Patrick Somerville interview: ‘Station Eleven’ creator

“What I love most was that it was a joyful book. It was a not a book about pain or death, even though a lot of it happened between chapter breaks, and that spirit, that idea felt very radical to me,” declares creator and showrunner Patrick Somerville about what attracted him to adapting the 2014 sci-fi/fantasy novel “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel for television. “What if you didn’t keep doubling down on storytelling about loss after one great loss, but you do one great loss and then you show the rebuild from that point forward,” he explains. “I love how warm the novel was and we tried very hard to make that reflected in the show.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

“Station Eleven” is set 20 years after a flu pandemic wipes out most of the world, as a group of survivors who make their living as traveling performers encounter a violent cult led by a man whose past is unknowingly linked to a member of the troupe. While it confronts the harsh realities of what happens to humanity after a catastrophic deadly virus, the series paints a more aspirational and ultimately hopeful picture of humanity triumphing over profound loss and destruction.

The series has been met with rave reviews from critics, buoyed by strong word of mouth as audiences inevitably draw parallels to their shared experiences of living under the weight of the (albeit less extreme) COVID-19 pandemic in real life. The HBO Max hit has been lauded for its strong ensemble cast led by Patel, Mackenzie DavisMatilda Lawler, Lori PettyNabhaan RizwanDavid Wilmot, Daniel Zovatto and Gael Garcia Bernal against a haunting backdrop of a post-apocalyptic dystopia where humanity has been whittled down to a few survivors scattered across the Earth. The 10-episode series travels back and forth in time – from the outset of the pandemic to many years later in the aftermath – as it follows the Traveling Symphony, a ragtag group of artists and actors who traverse the Great Lakes region performing for locals every year.

Somerville was keen for the series to emphasize that human beings thrive together, rather than alone. “We need to get together with each other. We need music, we need entertainment, we need games and sports ,and I think coming together in the same space, at the same time, is a healthy human thing,” he declares. “It rights our ship to be always with each other, it puts us all in the same reality. The pandemic has been so hard for so many reasons, but one of them is that were never together hearing the same thing at the same time or seeing the same thing, feeling the same thing at the same time. We were maybe getting versions of it, but they were staggered and separated and siloed from each other. I love the idea that the safest and most important thing that’s required if you’re walking in post-apocalyptic landscape is to be together with others. You can’t be by yourself.”

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UPLOADED Jul 12, 2022 12:33 pm