Interviews: NBC’s American Odyssey at Wonder Con 2015
Interviews with Executive Producers Adam Armus and Kay Foster, and actor Peter Facinelli.
Saturday, April 4, 2015
Attending Wonder Con Anaheim for my second time has been a real treat for me. One of the highlights was an invite to a very intimate press room for NBC’s new drama series American Odyssey, which premieres Sunday, April 5 at 10/9c. The limited press attendees lent for greater sound quality with minimal background noise that one usually expects in a Con press room. In a round table style interview process, I spoke with executive producers Adam Armus and Kay Foster, as well as actor Peter Facinelli, who plays corporate attorney Peter Decker on the show.
Armus and Foster spoke passionately about casting Anna Friel as the powerful female lead Sgt. Odelle Ballard, who is part of a special ops unit assigned to capture a Bin Laden type terrorist in Northern Africa. As seen in the previews and clips from the new drama series, Sgt. Odelle Ballard’s entire team is wiped out due to the information she and her team find in the terrorist’s hideout. Armus and Foster mentioned a burgeoning relationship with Ballard and Aslam (Omar Ghazaoui), a young Islamic boy, and teased a major part of American Odyssey has to do with Ballard and Aslam’s unusual friendship. During the first two episodes, Ballard goes through some excruciating moments, both physically and emotionally, and while Aslam wants to help, he’s very reluctant because he knows what could happen to him for empathizing with an American soldier.
When Facinelli arrived at our table, he couldn’t have been more pleasant or cordial. In many of the press rooms I’ve covered over the years, I’m always taken aback at how humble and genuinely nice many of the actors and actresses are. Some can be quite evasive or flippant, but Facinelli was an absolute delight. He spoke about his character, who is stateside in New York trying to piece together the link between his client SOC and Sgt. Odelle Ballard. With Al-Jazeera television reporting she’s still alive, but the military stating it’s “propaganda” and Ballard is, indeed, deceased, Decker doesn’t know whom to believe. Facinelli also explained one of the reasons he wanted to take the part. “I think that the role actually scared me a little bit.” Talk about being humble! In addition to American Odyssey, Facinelli also talked about his other show, Nurse Jackie, which is in its seventh and final season. For my first question, I asked how he prepared for the role of Dr. Fitch Cooper (Coop) on Nurse Jackie, which is vastly different from the Peter Decker character. He explains how he prepared for this new role by watching documentaries about Eliot Spitzer, former New York Governor and New York State Attorney General. Of course, Facinelli’s character doesn’t have the sex scandal Spitzer endured. Facinelli also talked a bit about his work on the Twilight vampire films and how he appreciates all the fans. If you haven’t seen Nurse Jackie, one of the quirks Coop is known for is his ‘boob grabs,’ a nervous tick he can’t seem to control when he’s extremely anxious or stressed. There was a colorful discussion at the end of the interview where Facinelli talked about his final episodes on Nurse Jackie.
American Odyssey isn’t for the faint of heart – there is bloodshed, death, and brutality. The one thing that stands out to me is the realism the writers, actors, and directors bring to American Odyssey. Putting it simply, the story is compelling. While some say women aren’t suited to the rigors of training for such elite forces as the Navy S.E.A.Ls or the Army Rangers, at least on television, Sgt. Odelle Ballard proves them wrong.
Check out the video interview below, as well as a sneak peek of the photos from the series premiere, “Gone Elvis.”
Tune in to the series premiere of American Odyssey, Sunday, April 5 at 10/9c, only on NBC.
For more on the show, go to http://www.nbc.com/american-odyssey
American Odyssey Social Media and use hashtag #OdelleLives
Video ©2015 Your Entertainment Corner. All Rights Reserved.
Photos ©2015 NBC Universal. All Rights Reserved.
© 2015 – 2017, Judy Manning. All rights reserved.
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