeah, Matt’s so great.

Suzanne:   …So, you have a certain amount of loyalty to the shows that you’re on. even though you’ve left them? And, you know, the people on them, would you say?

Olli:   Yeah, and I think it’s the knowing the people that creates the loyalty, because, you want to see what they’re up to, and you want to see how the story continues to unfold and all of that. Yeah, a good set run by good people makes you feel like you’re part of the gang forever, and so, yeah, there are definitely things that I’m now just a fan of, even though I was a part of it for a period of time.

Suzanne:   That’s good. You gotta find a show that where they’re not going to kill you off so quickly.

Olli:   I agree with you. I would love [that]. I am on the market for that exact thing.

Suzanne:   And you said you watched some of your favorites during the pandemic. Can you tell us what some of your favorites are?

Olli:   Sure. I mean, I’m still in the middle. I’m very slowly working my way through Veep again, which is just the best. Every single person on that is phenomenal. I found Better Things to be really comforting during this period of time, Pamela Adlon’s show. And there are some new things I’ve watched. I mean, I thought I May Destroy You was unbelievable. One of my best friends is the lead of High Town, so I was thrilled to watch all of that as fast as I could. But yeah, something about this time has – you know, we’re all sort of limited – at least I feel like I’m limited in the amount of new things that I can take on. I just want to watch something comforting.

Suzanne:   Well, actually, one thing I forgot to mention, we were talking about all the Marvel stuff. A really great show that came before yours was Wandavision.

Olli:   I watched that.

Suzanne:   Oh, you did watch that? Because that one you don’t really have to have seen the movies much.

Did you read any of the background stuff about the shows like the Easter eggs they put in for fans and stuff like that?

Olli:   A little bit. And I’m sure you know, there are so many amazing videos on YouTube where people do just deep dives into that stuff, and I think Marvel and Disney Plus did such a good job. I can’t remember what the series is called, but but they put out such nice little sort of background videos for –

Suzanne:   Right, yeah.

Olli:   They did for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier too.

Suzanne:   “Legends,” I think it’s called.

Olli:   Yes, yes, yes. And that’s so smart of them, and they’re so well done. And I’m a longtime diehard Kathryn Hahn fan, so I watch whatever she decides is worth her time. I’m happy to watch. So, I would have watched Wandavision, no matter what.

Suzanne:   Yeah, she was great in that. And the thing about her was that, from the beginning, you know that something that’s going to be with her [is going to be good], because she wouldn’t have done it to just have this little bit part.

…Do you have anything else coming out that we should watch for?

Olli:   No, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was sort of my finish line. I did an episode of Social Distance, Jenji Kohan’s quarantine series that came out at the end of last year, which I loved. So, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Social Distance were sort of the two things that were hovering around.

And I just got back to New York yesterday, and I’m enthusiastically auditioning for whatever the next job may be. I’m excited to find out.

Suzanne:   I read that your father was a soccer star and that your grandfather was also a player. Did you ever play?

Olli:   I did play a little bit. I suffered from the expectations of having a father like that. I mean, I really enjoyed playing, like in the backyard with my dad. That was really fun, but anytime it was more organized than that, there was always some sort of like, “I bet you’re really good at this” or something like that from a coach, which made it much less fun. You know, when you’re in second and third grade, that’s not what you want to hear. I mean, tennis was a little bit more the sport that I played a little more seriously for a while, but, yeah, I mean, I couldn’t deal with that weird sort of expectation when playing soccer, because my dad is and was phenomenal at it. So, yeah, very few people can measure up to that much less, you know, a third grader.

Suzanne:   Well, thank you, and I hope you book some more things we can see you in.

Olli:   Thank you. I hope so too.

Here is the video version of it.

Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com

MORE INFO:

Olli HaaskiviOlli Hasskivi appears in the latest episode of “Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” Olli plays the name on everyone’s lips this week, Dr. Wilfred Nagel. He is the doctor responsible for the super soldier serum, having reverse-engineered Dr. Abraham Erskine’s (Stanley Tucci’s character in the franchise) serum. This was a pivotal episode and character for the series as the hunt for the super soldier serum is in full force, and Dr. Nagel comes face-to-face with Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Daniel Brühl (Zemo), Emily VanCamp (Sharon Carter) and Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier) in his lab, who all want to know the truth.Olli Haaskivi and Dr. Nagel

For reference, Olli is a very talented “actors actor” based in NYC. He is chameleon who can truly play any role he feels passionately about (including teachers, a doctor, a villain, a waiter, etc. – you name it!) His film and TV credits include: “The Deuce”, “The Sinner”, “Manifest”, and “Oh Jerome, No,” plus the films Motherless Brooklyn directed by Edward Norton, The Miseducation of Bindu directed by Prarthana Mohan, and Nancy directed by Christina Choe. Olli has appeared in the off-Broadway premieres of Bella: An American Tall Tale (Playwrights Horizons), Who’s Your Baghdaddy? Or How I Started The Iraq War (Actors Temple), and The Rafa Play (Flea Theatre).

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Olli Haaskivi

Interview with Melissa Roxburgh and Matt Long

TV Interview!

Melissa Roxburgh and Matt Long of "Manifest" on NBC

Interview with Melissa Roxburgh and Matt Long of “Manifest” on NBC by Suzanne 3/23/21

It was nice to interview two of the bigger stars of this show! They were very laid back and had a good time answering questions. I’ve seen Matt on so many great shows, going all the way back to “Jack and Bobby” in 2004, and he was really good in “Mad Men“, as well as “Helix” and more.  Melissa has also been in some of my favorite shows, such as “Supernatural” and “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” and the movie “Star Trek: Beyond” (you wouldn’t recognize her there because of the heavy alien makeup!).  She is so great as Michaela on this show. We only had a short time with them, but I managed to get some great questions in, thanks to my sister-in-law, Eileen, and her husband, Joe, who are huge fans of the series. I watch it, too, but I’m way behind. Hope you enjoy this!

Question: Melissa, what do you think is the biggest challenge for a show like this, which is fantasy, to make it relatable to people? Why do people relate to sci-fi and fantasy do you think so much, and what’s behind it?

Melissa: What’s the hardest challenge about it? I think the hardest challenge about it is the clarity, especially for a show like ours. There’re so many moving pieces and new bits of information every single episode, so the biggest challenge is giving the audience that information without bombarding them with it. I think a lot of people like our show, specifically, because Jeff [Rake] has done a good job of tying in the human element of that, which is to balance all of the information out.

I think people like sci-fi, because, especially right now, during COVID, when we’re all stuck inside, it’s like an escape. It’s the biggest escape from reality, because it’s the unknown. It’s mythology. It’s things that don’t normally happen, like us hearing voices and, you know, airplanes disappearing and coming back. It’s not a normal situation, which makes it really fun to explore.

Question: Matt, you joined as a recurring character; now you’re the main cast. As an actor, can you speak about, like is that something you expected, I mean, I’m assuming hoped to happen, but expected it to happen, and how is that experience of coming into a show and then becoming part of that family?

Matt: It was set up that way from the beginning that Zeke would recur in the first season and then become a series regular in season two. So, when I tested for this, I signed a contract for the full term of the show. That being said, as an actor, you never know if they’re going to exercise that, so there’s always a possibility that you recur in the first season, and they decide to go a different direction, and you don’t come back to the series regular.

I mean, I did a show called “Private Practice” that I sort of had a similar thing that if it had gotten continued in season six at the end of the season – I think season six was last year – I recurred the first half of the season, and if it had continued, I would have become a regular, but it didn’t, and that’s just what it was.

As far as joining the show, it’s been fantastic. I’ve been so lucky from the very beginning that Jeff has written a really compelling, interesting, complicated, complex story for me and Zeke. I love him; I love the characters so much, and also, the cast is so great. I got to join it in the first season, and I came in the end of episode 12, I think, so it was still quite new for them. They were still in their first season. So, I feel like I got to join quite early on, which helps you also to feel a part of it, as it’s getting its life and growing, and its fans [grow]. So, it’s been fantastic, and I’ve been after something like this for a long time.

