The Netflix drama centers on a New York attorney who gets stranded in the wilderness and has to survive on her own.

Melissa Barrera has wanted to do something physical, and she got her wish. 

Created by Martin Gero and Brendan Gall, limited series Keep Breathing centers on a successful New York attorney whose important trip gets derailed when her plane crashes in the middle of the Canadian wilderness. Stranded alone, she has to figure out how to survive the elements. "I love seeing strong women portrayed on screen and at the epicenter of the story, but I also love that she is so broken," Barrera says of her character Liv, who is forced to shed her professional armor and reveal her true self when she's all alone. Watch the trailer below for an exclusive look at Liv's perilous ordeal. 

Liv may be brilliant, but she's only as well-equipped to handle the wilderness as much as the next person. "She's a problem solver, but she doesn't know much about surviving in the wild," Barrera explains. That relatability puts viewers in this dire situation with her, which was an integral part of how the show was shot — Barrera was filmed while feeling her own way through how she might try to build a shelter to find food. "Those moments are super real because they let me experience and do what I felt the character would do in that moment," she says. 

Filming Keep Breathing was a welcome but grueling challenge for Barrera. "This show was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," she says. Each day, she would shoot for 12 to 14 hours with the crew in the middle of the woods. Barrera did the heavy lifting during those days, since she didn't have scene partners for most of the wilderness scenes. To prepare for the show, she also got scuba certified and learned to be on wires for falling stunts. It was tough, but Barrera loved the month she spent training, calling it a lot of fun. 

Keep Breathing
Credit: Netflix

The body of water viewers see on the show is a glacier lake that was frozen up until two weeks before filming began, so she also needed to do cold-water training. "[Filming in the lake] was a huge challenge, because you can't breathe because the water is so cold, so you're trying to act and tell a story, but you're also worried about yourself," she explains. When asked what was scarier, facing off with Ghostface or surviving the elements, the Scream star chose the wilderness. "One of my biggest fears in life is drowning," she says. "This is the most scared I've ever been, but also the most proud of myself for accomplishing it."

Keep Breathing is about Liv overcoming both physical and emotional challenges. While the immediate concern is to survive, the time alone forces her to reflect. "It's more of an emotional journey to seek answers to a lot of her childhood trauma, so the fact that she's stranded in the middle of the forest alone and how she survives is a beautiful metaphor for what's going on inside of her," Barrera says. 

It's important to remember Liv is adamant about getting to her destination, but what exactly launches her journey is a mystery. "She's feeling very lost and is seeking answers because she's at a crossroads in her life," Barrera teases. You will eventually find out where she is heading and who she aims to see, but she must make it out of the wilderness first. 

Keep Breathing premieres July 28 on Netflix.

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