By WILLIAM J. WRIGHT
On the surface, the small town depicted in the new Epix series FROM looks exactly like the sort of idyllic place where many of us would like to settle down. It’s a tight-knit community where people look out for each other, and nobody is a stranger. There’s a diner with old-fashioned homestyle cooking, a friendly priest who’s always there to lend a hand, and an honest lawman to keep the peace.
However, a closer look reveals that this out-of-the-way burg is no Mayberry. The streets are littered with derelict cars, and the townsfolk all seem to have the hollow thousand-yard stare that only comes from living through a great, prolonged trauma. You won’t find this quaint hamlet on any map. And God help you if you’re caught outside after dark. When the sun sets, malevolent entities hold sway over this inescapable hell on Earth.
At the center of FROM‘s terrifying mystery is an intriguing and diverse cast of characters headed up by Harold Perrineau (28 Weeks Later, Lost) as Sheriff Boyd Stevens. When a devastating accident brings new residents to the community, a deadly chain of events forces Stevens to come to grips with his responsibilities as the town’s designated protector.
Although each of the residents in FROM seem to have a specific part to play in this frightening scenario, one of the most enigmatic is Sara Myers, portrayed by Avery Konrad (Sacred Lies, SyFy’s Van Helsing). A waitress at the town diner, the meek and mild Sara arrived in town with her brother, Nathan (Paul Zinno). Yet, beneath her quiet girl-next-door facade, Sara may not be all that she seems. Does she know the secret behind the pocket universe in which the town is trapped? Can she communicate with the nightmarish creatures that plague the darkness? Or is she just losing her mind?
We recently sat down with Avery Konrad to discuss this exciting, new show and maybe get some answers.
FROM is terrifying in both its execution and the implications of its plot. Having previously appeared in such projects as R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour and SyFy’s Van Helsing, is it safe to say that you enjoy horror?
[Horror] seems to be something that, thus far in my career, I’ve fallen into. And I do really enjoy being part of the process of it. I do really enjoy the stories that are being told and how in-depth everything is in horror. But what I really like about FROM is how it’s a horror show, but it’s really about the people and their struggles. Yes, there are monsters on the outside, but what the show really focuses on are the monsters that everyone’s dealing with internally, which I think is really different and kind of a new spin on the horror genre.
When pressed, I’ve found that people who say they don’t necessarily like horror still have at least one scary show or movie that made an impression on them. Do you have any favorites?
I get scared really easily, which is also something that I find hilarious because I keep working on horror movies and shows. The last horror movie that I saw that really was terrifying to me was Parasite. I thought it was really well-done. It was made a couple of years ago, and I still think about it. I think that would be one of my favorites.
How did you get involved with FROM, and what attracted you to its story?
FROM came about like any other audition. When I read the breakdown, I was really intrigued because I was such a big fan of Lost. It was kind of a dream show and felt a little bit like a long shot. And then, I read the material for Sara, and I really connected with her. When you read for different characters, you’re going to connect with people or that person more than others, and I felt like she was already a part of me in a weird way. So I did the initial [audition] tape, and that was sent off. About two weeks later, they brought me in for a screen test, which I did over Zoom. Less than 24 hours later, I found out that I booked it, and within a few weeks, I was on a plane to Nova Scotia to shoot.
Sara is something of a mystery so far. What can you tell me about her?
As you watch the series, you’ll see everybody’s storyline and that everybody’s struggling with something different. How they handle that and tackle that is all vastly different. The thing about Sara is that there are two sides to her. She’s very delicate and soft and caring, but the other side of her is already very broken, and she’s just trying to hang on. She’s very resilient at the same time. That’s what I really love about Sara. I’ve had so much fun working with that material.
At first, we’re not quite sure if Sara actually has some insight into the mystery or if she’s cracked under the pressure of living in such bizarre circumstances. How did you approach playing her? Were there any specific challenges?
This was my first experience in working on a show for this duration of time and also working with content that’s this heavy. So there were definite challenges along the way. I was extremely lucky to have the most amazing cast and John Griffin, our creator, and [executive producer] Jack Bender, also, was there to talk to us whenever we needed questions answered and stuff like that. But yeah, it was a definite challenge and learning when to take [Sara’s] shoes off, so to speak, and then put them back on … was a challenge. We filmed for five months, so it was definitely a lot to tackle sometimes. I also had help from my acting coach. She went over all of the material with me and we worked through all that stuff throughout the season as well.
So Sara was a difficult character to shed at the end of the day.
She was. Some days were harder than others, but the material was so well-written. Honestly, I think throughout my career, Sara will be one of my most cherished and favorite characters that I’ll ever play. John [Griffin] wrote her so beautifully.
With its themes of isolation and its characters living with an ever-present threat, FROM seems very relevant. How do you think the show speaks to our current times?
On the outside, the monsters are really externally there, but what everybody goes through on a day-to-day and throughout their lives are monsters from the inside. Through all these beautiful, wonderful, full characters that are portrayed on the show, people will be able to connect with them and find similarities in their lives. As far as the isolation goes, everyone in the world can definitely relate to what it feels like to feel trapped in sort of a way throughout these past few years.
FROM got a rave review from Stephen King – a guy who definitely knows a thing or two about horror. What do you think of the reaction that show’s getting?
(laughs) I can’t believe it! It’s insane. I have to pinch myself to make sure that it even happened! I was such a huge fan of Lost and getting to work with Harold [Perrineau] and all that stuff … To know that people of that caliber are watching it and enjoying it is hard to wrap my head around.
What do you hope the audience gets out of the show when they finally see the entire arc of the story?
I hope they get invested in this world that we’ve created and really enjoy watching this mystery unfold.
Can you give us any hints as to where the story’s going, especially as it relates to Sara?
You’ll have to tune in to Epix to watch the mystery unfold. And that’s all that I can say!
I’m working on a comedy, actually. It’s the polar opposite of FROM. It’s been really fun. It’s by Paramount Plus, and it’s called Honor Society and it stars Angourie Rice. It’s a coming-of-age story, and I play this super-fun 17-year-old girl. That’s been a really fun experience and like night and day compared to FROM as far as content goes.
FROM is available now only on Epix with new episodes premiering on Sundays.