Imagine waking up in a world you have never seen before along two strangers. What would be your first instinct and how would you survive? In the new science fiction drama series EXTINCT, three strangers awaken on what looks to be another planet and events quickly unfold that force them to work together to survive and find out what happened to them and why they were chosen for this unusual mission. In an exclusive interview, stars Victoria Atkin and Yorke Fryer talk about their mystery-filled series and the challenges both they and their characters faced in Season 1 of EXTINCT.
What drew you to EXTINCT?
VICTORIA: Why did I want to do it? Personally, I felt connected with the film.
YORKE: I’m not even a father, but I do want to be a father and I do want to be a husband. So, I want those things that he’s experienced. I am also an “older soul” in a body that looks really young. So, I really connected with this character. One of my first thoughts was no one else can play this but me and I really wanted to play Abraham. He’s the peacemaker and just kind of has like a heart for everyone — to bring the group together. So, I immediately connected with him and got very excited about the opportunity to bring him to life.
How would you describe who you character Feena is?
VICTORIA: I play Feena and you meet her, like the others, when they are reborn and they come from the water and they don’t know where they are. But she swims to shore and is extremely guarded about what’s happening. The situation definitely doesn’t inspire trust. As to what’s happened, I think it is for a good reason. She doesn’t understand what’s happened and is again figuring it out, so she is a lot more guarded to these two-other people until she figures out their motives. They discover her background as the series progresses and they start to realize why she is the way she is inherently suspicious and just completely suspicious of everything and just distrusting the whole world. She’s the one who questions why this is done and what was key about them? Why does it have to be the three of them brought back? I think all three of them have desire to know that and I think they are all quite credible as to why they have been chosen as the series progresses. You will see each of them have their individual skills. Like the character that Chad plays is extremely good as a leader and he’s able to take all three of us on this journey and lead us. Then Abrams plays the peacemaker.
YORKE: Yes, he’s the peacemaker. He’s able to make sure that the peace is maintained and that we stay on this journey and try to figure it out. And Feena is kind of bad ass. She’s pretty good at protecting you. I don’t for calling it a power, but they learn that she is good at things like that.
VICTORIA: She has a skill set. I have kind of a Mrs. Robot-type thing going on. So she has the skill and, out of all three of them, she’s extremely independent and knows how to — adaptable in different scenarios. So she knows how to take care of herself and she knows how to adapt to where she is. And as the season progresses, you see how the technology interacting, like with the drones fixing the drones and in the command center. So that’s classic really cool fun. My character progresses and you get to learn why. It really does reveal that because people with tough exterior are not really that tough inside. It peels away as the season progresses and you see you see what she’s been through and why she’s very protective of herself. She is also a real tech person. You will see she has this workshop where she fixes things and rewires the drones and communicates with them. She figures out what these drones are and who communicates with them. She’s very curious about that.
When we meet your character Abrams in the first episode, how would you describe him?
YORKE: Abrams is 67 years old. They all get brought back by aliens in the prime of their lives, so even though he comes back and looks 25, he’s actually 67. So, he is just come to terms with his experience of being a grandfather and a husband and a father and all that stuff, but back in this body. So, he is working with the other humans that are brought back with the hope of restoring the human race.
Do they see themselves as human? I mean, if they are being recreated, it sounds like they’ve been improved. So, I don’t know if they would still consider themselves human at that point.
YORKE: Yeah, they still consider themselves – well, they think they are human. As the journey goes along, they may realize some things that that may be different, but overall they were trying to put it together as well. When they are brought back, they seem disorientated, like all of sudden they are alive and they are trying to figure out how, why, when and what is going on. My character clearly thinks he’s an older person in a younger person’s body, and he’s making some adjustments that he is really gleeful about and it feels pretty good. You know, getting rid of some of the aches and pains that you have from being 67 years old and with arthritis. Things like I can run.
Initially, the world they are brought back to is a very sandy environment. Seems like there might have been some challenges ahead with the natural environment around them.
YORKE: Oh yeah. It was pretty tough. I would say the weather was 114 degrees. So, they were in the desert.
VICTORIA: We were taken care of very well. We were like under umbrellas and had water at every moment.
YORKE: But I think it was tougher on the crew who is out there as they were running water to us. So, it was pretty hard as it was extreme conditions. But we did the pilot episode over one day. That’s pretty quick actually. So, some of it was very fun.
