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In an era when technology is the Holy Grail, can you imagine the havoc that would rain down on society if it no longer existed? Well, the writing team of Revolution, which is a sort of fusion of Flash Forward, Lost and Terra Nova, thought about it long enough to spin the idea into a series. Twilight’s Billy Burke sheds more light on the post-apocalyptic sci-fi show and his warrior-like lead role as Miles Matheson, writes Debashine Thangevelo
REMEMBER the global uproar during the Blackberry RIM crisis last year? How about the frustration when load shedding kicks in? And let’s not get into the outcry when Facebook and Twitter addicts are unable to get their daily fix of (mostly) insipid gossip/news because the internet is down.
The writers of Revolution cunningly explore the idea of a world crippled by a blackout that takes out every technological device, rendering Earth’s inhabitants vulnerable to disease, takeovers by warlords and militias and struggling to deal with the fact that they have to adapt to a primitive way of life.
Billy Burke, synonymous with his roles in the Twilight movie and its sequels; 24; The Closer; Rizzoli & Isles, among numerous other TV and film credits, is cast as the protagonist Miles Matheson.
Fifteen years after the blackout, Matheson, a former US Marine sergeant, is sought out by his niece Charlotte (Tracy Spiridakos) to help find Danny (Graham Rogers), her brother.
Interestingly, Matheson’s brother, Ben (Tim Guinee), who is killed by the ruling militia, had in his pos- session key information that explained what caused the blackout and how it could be reversed.
Reflecting on his initial thoughts of the pilot episode, the 45-year-old says: “I was grinning from ear to ear. I’ve shot a lot of pilots and have been around for a long time, but I immediately knew they’d got it right with Revolution. We’re very lucky because there is a great pedigree behind the show with big names like JJ Abrams (Lost) and Eric Kripke (Supernatural) involved. Plus, you’ve got Jon Favreau (Iron Man) directing. You try not to have expectations, but these guys are home-run hitters and they make everybody else want to be home-run hitters, too.”
Commenting on his physically demanding role, Burke offers: “We have a great stunt co-ordinator and choreographer – Jeff Wolfe – and he worked on the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, so you know he is very good at what he does. We learn a lot about my character through the device of flashbacks throughout the series, but initially I can tell you that he was a military guy; he had a specific skill set coming into the blackout. During the 15 years after, everybody has had to learn to do stuff without guns. That is where the knives and swords come in.”
On Hollywood’s exploration of survivalist shows, he admits: “You know what? I honestly don’t know. Perhaps it’s the fascination with the question: ‘what would you do in a situation like this?’ We’ve got so many places to go with this idea. Plus, people love the guessing game.”
In the series, the blackout not only changes the landscape of the modern world, it also marks the dawn of anarchy as militia groups fight for control of the land.
Burke continues: “There are many militias that have risen up all over the planet. However, as far as I know, we just deal with one militia in the first season. That guy [con- trolling it] took one path and my character took the other.”
Touching on how Matheson lost contact with his family, he reveals: “He did that on purpose and, again, we’ll learn this information through a series of flashbacks. We will get to see the progression of exactly how that happened. He was in the fight for a long time and had to get out because he had seen too much. He got sick of it.”
If this series goes on to captivate the imagination of viewers as designed, it could enjoy a long run like Lost did. And if the plug is pulled à la Terra Nova, the creators can be proud of taking a gamble and Revolution(ising) the genre.
• Revolution airs on M-Net Series (DStv channel 114) on Thursdays at 8.30pm.