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The Last Ship’s Christina Elmore Talks Family, Controlling the Cure and Season 2 [Exclusive]

If you’re like us, you’ve been sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the Season 2 premiere of The Last Ship. Thankfully, it’s almost here!

Photo Credit: Doug Hyun/TNT

Photo Credit: Doug Hyun/TNT

In anticipation of the next season, I talked exclusively with Christina Elmore, who plays Lt. Alisha Granderson on the show. When we left off at the end of Season 1, we saw Alisha reunited with her mother, who wasn’t exactly what we thought she would be. Elmore shared more of what is in store for her character and gave us a few hints as to what we can expect from Season 2.

Alisha’s mother, Amy (Alfre Woodard), is the newest villain on the series, trying to control the cure and run the world how she sees fit. “First off, I’ll just say that it’s amazing to work with Alfre Woodard,” Elmore said. “She’s such a talented actress. We meet my mom, and we expect that she’s gonna be a loving mother and trying to put the world back together the same way that we are. And… she’s not. She’s trying to put it back together in a very skewed and narrow way. I think it’s easy to write her off and say, ‘Oh, she’s a crazy, evil mom.’ But also, what I think is so great about the way that Alfre plays the character is that she really believes that what she’s doing is the right thing, even though it’s so messed up.”

That creates an interesting dynamic for mother and daughter, since Alisha has been a part of the team who had been trying to develop the cure and save everyone. “My character has to make some major decisions about where she stands,” Elmore explained. “Is she going to be loyal to her family, or to her new family, which is on the ship?”

Still, Elmore is able to reunite with her mother in an emotional way after being separated from the rest of the world for such a long period of time. Elmore talked about what it was like filming that scene, and the importance of those kinds of connections for the overall story.

“What this show does really well is show how isolated we are from our families and from the rest of the world on the ship. It can start to seem like these people come from nowhere. So to have a moment like that which is clearly important for my character but also for me to connect that, to where we all come from some place. Alisha has no idea what’s going on with her family. She hasn’t been able to be in touch with them or her friends or her girlfriend. To finally have a touchstone was pretty amazing.”

So what does it take to film scenes like these, and to play a role with such complexity? Elmore described her process of getting into character, which, not surprisingly, involves a heck of a lot of research. “For every role, I do as much research as I can. I know a whole lot about the Navy now. I know a lot about diseases and what it takes to disseminate a cure and all that,” Elmore said. “I think at the end of the day, what really is most important is that I try to tell the truth of the moment. These moments are outside of anything I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never had a mom who was trying to do her own form of eugenics. I’ve never been in the Navy. So it’s exciting that I get to do that on this show, because it’s kind of explosive!”

Something else we love about The Last Ship is the way it portrays its female characters. Elmore commented on that aspect of the show as well. “We’re seeing women who aren’t nagging or rude or mean, but who are strong and powerful, and making decisions that are important, and [who] also have emotions, families, and backstories – and are full characters.”

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The cast and crew of The Last Ship work long hours to create such an intense, powerful drama. That could easily take an emotional toll, but as Elmore explained, it’s a supportive group. “What’s great about our show is that, yeah, we’re doing a lot of intense scenes and there’s a lot going on, but we feel very supported by everyone on set. So when we break, we take a break. We’re able to go and release ourselves for a moment and then come back. And we all support each other. It’s great.”

And behind the scenes, things aren’t always so serious. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. “We have some of the silliest people ever. If you lurk on our Instagram pages, you’ll see the craziest pictures, and the silliest, stupidest videos,” Elmore said. “We’re at work a lot, and we put in a lot of hours, so it’s easy to get a little loopy! [Laughs] And when you like the people you’re working with, it’s even easier get a little loopy. We have a blast.”

When Elmore isn’t working on The Last Ship, she still manages to keep herself pretty busy. She was recently part of a play festival, and is now working on an indie film titled Black Car. “It’s a little bit of a thriller, so that should be fun. It’s a very different role for me, but still sort of authoritative, which I like.”

Elmore also admitted that she hasn’t gone back to watch the previous episodes of the show, though she did watch them when they came on Sunday nights so she could interact on social media, enjoying seeing what fans had to say. “I watch them on Sunday nights with everyone else, and then I don’t watch them again. It’s really nerve-wracking! For me at least. Even when I’m watching on Sundays, I look away during my scenes mostly. I’m like, oh my eyes look so big! Oh, my hair’s a mess! Was I really listening to that person or was I just talking, or why’d they make that cut? But the thing is, I like the show a lot!”

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Fans who can’t get enough of The Last Ship can see more of the story with the new motion comic. “I think our show is perfect for that kind of medium. It’s also telling a side of the story that you’re not going to see on the show,” Elmore said.

Of course, there’s also plenty to look forward to in the upcoming season. Elmore hinted at just a few of the things we can expect in Season 2. “This year, we jump back in right where we ended, and we’re going to be telling that story as other things start to happen too. So it’s just going to be really interesting. I’m excited to see what the audience thinks about where we go.”

By the end of Season 2, the crew of the USS Nathan James had found their way home with the cure, ready to disseminate it. But the world they came home too was nothing like they’d expected. This season will bring on brand new challenges.

Photo Credit: Doug Hyun/TNT

Photo Credit: Doug Hyun/TNT

“Now that we have the cure, and now that we’re back home, the show’s not just about finding the cure anymore. It’s about what we do with it, who wants it, who is exploiting it, who’s using it for their own good or for their own foul play,” Elmore explained. “So yeah, the show does take a different tone, but what’s great is that it’s still the same mission. The mission has always been to find the cure, and then to spread it and put the world back together. That stays constant, but how we do it and who we come up against definitely changes. I think it’s exciting.”

That change will also pose new questions as the series moves forward. “There’s a catchphrase: ‘Are you immune?’ I can’t say much, but I can say that if you are immune to this virus, what would that mean? What kind of power could you have? You could do a lot of things that are good. You could also do a lot of things that aren’t so good.”

Edited for space and content.

You can watch the Season 2 premiere of The Last Ship Sunday, June 21 at 9/8c on TNT. Need more Season 2 intel? Check out our WonderCon Interviews with the cast and EPs.

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