by Matt Sernaker, Managing Editor
ComicsOnline is back with another exclusive interview! This week we caught up with our friend Chad Michael Collins (Sniper, Once Upon A Time), who will be leading the human race in the new BYUtv series: Extinct. Check out our full interview below:
ComicsOnline: In your own words, can you please describe the premise of the series and give an overview of your character?
Chad Michael Collins: BYUtv’s Extinct places us on an Earth where the human race has been hunted to extinction by an alien invasion. For reasons unknown, a seemingly benevolent alien species reconstitutes a small handful of people who are “reborn” 400 years into the future, with their brain states and memories all intact. This small group doesn’t know why they were chosen, where they are, or what their purpose is, other than to restore the human population. Furthermore, besides finding themselves strangers in a strange new world, they band together to survive the harsh environs while being hunted by the hostile alien race, all the while trying to reconcile with memories from their past.
I play ‘Ezra,’ a former Army Ranger and family man who becomes the de facto leader of the group of “reborns”. ‘Ezra’ is the pack alpha, but with a soft hand. His sole purpose is to keep the group safe, get answers to his endless questions, and find some way to be reunited with the family he once lost and still remembers.
CO: What attracted you to this role?
CMC: I’m a certified sci-fi and fantasy nerd, always have been dating back to Star Trek: The Next Generation and The X-Files to comic books, Tolkien to Stephen King, and all the way up through Battlestar Galactica, Game of Thrones and Star Wars. So when I first read this script, I was immediately hooked. I’ve read every “The Walking Dead” comic and have seen every TV episode, and the ‘Ezra’ character reminded me of a ‘Rick Grimes’-lite, which is definitely in my wheelhouse as an actor and a person-at-large. I love sci-fi because it always asks “what if…?” and “Extinct” seemed to ask it in a whole new way. I mean, what could be a worse scenario than knowing that humanity is no more?! Then you find out you’re responsible for the mankind comeback chapter? What do you do with second chance, that kind of awesome responsibility? The entire concept appealed to me from the start.
CO: What makes this post-apocalyptic series different than other sci-fi shows?
CMC: Extinct approaches the big existential questions as well as the small. It tackles the macro and the micro given the epic circumstances. I mean, even though pesky Cylons harassed and wiped out most of the Battlestar Galactica universe, at least in that series there were still 10’s of 1000’s of people still alive! I think our show is a really fun mish-mash of so many beloved genre series. You’ve got a dystopian future Mad Max feel with the centuries that have passed since humans were obliterated. There’s also a fun Game of Thrones almost medieval feel to our show in the way that the “reborns” have to go back to basics in their quest to restore humanity – we piece together scraps and animal skins for clothes, or whatever’s salvageable in our environment; we even hunt with bows and arrows and spears. And of course as we move about our world, we’re constantly threatened by Earth’s new alien inhabitants, so there’s a survival-of-the-fittest feel that “The Walking Dead” does so well. But I really love the way that the show uses flashbacks to flesh out each character’s backstory the way that “Lost” did it so well. So, you combine all of these aspects – and throw in a lot of cool VFX of alien spaceships, technology, and floating drones – and you’ve got a unique action-adventure sci-fi series!
CO: What can you tell us about the action in this show?
CMC: There is a ton of action in this series, and everyone gets in on it, especially me! Not only do we fight with the aforementioned spears and bows and arrows, but there’s also alien-enhanced “shockstaffs” – or staves – and more fun things along those lines. There’s a lot of hand-to-hand scraps that are fun, especially between me and my main nemesis “Jax”, played wonderfully by actor Matthew Bellows, who is well-versed in stunts. Personally, my character arms himself with a 5-foot old-school longbow, which is a beast of a weapon! Most of the other characters get to run around with shorter recurve bows, which are like drawing rubber bands compared to my weapon, which felt more like trying to stretch a car tire at times! I actually ended up getting to be a pretty decent shot with it by the end of the series. But I wouldn’t depend on me for bringing home supper every night with it.
CO: What was the production process like?
CMC: We shot on and off for about six months, all in the state of Utah, which was breathtakingly beautiful. We did some work on a soundstage with these fantastic alien-influenced sets and some green screen, but I’d say 60% of our show was shot outdoors, on location. On one hand, being on location added incredible production value to our series, as we started off in southern Utah playing in the desert and lava formations to the tune of 115 degrees. We actually filmed where they shot the original Star Trek series, which was so cool. We also filmed in and around Zions National Park, 6,000 feet up in the mountains, and played in all sorts of water and snow throughout filming. So there’s the other hand: the extreme heat and the extreme cold become very challenging at times for everyone. We had some tough days, whether it was heat exhaustion or bitter, wet cold, but in the end the show looks ten-times more epic because of it!
Check out the trailer for Extinct below:
EXTINCT App/Streaming Info:
Watch the first 8 episodes of Extinct on the free BYUtv app on October 1st, available on Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One, and more (http://www.byutv.org/apps) or download the free BYUtv app for iOS and Android: http://onelink.to/2gqasd. You can also watch Extinct for free via www.BYUtv.org.
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