Previewing From “Ball of Magic Fire” + Jack Bender and Harold Perrineau Talk Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
You’ll pardon me for channeling Tom Petty, but this week on From, they’re running down a dream as the game changes on how the town picks off its residents. Boyd and Kenny learn about a terrifying new variation on the threat that then cascades out as an all points bulletin invite to the worst slumber party ever.
Out in the woods, Jim tries to talk down the latest batshit move from Randall, which has Donna in a precarious situation. Tian-Chen hosts the Matthews, Victor, and Jade as they try to ride out the night, and Tabitha compares notes with Jade on what she learned last week about Eloise and the tower of demon Jenga children.
The Colony House residents become a bit fractious with their latest instructions, leaving Fatima and Ellis to again try to wrangle people into some sort of calm. And new arrivals Kristi and Marielle face another challenging wrinkle in Marielle’s detox. At the precinct, Kenny and Sara keep watch on each other and he comes to better understand what she’s been battling. John Griffin wrote the script for the episode, based on his story with Jeff Pinkner.
In the second part of my chat with Harold Perrineau and producing director Jack Bender, who directs this weekend’s episode and next weekend’s finale, they look back at episode 6, “Pas de Deux,” and discuss the thread of horror that runs through the show.
“[We asked ourselves], ‘What would you do in this horrific situation?’ So we worked all that out. Thankfully, Chloe [Van Landschoot] is an actual nurse. So she was involved and I [asked the advisors to] tell me what we would have to do.”
“[That episode] really just turned up the volume. And I know that the volume just keeps getting turned up from point on. That whole episode was such a dance to have everybody in such a tight space. We have tech advisors telling us what is logical in our illogical world, and [while] we weren’t doing Grey’s Anatomy, it had to be at least realistic,” Bender shares.
“We had a conversation about it and I said, ‘Well, maybe we should rehearse it.’ And our line producers [thought that was a] great idea [to] do it on a weekend and then everyone will know what they’re doing. [As] we got closer to it … I’m not a big rehearsal guy. I love the spontaneity. And I said, ‘You know what? I think these actors can do it.'”
“I wanted the chaos of, ‘Where do I stand?’ ‘What do I do here?’ And then people have to go over there and grab [something] and the blood is [everywhere]. And we ended up doing it that way with two, might have been three, cameras. And these actors just nailed it. It had an authenticity and grittiness that I love when we’re filming to keep it a little askew.”
The other fun set piece of the episode is the nighttime mad dash down the hill in the van as Elgin drives Fatima and Ellis to the clinic. “I talked to our camera operator and our DP and said, ‘Could we do that?’ And they figured out a way to do it,” he recalls.
“And the actors were great. I’m very proud of that one. I love that I’m working with people who can just jump in. That’s the best. Because that gives it a ragged reality which is really special.”
As the season has progressed, we’ve seen the town offer unexpected gifts like Marielle’s arrival and Fatima’s pregnancy. Perrineau points back to Season 1 in discussing that paradox. “Donna [says], ‘You know, you may miss this town.’ That’s one of the things that I think is really, really great about the show,” he explains.
“When you look at Ellis and Fatima it’s this beautiful thing that might not exist without this horrific part. Would they have found each other [in the real world]? I don’t know. That’s the thing I think is really interesting about this world.”
“As much as we wanna get them out of here, there’s a little bit of, ‘Hold on, hold on, what are we gonna do [out there]’ I think that those are all the things that add to the show in a way that we don’t usually see horror. Horror we see as the scare at the end. [Here], it’s life. All the things are horrific and scary.”
New episodes of From start streaming at 3:01 am ET Sundays on MGM+ online and via the app and on Prime Video, where you can watch the first eight episodes this season so far. New episodes air linearly on MGM+ Sundays at 9 pm/8c — join the cast for the weekly live Tweet! All ten episodes of Season 1 are streaming online on MGM+ for free here.
In Canada, you can stream Season 1 and the latest episodes on Paramount+ via Prime Video subscription channels. If you missed any of our conversations for Season 1 and my new chats for Season 2, they’re all here. Here’s a preview of “Ball of Magic Fire.”
Photos and video courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
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