Emerging from hypersleep is bad news in YouTube drama Origin.
Waking up has never been easy – especially when you’re millions of miles from home in Origin...
There’s plenty of sci-fi TV out there to choose from but it can be frustrating that a lot of them tend to be rather parochial. That’s why British writer Mika Watkins specifically wanted to create a series that featured an international cast playing characters experiencing the horror of waking up together, stranded on a spaceship in the middle of the inky black void of space.
As it turns out, YouTube Originals was equally interested in making a series that would play to its increasingly global streaming audience, so the company hired Watkins to create and showrun Origin. Developed with sci-fi TV veterans like Jeff Pinkner (Fringe) and Josh Appelbaum (Alias), with a pilot directed by Resident Evil mainstay Paul WS Anderson, the cast features international actors like Natalia Tena, Tom Felton, Nora Arnezeder, Philipp Christopher and Fraser James.
“It was always an international piece,” Watkins tells Red Alert. “It was always about making sure we told really authentic stories about all the different parts of the world that we were exploring. I had a really strong sense of who I wanted, and then it was just about finding those people. And I do think the thing I’m probably proudest of is the casting. We just nailed it.”
The thing I’m most proud of is the casting. We just nailed it
Tena leads the cast as Lana, one of the first people to wake on the ship and discover that something on their journey to a new home has gone horribly wrong. As more are woken from hyper-sleep, they band together to investigate the massive ship, and audiences get to see, in flashback, how many of them came to be there.
Watkins says those flashbacks are integral to exploring these character’s pasts. “There are situations where you know what a character did in their past and you know the mistake they made, and that they’ll make it again, because that’s the extreme situation that they’re in. And then there are times where you’re like, ‘Wow they really have learned from what they did and they’re gonna do something differently.’ I think that was always the heart of the show.”
The surprise factor that comes with all of the characters was a huge selling point for Fraser James, who plays the geneticist Henri. Once signed on, the actor admits that Watkins only informed the actors about their backstories a week or two before their flashbacks were shot. “I knew that Henri was a geneticist and so I wanted to understand what he’d been doing,” the actor explains. “That was pretty intense and part of the excitement of it. Then, as the episodes came, you were flipping through to find out what was happening, and there were a few moments when episodes were released where I was just like, ‘Wow, you’re doing that?! That is bold. That is ballsy.’ We were like the early viewers of the series, as we were reading it for the first time. And my response to it gives me an indication that people that are going to be watching it are really going to enjoy this.”
Origin starts streaming on YouTube Premium from 14 November.
Talk about getting a rude awakening. The Wizarding War had been hard on Draco.
“No, you can’t have the last Jaffa Cake.”