01x00 - Behind The Wall

And now Behind The Wall, the making of Colony...

My fellow colonists, welcome to day 341 of our occupation.

Our choice is clear.

Resist or die.

Roll sound!

Take marker.

Action!

Colony, USA Network's blockbuster original series, is one of the most anticipated new shows of the year.

We came up with this idea of setting an occupation in modern day Los Angeles.

It's current.

It's as if this happened now.

Legendary Television, part of the studio that produced Godzilla and Pacific Rim, and Universal Cable Productions, the studio behind the acclaimed original series, Mr. Robot, have teamed up with creators, Carlton Cuse, Emmy award-winning producer of Lost and writer of the hit film, San Andreas, and Ryan Condal, screenwriter of Hercules, to bring you this compelling story of Resistance and Collaboration.

To be here, bringing it to life, and to see the scope and scale, it's the most awesome part of the process.

Over the next half hour, you'll get an inside, behind-the-scenes look at this intriguing new series, including interviews with the creators and cast...

I tend to like a big story that I can't even figure out myself.

...exclusive footage from the set... [Tires squealing] ...and a sneak peek at the unique and amazing world imagined by the creators and crew.

They don't know this yet, so just between you and me, you know, and whoever is watchin', we'll let them know.

This is Colony-- Behind The Wall.

[Siren wailing]

Get down! You, come here!

What is this? What are you doing?

Come here!

I haven't done anything!

You can't do this, please!

[Siren wailing]

Colony is a story about occupied Los Angeles.

It's about family.

It centers around my family and our struggle to survive.

There's been this mysterious invasion by this very advanced outside party, and we don't really know who they are, and they've put up these giant 300-foot walls.

It's kind of a family espionage thriller, but with some science fiction elements.

What would you do, put in this situation?

What would you do for your children?

What would you do for humanity?

Who come-who comes first?

Colony is the brainchild of creators and executive producers, Carlton Cuse and Ryan Condal.

Ryan and Carlton are this kind of amazing dynamic duo.

Carlton and I are both huge syfy fans, but we're also big fans of history.

And one of the things that we both were fascinated by was Paris, during Nazi occupation.

We looked at a bunch of photos, and you would see these Parisians, well-dressed, sitting in sidewalk cafes, sipping espressos, while Nazi stormtroopers were going by in the street.

We thought that was a really interesting and incongruous image, that people were trying so hard to kind of keep the normalcy of their lives under this incredibly repressive regime.

It just fascinated us, and we wondered, "Well, what would that look like in-in our city, where-where we both live?"

And we talked to Legendary about it.

They loved it. We set it up with USA.

And then we made the pilot last year.

And now, here we are, making a series.

Legendary makes their first foray into television drama, with Colony, and brings together a stellar cast, led by Josh Holloway of Lost.

Carlton called me, like, "I have an offer you can't refuse."

And Sarah Wayne Callies of The Walking Dead.

It's a story I believe in.

It's a character that I've never seen before.

The acclaimed cast also includes three-time Emmy winner, Kathy Baker, of Picket Fences, Peter Jacobson of House, Amanda Righetti of The Mentalist, True Detective's Tory Kittles, Carl Weathers of Rocky fame...

Apollo creed!

...and Paul Guilfoyle of CSI.

We feel like we've really got some great actors on our show.

We were kinda just with the characters.

We're sort of seeing the world through their eyes.

You have this world in which these people, who maybe were neighbors at one time, find themselves at odds with each other.

[Dog barking]

Let me go!

One of the things about reading the script, it made me think about, how far you'd be willing to go to resist.

It was a pilot that was about family, and about people making really, really difficult choices.

For people to come back, week to week, it all begins and ends with the characters.

Everything has suddenly been heightened, and the choices that you make, who you side with, who you choose to trust, who trusts you, become massively important for your day-to-day survival.

It's a political environment.

Everything you do has a political component.

Throughout human history, we've either occupied someone, or been occupied by someone else.

It's shocking what human beings will do in these situations.

What would you do to survive?

What are the compromises you would make?

What are the things that you would be capable of doing?

Good morning. Good morning.

You stink. And you, you stink.

At the center of the show, is the Bowmann family.

Will is a former FBI agent, forced underground by the Occupation.

All the people who were police, and authority figures, military, was wiped out during the arrival, and Will was smart enough to go underground.