Suzanne: My sister-in-law Eileen and her husband Joe love your show. I think it’s the only show they watch; they just love it. So, she gave me questions, because I’m behind. Melissa, since you play a cop, did you do any special preparation in that before you started playing Michaela?

Melissa: Yeah, I spent a year as a police officer. No. It’s a good question, but at the same time, we’re in such a make-believe world that even if I did do research, it’s so different from the realities of what a cop would go through… So, I don’t think our show portrays the reality, in good and bad ways, because our show is very sci-fi. So, my cop dealings are mostly involved in that.

That being said, J.R. [Ramirez] and I, since we were partners at the beginning of all this, we did shadow NYPD for a couple days. They took us on a little drive, and they showed us the precinct. So, it was just fun being able to chat with them about what their life looks like, and then we could take little bits and pieces… but overall, it’s just about the characters and how they’re reacting to this crazy mystery.

Suzanne: All right, thanks. And, Matt, she wanted to know if you’d ever played a drug addict before.

Matt: I don’t think…. I did a pilot in 2006. Nobody ever saw it, but the kid had struggled with that, but never anything that anyone’s ever seen, which was one of the my favorite things about Zeke. It was so different for me and refreshing.

Suzanne: All right, thanks a lot. I’ve seen you in so many shows, and I’m glad to see that you’re on this one.

Matt: Thank you very much. I’m pleased to be a part of it.

Question: What’s been the biggest challenge and biggest happy surprise of working during the pandemic?

Melissa: The biggest thing for me is that we’ve been able to get through it. When all of this hit, it was a two week quarantine, and you think it’s all gonna go back to normal, but then, as time goes on, we [didn’t] realize how serious it. Filming a TV show during this time just seemed a little bit bonkers. Obviously, all of us [were] wanting to get back on the set and see each other and continue telling the story, but there’s the fears of, you know, we are in a pandemic. So, the fact that the team in charge of safety on set kept us going the entire time, that was really neat to see, because a lot of shows had been shut down or cancelled, and they didn’t get to continue telling their story. So, we were really lucky for that.

Matt: The hardest part, I think, was trying to connect with each other. The pandemic is not a part of our story. We also wore masks, obviously, off camera, but when we shot, there were no masks. We had been living in this pandemic for months when we got here to shoot this series. When we first took our masks off to do scenes, it was really surreal. It has been a constant sort of struggle, I think, to be able to connect with each other like you normally would and in a world where the pandemic didn’t exist.

We don’t have really any intimacy this season, and we have several different stories that involve married couples or people that are dating or in love with each other. That’s a part of our show that we didn’t include this year, because of the risk involved. So, we’ve had to make some adjustments, but I think we’ve been successful in telling the story even taking those things into account.

Suzanne: Since Manifest is kind of an unusual show, have either of you had any nightmares after filming it?

Matt: Interesting question.

Melissa: I don’t know if it’s related to Manifest, but I have nightmares. I just [unintelligible] flying and stuff, not really, to be honest.

Matt: No, I haven’t either, that I remember. I sleep really heavy, and I don’t really…It would be awesome if I could say “Yes, I had this vivid dream!” Wouldn’t be a great story? Maybe I should. I’ll make something up next time.

Here is the video of our interview.

Check out our

Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com

MORE INFO:

Melissa Roxburgh and Matt Long of "Manifest" on NBC“Manifest” returns for a third season of action-packed drama, shocking revelations and the answer to the show’s biggest mystery – what happened to the passengers of Flight 828?

Over a year has passed since the miraculous homecoming of Flight 828 and the discovery of others who have mysteriously returned. While the Stone family endeavors to keep their friends safe and make their enemies believe the unbelievable, new challenges will test their trust of the callings and each other. But sticking together is more important than ever, because no matter what happens, it’s all connected.

“Manifest” stars Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina, Parveen Kaur, Matt Long and Holly Taylor.

Jeff Rake, Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke, Jackie Levine and Len Goldstein are executive producers.

“Manifest” is produced by Warner Bros. Television, Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, Compari Entertainment and Jeff Rake Productions.

Melissa Roxburgh stars as Michaela Stone in NBC’s “Manifest.”

