Stella Baker leads ‘Republic of Sarah’ in new CW drama
Imagine a town separating from the United States to become its own country. Then, consider a young woman being its leader.
Welcome to “The Republic of Sarah,” which The CW premieres Monday. Stella Baker — daughter of Simon Baker (“The Mentalist”) — stars as a New Hampshire high school teacher determined to prevent a mining company from ravaging her home base of Greylock, site of a newly discovered, highly valuable mineral. She encourages fellow residents to vote for Greylock’s independence, made possible by a long-standing loophole.
The move also means opposing Sarah’s estranged brother (“Blindspot” alum Luke Mitchell), who’s pivotal to the mining firm’s plans. Actress-director Megan Follows (“Reign”) plays their ex-senator mother.
“I hadn’t read anything like it,” Baker said. “There’s something sort of outlandish about the concept, but the idea of creating a show where you can ground that in reality, I really liked. It’s about building a country, but at its core, it’s about the people and the connections they have to each other.”
Baker noted that she entered the project (redeveloped from an earlier version that was to star “Grey’s Anatomy” alum Sarah Drew) wanting to create, “in the context of a network that has a lot of superhero shows, a flawed protagonist who can make mistakes. That was something the showrunner, Jeff King, and I really fought for … to give
her dimension and depth and edges.”
In doing her research for “The Republic of Sarah,” Baker said she found plenty of proof that “corporations just have more power than people in America. And the idea of telling on a grassroots level that people can figure out a way around that, there’s a lot of hope in that.”
Production of “The Republic of Sarah” was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. “We were shooting in Montreal,” Baker said, “then we would go to a little town north of there for the exterior shots, and it was absolutely beautiful.”
Also featured in the recently released Amazon series “Tell Me Your Secrets,” Yale Drama School graduate Baker is relatively new to the acting game. A screenwriter as well, she admitted it “took a while for me to come around the idea of doing what my parents did” (her mother is actress Rebecca Rigg).
“Once I was working on this, I called my father often,” Baker said. “This is really the first time for me, so if I questioned something, I’d ask him, “Is this something I should fight for, or something I should let go of ?’ My dad’s M.O. is always pretty much, ‘Trust your instincts, and learn from your mistakes.’ It was so wonderful to be able to talk with someone who has that experience.”