He and his wife, Katie, must navigate this new world, where freedom no longer exists, and the consequences for disobedience are deadly.

Get up! Let's go.

Their relationship is already complicated.

They have true love at the core.

Yet, they've lost a child.

Will and Katie have three kids, but only two of them are living with them right now, 'cause their son, Charlie, was caught on the other side of the wall when these mysterious invaders showed up.

And that's fracturing the family in various ways.

It's bad enough he's gone, but to see you every day hating me for it.

I don't hate you for it.

Will and Katie are desperate to get their kid back.

And so, Will hired this guy to smuggle him into Santa Monica, to rescue Charlie.

You'll be my 38th run. You got nothin' to worry about.

Hop in.

You have entered the exclusion zone.

Remain inside your vehicle until otherwise directed.

My box kills x-ray and thermal.

They'll never know we were here.

[Grunting]

[Whirring]

Freeze!

Hands where we can see them!

Get 'em up!

Move, now!

Stay where you are!

On your knees!

Keep 'em up!

Put your hands behind your head!

Medic! Get me a medic, now!

Coming up, on Colony-- Behind The Wall...

Find out how the show's creators built the world of occupied Los Angeles utilizing firsthand accounts...

Juan, our director, grew up in Argentina, under a dictatorship.

...state of the art effects technology.

Story always comes first.

The visual effects are a way to augment and help tell that story.

...and good, old-fashioned Hollywood magic.

Hey! Where is my phone call?

Let me out!

I want my phone call.

Step back!

I need to call my wife.

Agh!

[Indistinct]

Occupied Los Angeles is a world very much like our own...

There's blue sky. There's palm trees.

There's good weather.

...with some eerie differences.

There's an unscalable wall that surrounds the city.

Show creators, production designers, and visual effects specialists combine with cast and crew to bring this incredible world to life.

Colony is this kinda wonderful blend of-of elements that give you a-a really unique look on what life in Los Angeles would be like if we were actually occupied.

This world's just that ten percent different enough to really kind of make you sit back and say, "Whoa.

What-what's happened here?"

The show picks up nearly a year after the arrival.

A cataclysmic invasion that changed everything.

[Whispering] Every defense apparatus was wiped out within eight hours.

All of a sudden, Los Angeles and its millions of citizens, their lives were completely turned upside down.

Many were killed, many were taken away.

One of the first things that happened after the arrival is, pretty much all the cars went away.

So, this is a very different Los Angeles.

A lot of people are on foot or riding bicycles, so it has this very kind of Parisian feel to the city.

We tried to kinda come up with this idea that beauty and oppression could co-exist.

You know, Los Angeles could look pretty and inviting, but, at the same time, it's clearly now a hostile environment.

What's great about what Carlton and Ryan have done in the concept, is just that idea of isolating it, fencing in groups of people, creates this tension.

Slowly, but surely, you're feeling what it is to be oppressed.

I'm a stickler for the-for the logic of, uh, of the occupation, and of a dictatorship, and how this mentality works.

I grew up in Argentina, uh, during the '70s, where we had a dictatorship.

A very-- a-a pretty rough one, but that a lot of the society was for it.

And I can see that happening very easily in America.

Was an explosion at the Santa Monica gateway, yesterday.

It was the Resistance.

Those terrorists wounded at least ten people. - Thank you.

Who knows how many more they killed?

We were going for a look that had a much more documentary style.

We really wanted to make it look and feel very real.

That this could really be happening.

It's very handheld, and, you know, many times, we-we staged the scene, without any specific instructions to the camera operators.

And then we just put, you know, the three cameras, as if they were a news team that are covering the scene for the first time.

Uh, so it feels very immediate, very real.

The production designer is in charge of the look of the TV show.

I'm responsible for all of the things in front of the camera.

From building the sets to decorating the sets.

The sets are beautiful, which, right away, for an actor, that puts you in a good place.

So, The Yonk is my bar. This bar.

The Yonk is short for Yoknapatawpha, which took me some time to learn how to say.

Thank you, Ryan.

I love The Yonk.

It's kind of a bar that has a Southern vibe to it.

It definitely feels real.

Oh, well, look who made it after all!

Oh, you think I'd miss the opportunity to drink publicly for the first time in 11 months?

As a designer, I was kind of excited about all of the kinda graphic qualities to it.

