Jason O'Mara Talks TERRA NOVA - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Jason O’Mara Talks TERRA NOVA

September 26, 2011 by  

After more than a year of build-up — and having its premiere date pushed back a few times — TERRA NOVA is finally debuting tonight!

So what can fans expect from the series? And how is leading man Jason O’Mara (Jim) holding up pre-premiere?

We talked with O’Mara to get the answers to that and more…

How excited are you for people to finally see TERRA NOVA? I know there was a screening at Comic-Con, but the official series premiere is an entirely different experience!
Jason O’Mara: You know, I’m a little nervous. I know it sounds naïve, but I sort of feel likewe’ve been working on this for some time … It’s become our, kind of, our baby. It’s been a part of my life for the last 15, 16 months. I’m very proud of it. And there has been a lot of scrutiny and a lot of secrecy and a lot of backroom back-and-forth. Obviously, there’s a lot of very distinguished people involved in the creation of this thing. So it’s great that it’s finally getting out there because I think it will dispel a lot of people’s concerns and worries just by sitting down and watching the thing. But, at the same time, it’s kind of nerve-racking because once it’s out, it’s out. No more talking. No more negotiating. No more, “Well, we can get it this way, we could get it that way.” That’s it. It’s out there. So it’s nerve-racking, actually. And I didn’t think I would say that. But it is, yeah.

That’s understandable. What can you tease about what’s up for your character beyond the pilot, because he and his family are in an entirely new world…
JO: It is an entirely new world, and, in a way, it’s kind of for Jim, and to an extent, through Elizabeth Shannon’s eyes. We’re discovering it for the audience, because we’re discovering it, too. So we’re sort of coming across … we’re discovering things as we go. So we’re kind of discovering how this thing functions. But there are various questions that arise, like, “How come Taylor’s still in charge around here? And how’s it work with the Sixers? What’s going on with these people? Where are they from? Why did they split off from the colony? What is their problem? In the early days of Terra Nova, you know, the founding fathers – where are they? Why is it just Taylor?” You know, all these questions kind of start to arise, as well as the fact that Jim Shannon has to cope with his family, you know, his kids growing up. He’s getting to know his youngest daughter. He’s estranged from her while he was in jail. He’s missed out on a lot of his older son’s formative years. He’s getting involved with some people who don’t have his best interests at heart. So there’s a lot going on for Jim. He’s kind of like the glue that joins all the different stories together. So there’s a lot in store for Jim and for the audience. And his personality gets tested. His mental gets tested. His physical limits are tested. He always, sort of, finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or the right place at the right time, depending on how you view it. So every week is slightly different, you know? Some weeks it’s heavier on action. Another week it would be heavier on character, big on mythology. Another week we’d get to know another character in Terra Nova. So it’s sort of … the show varies week to week, you know, to keep things interesting, keep mixing it up.

What does he want for his family in this new world?
JO: Well, you know, all he wanted for his family was a second chance. All he wanted was a future for them. And that’s something that his parenting couldn’t really offer in 2149. So the fact that’s he’s achieved the impossible and come here and now is able to, sort of, enjoy the fruits of those risks that he took and be able to live with his family in the same house is just incredible. But the day-to-day reality of living and existing in this environment does take its toll. So you get the second chance, but you also get the domesticity of sharing living arrangements with your wife and children, and the ins and outs of that, the trials and tribulations. You know, a lot of it hangs on their relationship and how they function as a family. And they’re pretty high functioning.

You know, what excites me is, like, bringing this sort of epic backdrop, this sort of potentially massive scale of story and scaling it down to the way a father talks to his son or the way a daughter smiles at her father, and, you know, a bedtime story or moments.

Aside from the obvious dinosaurs, what else can you tease about what the Shannon family will be dealing with?
JO: Well, ultimately, you know, it’s other people, not just the dinosaurs. I mean, obviously, we’re all on the menu, and none of us want to be lunch. But, you know, not everyone has each other’s best interests at heart in this, you know, new chance for mankind. So it’s kind of … it gets a little hairy. There’s a lot of jostling, politically, going on. There are also pressures that they touch upon in the pilot that teenagers now simply don’t have. Like, there’s a pressure to get started on this business of reproduction. And so, it almost harkens back to Elizabethan times where kids, you know, 15, 16, as soon as you’re old enough to reproduce, it’s time to get going because life expectancy is lower and we’ve gotta get up, you know — we’ve gotta get going with this and ensure a future for humanity. So the pressure’s like that, you know, for example.

How much of the first season arc did you know in advance?
JO: Only what I shot and read. I tried to take my episodes one stage at a time cause we [were] shooting in blocks. It often crosses over. I could have four episodes in my head at one time, but I can’t have six. So I try to make rules of myself that I only read episodes when I’m absolutely ready to read them. But, honestly, there’s some really thrilling stuff in store, and I think this series goes in directions that are surprising and interesting. I want to make sure that there’s always a human story in the heart of every episode. We’ve got this science fiction, we’ve got this mythology. We’ve put questions that we answer, you know, through character. And we’ve got these fantastic relationships. But I’m really interested in the human stories, so I try to bring that to Jim Shannon to make him as honest and engaging as I can on an episodic basis.

Will you be tuning into the series premiere of TERRA NOVA?

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