CBS seems to have a hit on its hands with the thriller “Under the Dome,” and one of the stars of the show, Jolene Purdy, recently sat down with Dread Central to talk all about this exciting new series.
Genre fans will certainly remember Purdy from her work in the memorable film Donnie Darko, in which she played Cherita Chen. Purdy talked about her past, leading up to this great new role. “When I was younger, I started doing musical theater around second grade, and I just grew up loving musical theater,” Purdy said.
“Then I had an audition for Donnie Darko, and it kind of opened my eyes to what it’s like to not necessarily work in chronological order like a play on stage, focusing on story and character. And I’ve just chugged away at it ever since. Now I’ve gotten this great opportunity, and it’s been amazing.”
And of course the opportunity Purdy is referring to is her role on “Under the Dome”. “I play Dodi, and she’s this brilliant engineer that really is kind of like the MacGyver of ‘Under the Dome’,” Purdy said. “She takes little tech equipment, and she pieces it together to create something that’s extremely useful. I think she doesn’t realize that before the dome comes down, but really when it does, it’s a skill that comes in handy.”
Any fans of Stephen King, who wrote the original novel, who are wondering how much involvement the master of horror has in this project can rest assured that he’s knee-deep in “Under the Dome”. “Stephen King is really involved,” Purdy said. “They send him copies of the script and changes that they’re making from the book, and he’s really on board and really excited about it. And it is going to stray from the book a little bit just to show real world issues and parallel living under the dome and what that is to life today through these characters’ experiences, actions and changes.”
Purdy also spoke on some of her experiences with King. “I kind of have a crazy imagination, and Stephen King’s IT freaked me out so bad,” Purdy said. “I don’t necessarily dive into that world too much because it drives me bonkers, but it’s really interesting being there for a little bit, and the fans are so into it. It’s crazy!”
And King himself used a mention of Pennywise the Clown to help motivate Purdy. “When I met Stephen King at the first table reading we had, my fellow cast member Nicholas Strong was telling him how much he scared him as a kid,” Purdy said. “I just said, ‘Yeah, IT. I’m not over it.’ And King looked down at me…he’s so tall…and said, ‘You’d better do a good table read, or the clown’s gonna get you.’ I just got chills.” Yeah Jolene, we got chills for you just listening to that tale!
Taking into consideration that the show is based on a novel, we asked Purdy if the show would follow the same story arc and be complete at the end of the season. “We’re not sure,” Purdy said. “It depends on how the fans respond, really. It’s planned out to be a series. The writers have gotten together and created this twisty little side, and they have an ending in mind, but none of us knows what it is, but I can’t wait to find out.”
Purdy talked a bit about the bonding between cast members as they were filming in North Carolina. “Nicholas Strong plays the DJ, and we are roomies and besties under the dome of Wilmington together, the two of us,” Purdy said. “And Alex Koch, who plays Junior, he’s kind of our third musketeer. We’ve been exploring Wilmington together and getting to know some of the locals, and it’s been a good time. And [we’re] hanging out with Natalie Martinez, who plays Deputy Linda. It’s kind of cool because we’re all transplants here in Wilmington so we’ve kind of made a family here, and we joke saying we’re ‘Under the Dome of Wilmington’.”
Finally, Purdy talked about the thrill of the show finally hitting network television. “I’m really excited for everyone to get to see what we’ve been working so hard on,” Purdy said. “I love that the show is focusing on the characters and their reactions to the dome. And being set in Maine, you’re comfortable. It’s home. It’s safe. And then this dome comes down, and you really get to see every kind of reaction to this crisis, this terror that happens. So I’m excited to see how the audience and fans respond to it.”
Our thanks to Jolene for her time. You can keep tabs on what she’s up to by following @jojopurdy on Twitter. (Photo credit: Vince Truspin)
The 13-episode summer series on CBS stars Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre, Dean Norris, Natalie Martinez, Britt Robertson, Alexander Koch, Colin Ford, Nicholas Strong, Jeff Fahey, Jolene Purdy, Ned Bellamy, Natalie Zea, and Aisha Hinds. “Under the Dome” is produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Amblin Television. Neal Baer, Stephen King, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Stacey Snider, and Brian K. Vaughan, who wrote the television adaptation, serve as executive producers.
“Under the Dome” Episode 1.02 – “The Fire” (airs 7/1/13)
While the residents of Chester’s Mill face the uncertainty of life in the dome, panic is heightened when a house goes up in flames and their fire department is outside of the dome. Directed by Jack Bender and written by Rick Cleveland.
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