Christina Moses previews CONTAINMENT on THE CW
THE CW’s newest event series, CONTAINMENT premieres tonight at 9/8c -the show, based on the Belgian series CORDON (for which it was originally named), follows what happens when Atlanta faces an outbreak of a deadly virus.
To preview the new series, I spent some time chatting with series star Christina Moses about what brought her to the show, why people should tune in, and what we can expect!
What was it about this show that made you want to be a part of it?
We’re all kind of drawn to this apocalyptic, fantastical, “what if this happens?”, especially if it can really happen. It appeals to that morbid sense, that fascination. What I love, I’m drawn to hero journeys, but the gray areas all along the line of the hero journey. The times where we fall down, really succumb to our fears, our insecurities, and those moments where we rise up, beyond our fear, and embrace our humanity and the humanity of others, and that’s what our show is about. It’s these people learning how to survive in these horrific circumstances, and making connections along the way that they probably never would have, you know?
Yes, when you’re thrown into the situation like that, you have to work with who you’re with.
Exactly!! And I find that really fascinating, because it’s so easy to get stuck in our routines and our day to day and only hang out with who we’re with or who aligns with our ideals, and our ways of being in the world. We negate that there are other people, people that are different from us that may have a whole lot of similarities. We get to explore that in the show. And just connect with our humanity.
What I love about the idea – it is about this containment situation where some people are inside, some people are outside, but there’s this character level. It’s not about the macrocosm, the huge issue. It’s about the smaller moments, the human things we have to deal with every day. The better apocalyptic shows on the air, deal with character first. Can you talk about character exploration – who you’re playing, how you interact?
Yeah, that’s a great question. Julie Plec is really great at developing character and at the heart of this story and all of her stories, is heart, is humanity, are the relationships. That’s what we want to see. You can’t have, even a great action story, whatever the case may be, it’s the relationships that keeps them involved. So Jana is on the inside and her boyfriend is on the outside. She makes this very fearful decision [laughs] not to move into him for the third time based on her fears of commitment and her doubts and also how independent she is, and when she’s at work, talking with her best friend, she realizes that she made a mistake and decides to go move in with him, but of course it’s too late. So she has a lot of time to reflect on her mistake basically. How it would have been different if she had just really listened to her heart and not her fears, and so the relationship is one that she develops with herself and also the people around her in her office, the very deep relationship that she already has with her best friend Suzy, who also grew up in group homes with her, and the people she meets along the way. The thing is Jana keeps people at arms length. She doesn’t trust a lot of people. She’s learned how to survive but she does it alone. Being passed around from group home to group home, not forming long term attachments, she learned not to do that very easily or very quickly. She just doesn’t really trust a lot of people and that starts to break down, and she learns how to need people, that it’s okay to need people and be needed.
I think that’s a universal feeling – everyone wants to feel needed, and to trust people. That right there is something that audiences are going to relate to. Are people asking “Why is CONTAINMENT a show for me?” and what are you saying to them?
For what you just said – everyone wants to be needed, everyone wants to be loved. People want to rely on other people and have community, and not necessarily to be a leader, but to be relied on. That feels good when people can rely on you. There’s also these love stories that develop in the show, and that’s just always fun, to see two people fall in love. There’s a young woman who is going to give birth, so that’s a fascinating story – do they meet, do they ever get back together again, because he’s on the outside, she’s on the inside. It’s just all of these friendships and these love stories of people either finding each other, meeting each other, or trying desperately to get back to each other. And then there’s some violence that breaks out because of being in such a dire situation brings out the worst in people, as well, and I think that’s fascinating as well as frightening and I think people will really be turned on that, be fascinated by that. There’s a little bit for everything.
You mentioned it being something that could really happen – we’ve seen things where viruses are spreading, viruses are scaring people – is there research that you and the cast, with the writers, go in explore what the quarantine situations are like? Is that something that informs the character?
I watched, for Jana, I basically watched CONTAGION again because I saw it when it first came out, and then a bunch of other little things to put my mind in the framework of what it would be to be contained [laughed] in this situation and not be able to get out. We consulted with the CDC, the health department, the police department, both LA and Atlanta, to make sure that we were accurately pacing the virus, portraying the virus, and what happens in outbreaks – what would need to happen. So it’s all very factual. It’s all very reality based.
