How Demi Moore and Alden Ehrenreich navigated through Peacock's Brave New World
"It's uncomfortable to be in an environment where people are pretending everything's alright," Ehrenrich tells EW in the above video. "It’s really just exaggerating and extrapolating things in our world so that we may be able to look at them a little more keenly."
An adaptation of Aldous Huxley's prescient 1932 novel, the drama is primarily set in New London, a pain-free world where monogamy, privacy, and money have been outlawed, and everyone takes a drug called Soma to keep them happy. The entire social structure is ordered by an advanced artificial intelligence system. Meanwhile, across the sea, there's the Savage Lands — i.e. what remains of the United States — which has been transformed into a theme park for New Londoners to visit and gawk at old world values like marriage and greed. There, we find Moore's Linda, a New London expat, and her son John (Ehrenreich), who live in squalor and are outcasts in the Savage Lands.
"The character is the bridge between the two [worlds]," says Moore, who connected to Linda's "desperation to bring her son what appeared to be a better life, which I think at the core is what every mother wants."
John and Linda's lives are thrown into a chaos when they cross paths with Bernard Marx (Game of Thrones' Harry Lloyd) and Lenina Crowe (Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findlay), two New Londoners who are on holiday in the Savage Lands when a violent rebellion breaks out. Eventually, John accompanies the pair back to the new world, where he stands out because he's used to feeling the full range of emotions unlike everyone else there.
"I had the advantage of the reality that my character knew was much more natural to the life I've actually lived. It's set in a world much like the one I actually am in, in the real world," says the Solo star. "My character doesn't understand really what the new world is like, and so I didn't have to do the heavy-lifting I've experienced on other things where you have to understand in and out the details of this completely new world."
Despite New London's many technological advances, Ehrenreich personally didn't find anything enviable about the society. "What I came to feel in a way that it is human in the sense that people are doing everything they possibly can to avoid feeling pain," he says. "In a way, the New Londoners, to me, grew increasingly sympathetic in that they've just put in a place a lot of ill-advised tools to keep pain and fear and anxiety away. Of course, we all want do that, but there's avoiding it and trying to pretend it's not real and trying to find a way through it."
Similarly, Moore was intrigued by the show's depiction of "medicating, and kind of the direction that we've also been going in disconnecting from feeling and seeking these external numbings, and this is kind of on such a heightened level."
Watch the full interview above.
The complete first season drops July 15 on Peacock.