Roxane Mesquida gets quite an introduction on Starz’s Now Apocalypse. When Ulysses (Avan Jogia) walks in on Severine (Mesquida) having sex, she just casually waves hello and continues with her lover. When asked about nudity waivers and intimacy coaches by the TCA, Mesquida said, “That’s such an American question. We don’t have that in France.”
Severine is also a brilliant scientist, and science, sci-fi and sex all come together in Starz’s new apocalyptic comedy. Would you expect any less from Gregg Araki? Showbiz Junkies spoke with Mesquida at Starz’s TCA party.
Now Apocalypse premieres on March 10, 2019 on Starz.
What was it like to play a brilliant scientist?
Roxane Mesquida: “That was actually pretty cool. I liked it, except that it was a big challenge for me because I speak a lot of very complicated things and I have an accent and it’s TV. So I was very stressed. I wanted people to understand what I was saying. So that was my stress about it, so I worked really hard on my lines. Nudity was not really scary to me, but more the lines.”
I loved what you said on the panel because I agree Americans are maybe too squeamish about sex.
Roxane Mesquida: “I feel like people misunderstood what I was trying to say. I was saying in France it’s not in the contract. It’s more like a conversation with the director and the actors. It just always felt weird to me that you have to put everything in a contract and you have all these men and lawyers and all these people speaking about your own body.”
I think the reason we have to do that here is unfortunately Americans aren’t as respectful about sex and nudity as Europeans are, so a lot of actresses have to protect themselves.
Roxane Mesquida: “Really? You think so? I don’t know. I feel like Americans are more prudish than French people so I feel like they would be too scared to ask for anything.”
Until they get into a position of power. Then they ask and abuse it.
Roxane Mesquida: “Yeah, but you can always say no as an actor. What are they going to do? They’re not going to force you to be naked. We have more power than we think. That’s the thing. We are women but we’re not victims. We’re strong and we can say no.”
Fortunately a lot of women do say no.
Roxane Mesquida: “That’s a good thing. Every woman should say no when they want to say no. That’s where we need to teach our girls I guess to be strong. If you don’t want to do something, just say no and that’s it.”
Did you like that your introduction was very casual?
Roxane Mesquida: “Yeah, it’s funny. It’s really funny because in real life I’m not like [that]. For example, in France you can show your breasts on the beach. That’s something I’ve never done. I have no problem with nudity when it’s for an artistic project. Not with every director. I trust Gregg and I love his work. That’s why I’m fine and I’m not stressed about it, but I would never be as comfortable personally in real life.
I think it’s really funny and works with the character. She’s carefree. She has nothing to apologize for.”
Does Severine know the apocalypse is coming?
Roxane Mesquida: “She has a few lines. She says, ‘All we can be certain of is the here and now.’ She says there are so many uncertainties, we don’t know what’s going to happen. I think she knows a lot and she has a secret, but we’re going to need to watch more episodes and maybe more seasons to know exactly what’s going on. It’s true that my character is what brings us a few answers about the alien conspiracy.”
She’s researching something so that’s probably important.
Roxane Mesquida: “Yeah, and she works for the government and it’s super top secret and she doesn’t want to say anything.”
You’ve done movies with Gregg before.
Roxane Mesquida: “Kaboom!, my first American movie. I moved to L.A. because of him and I never left. It’s been almost 10 years.”
Welcome. Do you like it here?
Roxane Mesquida: “Love it. I became American, actually. I’m a U.S. citizen now.”
LA felt like home to me immediately.
Roxane Mesquida: “Me too, and I traveled everywhere. I worked with this French director. Her movies made me travel everywhere in the world to promote it. I never felt at home like the first day I arrived on the plane in L.A. and drove from LAX to Hollywood, which is not the brainiest part of L.A., I was like, ‘Oh my God, it feels like home.’ Also, I’m from the Southeast of France, Marseilles, and it’s pretty similar, the landscape and the weather.”
So was doing a TV show with Gregg any different than a movie?
Roxane Mesquida: “No, I didn’t see any difference. It was exactly the same thing. I really felt like, because usually on a TV show, you have different directors coming in for every episode, so because we shot the TV show in 40 days and Gregg directed all of them and wrote them all, he created the show; it’s his baby. I almost felt like it was not even a TV show but like a very long movie.”
What was the experience showing it at Sundance?
Roxane Mesquida: “It was so much fun. It was my first time at Sundance.”
You weren’t there for Kaboom!?
Roxane Mesquida: “No, I couldn’t go. I was shooting a movie in New Zealand at the time. So I was very excited to show the show there and it was fun. I hope I’ll go to Cannes now. That would be awesome.”
You don’t usually get to see TV shows with an audience so was it interesting to see what people reacted to?
Roxane Mesquida: “I didn’t realize that my character was that funny until I was in the room with everyone. I’m just saying a couple lines. I’m not trying anything. I’m just saying the lines and it just turns out to be funny, but I’m not trying to be funny.”