Last year Roxburgh starred opposite KJ Apa and Brit Robertson in the Lionsgate feature “I Still Believe.” Prior to “Manifest,” she played CIA officer Thea in the CW series “Valor.” Her first film role was a coveted part in the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” franchise. Several television roles followed, including “Supernatural,” “Arrow,” “Legends of Tomorrow” and the telefilm “Rita.” Recent films include “Marine 4: Moving Target” and “Star Trek: Beyond.”

Roxburgh, the second of four siblings, was born and raised in Vancouver. Her father is a pastor and her mother a former professional tennis player. Roxburgh participated in the International Baccalaureate program before pursuing a career in acting. She splits her time between Vancouver and Los Angeles.

Matt Long stars as Ezekiel “Zeke” Landon in NBC’s “Manifest.”

Long’s big break came with the starring role of Jack McCallister in the WB’s critically acclaimed series “Jack & Bobby,” starring Christine Lahti. He subsequently recurred as Joey Baird on “Mad Men” as well as Dr. James Peterson on “Private Practice.” He also has had guest-starring roles on “The Newsroom” and “Timeless.”

Long’s film credits include Mark Steven Johnson’s “Ghost Rider,” in which he portrayed young Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage), as well as the film “Sydney White,” opposite Amanda Bynes.

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Melissa Roxburgh and Matt Long of "Manifest" on NBC

Interview with Jeff Rake and Parveen Kaur

TV Interview!

Parveen Kaur and Jeff Rake of "Manifest" on NBC

Interview with star Parveen Kaur and showrunner Jeff Rake of “Manifest” on NBC by Suzanne 2/22/21

I waited to put this up, since “Manifest” is returning Thursday, April 1st for season 3, and we had many other interviews to put up in the meantime. We also have a new “Manifest” interview to put up as well, which we hope will be up soon. I hope it’s worth the wait! They were both very nice. I have to thank my sister-in-law Eileen, and her husband Joe, because they are huge fans of the show and provided me with the questions. I like the show, but I’m way behind on catching up with it.

Parveen is one of the stars of the show.  She plays Saanvi Bahl, a scientist.  Jeff Rake created the show and is producer and showrunner.

It was a fun interview, even though I didn’t have a lot of time with them. This was with a series of interviews that NBC and SYFY had for us in one day, with many different reporters. In the Zoom video below, you’ll see and hear other reporters asking their questions as well. We were just one group asking questions that day. In fact, I came in after another reporter had already asked their question. Enjoy!

Here’s the transcript:

Jeff:   But every day she’s dealing with, you know, Ben (Josh Dallas); she’s dealing, with, you know, Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh), the Stone family, and so it’s such an oppressive burden that it makes the stakes raise right off the top. There’s an important story point that I’ll tease. Let me see how I can tease it without kind of telling too much, but let’s put it this way, halfway through the season, we come to have an even clearer understanding about why the passengers are back and whether or not they will be able to survive the death date that we’ve been following since the end of season one.

And what Saanvi comes to deduce when this greater clarity comes out, is the fact that she has been guilty of this terrible act could have implications not only on her own destiny, but on the destiny of others around her. So, a bad situation becomes even worse when this kind of comes to fruition at a halfway point in season three, and that ends up kind of driving some of Saanvi’s agenda for the back half of the season.

Question:   As far as the Stone family thinks, they’ve cracked what to do about the death date, that if you do something – Can you articulate what it is they think they’ve discovered about defeating the death date and whether or not that discovery holds water?

Jeff:   …So, of course, at the end of season two, Zeke (Matt Long), who had just gotten married to Michaela, surprised Michaela and the audience by surviving his death date. He had his own death date to remind our viewers he wasn’t on the plane. The passengers had disappeared and come back, and we came to discover in season two that you’re back for as long as you were gone. So, Zeke was gone for year. After a year, he was back, and he survived his death date.

So, now that we’re on the B side of that, the passengers are trying to understand, “Well, can we learn from the lesson of Zeke? It seems like he followed his callings and therefore lived.” So, when we come into season three, we find Ben and Michaela, unlike Saanvi – and I’ll let Parveen speak to this in a minute, but we find Ben and Michaela in a somewhat optimistic place, because they’re just kind of a few months in the aftermath of Zeke’s survival, and their working theory is, “Okay, Zeke follow the callings, and he lived. If we all follow the callings, then perhaps that means we can live too.”

