“I’m really bad at keeping secrets,” Jason Ritter, one of the stars of NBC’s new mystical, mysterious drama, The Event, laughed on a conference call with reporters last week. Therefore, it’s probably a good thing that neither he, nor his co-star Blair Underwood who was also on the call, nor any of the other actors, actually know exactly what the titular event is.
Both Ritter and Underwood assured reporters that “by the second episode a lot of the questions will be answered in terms of who these people are…we don’t want to frustrate the audience! We want to keep the mystery, but we don’t want to frustrate the audience.”
“What I can tell you all is that the event is something that’s very eventful but that it can also change the course of mankind as we know it,” Underwood further teased.
Fair enough. But though this show definitely features elements of the surreal, it also focuses on very grounded, very relatable characters, and that is what intrigued the actors more than anything else.
“All the characters felt fully fleshed out and real, and it felt like we were in the hands of the first chapter of a really great story,” Ritter explained. “For example, my character being in a completely different place over the eleven days [of the premiere episode].”
Read LA TV Insider Examiner’s review of The Event pilot here.
Ritter was referring to the emotional turbulence his character Sean experiences as first just a normal guy, happy and in love on a relaxing vacation with his girlfriend only for things to spin out of control as she disappears, the cruise ship they were on claims to have no record of them, and he takes a plane full of people hostage.
“I was fascinated by having to put all these puzzle pieces together—seeing these characters jump back and forth through time,” Ritter added.
Underwood, who plays the President of the United States, was also excited to see that his role wouldn’t all be about press conferences and political meetings. Instead, he is glad to delve into the meat of the character and “really see the human being behind the office.”
“I initially sat down with producers and discussed what this whole world would be,” he said. “And I was impressed…with how much they strategized and thought through this world and these characters and really kind of planned out the first five years, but really the first two years because we know in television some things can change based on what the audience wants to see and whatnot.”
Both actors have been a part of big TV projects before, as well as smaller, more independent films. Ritter admitted that in a show as eagerly anticipated as The Event, which premieres tonight, there is more pressure and more riding on it. “But you realize that most of that [pressure] is coming from your own self. It’s still a group of people making the best thing they can,” he shared.
And while it still remains to be seen just how much the audience will relate to these characters or be invested in finding out what exactly the event is, Ritter and Underwood are just enjoying the ride. “It’s been a lot of fun; this project in particular has been a dream,” Ritter said.
The Event will air on Monday nights on NBC at 9pm.