Eric Mabius (‘Outcasts’) interview

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Set on a recently-discovered life-sustaining planet, new space drama Outcasts begins on BBC One next week.

The eight-part series, from the makers of Spooks, Hustle and Life On Mars, is written and created by Ben Richards (Spooks, The Fixer) and tells of the dilemmas, loves and lives of the surviving population from Earth as they set up a new world.

> Order the Series 1 DVD on Amazon.

Watch the trailer…

Eric Mabius (Resident Evil, Ugly Betty) plays Julius Berger, vice president of the Evacuation Programme on Earth.

How would you describe your character Julius Berger?

“I think in general we all seem to think we are hypocrites, so it’s fun to play a character that is a pure manifestation of hypocrisy. He is someone who gives you the impression he’ll give you the shirt off his back, hold you in your time of need and … I don’t want to give too much anyway but someone who is completely, utterly heartfelt and full of conviction, but there is nothing genuine about him so far which is what I enjoy playing.”

What attracted you to the role, and what did you think when you first read the script?

“The writing. I found out the BBC were very committed to make this work and get it off the ground. Most importantly, the director Bharat Nalluri was involved, who I have worked with several times, who I love dearly and think he is one of the smartest directors I have ever worked with.”

What were your first reactions about the actual script?

“I think what attracted me was that I’m not really a huge fan of sci-fi, but, I think the genre itself when it’s done well is energising. I think the psychological suspense that was created in this series is was what worked and that’s what was so effective. Similar themes of this show, for example, like being on a foreign planet, feeling alienated, trying to start from nothing and then incorporating the lessons and mistakes that were made first time round.”

This group of people have found themselves in extraordinary circumstances, what has Berger’s response been to it?

“I think depending on your perspective he is either the solution or the virus to whatever problems exist. I think in his mind he is very good at reading people, understanding what weaknesses they have and how to alter a situation, certainly to benefit himself, but also to, at least, superficially benefit those in need.”

What would you say Berger’s biggest challenge has been so far?

“I think the character that intrigues Julius most is Hermione’s character as she’s probably the most unknown element in this world, and most intelligent and adaptable so as a result he finds her as some type of conquest.”

Can you tell us anything about the life or the people that Berger left behind?

“I expect he was surrounded by people that did nothing else but exult his needs.”

Tell us about Julius’s journey through the series…

“His ultimate goal is a constantly revolving thing, but as you see him targeting people in a certain way, and the way that he does that, it’s clear he’s trying to go alone so that he can take it for his own.”

How would you describe the landscape of Carpathia?

“It’s personified as a new world; it’s raw and very foreign. It felt like parts of California, Canada and the Pyrenees. The landscape is impressive; it’s not just one thing which was so effective about the location. It was dark and lush at the same time with jutting rocking mountains.”

Some of the characters have been there for several years, what kind of place is it and what is daily life like there?

“Certainly for my character I don’t think there is a daily routine. He certainly is gathering and tending to a flock.”

Each character in Carpathia was chosen for a particular skill, can you divulge what skill your character was chosen for?

“Most people would present an appreciable skill for the rebuilding of the new society. Berger helped arrange that and followed through with the evacuation programme.”

How was filming out in South Africa?

“I’d never been before. I’d say it was really nice to be out of the Hollywood paradigm of doing things.”

What were the highlights for you?

“The landscape, Julius being such a complicated character and the lines were delicious. Really knowing what generally is coming to him, and having to display such genuine kindness and depth of emotion was a lot of fun.”

So, the scenario that Berger’s in, with finding a new planet, is it necessarily so far-fetched? Did it make you think about what will happen to Earth in the future?

“Well in some of the papers and shows that you see, this is all existing in a purely theoretical realm at this point. But we can go back and see that we’ve been altered down to DNA. We’ve been altered by viruses and vast changes that have infiltrated Earth so I think things are constantly evolving and changing anyway, whether we affect another life form naturally or prematurely is in hindsight a difficult thing to comprehend.”

If you were chosen to go to another planet, which three things would you take with you?

“Music, my wife and family, and a good ocean!”

Is there anything you would want to leave behind?


What would your ideal planet look like and have to offer?

“It would definitely be stealing a lot from Southern California, from travelling a lot I’ve seen a lot of different countries and environments. I’m not from there which is probably why I still find it exotic, but it has a lot of space, a lot of natural beauty and perfect weather.”

All characters in Carpathia have a special skill, if you went to another planet what would your special skill be?

“That’s a tough one because I think a lot of actors feel like they have an intangible skill. Probably finding some way to entertain!”