Among the unique fall offerings Syfy is putting forward this year is the supernatural apocalypse survival tale called Aftermath, starring Anne Heche and James Tupper. The real-life couple will portray the parents of the Copeland family as they navigate devastating natural disasters and the sudden appearance of supernatural creatures from the mythologies of a variety of cultures. They spoke about the show in this exclusive interview.
As Tupper himself puts it, “In every world religion and culture, there’s different touch points of creatures and things that they’ve invented to help describe themselves or events around them, and this poses the question: what happens if those are real?”
But make no mistake, despite the “after” in the Aftermath, this is not your typical survival story. “It’s not post-apocalyptic; it’s during the apocalypse,” Tupper clarifies. “But it’s more like we don’t understand exactly what’s happening… we’re not sure that it’s the end of days. We’re just trying to battle it. But it gives the writers this leeway to go in every different direction… because it’s all these myths and legends that suddenly have the freedom to come to life.”
The action will be starting right away as the series begins with the family being separated. “In the pilot, our daughter is kidnapped by a being and taken literally up into the sky away from us,” teases Heche, “so our family gets into the RV to go and find her.”
Fortunately, the Copeland family will be hopping in their RV with a variety of skills that will help them figure out what’s happening and how to combat it. “Because James plays a scientist and theologian and a person who studies myths and religion,” explains Heche, “the historical understanding of it is what helps us move forward and understand what is happening in front of us.”
Not that Heche’s character, Karen Copeland, is any slouch. With a military background, she brings a fierce protectiveness to her role as family leader. “She’s a doer, and she’s the physical embodiment of survival and will do anything for her family,” says Heche. “But throughout, each one of the characters… not only Karen but every single one of the family members is constantly confronting who they are, why they’re making the decisions they’re making, and can they stay true to who they are and what their family core is of truth and dignity and love.”
In fact, with the children of the family being played by recognizable actors from The Killing (Julia Sarah Stone, Levi Meaden) and Deadpool (Taylor Hickson), the principle cast has quite an acting pedigree. Says Heche, “They’re all super terrific actors, and they’re willing to do anything. This is a show where the arena is larger than life, and you have to commit your emotions that large to be able to embrace a reality that doesn’t exist. So these kids are just blowing us away every day, and I don’t think this show would work if that weren’t the case. We all feel very lucky to be working together.”
Aftermath is action-packed, and Heche and Tupper did not shy away from the physical demands of the show. “If an 18-wheeler just smashed me up against a wall and then stayed there for awhile and then backed up a couple of feet and then smashed me again, that would not have been training for the amount of physicality that we are going through,” Heche says. “There is action every single second!”
Tupper is equally enthusiastic about the appeal of the show. “When I was a kid and I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark, there’s this wondrous journey into other places,” he says. “I think it reopens that door of adventure where you’re like, ‘Oh my god, what the heck is going to happen next?’”
Heche agrees. “The fun of this show is that… the mystery of what is happening is as much for the Copelands as it’s going to be for the audience.” Viewers will get to experience that mystery firsthand when Aftermath premieres on September 27 at 10pm ET on Syfy.