Interview with star Parveen Kaur and showrunner Jeff Rake of “Manifest” on NBC by Suzanne 2/22/21
I waited to put this up, since “Manifest” is returning Thursday, April 1st for season 3, and we had many other interviews to put up in the meantime. We also have a new “Manifest” interview to put up as well, which we hope will be up soon. I hope it’s worth the wait! They were both very nice. I have to thank my sister-in-law Eileen, and her husband Joe, because they are huge fans of the show and provided me with the questions. I like the show, but I’m way behind on catching up with it.
Parveen is one of the stars of the show. She plays Saanvi Bahl, a scientist. Jeff Rake created the show and is producer and showrunner.
It was a fun interview, even though I didn’t have a lot of time with them. This was with a series of interviews that NBC and SYFY had for us in one day, with many different reporters. In the Zoom video below, you’ll see and hear other reporters asking their questions as well. We were just one group asking questions that day. In fact, I came in after another reporter had already asked their question. Enjoy!
Here’s the transcript:
Jeff: But every day she’s dealing with, you know, Ben (Josh Dallas); she’s dealing, with, you know, Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh), the Stone family, and so it’s such an oppressive burden that it makes the stakes raise right off the top. There’s an important story point that I’ll tease. Let me see how I can tease it without kind of telling too much, but let’s put it this way, halfway through the season, we come to have an even clearer understanding about why the passengers are back and whether or not they will be able to survive the death date that we’ve been following since the end of season one.
And what Saanvi comes to deduce when this greater clarity comes out, is the fact that she has been guilty of this terrible act could have implications not only on her own destiny, but on the destiny of others around her. So, a bad situation becomes even worse when this kind of comes to fruition at a halfway point in season three, and that ends up kind of driving some of Saanvi’s agenda for the back half of the season.
Question: As far as the Stone family thinks, they’ve cracked what to do about the death date, that if you do something – Can you articulate what it is they think they’ve discovered about defeating the death date and whether or not that discovery holds water?
Jeff: …So, of course, at the end of season two, Zeke (Matt Long), who had just gotten married to Michaela, surprised Michaela and the audience by surviving his death date. He had his own death date to remind our viewers he wasn’t on the plane. The passengers had disappeared and come back, and we came to discover in season two that you’re back for as long as you were gone. So, Zeke was gone for year. After a year, he was back, and he survived his death date.
So, now that we’re on the B side of that, the passengers are trying to understand, “Well, can we learn from the lesson of Zeke? It seems like he followed his callings and therefore lived.” So, when we come into season three, we find Ben and Michaela, unlike Saanvi – and I’ll let Parveen speak to this in a minute, but we find Ben and Michaela in a somewhat optimistic place, because they’re just kind of a few months in the aftermath of Zeke’s survival, and their working theory is, “Okay, Zeke follow the callings, and he lived. If we all follow the callings, then perhaps that means we can live too.”
So, for for Ben and Michaela, it becomes about trying to spread the word to 180 some passengers. “Hey, folks, here’s what we have to do if we want to survive.” They’re going to discover halfway through the season that it’s more complicated than that, but they think they have the tools for survival when they come into the season.
Saanvi, on the other hand, burdened by so much kind of crap that’s going on in her world, I’m not sure if she shares that optimism, but I’ll let Parveen speak to that.
Parveen: Well, I don’t think that she does. She’s also not getting the callings anymore…
Jeff: But that’s a great point, if you need to follow the callings to survive, Saanvi kind of got rid of her callings through science, and now she’s kind of stuck and desperately in search of her path to redemption if there is one.
Question: So, does Saanvi think that she’s screwed it up for everybody or just for herself?
Parveen: Well, she has one theory starting off, and then that theory is proven to be incorrect, which is yes, she thought it was just going to be [her], and then we find out that…the consequences that I thought that only Saanvi was going to experience, there might be repercussions and consequences for all of us.
Jeff: And forgive us for being elliptical, but so much of the season’s mystery is about exactly this, so we’re just being a little bit guarded.
Question: How does COVID impact the production, and do you think viewers of the show living through a real life pandemic developed more of an interest and respect for science?
Jeff: Oh, wow, that’s a really good question. You want to go at that first, Parveen?
Parveen: Yeah, I mean, we obviously can all say that we have a lot of respect for all the frontline workers and all the people that are in the thick of all of this and really feeling it, being, you know, closest to the sun and feeling the heat to all of this, but with the science aspect, I mean, I would have you answer that question in terms of, “Will people have more respect for science because of a pandemic?” I mean, I hope so. These are the people that we rely on in terms of our safety and our health and making sure that we are a thriving, functioning society. Yes, science and scientists are an integral part of our society. So, yeah, I would hope so, so that people can watch a show like ours and have respect for people like Saanvi, because they put themselves through a lot. We’ve seen also certain scientists dealing with a lot of repercussions in terms of trying to spread information and trying to get information out, and it’s not always a safe type of job. We’ve seen people have to deal with real consequences. What was the second part of the question?
Question: How COVID affected the production.
Parveen: There are definitely – we have a very strict protocol on our show in terms of testing in terms of social distancing, and we are very diligent. It definitely took us a minute to get our footing in this new world, but, you know, knock on wood, we’ve been really good.
