Coming off the ratings of the premiere of the reboot of Roseanne last week, ABC is ready for another high viewer week with the next Lost-like show premiering tonight, The Crossing. During the same press trip that I visited the set of Roseanne, we had the chance to screen and chat with show Creators Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie. They shared how they came up with the concept of the show and what to expect. After watching the first episode I have so many questions that I will be tuning in this season for the answers.
Show Creators Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie
How did you come up with the concept for the show?
DAN: It started with a photograph. It was one of the many photos that were besieged by every day in the press of refugees. And it was very specifically a photo of a dad who had come from Syria to Greece and had crossed the Mediterranean in a raft and barely made it by the looks of him.
The photo won the Pulitzer last year. And so, you guys would probably recognize it. It’s a father holding his little boy, and just the look on the guys face, as a father, killed me. And that was the spark initially. That’s when I emailed Jay and said, refugees. We don’t normally write a kind of straight ahead, ripped-from-the-headlines dramas. We usually like to put a little spin on it. So, we figured out a way to put a spin on the refugee story, and that was this.
It feels a lot like Lost. Are you guys fans of Lost or did you get any inspiration from it?
DAN: Yeah, we’re definitely fans of Lost. Like, I think in a greater sense, we’re both, especially myself, we’re genre fans. Fans of sci-fi, another big inspiration for this idea was Ray Bradburry. There are a couple of stories he wrote about time travel, that kind of factored into the idea little bit. So, our influences run the gamut.
JAY: Being that this was the network of Lost, comparisons are going to be made. We don’t shy away from that.
As far as the story arc goes, are we going to be getting answers in every episode?
DAN: I think the way we structured it, it’s the perfect balance of getting something answered and getting another question asked, pretty much every episode. Obviously, there’s a lot going on. There’s a lot of questions. So, we resisted the impulse to kind of answer too much too early. But at the same time, we’ve watched shows where you don’t get anything answered and then at the end of the season you’re like oh, I was entertained, but I feel like I’ve been cheated. So, we don’t want that. So, we’ll be giving people enough I think, more than enough.
The Crossing on ABC
Takes place in Port Canaan.
Jude Ellis (Steve Zahn) is the sheriff of Port Canaan, a small fishing town on the Oregon coast. Having relocated from Oakland to escape a strained marriage and a dark past as a big city cop, his goal is to build a quiet new life for himself and for, eventually, his young son. But those plans for a quiet life change instantly when 47 refugees from a war-torn country wash up on his beach seeking asylum. But the country they’re from is America … and the war they’re fleeing is 180 years in the future. As the Feds set out to uncover the truth behind the mysterious migration, Jude will launch an investigation of his own with the help of his loyal sheriff’s deputy, and Port Canaan native, Nestor Rosario (Rick Gomez).
Reece (Natalie Martinez) is a refugee too, but she’s different. She’s an “Apex,” a member of a genetically engineered human population that possess dramatically heightened physical and mental traits. While in the future she was a soldier – tasked with eliminating members of the lower “Common” class – her only goal once she arrives in Port Canaan is to find her daughter, Leah (Bailey Skodje), from whom she is separated during the Crossing, and who is then taken to a secret camp with the rest of the new arrivals. As Leah tries to adapt to her new surroundings with the other refugees, she will find herself fighting a devastating virus that she has brought with her from the future. But Reece has raised a fighter – capable, resourceful and brave.
Leading the investigation for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is Emma Ren (Sandrine Holt), whose dogged pursuit of the truth is complicated by the fact that her boss, wily DHS Undersecretary Craig Lindauer (Jay Karnes), seems to know a lot more about the migration than he’s telling her. Emma’s second-in-command is Bryce Foster (Luc Roderique), a young, empathetic agent who comes to find himself in over his head. DHS camp guard Roy Aronson is a straight arrow, but his by-the-book nature will be tested once he becomes romantically interested in one of the refugees. Another vital member of the government team is virologist Dr. Sophie Forbin (Georgina Haig), who is inquisitive, driven and has her own personal reasons for researching the Apex phenomenon and what it could mean to the future of science.
The survivors who fled the future in search of a better life include Caleb (Marcuis W. Harris) and his wife, Rebecca (Simone Kessell), who are still struggling with the painful loss of their daughter; Hannah (Kelley Missal), whose sweet exterior masks a gritty survivor who has learned the hard way what it takes to survive; and Paul (Rob Campbell) who is anxious, haunted and desperate to see the outside world.
The news of this mysterious arrival will have the locals buzzing with their own theories, including twentysomething-year-old Marshall (Tommy Bastow), whose disdain for rules and authority will put him on a collision course with some very powerful people once he starts peeling back the layers of the refugee mystery.
As the search for answers in this small town gets underway, the lives of the people here – both the townspeople and these newcomers – will never be the same.
“The Crossing” stars Steve Zahn as Jude Ellis, Natalie Martinez as Reece, Sandrine Holt as Emma Ren, Georgina Haig as Dr. Sophie Forbin, Tommy Bastow as Marshall, Rob Campbell as Paul, Rick Gomez as Nestor Rosario, Marcuis W. Harris as Caleb, Grant Harvey as Roy Aronson, Jay Karnes as Craig Lindauer, Simone Kessell as Rebecca, Kelley Missal as Hannah, Luc Roderique as Bryce Foster and Bailey Skodje as Leah. Recurring guest star Luke Camilleri as Thomas.
The series was created by executive producers Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie. Matt Olmstead, Jason Reed and David Von Ancken also serve as executive producers. The series is produced by ABC Studios.
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I was invited by ABC to a screening of the crossing and interviewed the show creators to share this post with my readers. All opinions are my own.
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