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The Terror: Infamy showrunner explains why its timing is 'particularly poignant'

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Jul 25, 2019

The Terror: Infamy recently revealed plenty about its upcoming season of the AMC horror anthology at its San Diego Comic-Con panel, but that doesn't mean there were still a few secrets left on the table. That allowed its cast and crew in attendance at the Television Critics Association press tour to tout some new information to hook those interested in its supernatural retelling of the story of Japanese-American internment.

Actors Derek Mio and George Takei were joined by showrunner Alexander Woo, costume designer J.R. Hawbaker, and cinematographer John Conroy during the talk where they divulged even more details behind the show's production. First, they brought up how the series found multi-episode director Josef Kubota Wladyka. "Josef did a number of Narcos," Woo said, "but did an independent film called Dirty Hands in Columbus almost exclusively with non-actors. Built an entire world and that sold him to us." Building an indie film world is one thing, but helping construct something that's supposed to be the genre-tinged real world is another.

The show's tie-in with the present-day internment taking place along the U.S.-Mexican border was also broached. The parallels were clear, but unintentional. "We started in 2018 and I started working on the pilot then," Woo said. "George has devoted his life to raising awareness of internment: it would be relevant in any time. The fact that we are at this point in our history is particularly poignant because there is always a lesson to learn from this."

And the throughline of authenticity, particularly important to the crew since the subject is underrepresented on screen, was still present as Hawbaker described some of her experiences preparing for the show. "I spoke to a 101-year-old survivor [who recently passed away]," Hawbaker said. "He still had his boyhood harmonica. He played a tune for us. We wanted the details to put you there."

Takei's expertise as an advisor that had actually been interned as a child was invaluable. "The first day [on set] he said the plates weren’t chipped enough," Woo said. That, among many other details, were fixed to make the retelling as accurate as possible. Even if there's a ghostly presence haunting the proceedings, doing justice to those interned is a high priority for both cast and crew during the anthology's sophomore effort.

Fans can see it all for themselves when The Terror: Infamy premieres on Aug. 12.

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