Resistance posters, and posters that are more like pro-Occupation.

By the visuals of what we put on the screen, we're telling the audience where you are.

The visual effects are a huge part, uh, of this show.

We have this tremendous visual effects partner, in Ghost, who is our, uh, visual effects studio, out of, uh, Copenhagen, in Denmark.

They visualized an amazing pilot.

Our walls, the 300-foot walls that surround Los Angeles, are an entirely digital creation, as are the drones that patrol the skies.

Yeah, the drones are-- th-they are little characters of their own right.

Th-they are, essentially, acting.

They're in patrol mode, in seek and destroy mode.

In modes that we don't know what they're really thinking.

Even though they're mechanical, and they're just whizzing around, you'll actually see, they have different personalities.

Ryan geeks out on all the science fiction stuff.

Like, he was showing me pictures of drones, and we were jumping up and down like children.

You know, it was like, yes!

I've always wanted to be in Battlestar Galactica, and, like, Star Wars, and all these amazing shows, and we get to do stuff like that.

The most difficult thing for actors is trying to imagine elements such as drones that they've never even seen.

And my role is to assist them to imagine this world.

We need to make sure that eye lines are correct, and they are actually looking at a drone that is somewhere that we're not seeing in real life.

So, it's especially challenging on a blue screen, or a green screen as well.

The toughest thing is, really, it's the cars.

[Chuckles]

Los Angeles is a very busy city.

Well known for, uh, its greatest export, which is traffic.

To clean up these roads, and to make it look like we're in a no-car environment, is really, really difficult.

So, we lock down lanes of traffic as much as possible.

We pick off little pieces from our plate shots that don't have traffic in them, and it's a really painful process of painting them out.

Fire in the hole!

Action!

[Rapid gunfire]

Today is probably the-- one of the biggest shots.

We're gonna have bullet hits.

Uh, alien drones whizzing in from the background.

Next week, we're, uh, blowing up an entire house.

Each week, we get more and more exciting effects.

[Tires squealing]

[Cheering]

Coming up, on Colony-- Behind The Wall, we'll explore occupied Los Angeles, and discover the challenges faced by its citizens.


If you're resourceful and clever, you can survive this occupation.

Both the Collaborators...

There's no victory to be had against these people.

What there is, is compromise.

...and the Resistance.

There's a lot of fear and consternation goin' on.

That's a good word, "consternation."

Consternation in-in the colony.

I like it.

As you dig deeper into Colony, you'll discover the oppressive new world under which the citizens of Los Angeles are forced to live.

There's no communication. There's no internet.

There's no cell phone service.

There's no information that goes outside of these walls.

I'm lookin' for Will Bowmann.

Are you Will Bowmann?

Sullivan. Ahh!

[Groans]

Not anymore.

Los Angeles is now under martial law.

A giant wall separates the city into three blocks, each administered by a proxy government.

There's Santa Monica, there's the Los Angeles block, and there's the San Fernando Valley block.

Where are you taking me?

Green Zone.

In the LA block, where our characters live, you either live in the flats or you live in the Green Zone.

The Green Zone is the more privileged area, where the people that collaborate with the transitional authority live.

The Hollywood Hills and Bel Air, all those houses have been taken over and are occupied by the new elite.

They're leading very nice, luxurious lives, whereas the regular citizens are not.

They're subject to rations and repression.

The show sort of explores that dichotomy.

I'm the Proxy Governor of our little block here.

Why am I here?

To turn crisis into opportunity.

I take question with the fact that he's a bad guy.

He collaborates with a clean conscience because I think that Snyder believes truly that he is a force for good change.

Wait-wait-wait. Hold on.

You can't-- Ahh!

After the arrival, the Occupation government established their own police force, which the citizens refer to as The Red House.

They run ads, just like army ads.

They're tryin' to recruit people to control other people.

There's a military curfew in effect every night.

The things that you used to take for granted, like walking down the street to go get a cup of coffee, are not so easy anymore.

You don't know, at any given moment, whether you might get hauled out of your house and taken away, never to be seen again.

My brother got sent up. The Factory.

What is The Factory they keep talking about?

Is it a concentration camp?

Nobody really knows what The Factory is, or what it's making, but what we do know is, is that people who go to The Factory don't ever come back.

In opposition to this new totalitarian regime, stands the Resistance.