Which is interesting because we don’t see that a lot in these apocalypse shows – with FEAR THE WALKING DEAD, THE WALKING DEAD, we don’t really have history with zombies to inform how to play that [laughs].
Right! Because they kind of don’t really exist [laughs]. We like to say THE WALKING DEAD is science fiction whereas we are science fact. You still get that whole apocalyptic, titillating story you get when you watch THE WALKING DEAD or WORLD WAR Z, but that this could actually happen and it’s based on fact.
Do you find yourself, now that you’re re-watching these movies and involved in a show about viruses, do you have a heightened awareness of germs, things like that?
Oh my gosh, YES. When people cough around me, and how we just pass things to each other all the time, and then we touch our faces, and we’re touching door knobs…I’m definitely aware. I’m super aware. I don’t necessarily…I’m not freakish about it or anything but I definitely try to be a little bit more cautious now. At first it was like, eh, I’m not changing any of my behavior. It’s human – we know things but we don’t actually do things with what we know a lot of the times. But literally in the past few weeks, I’ve been paying even more attention and trying to make sure I take that paper towel to open the door more than I used to. That’s how they spread, a lot of these things!
The shows been marketed as a Limited Series – do we get a sense that it’s, no pun intended, a contained story? Or is there a way that this is something that could continue? What should we expect from the story?
There are things that are kind of wrapped up, but not really. It definitely could extend. There is a lot more that they could with the story, for sure. The original CORDON wasn’t expected to go past Season 1, so they didn’t even think past Season 1, and that was our model! We were, thinking past Season 1, of course, but it definitely can, so we hope that we can get another shot at this, and create more story and have more fun. If it were to end…I don’t know what I should say about that [laughs] but it definitely can (continue).
Knowing the show is based on CORDON, there have been a lot of adaptations – does that change how you approach the show, do you visit the source material?
There’s a lot that we stuck to. I only saw the pilot because I purposely wanted to not until we were finished shooting because I wanted to get a taste of their tone, and shoot our series and then go back and watch it because I hear it’s absolutely phenomenal, so I just need to get the downloads for it! I know the writers kept along their timeline. There’s certain characters I know that we omitted, ones that we embellished, but in terms of the major plot points, they’re fairly similar.
We got see you guys at Comic Con over the summer, I know the show is back from Wondercon just recently – what’s it like bringing a show that many people haven’t seen to the masses at these events – what is the fan reaction you’ve heard so far?
So far, everyone has been really excited, which is so awesome. We were completely welcomed with open arms, and I think that’s because of the track record of Julie Plec, and of course, David Nutter was directing our pilot, and being one of the EPs, and CW’s reputation with the fantasy and sci-fi, and all of that. They definitely were open to seeing what we had, and once they saw it, they loved it. Some of the press who has seen through episode 4 loved it even more and were lamenting over the fact that they couldn’t binge watch the whole thing. We’re so grateful! We love the story so much. It’s such a beautiful story to tell, it’s a terrifying story to tell. We put our heart and souls and had a blast doing it, so just the fact that we could share it and have it be well-received even before air, we’re just very grateful.
Do you have time to watch other shows? Are there favorites you can’t miss?
I try! It comes in waves. When I have down time, I’ll try to split it between enjoying my life outside [laughs]. I really do love just watching movies and sitting on my couch. That’s kind of my favorite things. I do, like MR ROBOT, I cannot wait for that to come back. PEAKY BLINDERS, which is taking way too long to come back. It’s so good. I love SHAMELESS. I like GIRLS, TOGETHERNESS. GAME OF THRONES, obviously! The list could go on! I try to do my best. I just fell back with HOUSE OF CARDS because there are just so many! I need like three months of every day viewing.
Besides CONTAINMENT, what else do you have going on?
Right now, I do have a guest start spot that will be airing on Wednesday, April 27, on ROSEWOOD on FOX. So you’ll be able to see me there most recently, and then I’m just constantly auditioning and working on my own, I’m working on a docuseries right now with my writing partner.
Is that a world you want to explore, writing, and following that path?
Yeah, I definitely want to produce, both fiction and non-fiction. I really love documentaries so yeah, I would like to eventually have my own production company!
CONTAINMENT airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.