So, for for Ben and Michaela, it becomes about trying to spread the word to 180 some passengers. “Hey, folks, here’s what we have to do if we want to survive.” They’re going to discover halfway through the season that it’s more complicated than that, but they think they have the tools for survival when they come into the season.

Saanvi, on the other hand, burdened by so much kind of crap that’s going on in her world, I’m not sure if she shares that optimism, but I’ll let Parveen speak to that.

Parveen:   Well, I don’t think that she does. She’s also not getting the callings anymore…

Jeff:   But that’s a great point, if you need to follow the callings to survive, Saanvi kind of got rid of her callings through science, and now she’s kind of stuck and desperately in search of her path to redemption if there is one.

Question:   So, does Saanvi think that she’s screwed it up for everybody or just for herself?

Jeff:   Parveen?

Parveen:   Well, she has one theory starting off, and then that theory is proven to be incorrect, which is yes, she thought it was just going to be [her], and then we find out that…the consequences that I thought that only Saanvi was going to experience, there might be repercussions and consequences for all of us.

Jeff:   And forgive us for being elliptical, but so much of the season’s mystery is about exactly this, so we’re just being a little bit guarded.

Question:   How does COVID impact the production, and do you think viewers of the show living through a real life pandemic developed more of an interest and respect for science?

Jeff:   Oh, wow, that’s a really good question. You want to go at that first, Parveen?

Parveen:   Yeah, I mean, we obviously can all say that we have a lot of respect for all the frontline workers and all the people that are in the thick of all of this and really feeling it, being, you know, closest to the sun and feeling the heat to all of this, but with the science aspect, I mean, I would have you answer that question in terms of, “Will people have more respect for science because of a pandemic?” I mean, I hope so. These are the people that we rely on in terms of our safety and our health and making sure that we are a thriving, functioning society. Yes, science and scientists are an integral part of our society. So, yeah, I would hope so, so that people can watch a show like ours and have respect for people like Saanvi, because they put themselves through a lot. We’ve seen also certain scientists dealing with a lot of repercussions in terms of trying to spread information and trying to get information out, and it’s not always a safe type of job. We’ve seen people have to deal with real consequences. What was the second part of the question?

Question:   How COVID affected the production.

Parveen:   There are definitely – we have a very strict protocol on our show in terms of testing in terms of social distancing, and we are very diligent. It definitely took us a minute to get our footing in this new world, but, you know, knock on wood, we’ve been really good.

Jeff:   And just to pile on that for one second, when you watch Manifest in season three, you’re not going to see actors wearing masks, and I wouldn’t want anybody out there who watches the show to think that we were loosey goosey with COVID protocol. All we do around here is wear masks and goggles and shields, and the only people who take their masks off are the actors, and they do it only when the camera rolls. And through a combination of rapid tests and PCR tests and social distance, we’ve gotten to a point where the actors feel comfortable with that limited exposure, but it’s a highly regulated environment. It’s it’s been a huge priority for all of us, and when you watch season three, you’ll see when the credits roll, at the end of the first line of the credits is going to mention that this episode was filmed safely in adherence to COVID protocols, because we just wanted to make everybody aware that the actors, the producers, the entire crew, studio, network, everybody’s greatest concern was about the safety and well being for everybody involved in the show and everybody out in the world.

Suzanne:   Parveen, I wanted to ask you first, I read an interview from last April where you said that you were concerned that Saanvi might die. Do you still feel that way?

Parveen:   Um…

Suzanne:   Put you on the spot, huh?

Parveen:   Well, yeah, I think she’s very concerned about that.

Suzanne:   She’s very concerned. Okay. And, Jeff, my sister-in-law just loves the show. I mean, I think it’s the only show she watches; she loves it. So, wanted me to ask if you have any idea which characters on the show are the most popular, if you’ve done any market research, or going by a male or whatever – I put you on the spot. Now you both get a turn.