A shadowy group of fighters led by the mysterious Geronimo.

The Resistance wants very much to end this occupation.

These are just everyday men and women whose lives have been turned upside down.

People are willing to risk their lives to make change.

A revolution.

Down!

How big is the Resistance? Who runs it?

What's their grand plan? How organized are they?

Those are all mysteries that are a part of the show.

Our hosts are tired of the insurgency.

You want me to collaborate.

Infiltrate the insurgency and bring us their leader.

Does he agree with resisting?

Yes, but they're going about it in the wrong way.

They're getting innocent people killed.

Amidst these warring factions, Will and Katie struggle to keep their family safe.

They try to live their life the way they had before it was ripped out from under them.

Family in a world like this takes on a new primacy.

Madeline's living with them, her sister.

And Hudson, Madeline's son.

For Maddie, finding insulin for her son is-is one of the biggest challenges.

Certain conditions are deemed unworthy for treatment.

Diabetes is one of 'em.

This has to be kept cold. It's way too hot in here.

What do you think you're doin'?

I'm not buying insulin.

A trade is a trade!

[Cocks gun]

Whether it's trying to buy something on the black market, or whether it's being out at the wrong place after the curfew sirens sound, the world is full of all these perils that never existed before, and our characters are trying to navigate their way through this and survive.

If you can't help me, then you and your wife, and your children, you'll all be sent to The Factory.

The most important day in human history is coming.

I just want you and your family to be on the right side of it.

[Collective gasps]

The audience will learn more about who these mysterious invaders are, what they want, what they're up to, what their powers are.

There are all these sort of layers to the show that will be explored over time.

Coming up, find out how the cast answers the question, collaborate or resist?

I don't know if I would have the courage to risk my children.

And the creators give us a special sneak peek of a scene from the premiere episode.

Don't tell him.

Yeah.

Don't-- Just because he asked nicely doesn't mean you're gonna tell.

Keep watching.

Cameras and marker.

Actor number two, action!

[Grunting]

Colony, USA Network's new original series, is a high-stakes drama about surviving in a new world.

It's an old human story, but this is unlike any enemy we've faced before.

These characters, they come up against all sorts of dilemmas about, what are some of the compromises that we need to make in order to survive?

Who are you, deep down?

What kind of character do you have?

And what would you do for your family?

The characters in Colony must walk the fine line between Collaboration and Resistance.

Nothing and no one is what they seem.

You don't know who to trust.

We lie to everyone. We lie to protect ourselves.

Why are they collaborating?

What is at stake for them?

And that is the beauty of this show.

It's a character-driven study of perspectives.

And now, here's an exclusive sneak peek at a scene from Colony.

[Siren wailing]

♪♪

[Whirring, buzzing]

Please, no! No!

[Gunfire]

Get off me! Get off!

Ugh!

USA Network, Legendary Television, and creators and executive producers, Carlton Cuse and Ryan Condal, have created the next great television drama.

All great stories are, at their core, human stories.

We get to take a fantastic universe and use it to examine the contemporary issues of our own world.

It's about humans battling humans.

It's about the things we're capable of doing to each other.

It focuses on that unbreakable family bond.

Big, heavy, moral decisions.

Revolution.

We're not telling you who's right and who's wrong.

There's no black and white hats.

There are red hats.

Kind of end up with this bit of a Casablanca story.

It's this crossroads of the world, where different people from all walks, Occupation, and Resistance.

And then the people that are just caught in between, trying to survive.

Hopefully, it'll put yourself in the shoes of our characters and our show, and you'll wanna ask the fundamental questions.

Like, would I collaborate? Would I be in the Resistance?

What lies outside the LA block?

Is the world destroyed?

It's all a mystery, and that's the fun of the show.

These are things we'll have to discover.

[Rapid gunfire]

All of this, it's temporary.

Once they've satisfied their needs, they'll leave.

What needs?

Colony premieres Thursday, January 14th, at 10/9 Central, only on USA.

The time has come to make your choice.

Do you collaborate or resist?

That's a heavy question.

It's easy for anybody to sit and say, "I'd do this" or "I'd do that."

I resist.

I might collaborate, if I got to make television shows.

I would like to think that I would resist.

I would really take my time to make that decision.

I may be a huge coward. I have no idea.

When ya can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Collaborate and die.

I would do whatever it took to save my family.

Anything.