In tonight’s mid-season finale, Jason Ritter and Sarah Roemer promise a total shake up of the series, The Event.
And from the sounds of it, it may something worth checking out.
The two star as Sean Walker and Leila Buchanan, currently on the run and dashing through cornfields trying to stay out of sight.
Even though the two actors know almost as much as the audience does, they love the mystery surrounding the show. And they both say that not knowing what the actual event is, makes it easier for them as actors.
I talked to them in a conference call about keeping the secrets they do know, their chemistry and the challenges of working on such a huge show.
Can you talk about how you both find the right chemistry with only knowing so much about what’s to come? Like does that help keep things off balance for you guys?
Jason Ritter: I think that that – there’s something that’s sort of exciting about that. You know, I mean I think out of all of the actors, we know the least about what’s going forward. All of the actors know at least what they know.
We all got these character bios at the very beginning so Sophia and Thomas and Ian Anthony Dale’s character assignment, they all know exactly where they’re all from and what’s going on with them. But it’s been fun to sort of have to – you know, I meet up with Sarah every day and we just kind of jump off into the unknown and it’s exciting.
Sarah Roemer: I think it is very exciting and I really love the show. So it’s kind of nice being in the dark and see how it unfolds along with everybody else. And it does keep things interesting and it is nice only, you know, we do – we only really know what our characters know and I think there’s something nice about that.
There seems to be an awful lot of action going on for both of you. Can you tell me if you had to learn any skills or what’s the most exciting things you’ve had to do since you started filming the scenes?
Jason Ritter: I’ve certainly learned a lot more about guns. This show marks my first shootout. So I’ve never – I had never done that before so that was a lot of fun. And I think that my favorite stunt that I got to do was I had to pick up Agent Collier and put her in the car and then we had to drive away from this giant explosion. And I had no idea exactly how giant it would be. And I started to drive away and then all three of my rear view mirrors just turned orange for about two seconds.
And then it was all over and I got out of the car and I looked at a friend’s camera phone who had recorded the whole thing and I got scared in retrospect but too late.
You both said that you find it exciting being kept in the dark and playing things as they come along. But now that you’re reached the halfway point of the season, are each of you pleased with the way your characters have evolved and with how everything’s tied together with the overall plot of the show?
Jason Ritter: Yeah. I’m excited for the next half of the season to see how more of our stories start interconnecting. I think we’ve been on our own little Sean and Layla story and that’s been so much fun. And I really have loved, you know, watching both of these characters transition from sort of innocence in the world to, you know, kicking a little bit more ass.
And so it was really exciting to be – to make an assumption about where the show was going and have the rug pulled out from me over and over and over again.
Sarah Roemer: Yeah. I mean it is – I mean I never really know what to expect. And it is, you know, nice to kind of be surprised episode-to-episode with what’s to come and what’s coming up soon.
Were there any scenes that didn’t come off quite as you anticipated?
Jason Ritter: There are always things that change in the editing room and things that change from, you know, for time sake and things like that.
Sarah Roemer: I think it’s interesting they shoot with so many different cameras at once which I have never worked that way before. They have – they often have three cameras going. And so you never – it’s interesting to see what they end up using and the way they spin it and the way it looks visually and the different takes that they choose.
And also it being such a big ensemble cast I think for me it’s – you know, because what happens on the day which we read the scripts but then what everybody’s filming like so many little things can change that, you know, they’re nice – it’s a lot of surprises once I see the whole show when it comes out.
How do you guys get ready for the show? Do you guys like exercise regularly, eat – have a certain regimen, what do you guys do?
Jason Ritter: Yeah. I’ve been exercising certainly much more regularly than I ever have before in my life. It’s important. I exercised so much during the pilot and then I stopped exercising because I wasn’t sure if the show was going to get picked up. And then it did get picked up and I jumped back in the gym.
But there are a couple times on my, you know, in the first two – like in Episode 2 and 3 where I was running and I just – I hadn’t been doing enough of it at home and my legs really hurt the next day. And so it’s become – I realize it’s become important to just keep it up so that I don’t injure myself because once the cameras are on, you really want to push yourself to, you know, the limit because it’s only a couple minutes and then that’s what people are going to see.
So I’ve done that and paid the price later. So I have to keep it up in the meantime. Otherwise I’m in trouble.
Sarah Roemer: Yeah. I mean I kind of change it up. I go through phases as far as working out goes whether it’s – I’ll do Yoga for a few months or then workout at the gym and then – and if I’m not doing either, there are things that I usually try and do something active whether it’s, you know, trying to jump in the ocean with the surfboard or I don’t know, go hiking.
Do you guys know anything about what the Event is?
Jason Ritter: I don’t. I know that there are other cast members who do. Laura Innes does and Ian Anthony Dale does. I think Blair thought he knew and that was frustrating because I…
Sarah Roemer: And now he’s not sure.
Jason Ritter: And now he’s not sure, yeah. So yeah, no, I don’t know what it is. Sarah and I keep having theories with each other but we get proven wrong.
Does that affect your performance or does it not matter that you don’t know?
