Last Tuesday night, I was fortunate enough to attend an early screening of HBO’s The Leftovers. The best part of the screening was that Tom Perotta, the author of the book and executive producer of The Leftovers was in attendance to answer all our questions after the screening! He shared insider information about the casting, behind the scenes details about the writing room and why he and Damon Lindelof were adamant about casting Carrie Coon, who plays Nora Durst.
There’s no doubt you’ve been hearing about this show, there are posters everywhere, there’s a book adaption cover in your local bookstore and there’s a trailer that might be the only convincing you need. I thought that it only made sense that I start this list of 10 Reasons you Should Start Watching HBO’s The Leftovers with the trailer I just mentioned, because it’s pretty epic.
10. Get ready for 2:40 of heart racing television:
9. Paterson Joseph
According to Tom Perrotta when Britsh actor Paterson Joseph was chosen for the role of Holy Wayne, it was decided that his character would have an American accent. But after few takes, it was clear that it sounded and felt more authentic to keep his British accent. Tom Perrotta also shared that he thinks that viewers will be captivated with this character.
8. Who doesn’t like a good rapture story?
I don’t know about you, but I like a good, chaotic story. Now I know I’ve only seen one episode, but if that one episode is any indication of what’s to come. I know that this thriller component is sure to have everyone captivated.
When it comes to premium cable, those casting directors sure know what they’re doing. Mixing some familiar faces with some unknown ones is strategic, but guaranteed to be effective. You’ll be sure to recognize Justin Theroux, Liz Tyler and Amy Brenneman. But did you know that Jill Garvey (the daughter of Justin Theroux’s character, Kevin Garvey) is played by Andie MacDowell’s daughter, Margaret Qualley? She was probably my favourite character, because she was the epitome of “broken”. She’s just one of many new faces that I’m sure after watching these ten episodes will become familiar very quickly.
6. HBO Quality
There’s a reason that HBO charges additional fees that go beyond regular cable and I’m not talking about the cursing and nudity. Well, okay that’s a lie, those are reasons, but they’re not the only reasons. There is a level of excellence when it comes to HBO. They aren’t afraid to “go there” and they’ve pushed boundaries long before other networks. They do they same when it comes to the production of The Leftovers. There’s a level of intensity to this new show that will have your heart beating and I’m not sure that would have happened as quickly if it wasn’t being shown on HBO.
5. The Book
As I’m sure you’re all aware, this television show is an adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s book of the same name, The Leftovers. When I read this book three years ago, it had cinematic elements tied into the plot and there was no way I was going to stop reading after the first chapter. If you haven’t had an opportunity to read it, here’s a description of the book,
What if the Rapture happened and you got left behind? Or what if it wasn’t the Rapture at all, but something murkier, a burst of mysterious, apparently random disappearances that shattered the world in a single moment, dividing history into Before and After, leaving no one unscathed? How would you rebuild your life in the wake of such a devastating event?
This is the question confronting the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, a formerly comfortable suburban community that lost over a hundred people in the Sudden Departure. Kevin Garvey, the new mayor, wants to speed up the healing process, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized neighbours, even as his own family falls apart. His wife, Laurie, has left him to enlist in the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence but haunt the streets of town as “living reminders” of God’s judgment. His son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a sketchy prophet by the name of Holy Wayne. Only Kevin’s teenaged daughter, Jill, remains, and she’s definitely not the sweet “A” student she used to be. Kevin wants to help her, but he’s distracted by his growing attraction to Nora Durst, a woman who lost her entire family in the tragedy, and is still reeling three years later, groping for a way to face the remainder of her life.
Through the prism of a single family, Perrotta illuminates a familiar America made strange by grief and apocalyptic anxiety. The Leftovers is a powerful and deeply moving book about people struggling to hold on to a belief in their own futures.
As I’ve shared, the premiere of the show is this Sunday night, so unless you can speed read (and I know some of you can), pick up this mesmerizing read and read it before episode 2 airs.
4. Smoking as a religion?
Yes, this is a thing. And yes, you need to watch it to find out why.
3. The Soundtrack
Another great thing about HBO is that they always accompany their television shows with a stellar music. Of course, there’s no exception when it comes to The Leftovers. Max Richter, the British neoclassical composer shares that, “Amplifying that ambiguity is the soundtrack” (source). This will be Max Richter’s television debut and it will include, “simple piano themes as well as violins and repetitive electronic phrases.” (source)
2. High praise
Damon Lindelof is one of the writers for the show and he recently chatted with Stephen King about working with Tom Perrotta. He says,
I just kind of feel like this all came out of Tom’s head and it would be great to have his ongoing creative contribution to the show because I’m liable to spin off into Crazy Genre Mystery Town. And having spent six years of my life there — as much as I loveLost, the sense of sheer relief that I felt once it was done, and just going like, ‘I don’t ever need to do that again.’ And people are like, ‘Well, now it seems like you’re doing that again with The Leftovers,’ and I say, ‘I think there’s a fundamental difference between The Leftovers and Lost.’ … Coming off of Lost it felt like the longer the show went on, the more crazy it had to become, just in order to sustain itself. (source)
1. Justin Theroux in a cop suit
That’s the only explanation you need.
See you all on Twitter Sunday night!