“They’re always very nerve-racking but I just tried to control my nerves and make it look like it was easy. But it wasn’t.” – Hanna Mangan Lawrence on auditions
The series, which also stars David Gyasi (Interstellar), Christina Marie Moses (Starship: Apocalypse, Starship: Rising), Chris Wood (The Vampire Diaries), Claudia Black (The Originals, Farscape), George Young (Casualty), Kristen Gutoskie and Trevor St. John (One Life to Live), follows an epidemic that breaks out in Atlanta, leaving a large portion of it quarantined and those stuck on the inside fighting for their lives. The pilot definitely leaves you wanting more and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.
In this interview, Lawrence chats about the show, research and auditions.
Containment premieres on The CW on April 19th
Your character Teresa on the show is a teen that’s pregnant and you and your boyfriend are separated by the cordon but now you’re in a panic because you may or may not be infected.
What was your mindset in trying to play that panic of an outbreak and also being a pregnant teen?
Hanna Mangan Lawrence: I think that’s one of the interesting parts is that, yeah, there is this disease outbreak going on and that is terrifying in itself for anybody, let alone someone who is on the verge of giving birth to her first baby at a very young age without the father.
So, it was thinking about all those things, how would you do this? How would you keep yourself calm? Because you need to keep yourself calm and think rationally and ultimately her main goal is to protect her baby, the baby that’s still inside of her.
How did you prepare for the role?
Hanna Mangan Lawrence: I just ate a lot. It’s not a prosthetic, it’s just me eating. [laughs]My sister, who’s a bit older than me, she was pregnant during the pilot and gave birth just after it. So, when I was going into the series, I would speak to her.
I’m actually from a bit of a hippie family, so I’ve seen my step-mom in labor, not labor but I saw her throughout the process of having a baby. So I’ve seen all that. I knew and I’ve had some good sources, good research.
What do you think is the importance of bringing this smaller personal story of teen pregnancy into this much larger story?
Hanna Mangan Lawrence: Well that’s the interesting part, it is about a virus that is so scary, but ultimately it is about the characters and having to do with everyday life. It adds layers and it is more interesting because when it comes down to it, they’re like you. They’re just people trying to do their best in coping with the situation.
What was your audition like?
Hanna Mangan Lawrence: It is a pretty normal process. I had to audition for David Nutter, who did the pilot, who directed the pilot. The first audition I went on, he and Julie [Plec] were in the room and then I just kind of went to studio and network tests.
They’re always very nerve-racking but I just tried to control my nerves and make it look like it was easy. But it wasn’t.
With such a dark show, what’s the mood on set like?
Hanna Mangan Lawrence: It was wonderful. We have such a strong cast and crew, everyone was so lovely, we had like a real connection.
It was really nice because a lot of the actors are from out of town, so I was saying it was like we were all on Band Camp. It was like Containment Camp 2015. We’d all go to dinners. We all stayed in a radius of like a mile because you don’t want to go too far from each other. We’d meet up and go have a drink and eat.