In the first episode, the audience quickly meets other characters who are the principal characters: Ezra, Feena and Abraham, but the characters do not seem to know each other.
YORKE: Yes, that is really the top three and they have been either resurrected or recreated.
VICTORIA: And they have no idea where. I mean, where would you imagine yourself if you only remember the last thing that you were doing before being resurrected. This is not what you expect. You wake up and you are with two new people that you’ve never seen before and know nothing about.
YORKE: I think that there’s this there’s a lot questions to be answered: who are these people? They don’t know each other, so they don’t necessarily immediately trust each other.
VICTORIA: And they don’t know if the person next to them knows more than they are saying or if are they in the exact same position. They don’t really know. So they are kind of learning it together.
YORKE: There’s also a lot of hazards that they encounter. There’s threats on their life immediately, which surprised me. I was expecting kind of a “discovery phase” that didn’t last very long. They are being hunted immediately, which is the fun of the of the pilot episode. They do not necessarily make sense of what’s happening or why we’re being hunted. It’s kind of another part of their journey as they put the puzzle together, like what is actually happening to them? They see each other and just as they learn to trust each other, all of sudden there is someone who seems untrustworthy and they do not know what his objective is. They are targeted and they feel threatened.
It also seems like each of the characters has a secret.
YORKE: I suppose so. That’s funny. I mean to be honest, that’s what I love about the show. That’s real life: you come into a room and you meet new people and they present their best side, but all of us have stuff in our past — whether it is something that you did or it is heartbreak, or it is that they are not sure you really want to talk about. So, yeah, they all come into this world with things that have happened to them and they are not quite sure that they should trust these other people yet. So you come in and everyone else feels like they have a secret. Do I share my secret with the person with someone who clearly has secrets as well? It makes you really hesitant – especially when you have been told that it’s 400 years in the future and everyone that you know is dead.
The story starts out right away with the three of them on the run.
VICTORIA: At the end of the pilot, they are told that there are others. So during the pilot episode, they are trying to find other human life because they think there are other people there. They are on a journey or pilgrimage or exploration expedition type thing.
YORKE: Then somebody attacks them. So it’s a journey. They don’t stay in one place. There’s a challenge. What I think the audience will appreciate is the sheer fun of it. It’s such a fun adventure — explosions and alien guns — the extinction of humans — drones running wild — people not knowing who they are or where they’ve come from — or how this world was established.
What do you think the audience is going to appreciate about EXTINCT? What are they going to be drawn to?
YORKE: There is some fun stuff for everybody. Like, you are immediately you are drawn into the action. There are fights and battles. It’s going to be fun. I also think that it’s a show that’s about relationships – family. It’s for people who love that and really want to focus on that sort of thing. I think that there’s going to be something for those people, as well as the people who really love drones, robots, ships and aliens There is definitely something for them in this show as well. So I think that it can appeal to a large group of people. You know, as you watch this group that starts out the three of us kind of try to figure out what’s happening in this new world.
Do you feel like they are going to be answers provided in the first season? It sets up a lot of questions.
YORKE: I will say that as you watch Season 1, you will get some answers to the questions that you have. But you will also walk away with question. Questions will come up early on and you think, “Oh surely they’ll answer that” and some those questions aren’t answered yet. Let’s just say there’s so many in this new world right that they don’t even have time to discover all of them — not even about themselves. It is less about what’s really going on in the world — the whys and the how. As Season 1 ends, they are still a lot of adventures and still a lot of questions for these characters.
VICTORIA: They come back with their memories intact. They can’t recreate that. But they aren’t sure that’s in fact what happened. Yet they still don’t remember how they died. So only some selective memories were given back.
YORKE: Yeah, I guess there is only a piece of it. The journey could be about: what if you remember your entire life, but then you don’t recall how you died? That’s a piece of the puzzle. We are trying to figure out the end or the other memories that they don’t have. Or could we be given memories that didn’t even happen? Like those are all possibilities, I suppose, in this world. I think it’s a long journey to get to the bottom of what all it is. It is very curious.
To find out why these characters were brought back and what journey they embark upon in this mysterious world and if they are the key to an extinction-level event, be sure to tune in for the premiere of EXTINCT on Sunday, October 1st at 10:00 p.m. on BYU channel.