Dystopian shows are the rage right now. Themes like survival and humanity being questioned work well with TV audiences. So AMC has The Walking Dead, TNT has Fallen Skies, The CW has The 100, but The Leftovers is HBO's answer to all these shows.
The new HBO drama created by Damon Lindelof of Lost fame focuses on a mystery-driven plot and is based on Tom Perrotta's bestselling novel of the same name. The Leftovers doesn't seem like your run of the mill 'survival after the apocalypse' show; it's more of a unique look at the Biblical Rapture.
Liv Tyler, best known for her portrayal of Arwen in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, plays Meg, a character with a picturesque house and a handsome fiancé. But something doesn't seem right. And Meg will do whatever it takes to figure out what that is.
Explaining what drew her to the show and the character, Tyler told dna, "I have been really interested in everything that's been going on in television for the last few years, and in the back of my mind, I was looking for something in television. This was shooting in New York, where I live, and I have a son, and he's in third grade, so shooting at home really appealed to me."
In the script, Meg is a 20-something redhead, so Tyler was clearly perfect for the part. Tyler, 37, also confessed she hadn't read the book at that point but fell in love with the character even though there were only two scenes in the pilot script with her in it.
"It's only happened to me a couple other times, but I always say it's sort of like falling in love – you can't explain it, it just happens. I like the whole idea that this event happens, but the story is not about the event; it's about human beings and their journey and their pain afterwards. I'm always very attracted to ensemble, character-driven stories, so I liked that aspect a lot too."
Dwelling on the difference between movies and TV, she says, "In a movie you have a script and it's got a beginning, a middle and an end, and you know exactly what's going to happen to your character. You get a schedule, and everything is mapped out – you know that on Tuesday in three weeks' time, you're going to have a day off. In television, never know when you're going to work, you're sort of on hold for five months."
A lot of book-based TV shows tend to change the characters to suit a different audience. Asked if she was concerned about the change in Meg's character in the book and the one in the show, Tyler says, "Oh God, all the time. Once we were all cast, Damon told all of us, including Justin (Theroux, who plays the sullen yet charismatic lead actor on the show) that our characters' fate was undecided, which is an incredible motivation. We do the best that we can all the time and we don't really know what's going to happen to our characters."
The daughter of Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler came into her own after The Lord Of The Rings. But life is different now, she says. "There's something amazing about being 25 and getting on a plane and going to New Zealand, and being able to just completely be in your work and not think about anything else. It's very freeing."
"Now there are other struggles: I get up and walk Milo (her son) to school and make him breakfast, and then I have to go and beat somebody up, and then figure out what's for dinner and when I'm going to be home. It's a different kind of balance. It's the more grown up version of being an actress," she adds.
This is a 'whole new chapter' in her life, Tyler says. "I feel excited because it all feels new again somehow. I feel creatively fulfilled in a way that I haven't felt for a few years. I remember my grandmother kept saying to me: the best is yet to come, it hasn't come yet. And she meant that with love and with work, and Milo and everything, and I would say: 'Really Gigi? How's that possible? I can't see it.'"
"But now I'm here, and it's true. I've been doing this for over 20 years or something totally bonkers, and there's been different waves and moment. Sometimes you lose your way a little, or something changes, and all you can do is be completely authentic and true to yourself and follow your heart," she concludes.