The creators of The Outpost introduce their post-apocalyptic fantasy
Tarantino meets Kurosawa meets Leone? This post-apocalyptic fantasy would be a great party.
Ushering a new fantasy series into the world isn’t an easy prospect given the pop cultural embrace of all things sword, sorcery, dragons and demons. But the creators of The Outpost aren’t worried about that. Jason Faller and Kyle Griffin dreamt up the show as an amalgam of different genres that they love, from post-apocalyptic science fiction to the cinematic worlds conjured by directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Akira Kurosawa and Sergio Leone.
“We wanted to take fantasy in a direction that hadn’t been done,” says Faller. “The Outpost is this remote town where nothing is supposed to happen. Yet it becomes the nexus of all the important things set to occur in this world.” We learn this as Red Alert stands on the show’s main outdoor set, a place that is part-Western settlement, part-Iron Age fortress that has been built to nestle within an otherwise unremarkable business park in the Utah city of South Springville. With dramatic mountain views and close to the famous red rock countryside, it’s the ideal place to shoot a series that takes place on another planet, where development beyond the pre-industrial stage was nipped in the bud by some awful disaster. Here, creatures such as the rocky Greyskins threaten to encroach and a terrible pandemic is turning people into infected Plaguelings with seemingly no cure in sight. Oh, and did we mention there’s real dung on the streets?
Into this unforgiving, poo-strewn metropolis comes Talon (Jessica Green), sole survivor of a humanoid race called Blackbloods, carrying a fateful prophecy, impressive fighting skills and a yearning for revenge after the all-powerful, Taliban-alike Prime Order destroyed her home and people, fearing their abilities. “She has this terrifying power to summon demon-like beings,” Griffin explains. “A lot of the story is her self-discovery of what that means. We compare it to nuclear power – what are you going to do with this horrible destructive force you can harness?” Sounding like a successor to characters such as Buffy, the role demanded someone who could convincingly pull off fight scenes. Green got the part when the producers (who include Independence Day’s Dean Devlin, no stranger to apocalypses himself ) saw her MMA and sword-fighting demonstration reels alongside her regular audition. “That was hard to find,” admits Faller of the search that yielded the Australian actress. “It couldn’t be that the actor had some dance background. Jessica is doing a large portion of the combat scenes – she’d do more, but we won’t let her do everything because of the danger!”
Finally, it’s hard not to talk about a new fantasy drama without broaching the 800-pound gorilla that is a certain series set in the world of Westeros. Are the Outpost duo ready for such comparisons? “We want to make a show for a fairly broad audience, one the whole family can get together and watch,” explains Griffin. “We’re very light on the bizarre sex!”
“There are some obvious connections with something like Game Of Thrones, given the genre,” adds Faller. “We’re an original thing. We’re more action driven, faster paced and more fun.” Fighting words! Let’s hope Talon – and her creators – are ready to rumble. JWh
The Outpost is now airing on the CW in the US, and airs on Syfy UK from 13 August.