‘Silo’ Star Rebecca Ferguson Takes ‘No Bulls–t’ in Front of and Behind the Camera

Rebecca Ferguson had no qualms about leading her own TV show. In fact, she relished the opportunity to set the tone for the Apple TV+ series “Silo” from the top down with a “no bulls–t” attitude. “I’m not worried about the consequence of speaking up or saying no or coming forward,” she told TheWrap over Zoom, sitting comfortably on her bedroom floor, draped in a blanket and fiddling with a caffeinated toothpick as her passion for the acclaimed drama manifested physically — like an excitable friend waxing poetic in the wee hours of the night during a sleepover.

“There is no book of how you lead. You listen and you follow,” Ferguson said, speaking not just about her role as the star and executive producer of the dystopian sci-fi series but also about her character Juliet, who is unexpectedly thrust into the role of sheriff — a job she decidedly does not want.

Based on a trilogy of novels by author Hugh Howey, “Silo” takes place entirely within the confines of a community living inside a giant silo that burrows hundreds of stories into the Earth. Life on the surface is uninhabitable, but Ferguson’s Juliet — an engineer with a tragic past — begins to question the basic tenets that hold the fabric of this community together in a sprawling and emotional storyline.

“She doesn’t want to be sheriff because the idea of human connection and leading people f–king terrifies her,” Ferguson said. “But by questioning, by being a rebel in some form of unchosen way, she changes the status quo of something that has been a structure and shakes it up. And that’s really fascinating, I love it.”

When “Silo” came her way, Ferguson was able to be picky about what projects she took on. She’d become a fan favorite in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise and was earning acclaim for her role in the Oscar-winning “Dune.” So when she was pitched “Silo” and she had some issues with the script, she turned it down. “They came back and said, ‘What was it you didn’t like?’ and I was like, ‘Well this and this,’ and then they came back and they had changed it,” Ferguson recalled.

“The whole script came to life for me and then (creator) Graham Yost offered me the executive producer credit and — and this is not a joke — I literally grabbed my phone and under my computer screen I was Googling, ’What’s the difference between executive producer and producer?’” she said with a laugh.

Ferguson said she put in a lot of work to prepare for the show’s first season, which she described as “like Indiana Jones underground,” but the key to finding her take on Juliet was in the character’s movement.

“I wanted to not walk the same way that I always walk,” Ferguson said. “I thought, what happens if I go completely introvert? What if she’s uncomfortable with people and environments?” That meant carrying trauma in Juliet’s shoulders, looking stiff and conveying discomfort when talking to others. “It’s fun!”

When asked if the responsibility she carries as No. 1 on the call sheet is ever daunting, without hesitation Ferguson said no: “I don’t feel that, ever.” She arrives on set early each morning, and she compared her giggly excitement upon seeing the rest of the cast and crew to that of a teacher greeting students each day.

“It’s a weird dynamic but I think the point is, I see you. You know in relationships when someone says, ‘I see you?’ That’s what I feel with these people.”

And she’s eager to see “Silo” through to the end. The show has only been renewed through Season 2, which wrapped filming earlier this year, but Ferguson said she’s under contract for four seasons total and hopes to finish the story. She even knows how it all ends.

“Season 2 is dark. It’s a bonkers exciting season,” Ferguson said of what’s to come. “It is huge, man.”

This story first appeared in the Drama Series issue of TheWrap’s awards magazine. Read more from the issue here.

Gary Oldman photographed by Molly Matalon for TheWrap
Gary Oldman photographed by Molly Matalon for TheWrap

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