[WARNING: Mild Spoilers for Utopia Falls]
In these crazy quarantine days the need for escape is essential. If you’re anything like us, then you’ve been busy bingeing TV shows like Hulu’s Utopia Falls.
It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world but there’s a twist. It blends in a swirl of elements including music, dance, intrigue, angst, rebellion, friendship and young love. It then proceeds to wrap it all up in a pop culture history lesson that comes complete with Snoop Dogg’s voice.
Yes, the hip-hop icon is the voice of the future but you can call him The Archive.
The drama feels like a wild combination of Hunger Games melded with So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol. Hulu classifies Utopia Falls as its first ever “sci-fi hip-hop television series.”
When we asked cast member Phillip Lewitski (Apollo 4) how he describes his show to family and friends he says,“It’s a utopian society living under this shield away from the devastation and ruins of the outside world. There’s a music component that comes into play and it follows this group of teens as they rebel against the authority figures.”
This group of teens are drafted into an event that calls for them to compete using artistic weaponry, namely dancing, singing and playing instruments.
Lewitski’s character, Apollo, falls under the music category, which is a good thing considering the Canadian actor grew up playing the piano, violin and drums. He relishes working on a project that requires him to combine his acting and musical skills.
“It’s the first time in my career that I’ve had to implement both music and acting at the same time,” he says. “I had a good team around me of choreographers for the drum sequences and the piano pieces and stuff like that. I definitely had a good team backing me.”
He also logged a lot of training time to prepare for the performances. “A lot of rehearsals, especially for the drum sequences because the drum beats and the hits have to be exact. They have to match up exactly with the sounds they’re putting over it. So that in post-production everything matches up and looks right. I had to make sure that we were hitting the beats at the exact moments.”
On the acting side of things, Lewitski feels fortunate to embody a character that experiences some seriously dramatic beats. Halfway through the season, Apollo is dealt a blow that threatens his place in the competition.
“Apollo does go through a pretty traumatic thing. And when I first read the script I was nervous but excited for that shift in him,” he reveals. “It not only shifts [him] mentally but also physically and there’s a lot of different layers that you have to then put on and add to the character as an actor.”
The musician is forced to adjust to a new way of life. Against all odds, he rises to the occasion. Lewitski says he didn’t know about this particular twist until well into filming.
“We were only getting episodes as we were shooting,” he explains. We’d get episode one, two and three. We’d get them in little blocks and then we shoot that and just before we wrapped that up we’d get [episodes] five, six and seven.
I remember everyone on set knew what happened to me except for the actors,” he adds. “And the creator of the show did that on purpose. He didn’t want the events later on to affect us and how we were going to do things later in the season. So he was only giving us the episodes periodically on purpose.”
Since Utopia Falls’ February release, viewers have been tuning in and Lewitski has been receiving feedback from fans.
“I’ve gotten messages from people who have gone through similar things that Apollo has gone through. It pulls at the heart strings to hear some of their stories and to read through what they went through and how they persevered. They didn’t give up on dreams and their art because of something that happened to them or something they were born with.”
Along with a diverse cast — Lewitski himself comes from French, Ukrainian and Mohawk ancestry — Utopia Falls features a kickin’ soundtrack. Hip-hop music takes front and center. So who better to represent The Archive in vocal form than Snoop Dogg.
Originally, the actors “had our script supervisor shooting us the lines while we were filming and then we would just act off of that.”
It wasn’t until much later the cast found out the rapper/producer/TV host/actor/entrepreneur would provide the voiceover for the very thing that incites the teens to break the rules of song and dance in this reality. Lewitski feels Snoop’s voice adds much weight and texture to the series.
“He’s got such a distinct sound to his voice and instantly I think fans can recognize that. And just to know that we’ve got this icon on the show that’s trying to represent the history of hip-hop? I think it’s really cool to have someone from the early stages of hip-hop and the hip-hop revolution.
Outside of Utopia Falls, Lewitski is an author — when he was 19 he published a book called Inside My Head. He also guest starred during the 14th season of the CW’s Supernatural. In “Don’t Go In the Woods,” he’s literally in the first scene after the opening recap.
“It was such an amazing cast,” he says. “A lot of the time when you’re joining later on, people can sort of have this arrogance on set thinking they’re better or something like that. But Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, the second I was in the make-up chair getting ready to get my hair and make-up done they were just shaking my hand and welcoming me to the set and it was just a really great crew to work with.”
Vikings fans will be able to see him when the show returns with its final episodes ever. He couldn’t say much about the role he’s playing but he’s, of course, excited to be a part of HISTORY’s hit drama.
“It was cool. It was really amazing. They introduce a lot of new characters, me being one of them, So we all kind of flew in [to Ireland] together and were able to start our fresh new story. It was a lot of fun.”
Lewitski can currently be seen in Hulu’s Utopia Falls.. No word yet on whether the show will be back for a second season.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Interview: Henri Esteve on Grown-ish Season 3
An interview with Henri Esteve, who plays Javi on Freeform’s Grown-ish. He talks about his season three experience.
For All Mankind Season 2: Talking with Wrenn Schmidt, Krys Marshall, Jodi Balfour, and Sonya Walger [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the hooks of For All Mankind is that it’s very much a story about the women of NASA. In Season 2, we explore the journeys of the women in the program, either through their own service or through their family affiliations. Four of those…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Finale [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale episodes.] How’s everyone after that finale? I will freely admit I got a little misty in episode eight as John told Sara why he loved her, and later that he wanted her despite what he might forfeit, and then at the end when he…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness [Exclusive]
Hands down, one of the best surprises of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness is that the serial killer this season has been front and center alongside the cast as a fully-formed character. We’ve watched Libby Hatch devolve from a prim, mild-mannered nurse to a woman in a rage hell-bent on…
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Relationship Recap: John and Sara
[Warning: Spoilers for “Belly of the Beast” and “Memento Mori”] If you’ve read me for a while (thank you!), you know two things — I lean way, way in on the characters I adore and I loathe love geometry arcs. So, I’m torn about where we are and where we…
Louriza Tronco Talks The Order Season 2 [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 2.] The Order’s second season is dark yet delightful entertainment on many levels, and one of its biggest sources of joy and snark is the sassy Gabrielle Dupres. Last season, she was assertive and deadly and fairly annoyed with the world. This season, she’s been…
Previewing Netflix’s Virgin River
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] Full disclosure: I have a Netflix account for my Mom, but I’m not a regular viewer. If I get a heads up on something, I’ll go look for it, but I don’t have a wander across its offerings, which, as I understand it, is how most…
Final Thoughts From the Killjoys Team [Exclusive]
This is the day of the week I’d normally hit you up with a Killjoys preview, but now that we’ve put the series to bed and released Team Awesome Force into the wild, I have one more treat for you–some final thoughts excerpted from my conversations with the Killjoys folks….
Michelle Lovretta Talks Wrapping Up Killjoys [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the series finale.] To quote Miss Jackson, “That’s the end?” Yes, friends, it is. And like I promised you, everything would be, was, and is alright. I went to the Killjoys source, series creator Michelle Lovretta, who wrote the last episode, to break down that delicious finale….
Luke Macfarlane Talks Killjoys Season 5 [Exclusive]
As Killjoys winds down its run, I’ve been extremely fortunate to chat this summer with our onscreen and offscreen faves. I’ve said here a few times that Luke Macfarlane was my introduction into the show, and in the intervening five years, he’s been very kind to chat with me for…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…