In the new Netflix zombie show Black Summer (premiering Thursday) Jaime King plays a woman named Rose who is separated from her daughter in the chaos which ensues after the dead start to walk (and run and kill people).
“She is a midwestern woman, who is in love with her husband and has been with him for a long time, and loves her daughter, and finds herself in these extraordinary circumstances,” says King, whose previous acting credits include the Sin City films and The CW show Hart of Dixie. “Her child is ripped from her, torn away from her, and [she] will stop at nothing to go get her.”
King says that when she first read the script for Black Summer, “it did not read like a horror script. I did not think I was signing on to a horror show at all. It read like a very very intense refugee story. There’s no back story. So, when you’re reading the script, you’re like, What the f— is going on here? Then I get ripped away from my child. When I was reading that, that was right when people were being ripped from their children at the border. So, I was like, whoa, hold up! This is a huge story about this country. Like, if [this country] continued down the path its on now, what would that look like?”
The actress signed on to the project after meeting with director John Hyams (Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning) who co-created the show with Karl Schaefer, an executive producer on Syfy’s recently cancelled zombie show Z Nation.
“I just didn’t want to put out something that was going to be like blood and a gore fest,” says King. “He was like, Well, if you’ve ever heard a car crash and turned to see it, [it’s going to be] like that. And that made perfect sense. It’s like, you hear that sound, and you go and look, and you see like a piece of it or a moment of it, right? I love that, because it’s very Hitchockian.”
Black Summer has been widely described in media reports as a “prequel” to Z Nation. But according to King, that is not the case.
“No, it’s not,” she says. “I mean, I had never been told that. Then, when it started coming out that it was a prequel and Z Nation fans were excited, I was like, Great, I’m glad that Z Nation fans are excited. I’ve never seen Z Nation but some of my friends love that show. But when we made it, that was never part of the discussion. To me, it’s Black Summer, and all I care about is that every fan loves it, because we made this for fans of drama, and fans of horror, and fans of sci-fi, and for fans of all things.”
Black Summer costars Justin Chu Cary, Sal Velez Jr., and Christine Lee, among others.
Exclusively watch a clip from Black Summer, above.