Jaime King teases the chillingly good new season of zombie show Black Summer
The just-released second season of Netflix's zombie series Black Summer features a fall in the temperature but no drop in tension as Rose (Jaime King) and her daughter Anna (Zoe Marlett) attempt to survive both the hungry undead and harsh, winter conditions.
"The first season was very much about a mother trying to find her daughter," says King. "This season, time has passed, things are way worse, and it's an exploration of, how does she hold on to her daughter and keep her alive? It's also an explanation of trauma, of what happens in this apocalyptic world, and how people respond when dollars don't matter, it's just commodities: food, water, shelter. Then you have this other extraordinary character, which is the winter. I always wanted to make something in the cold and the snow, and really use the elements as an antagonist."
Below, King talks more about Black Summer, the show's extraordinary one-shots, and how she dealt with the "fricking cold."
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: For the most part, the story of Black Summer is told in these very long shots. How does that affect the production process?
JAIME KING: It's glorious, actually. That's how we keep everyone immersed. We'll come in, we'll rehearse, and then we strip everything away that we don't need, as much dialog as possible we strip. It's honestly like acting a play on film. One of our most important scene partners is the camera operator because it's this dance, it's a waltz, and you're just completely immersed in it. It requires you to be extremely available on every front, because if one thing goes wrong we have to cut, and we're doing oners that are up to twenty minutes. It keeps everyone really on their toes and active and alive and vital. To me, it's just much more exciting. It gets boring when you just have a master/over/over/wide/master/over/over. I really love the fact that I can bring people on and say, "Hey, we do it different on the set."
This season is also told in this fascinating non-linear fashion. Was that laid out in the script?
That's very intentional, it's in the script, that's not done in the cutting. But I would have to have whiteboards on the wall to remember [what was happening].
So it looked like you were trying to catch a serial killer?
Yeah, basically. Because it would be like, okay, technically this is episode 1, but my entrance scene is from episode 4, and what happened before that? It's like a giant jigsaw puzzle. In the first season, everything was told linearly. We just decided, with this season, let's do something completely different
You said you always wanted to shoot something in the snow and the cold. How long did it take before you regretted doing that?
Actually, never! [Laughs] We shot it in Calgary, which was so beautiful. We shot where they shot The Revenant, in isolated, remote, pristine mountains. I mean, it was fricking cold, but our sets are really fun and the people have a great sense of humor, so we'd have our heated vests on and heated socks and just rocked it. It also helps. It creates more tension, and your body is freezing, and all these different things, but it works, it worked for what the story is doing.
Your character this season is like a machine, like a shark, whose only purpose is to keep her daughter alive. What was that like to play?
Well, for this one, I really approached it like Rose is dead, right? So the Rose of the first season is dead. Basically, she became a soldier. I trained a lot. I trained so hard for this. I did a lot of animal movement, different techniques, like a panther, jaguar. I studied these animals, how to move like them. My physicality was very purposeful. I also did a lot of research in regards to mothers who go to wars. It's like her whole heart is shut down and the only thing that is left open in it is to protect her daughter, to teach her daughter how to be a child soldier, to teach her how to survive. To do that took a lot of research and a lot of studying and a lot of approaching it from a physical, emotional level so that I could have everything really sitting inside of my heart.
Do you think there will be another season of the show?
Watch the trailer for season 2 of Black Summer above.