Channel24’s Herman Eloff recently had the opportunity to sit down with the cast and creators behind the new Netflix original, The Rain after a special screening of the TV thriller in Rome.
Rome – It was just another average day at school for Simone when her father unexpectedly shows up and grabs her by the arm.
His face pale with fear.
There’s no time to explain. The rain is coming…and with it a deadly virus that is about to wipe out a whole population.
Will the family make it to shelter on time? Can they outrun the killer storm? And what exactly is it that Simone’s dad is hiding from the family?
These and so many other intriguing questions are what will keep audiences glued to their screens when watching the first Danish original Netflix series, The Rain, which is available on the streaming service now.
During a recent trip to Rome for Netflix’s annual See What’s Next event, Channel24 got a sneak preview of the gripping new series that promises to be another bingeworthy phenomenon.
Scandinavian TV is known for its gripping and intelligent procedural crime dramas like The Bridge and The Killing. Hoping to follow in the success of these shows but also to carve its own path to greatness comes Jannik Tai Mosholt, Christian Potalivo, and Esben Toft Jacobsen’s post-apocalyptic thriller that explores a world destroyed by a brutal virus that spreads through the rain.
(The cast of The Rain. Photo:Per Arnesen/Netflix)
WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL
The greatest strength behind this intriguing new show is two-fold. The first being its fresh take on the post-apocalyptic genre by introducing a younger cast and the second being the topical themes it explores in a world where global warming is a reality and the future uncertain.
The relationship between man and nature is a fragile one – constantly teetering on the edge of total disaster.
“Something that we talked about during the process of creating the show was that we as a human race are constantly pushing nature. At some point it will push back. It’s completely out of our control and that’s very scary. We are in control up and until the point when we just aren’t anymore. We don’t know when that point is,” explains Jannik.
Being unable to control nature’s forces is something that we are being faced with more and more every day. As Cape Town stares down the barrel of a looming Day Zero it becomes frightfully clear that we are at the mercy of the elements.
This unpredictability of the natural elements even spilled into the production of the show. According to Jannik the weather posed a lot of problems during the six months of filming the show; “The most challenging part of creating the show was actually the rain itself. Last year was the wettest summer in Denmark in 32 years. Which is really hard when you are trying to make a show where the rain is dangerous. In some odd way it was always raining when it wasn’t supposed to and vice versa. Which just echoes the theme that we aren’t in control.”
WHERE THERE IS HOPE
Focusing on human fears and then introducing elements of hope is what Jannik believes is perhaps the reason viewers will tune in; “It seems like these type of stories always surface more when we as a society are in a state of fear or doubt. When we’re unsure what is going to happen. When you fear something you have to deal with it.
“You need to try and find hope within the fear. That is what we are trying to do with the show. We are trying to portray a worst case scenario and then looking at finding hope within that. It seems like these kind of stories can in some way be comforting to people in times like this.”
Co-creator Esben echoes this sentiment: “Hope is a thing we talked a lot about. When you push the characters to the edge there needs to be some form of hope. I mean you care for the characters you create. You always want them to have an option out. Then sometimes you decide they should take the wrong step. It’s about creating hope even in these times.”
(Alba August as Simone in The Rain. Photo:Per Arnesen/Netflix)
BROTHER AND SISTER
The two main characters of The Rain are siblings - Simone, played by Alba August, and Rasmus, portrayed by Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen. Both stars are fairly new to industry and faced a fair amount of challenges as they took on the daunting task of steering this hot new show to success.
“I’ve never had to take a lead role in a TV show before. So it was really difficult to be shooting over such a long time. We filmed over six months. My character is almost in every scene, so to be shooting every single day for that long time is really hard,” explained Alba.
She added; “You have to focus and have the energy over a stretched out period of time. Of course you have days when you are super-tired or going through some personal stuff, or you’re sick – but there’s like 200 extras standing there ready for you.
“So, you have to get yourself together. Mentally knowing you can’t have one bad day in six months is challenging. But what is great is that we’re such a big group. So you’re never alone in this situation. We had someone to support us.”
Lucas was still in school when he was cast in his role; “I was 16 years old when I auditioned for the show. I also had a side-job as a cashier in a bakery and of course homework and school, and friends.
“I wanted this so much. So when I got the role I had to drop out of school. Which I’m glad I did, because I don’t think mentally I would have been able to do both. It was a big push for me to let go of everything and become a full-time actor. Which is what I’ve always wanted to be. It’s been an amazing learning experience. I really had to grow up fast. It’s been an amazing year.”
The brother/sister relationship between Alba and Lucas came naturally. “Our audition together was like 10 minutes long and we had an instant connection,” said Lucas. Just like the young actors the characters in the show also experience both mental and physical growth.
(Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen as Rasmus in The Rain. Photo:Per Arnesen/Netflix)
GROWTH AND FAME
According to Lucas his character, Rasmus, goes from being a boy to being a man in this show; “He gets to see the world with new eyes. He even experiences love for the first time.”
Alba’s character, Simone, also experiences a drastic shift in purpose as the show unfolds. “For the first few episodes Simone’s main purpose is to take care of her brother and to make sure he is okay. She puts all her own feelings and needs aside. She really starts at one point and becomes someone else.
“Later on in the show she is no longer focused solely on Rasmus and now she has to start dealing with her own feelings and fears,” explained Alba.
The Rain is sure to be another Netflix original hit. But the talented young cast isn’t allowing the pending fame to go to their head. “There’s no real way to prepare yourself for this. I think you have to take it one day at a time. You just have to be yourself and really express how you are feeling and discuss it with the other actors that are going through it as well. Just be in it. It’s more just focusing on the work instead of all the other stuff,” said Lucas.
“It’s a dream come true just to be able to work on a big project like this,” added Alba.
*Channel24’s trip to Rome was sponsored by Netflix