The Purge franchise is one of my favorite movie universes in film. So when I heard they were making a tv show I jumped at the chance to visit the set. This franchise has the opportunity to be as big as The Walking Dead. The Purge TV show will use talented young actors to catapult the show to the top of the ratings at the USA network.
The world is very thought out and the sets are extravagant. There is a bar that’s kind of like a safe place from all the mayhem that happens on America’s annual cleansing. The young cast of Gabriel Chavarria from “East Los High”, Lili Simmons, who you have seen in “Ray Donovan”, Amanda Warren from the HBO hit show “The Leftovers”, Colin Woodell from the movie “Unsane”, Hannah Anderson from “New Mutants” and Lee Tergesen from the mega smash hit show “Oz”.
The TV show will give the audience a deep understanding as to why these characters behave the way they behave during The Purge, so plan to get insight into every decision. It will be everything you love about the franchise while giving you a bit more.
I sat down with Hannah Emily Anderson who plays Jenna in the TV series The Purge. Hannah reveals a bit more about her character, and the process of filming with out knowing the character’s arch and life in New Orleans.
Xilla Valentine: Tell Me about your interpretation of your character?
H: I think Jenna is pure-hearted, ideal, she’s driven by her need to help people. I think especially with the whole purge happening around her life I think that drives her even more. Her going out for the first time in purge she’s risking quite a lot and it’s secure funding and she’s going to try to get this profit for affordable housing and I think that says a lot about her
She’s caught up in a relationship triangle, how did she get there?
H: I don’t think I can tell you that, I think her and Rick Have been together for a long time, probably as long as the purge, and when you reach a certain point in a relationship or marriage things tend to go stale. Looking for a way to reunite.
The three of you are together as far as on this journey of the night?
H: Possibly, I think you will find that it brings more tension then it does help.
How does the story line, help or hurt your personal relationship with the actor that play the people you end up in the show ?
I think because it’s so enhanced, especially with Colin and I. We were laughing all the time, that’s the balance, your characters are always on edge all the time it takes a lot of energy to be in that place and it can be pretty dark , and so there’s a day on set where we could barely keep it together, we were loosing it.
Does it help to work with cool people? Because you guys aren’t from New Orleans, it’s hot , you’re probably working a lot, does it help that they’re cool and relatable?
Yea , I’ve been lucky to work with fun people, you can feel vulnerable around these people and collaborate and have fun. That’s the ultimate goal to have fun doing it that shows on film.
For this character you have to get into the mindset to do crazy things I assume because if she’s going out about to kill, to get this money, mentally is it easy to snap back to who you are?
Well the thing about Jenna she’s closer to me than any other character I think I’ve played and there’s something really vulnerable about that and when you have to let all hear layers fall away, digging deep into myself, deep truths about Hannah show through Jenna
I don’t know the story line but if it’s the purge, if you have to kill someone and go through the action to kill someone. How easy is it to just go back to Hannah?
It’s pretty easy for me to get back to myself. If it’s a heightened state of emotion, it takes more to get into and it’s a place I don’t love to go. It’s a very uncomfortable place to sit in. And once you’re in it and you’re feeling it and then cut and we are laughing and joking again. You have to etch and sketch and start again.
Is there a process? I always wondered how do you get there, any emotion. I have a friend who acts and can shed a tear ? Did you learn in school?
Yea I went to school in Canada for three years and we did intense memory and practice going to specific memory, imagination and feeling it and snapping out of it again. For me as a person I’m a very emotional person and sensitive. I’m like a sponge, it’s helpful as a artist as a person it’s a lot sometimes . A lot of emotion is right under the surface if I need to access it and I have a pretty vivid imagination. But if I need help then I listen to music, I find classical music gets me to an emotional place or FaceTime someone I love
I’m a what if person, so lets say this series, becomes the next big thing. Does that pop into your mind or do you push it away.
I think when I first found out that I got the job, I went into the headspace of what it’s going to be like, what it’s going to do for me , it’s my career, this my first real job. Now that we’re actually in it i’m not thinking about that so much yet, it requires too much focus to be in that world , I’m mostly focused on the work right now and then as soon as we are done filming, it’s nice to be excited to be about that.
You don’t know where your character’s story arch yet? How is that for you?
It’s funny because I’m finding out more and more about my character as we go, in the beginning I had to fill out my own backstory and make decisions and then the next thing I know the decision I made earlier wasn’t quite the right choice and then I have to make things make sense for myself. I kind of love it, I never worked on a television show where I don’t know what’s going to happen. I kind of love that it helps me be more in the moment and gives me the sense of being a audience member.
That has to be important to be in the movement.
Yea that’s all you have, when you’re working, action, all the work and homework I’ve done, I have to let go and be the other person. Listening is one of the hardest thing to do as a actor actually
The Purge TV series premiers on television September 4th.