Jason Ritter: You know, I think it might affect it more if I did know. You know, I mean I don’t know. There’s something nice about, you know, about being in line with you character as far as their ignorance of a certain thing goes. It’s much harder to pretend you don’t know something than to just actively not know it, you know.
I imagine in those Law and Order episodes and things like that when you’ve read the script and you know who the bad guy is, the temptation would be to have your character, you know, already get a feeling that this is the guy who did it. Whereas in real life, it would be interesting if you were actually trying to figure it out as you went along. Sometimes let the bad guys slip through your fingers.
What’s your biggest challenge that both of you face in this? I would think this is a very challenging show to work on.
Sarah Roemer: Oh, one of the bigger challenges for me, and especially just starting off, I’ve never done television before and the concept – well there was working with three cameras was very strange to me. And also changing directors every episode is such a bazaar concept to me. And so that’s been interesting just because you have to, you know, you have to learn a new language within – and how you communicate with each director.
Jason Ritter: I think one of the challenging things for me has been to sort of put my trust in the writers and, you know, there are times where generally, you know, I can sometimes get lost in my new show. If I’m doing a movie or a play or something like that, I go wait, wait a second. I get involved in continuity and I want to know where I’m coming from and where I’m going.
So there have been times where they’re not letting us know what’s happening in the meantime and I know that they’re doing it on purpose and I know that they have a plan. And so the interesting thing for me has been to just trust that..
When you first read that original pilot script, what was it about the initial premise of the event that appealed to you that you wanted to audition for it?
Jason Ritter: Well, I guess I’ll start with selfishly for me I was really intrigued by the journey of the character of Sean Walker that he goes from this, you know, regular nice guy who’s about to propose to his girlfriend to a guy pulling out a gun on a plane and demanding to be led into the cockpit.
And that was really exciting. And I think on a show that goes back and forth in time, you get to – you get to jump back and forth between sort of emotional states much more than you do on a show that’s just continuous. So that was exciting.
And I just was really just intrigued by everything else in the pilot, the characters. I wanted to know more about every single character that I read. I wanted to know where the plane went, who these people were. And so it was really intriguing in a way that I – that a lot of the other pilots weren’t for me.
There were a lot of shows where I – you know, you read it and you said, okay, well, I’m sure that there is another body next week or whatever it is. But this was a script where I got to the end and I needed to know what happened. I was intrigued by almost everything about it.
Sarah Roemer: I was intrigued by almost everything about it as well. But I – for me it was – I flipped through it so quickly and just the end I need to know what happened. I needed to know like how in the world are they going to explain this plane that just disappeared out of the sky which when we were filming it, in my head I was thinking how in the world are they going to show that. Like how are they going to really make that work?
I loved the script and I really wanted to be the first to find out what happens next. And I sat down with everybody and talked to them about their ideas and what they – their vision was for the show and I was sold and wanted to -really wanted to be a part of it.
Do you guys see a lot of the rest of the cast members? Like and do you know like what goes on in their parts of the scripts or is it just mainly Sean and Layla?
Sarah Roemer: Mostly it’s just in passing from one – there are two stages next to each other and for me anyway it’s coming to and from work and we’ll just have our, you know, 20 minutes of catch up and talking about our theories on the show.
Jason Ritter: Yeah. I mainly see them at press events and things like that because the White House is on a stage and we’re usually out in, you know, some cornfield somewhere far, far away. So yeah, it’s nice to get to run into them and see them and things. But yeah. It feels funny because there are some actors that I just – literally just almost never see.
Sarah, you’ve mainly done film. What drew you to a television show?
Sarah Roemer: Honestly I just I heard about the script and my manager just told me – and my agent told me that they absolutely loved it and that it was special and to read it. And I so I did. I took a look at it and – I mean I was never – I was never really opposed to the idea of doing TV. I feel like I’m usually just doing a film while pilots was happening.
Sarah, you started off as a model. Was it difficult to convince that you could do meaty parts along the way?
Sarah Roemer: I mean it’s – acting it’s very different. It’s obviously very different and a lot more difficult than the modeling world I came from. And I just – I sort of – I ended up falling into it being picked up at a coffee shop five or six years ago. And I just – I started to do it and I really loved it. And so I just – I don’t know. I didn’t – it wasn’t really a question for me once I started. I just – I enjoyed doing it so keep on doing it.
Had you always had the acting in the back of your mind?
Sarah Roemer: No. I had not. I had friends who were actors. I had some close friends who are actors before I had fallen into it. I never approached anybody about doing it. But once I had been approached, I – you know, I said sure and I’ll give it a go.
How challenging is it to work on a show with so much secrecy and to choose your words carefully? I mean does it ever feel like you’re involved with your own conspiracy with the public?
Sarah Roemer: It’s always – it’s hard for me because we’re usually a couple episodes ahead. It is really – I do get nervous about what I can and can’t say because I lose track of time a little bit. Like I know where we are like where our characters in present time but from where everybody else is exactly I sometimes get a little confused because they all kind of carry over into other episodes.
Jason Ritter: Yeah. I think that the secrecy part is great for all aspects of working on the show. I think sometimes the interviews are the hardest part, the answering questions, because, you know. I certainly in my life generally am somewhat of a blabbermouth so it’s hard for me to rein myself in and keep from ruining it for everyone else.