A quick Q&A with Containment star George Young

2016-05-18 15:20

Cape Town – A new sci-fi series, Containment premieres Wednesday, 18 May on M-Net (DStv 101).

Penned by the writer of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals it tells the story of a city-wide, urban quarantine- which promises to turn into chaos and mayhem in the not so distant future.

A deadly, unknown virus, mysteriously spreads through a local hospital, possibly filled with innocent children, pregnant woman and concerned relatives. That same, deadly virus turning into an epidemic, oozing through Atlanta, forcing authorities to quarantine the city until a cure is found. 

See the trailer here:

George Young plays CDC researcher Dr Victor Cannerts.  He makes the controversial call to quarantine the area and is now racing to find a cure for the virus.

We catch up with actor to find out more about his role and the series.

As the bearer of bad news, your character has a thankless task in the premiere of Containment… 

My character makes the call for the quarantine very early on in the show, and it’s really stressful for him. He’s stuck there at Ground Zero and he’s a little stressed, but he’s trying to hide that stress because people are looking to him for answers. He’s freaking out inside, but he has to hide it.

Is Dr Cannerts a reluctant hero?

It’s not about being a hero; it’s about doing his job as well as he can. People are coming to him for answers. “What does this mean? What’s going on? Why is this virus spreading so quickly?” He doesn’t have all the answers, but he can’t say, “I don’t know.” 

Your character is a scientist who wants to do his job and help, but he keeps having to confront humanity… 

That is more about how other people are reacting to him. People are looking for answers, especially early on in the show. “What’s going on, Dr Cannerts? What does this mean?” They’re telling him they are scared. Guess what? He’s scared as well. But when you tell your doctor something, you don’t want them to react badly and look surprised or freaked out. He’s trying to keep the doctor/patient mentality. He has to step up to the plate. Not in a heroic way, but just in the way he knows; the way he’s been trained for. And he tries to do the best that he can in such a crisis. 

What first attracted you to the role?

I love the fact that this is something that could happen in real life. We have Zika going on, we have Ebola going on. Well, this is something that could actually happen, too. I love the fact that we ask the audience questions. What would you do if you were one street away from your best friend or your loved ones, but you aren’t able to see them anymore? Your sister and her family have been living a street across from you, and you happen to not be able to see them again for however long this lasts. How would cope with that? If communication is cut off and you don’t know what’s going to happen to them, what would you do? If everything goes dark, then what? 

It’s definitely thought-provoking… 

You might think you know what you would do in a situation like this. You might think, “OK, I’ll do this, this and this.” But no, it’s unpredictable what you’d do. I was in an earthquake a few years ago in Taiwan. I was in an apartment and things were falling everywhere, like in a proper earthquake movie. I was sitting there, and now I know what kind of person I am. I don’t run and help anyone. I don’t run to where you’re supposed to go, like under a bed or in a door frame. I’m like a hamster. I will stay frozen until it stops. That’s what I did. I just sat on the couch. That’s what I would do, that’s what George would do. What Cannerts does, what Jake does and what all the characters do is another thing altogether. 

After making the series, do you feel a little more prepared if an outbreak actually happened?

If Zika spreads too much, or if there was a mutation of a virus here, they would enforce a quarantine. We’ve talked to the CDC [Centre for Disease Control] and this could actually happen. That’s what’s both scary and attractive about the story for me. But in reality, I would still freak. I would still be the hamster. There’s not a brave bone in my body! That’s what I would do. Hopefully, I get to play braver characters and hopefully my characters get to do different things. That’s what’s good about being an actor – you get to be someone different for a bit. 

Can you talk about the journey Victor goes on over the 13 episodes of Season One? 

I start right in the thick of it. I’m stuck in the quarantine area. I’m the one that makes that controversial call to enforce the quarantine. There’s that stress of being the most qualified person within the contained area and having to deal with this thing. People are looking to me for answers and I have to not freak out. As much as there is death around Victor Cannerts, he has to try to stay composed. But what happens to him under that pressure? Do things slip through? I’ve seen it to some degree in my research into playing a doctor. Do you see that in other characters? When you put them in a pressure cooker like this, what happens to them? It’s a fun journey for sure. 

Catch Containment tonight at 21:30 on M-Net (DStv 101).

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