Jeff: And just to pile on that for one second, when you watch Manifest in season three, you’re not going to see actors wearing masks, and I wouldn’t want anybody out there who watches the show to think that we were loosey goosey with COVID protocol. All we do around here is wear masks and goggles and shields, and the only people who take their masks off are the actors, and they do it only when the camera rolls. And through a combination of rapid tests and PCR tests and social distance, we’ve gotten to a point where the actors feel comfortable with that limited exposure, but it’s a highly regulated environment. It’s it’s been a huge priority for all of us, and when you watch season three, you’ll see when the credits roll, at the end of the first line of the credits is going to mention that this episode was filmed safely in adherence to COVID protocols, because we just wanted to make everybody aware that the actors, the producers, the entire crew, studio, network, everybody’s greatest concern was about the safety and well being for everybody involved in the show and everybody out in the world.
Suzanne: Parveen, I wanted to ask you first, I read an interview from last April where you said that you were concerned that Saanvi might die. Do you still feel that way?
Suzanne: Put you on the spot, huh?
Parveen: Well, yeah, I think she’s very concerned about that.
Suzanne: She’s very concerned. Okay. And, Jeff, my sister-in-law just loves the show. I mean, I think it’s the only show she watches; she loves it. So, wanted me to ask if you have any idea which characters on the show are the most popular, if you’ve done any market research, or going by a male or whatever – I put you on the spot. Now you both get a turn.
Jeff: First of all, thank your sister-in-law for being such a fan of the show. We’re grateful and, you know, honestly, I don’t think it’s a question of like, “Who’s most popular?” I feel like there’s a lot of fan rivalries. So, like, for instance, in the romantic triangle that exists between like Michaela, Zeek, and Jared (J.R. Ramirez), I know that like – Did I say that right? Michaela, Zeke, and Jared. If you’re a Zeke fan, you’re not Jared fan; if you’re a Jared fan, you’re not a Zeke fan. Then, there’re a lot of fans, who even though Saanvi is a strong, compelling character on her own, and she’s a scientist and a driver of mythology, there’re are a lot of fans who see romantic chemistry between Saanvi and Ben. And if you’re an [unintelligible] fan, if you’re a Saanvi fan, you’re not a Grace (Athena Karkanis) fan. If you’re a Grace fan, you’re not a Saanvi fan. So, I think it’s interesting that there’re a lot of factions in that regard. Then, there’re a lot of young people who watch the show, and they’re all about Cal (Jack Messina) and Olive (Luna Blaise). So, I think that a lot of people have their favorites, and they like to argue with each other on Twitter, on Reddit, or the Facebook pages about the characters, but that’s great. I love that. If you love a character, great. If you hate a character, that’s fine with me. I’m just glad that you’re invested.
Suzanne: Thank you. Good answer.
Question: Yes, I would like to ask, is TJ (Garrett Wareing) going to Egypt, because somebody needed to go to Egypt? Or did the actor get something that his absence needed to be explained?
Jeff: That’s very funny. I don’t really have a straight ahead answer for you, in that regard. His character was a great and important role in season two. We love the actor so much; he’s a great friend to the production, and there’s a very good chance we’ll see him again. You know, serialized stories like this are like the sine curve. They have the ups and downs of when different characters are vital to our storytelling. In season three, that wasn’t the case for TJ and Olive’s continuing, mythological journey and relationship journey, [which] goes in a different direction in season three. I’m excited for people to see where that leads and who that leads to.
Question: So, the building of the pyramids is not going to factor into the mythology?
Jeff: Not this season, but you never know on Manifest. And I should add one more thing, in absentia, TJ does play an important role in at least one mythological story turn in the season, so so he will absolutely be invoked. So, with a tip of the hat to TJ, even if we’re not going to see him on screen.
Here is the video of the interview.
Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com
“Manifest” returns for a third season of action-packed drama, shocking revelations and the answer to the show’s biggest mystery – what happened to the passengers of Flight 828?
Over a year has passed since the miraculous homecoming of Flight 828 and the discovery of others who have mysteriously returned. While the Stone family endeavors to keep their friends safe and make their enemies believe the unbelievable, new challenges will test their trust of the callings and each other. But sticking together is more important than ever, because no matter what happens, it’s all connected.
“Manifest” stars Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina, Parveen Kaur, Matt Long and Holly Taylor.
Jeff Rake, Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke, Jackie Levine and Len Goldstein are executive producers.
“Manifest” is produced by Warner Bros. Television, Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, Compari Entertainment and Jeff Rake Productions.
Parveen Kaur stars as Saanvi Bahl in NBC’s “Manifest.”
Born in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley, Kaur moved to Toronto at age 19 to pursue a career in film and television. She is best known for her work in Guillermo del Toro’s hit FX series “The Strain” and CTV’s Saving Hope.
Jeff Rake serves as executive producer, writer and showrunner for NBC’s “Manifest.”
After a short career in law, Rake co-created “The $treet” for Fox, “Miss Match” for NBC and also co-wrote the pilot for ABC’s “Boston Legal.”
In 2013, he developed “The Mysteries of Laura,” which aired for two seasons on NBC and in more than 100 countries around the world.
He has written and produced episodes of “The Practice,” “Bones,” “Head Cases,” “Cashmere Mafia,” “Hawthorne,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Tomorrow People,” as well as the 1996 Elvis Presley hip-hop musical “Hound Dog: A Hip hOpera” for the Hudson Avenue Theatre in Hollywood.
Rake grew up in Encino, Calif., and lives in Los Angeles with his wife and children.
Proofread and Edited by Brenda