From writer-director Peter Horton (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and writers Adam Armus and Kay Foster (“The Following”) comes “American Odyssey,” a complex journey through global politics, corporate espionage and military secrets involving three strangers who only have one thing in common… the truth. In this “Traffic”-like action drama, an international cover-up explodes when the lives of a female Special Forces soldier, a disillusioned corporate lawyer and a political activist from a privileged family unexpectedly collide.
Staring Anna Friel as Odelle Ballard, Peter Facinelli as Peter Decker, Jake Robinson as Harrison Walters, Jim True-Frost as Ron Ballard, Treat Williams as Colonel Stephen Glen, Nate Mooney as Bob Offer, Elena Kampouris as Maya Decker, Daniella Pineda as Ruby Simms.
I was recently invited to a phone interview with Jake Robinson (Harrison Walters). Though my schedule would not let me participate, I’m very excited to share some of the highlights from the call with my readers.
Operator: Our first question comes from the line of Curt Wagner of Show Patrol. Please proceed with the question.
Curt Wagner: Hello, Jake. Thanks for joining us today.
Jake Robinson: Hey, my pleasure, Curt. Thanks for being here.
Curt Wagner: I was wondering if playing Harrison has changed your attitude. Like were you much of a conspiracy theorist before and has it changed your attitude about these types of conspiracies, government conspiracies now?
Jake Robinson: Great question. Absolutely. I think initially I was a pretty straight laced, like, well this is how they’re reporting it and this is how it must be and things are – this is how it is. And definitely after doing the show and doing research and reading various books and kind of delving into things more, I think I’ve definitely gone out and started to question what’s right and what’s true and what’s actually going on and really trying to research myself and find answers for myself which I think is what Harrison is also doing in American Odyssey. I think there’s certain conspiracies that are way further out there than others, some things are closer to home. And hopefully what the show does is gets people – and I see it already on social media and across the board and people are like my gosh, is this actually happening? Is this what’s going on? Is our government doing these things? And that’s what’s exciting about being on the show to me.
Curt Wagner: Right. And do you think that’s a good thing to be questioning what we’re told, I guess?
Jake Robinson: Absolutely. I think we have to exercise our rights whether you’re a political activist, whether you’re protesting, whether just – something as simple as the right to vote which so many people don’t. Hopefully this gets people active. I think if we have an active population and a free thinking population, then we have a better country.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line Kara Howland of TV Goodness. Please proceed.
Kara Howland:Hello Jake, good morning.
Jake Robinson: Good morning. How are you?
Kara Howland: Good. How are you?
Jake Robinson: Excellent.
Kara Howland: So I wanted to ask you about what we’re going to see for your character over the next few episodes because at the end of last week’s episode or this Sunday’s episode we saw that Bob, I don’t know if I’d say he betrayed you but he definitely let you down. So what are your character’s next steps and what are going to see in the next few weeks?
Jake Robinson: The biggest change in what happens in the occupy movement in the G8 protest and that sort of thing kind of gets left behind a little bit and it becomes much more of a personal journey for him where there’s things that are affecting his personal life, affecting his family as he delves deeper into this, and it definitely has a more personal note for him and the things that are happening around him.
That incites him even more to go after it, to uncover what’s going on, to figure out why these people are doing this, and where Odelle is and what’s going to happen to her and how it can get that out there, and that ties in with some familial stuff that you’ll see actually get started in the next episode and then continues throughout. I think episode 11 it finally gets resolved for him and then there’s more stuff that happens. Does that answer your question without giving away everything?
Kara Howland: It does, thanks.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Kim Ritter of Two Kids and a Coupon. Please proceed with your question.
Kim Ritter: Do you think social media changed the way that everybody looks at news and conspiracies versus how they used to?
Jake Robinson: Yes great question. I think it absolutely does. I think it changes – I think there’s good and a bad side to it. I think the good side to it is that people are generally more aware of what’s happening on a consistent basis. I think the bad side to it is it’s not necessary. There’s a lot more sources out there so it’s hard to really know who you’re trusting or who’s putting false information or good information out there.
I think the other bad thing about it is that social media allows people to hide behind the platform or the Internet, and they really don’t have to have a face to face interaction and there’s something to be said for being somewhere face to face with people and telling them what you believe and think versus writing whatever – a tweet – and saying, “I can’t believe this is happening” and send it out.
So I do think it’s good that it’s getting more news stories and causing discussion among people. I think that we also do have to be very careful though about what the cost is of spreading that information out there without really knowing what’s going on.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line Dianna Ranere of FSM Blogs. Please proceed.
Dianna Ranere: Hello there. How are you?
Jake Robinson: Good. How are you doing? Thanks so much for calling in.
Dianna Ranere: I’m doing good, thank you. I know to me it feels like the show doesn’t feel like your typical network show. Do you think that it’s something that will change the way the network does television?
Jake Robinson: That’s a really great question and a tricky question. I definitely think that it doesn’t feel like a typical network show. I think there’s great things about that and I think it was incredibly brave for Bob [Greenblatt] and Jennifer Salke and everyone to – Quinn and everyone that was involved in this to NBC and Universal to put this on the air. I think it was a brave choice.
Now the question is in the payoff. While we’re incredibly fortunate to tell this story and to do something that’s pushing the envelope for network television the bottom line is NBC is a business and people often make money off it at some point. That’s the nitty-gritty.
Everyone creatively is in it to tell a good story. But at the end of the day, if it doesn’t produce good numbers, if people aren’t tuning in and people aren’t watching, then you might not see this kind of television on the network, which is a shame. So hopefully they stick with it for a while and continue to give us the benefit of the doubt about what we’re doing.
Dianna Ranere: I hope so.
Jake Robinson: Thanks.
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Be sure to check out American Odyssey Sunday nights, at 10/9c on NBC!