Based on the book of the same name by Justin Cronin, The Passage will soon be coming to Fox. Before it does, it got a premiere at New York Comic Con 2018, as well as a panel featuring the cast and crew.
Cronin and executive producer/creator Liz Heldens were present, as well as cast members Mark-Paul Gossellar, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Brianne Howey, and Vincent Piazza. What lies beyond the passage? Is the original book really 766 pages? What other secrets were unveiled? We can answer all of those — 1. Who knows, 2. Yes, 3. Read on!
The show will involve an orphan girl potentially being the only one who can stop a group of death row inmates-turned-vampires. They were the result of a government experiment gone wrong. Well done, Washington!
The premiere came first, and this show seems like some sort of mystery box. There's a lot set up in this first episode, and we're likely not meant to understand everything. The orphan girl, Amy Belefonte (Saniyya Sidney), is the show's backbone, and Sidney is perfect in the role. She plays the humor and the emotions perfectly, and the show is lucky to have found a young actor that could perform the material this well.
Gosselaar (playing Brad Wolgast) is best in his heartfelt scenes with her. Chriqui and Piazza are also quite good, though there's surely more to their characters that will be revealed. The always welcome Henry Ian Cusick (Lost) makes a welcome appearance as well, and we're not complaining. When the gore pops up, it's a bit sickening in all the ways that it should be. The audience gasped during the bloody bits, but were more responsive to the double-act of Sidney and Gosselaar. We'll keep watching if for no other reason than to figure out what exactly is going on. It should alsobe noted that the action sequences are kinetic and effective.
After the premiere, Heldens, Gosselaar, Chriqui, Howey, Piazza, and Cronin took the stage for the panel. Heldens began by saying that the Amy/Brad relationship was paramount to her when reading the book, so she knew she wanted it to be a big deal for the pilot of the show. As we've said, it very much was. Cronin was quick to point out that this was Helsens' show — he just writes books, as he says, and he lets the other artists do the rest.
The cast had shot this material a while ago, but recalled what the first days of shooting were like, with plenty of excitement to go around. Chriqui noted that Heldens writes "strong women that are bada**es, yet vulnerable," and recounted that her first scene was a particularly tense one with Piazza.
Howey was the actor involved in the moment of gore, and recalled having to really get into it, despite the grossness. We're trying not to spoil it completely, but it involves a pool of blood. Thankfully, Howey only had to do it once.
What are the important parts of the story that Heldens wanted to bring out? "We wantd to make sure that it felt grounded and real, and that it's fun to watch," she says. She also talked about the effects of the "virals," meaning the infected persons depicted on the show. "We get to take a deeper dive on these original death row inmates, which is nice from a writing standpoint. Everyone gets a backstory. We wanted to make sure that when you looked at them, you saw who they were underneath."
Gossellaar announced that he had just shot a scene with a "viral" the night before, and that they truly were terrifying. He also remarked on his relationship with Sidney, saying how filming in consecutive order allowed the two to get to know each other. He also remembers her saying she "had no idea that he was Zach Morris." She certainly does now.
Piazza talked about how he's constantly realizing the different nature of the show, saying how the creators brilliantly manage to "balance plot and character." Gosselaar echoed this, calling it a "character driven genre show" and also "kind of schizophrenic." This would be especially true for Howey, whose character is a viral during the present of the show, but she also has to play shades of who the character was previously.
Cronin talked about there being three books in total, and though there are moments he's attached to, they are mostly dispersed. He says the show will mostly center on the first book, and also iterated how the Amy/Brad relationship is key for him. "It was a father/daughter story from the get-go...that's the core of it...and it can be translated in many different ways."
The Passage will premiere on Fox in early 2019.
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