Most movies or shows about the apocalypse have badass survivors like Will Smith or Andrew Lincoln. In Gregg Araki’s apocalypse it’s a stoner who hooks up on Grindr and a webcam girl. Avan Jogia is the stoner Ulysses who starts having apocalyptic alien visions. Carly is his friend who works as a webcam girl while going on auditions in Starz’s Now Apocalypse.
Kelli Berglund plays Carly on Now Apocalypse. She has scenes as outrageous as anyone in Araki’s stories, including a spanking scene, and getting a webcam client to read lines with her. We met Berglund at Starz’s party for the Television Critics Association in support of Now Apocalypse which premieres March 10, 2019 on Starz.
Did you audition for this?
Kelli Berglund: “I did. I went through the whole audition process, started with a bunch of other girls. We narrowed it down. I eventually did a chemistry read with the guy who plays my boyfriend, ‘cause he already had the job and booked it. Here I am now.”
What was the audition scene?
Kelli Berglund: “It was actually the scene where I’m spanking Jethro and then episode five, we go to Palm Springs. Avan and I are sitting by the pool where we spot RJ Mitte’s character and we’re like, ‘Oh, he’s hot.’ That was one of the scenes as well. There was one more but I can’t remember what it was. They were fun, funny scenes to do.”
Did you research webcam girls?
Kelli Berglund: “I did. I know a little bit about them but I did especially also reading Karley [Sciortino], the writer, her book dives into that whole world. My character Carly is loosely based on her. So definitely wanted to do my research on Karley at least. She’s had lots of different experiences in this sex world. So got a little bit of an insight there, did my own research definitely. I tried my best. All of my stuff is very lighthearted and funny. It’s not too serious but definitely didn’t know much about it before so I felt like I needed to.”
Is the spanking incident from Karley’s experience?
Kelli Berglund: “I think it is. She talks about in her book, I think she was working under a dominatrix for a little bit or something along those lines. That definitely, I think, comes from Karley’s world.”
Does your Carly believe the apocalypse is coming?
Kelli Berglund: “Honestly, every moment that it’s been brought up to her is Uly trying to convince her of these alien creatures and I’m having these weird, bizarre premonitions. I pretty much just shut him down every time. I’m like the anchor to bring him back to earth sort of. I was trying to remember earlier, I don’t think there’s a moment where I personally encounter any sort of alien lizard thing, at least in season one. So I think I’m still very much in doubt about it but I’m curious to see if I’ll be exposed to it eventually.”
What other fun stuff is coming up?
Kelli Berglund: “I think it’s episode eight, we go to a sex dungeon. That’s a crazy episode. I bring my boyfriend there to try to spice up our relationship. My character decides after being an actress in L.A. and it not working out so well, she starts writing her own web series, films it and actually gets some traction. In the very last episode, she has a meeting with Starz about her web series and potentially picking it up. I won’t give away what happens but there’s some really weird twists that come in that are pretty funny.”
Have you ever had people read lines with you over webcam?
Kelli Berglund: “I definitely Facetime friends for self tapes which is very hard, because normally you have another person there. I literally set up my laptop and have them on Skype while my phone was filming me doing my lines. Oh my gosh, I’ve read lines in crazy places, in the car a million times, on planes. The self tape over Facetime was an interesting one.”
Were you better at the audition grind than Carly is?
Kelli Berglund: “I mean, we all have our struggles. It’s so funny. She’s really hard on herself about being a struggling actress and I’ve totally been there. There were so many moments where I’m like, ‘Why am I not booking anything? Do I suck? Am I just the worst?’ I think a lot of actors have gone through that.
It’s crazy. You can have success and be on a show or a really successful film, and then it’s done and I’ve gotta search for my next job. It’s ironic, I guess, that I’m playing a struggling actress in a show while being a successful actress and booking a job, but I don’t know. I think I maybe had a little more luck in my life in terms of acting than Carly has. Potentially. I’m not on some crazy level yet but I’m trying.”
What was your experience at Sundance?
Kelli Berglund: “Oh, that was my first time ever going to Sundance. I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve heard a lot obviously over the years about what Sundance is. Just as an actress, I’m excited there’s so much hype behind it. Everyone’s like, ‘Well, there’s just a lot of interviews and it’s freezing,’ and yet, it was cold and there were a lot of interviews but we did most things all together as a cast.
I have such a fun cast that I’m surrounded by that it was so fun and it didn’t feel like work. The way it was all set up at Sundance, they make it entertaining for people. You’re not just going into a room. It’s a whole setup event type of thing so I had an amazing first time at Sundance. It really didn’t feel like work. We got to premiere the first two episodes there which was surreal and weird because that was my first time watching it in a room full of strangers and seeing their reactions and being like, ‘Oh God.’ It was fun though. It was wild.”
What did they react to?
Kelli Berglund: “I think with this show there’s definitely going to be a mixed reaction. After Sundance, the initial audience that was in the room seemed to really respond to it well and the questions that people were asking and praising Gregg for his work and what it meant to them which was cool. Reading stuff online too, the show is so outrageous that not everyone’s gonna get it which is fine. We’re expecting that but we’ve had a lot of good reviews about it being positive and lighthearted.
You’re never going to please everyone but the majority has been really great feedback. So that’s all I can really ask for.”