NBC is set to premiere the supernatural drama Midnight, Texas on July 24, 2017 at 10pm ET/PT. The new series is based on the bestselling books by Charlaine Harris and stars Arielle Kebbel, Jason Lewis, Dylan Bruce, Francois Arnaud, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Sarah Ramos, and Yul Vazquez. Midnight, Texas is set in a small town that has an unusual collection of citizens including a vampire, a psychic, a witch, and a werewolf.
Kebbel plays Olivia, a mysterious assassin, and Lewis is an angel who helps protect the town. Together, Kebbel and Lewis talked about their roles in Midnight, Texas, the books, and the appeal of being a part of this new NBC series while at the 2017 WonderCon in Anaheim.
Are you going to be kicking a lot of butt in this season?
Arielle Kebbel: (Laughing) “I believe so.”
Olivia has some special skill sets that are interesting and yet she’s one of the few humans in the town. Will we find out more about her backstory?
Arielle Kebbel: “Yes. There’s definitely a backstory and actually as the season goes on, we learn about each character. Each character has a dark past and it’s kind of like that past has brought them to Midnight. With my character, she has had an incredibly traumatic childhood which has led her to not trusting people, to having huge anger issues, and also to doing what she does for a living.
What I loved about her is she does what she does because she’s fighting the good fight. She protects the people she loves. She doesn’t say I love you but she says it by protecting them. And so there’s still so much good in this person that’s had so much bad happen to them, and that’s what I love about her.”
Can you talk about Joe’s secret?
Jason Lewis: “We’re in Midnight to avoid the world and so many of us are there hiding our supernatural selves, if we can. Some of us can’t. [Looking at Arielle.] Like her, she’s just stunning. You can’t hide that.”
Arielle Kebbel: (Laughing) “I paid him to say that.”
Jason Lewis: “He’s there because he doesn’t want to engage the world at the level of being an angel. He is trying to live a life just simply.”
So he’ll be forced into using his powers?
Jason Lewis: “Well, dammit, things happen and you’ll just have to watch and find out why.”
What was it like the first time you saw the effects in place and yourself with those wings?
Jason Lewis: “Good, really good. You know, you’re hoping that it’s going to look good because I can’t control that. And I had to shoot the pilot scene in 27-degree weather.”
Arielle Kebbel: “Albuquerque weather is really tough.”
Jason Lewis: “Yeah, 27 degrees. So, you’re hoping. I did some body things and pretended like they were coming out of me, and I was hoping I didn’t look ridiculous and I didn’t – I looked great.”
Were you familiar with the books or did you read them after you were cast?
Arielle Kebbel: “I was not familiar with them before. When I auditioned I knew it was based on a book series so I was aware of them then. Once I got the part I immediately bought both books – the third one was on its way to coming out. And then when it came out I bought that as well and just started diving into research. I actually feel like every cast member read the books immediately.”
Jason Lewis: “Yeah, we jumped right in.”
Arielle Kebbel: “They did their own research.”
Jason Lewis: “I remember hounding Charlaine when she came for the pilot. Like, ‘Maybe we can get a sneak preview.’”
Arielle Kebbel: “That’s so funny. I was the opposite. I was so in love with her and so blown away that this woman wrote all of these books that I was like, ‘I’m not going to ask her anything. If she tells me to tweak anything, I will but otherwise I’m just going to love her and say hi and leave.’ I was kind of star struck!”
Did you do any specific type of training?
Arielle Kebbel: “I did two or three hours of training a day. I would go from weapon training to fight training to fight choreography to conditioning. I was doing everything from learning how to do different weapons to kickboxing, boxing. You name it. For me, it wasn’t just about the fight scenes. It was about Olivia lives in a world where she has to be prepared at any moment for anything. So, I wanted to feel that from the inside out. The only way I knew how to do that was to train myself not only to know these moves, but to also kind of live in a place where I could constantly feel I had the self-protection I needed. I had the self-defense I needed.
I told John who was our stunt trainer who taught me everything I know – he’s my man! – and he took it pretty seriously. He pushed me and pushed me and pushed me. I was taking ice baths and the next day when I didn’t want to work out, he would make me work out. He would bring me some sore muscle treatment. We really went for it.
I was so grateful I had the opportunity. I really learned a lot and I hope that it shows throughout the season.”
Watch the full Arielle Kebbel and Jason Lewis Midnight, Texas interview: