The Whispers Youth In Revolt
Leave it to Steven Spielberg to turn something as innocuous as a child’s imaginary friend into something downright spinechilling. As executive producer of ABC’s new genre thriller The Whispers, Spielberg, along with creator/ co- executive producer Soo Hugh and showrunner Zack Estrin, explore a disturbing spate of suburban children doing some very dark things ( including attempted murder and maiming) at the behest of their invisible companion Drill.
Of the creepy premise, co- President of Amblin Television Darryl Frank explains that Spielberg “loved the provocative idea of ‘ What would happen if someone, or something, was controlling your kids and making them do bad things?’ It plays into what he does, which is the scariest things are the things that happen in your own backyard and your own house.”
Anchored by some disquieting performances by child actors Kylie Rogers ( Minx) and Kyle Harrison Breitkopf ( Henry), FBI child specialist Claire Bennigan ( Lily Rabe) tries to dig into the psyche and secrets of these creepy kids. Showrunner Zack Estrin explains, “These kids are all chosen for a very specific reason based on who they have access to. They will all have tasks that they are asked to do and questions they are being forced to answer. To us, it’s about how far will these kids be taken. It’s not an evil kid of the week show. It’s a character drama, a thriller, a mystery and a genre show wrapped up into one.”
Touting the strength of their mini thespians as a huge selling point when it comes to the unsettling tone of the series, Estrin enthuses, “The kids are a central part of the show and bring such a unique thing to television. They are intrinsic to the plot.”
“The characters are not at all who you thought they were at the start”
Meanwhile, genre veteran Milo Ventimiglia ( Heroes) is also a major player in the overarching mystery, showing up in the pilot as a bedraggled amnesiac also drawn to these child- precipitated events. “When you first meet John Doe in half bloodied scrubs, he’s bearded with hair down past his chin, covered in tattoos. Things are scrawled on him. He has no knowledge of anything for several months back,” Ventimiglia teases. “He has no idea who
Lily Rabe plays the specialist trying to work out the kooky kids.