Jeff:   First of all, thank your sister-in-law for being such a fan of the show. We’re grateful and, you know, honestly, I don’t think it’s a question of like, “Who’s most popular?” I feel like there’s a lot of fan rivalries. So, like, for instance, in the romantic triangle that exists between like Michaela, Zeek, and Jared (J.R. Ramirez), I know that like – Did I say that right? Michaela, Zeke, and Jared. If you’re a Zeke fan, you’re not Jared fan; if you’re a Jared fan, you’re not a Zeke fan. Then, there’re a lot of fans, who even though Saanvi is a strong, compelling character on her own, and she’s a scientist and a driver of mythology, there’re are a lot of fans who see romantic chemistry between Saanvi and Ben. And if you’re an [unintelligible] fan, if you’re a Saanvi fan, you’re not a Grace (Athena Karkanis) fan. If you’re a Grace fan, you’re not a Saanvi fan. So, I think it’s interesting that there’re a lot of factions in that regard. Then, there’re a lot of young people who watch the show, and they’re all about Cal (Jack Messina) and Olive (Luna Blaise). So, I think that a lot of people have their favorites, and they like to argue with each other on Twitter, on Reddit, or the Facebook pages about the characters, but that’s great. I love that. If you love a character, great. If you hate a character, that’s fine with me. I’m just glad that you’re invested.

Suzanne:   Thank you. Good answer.

Question:   Yes, I would like to ask, is TJ (Garrett Wareing) going to Egypt, because somebody needed to go to Egypt? Or did the actor get something that his absence needed to be explained?

Jeff:   That’s very funny. I don’t really have a straight ahead answer for you, in that regard. His character was a great and important role in season two. We love the actor so much; he’s a great friend to the production, and there’s a very good chance we’ll see him again. You know, serialized stories like this are like the sine curve. They have the ups and downs of when different characters are vital to our storytelling. In season three, that wasn’t the case for TJ and Olive’s continuing, mythological journey and relationship journey, [which] goes in a different direction in season three. I’m excited for people to see where that leads and who that leads to.

Question:   So, the building of the pyramids is not going to factor into the mythology?

Jeff:   Not this season, but you never know on Manifest. And I should add one more thing, in absentia, TJ does play an important role in at least one mythological story turn in the season, so so he will absolutely be invoked. So, with a tip of the hat to TJ, even if we’re not going to see him on screen.

Here is the video of the interview.

Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com

MORE INFO:

“Manifest” returns for a third season of action-packed drama, shocking revelations and the answer to the show’s biggest mystery – what happened to the passengers of Flight 828?

Over a year has passed since the miraculous homecoming of Flight 828 and the discovery of others who have mysteriously returned. While the Stone family endeavors to keep their friends safe and make their enemies believe the unbelievable, new challenges will test their trust of the callings and each other. But sticking together is more important than ever, because no matter what happens, it’s all connected.

“Manifest” stars Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina, Parveen Kaur, Matt Long and Holly Taylor.

Jeff Rake, Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke, Jackie Levine and Len Goldstein are executive producers.

“Manifest” is produced by Warner Bros. Television, Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, Compari Entertainment and Jeff Rake Productions.

Parveen Kaur stars as Saanvi Bahl in NBC’s “Manifest.”

Born in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley, Kaur moved to Toronto at age 19 to pursue a career in film and television. She is best known for her work in Guillermo del Toro’s hit FX series “The Strain” and CTV’s Saving Hope.

Jeff Rake serves as executive producer, writer and showrunner for NBC’s “Manifest.”

After a short career in law, Rake co-created “The $treet” for Fox, “Miss Match” for NBC and also co-wrote the pilot for ABC’s “Boston Legal.”

In 2013, he developed “The Mysteries of Laura,” which aired for two seasons on NBC and in more than 100 countries around the world.

He has written and produced episodes of “The Practice,” “Bones,” “Head Cases,” “Cashmere Mafia,” “Hawthorne,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Tomorrow People,” as well as the 1996 Elvis Presley hip-hop musical “Hound Dog: A Hip hOpera” for the Hudson Avenue Theatre in Hollywood.

Rake grew up in Encino, Calif., and lives in Los Angeles with his wife and children.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Parveen Kaur and Jeff Rake of "Manifest" on NBC