British actress Julia Farino steps into the top job as Commander and Chief in the new supernatural vampire series, Age of the Living Dead, now streaming on Amazon Prime. After a global quarantine leaves humans and vampires cohabitating on opposite coasts of America, President Margaret Robertson (Farino) must find a way to save the human race from extinction.
Prior to playing the President, Julia has been working in the U.K. and the U.S. non-stop. Her credits include roles on Veep, Jane The Virgin, The Gifted, My Haunted House, Days of our Lives, True Nightmares, Crocodile Shoes with Jimmy Nail and In Suspicious Circumstances with Edward Woodward among others. Her extensive stage experience, includes leading roles in a West End production of Les Misérables, as well as Calendar Girls, Laughter In The Rain, The Cherry Orchard, and the world premiere of Alfie – The Musical.
In this exclusive interview, Julia Farino talks candidly about her latest role and more:
TV Series Hub: What was it like working on Age of the Living Dead?
JULIA: It was a hoot – an amazing amount of fun! The writer/director, Paul Tanter, and the writer/actor, Simon Phillips (who plays Gerry in the show), are both British so there was tons of banter between the three of us on set. It’s a very British thing to be cheeky but you have to be able to give as good as you get. It’s our weird, English, roundabout way of letting someone know that you think they’re cool!
TV Series Hub: Tell us about landing the role of the President of the United States and how much preparation you did before stepping onto set.
JULIA: I was delighted when I was offered the role of President Margaret Robertson and couldn’t wait to play her. My UK friends and family know I can do an American accent but I thought it would be great for them to turn on the TV and see me playing the President of the United States! Sometimes you read a role and you know exactly how to play a character; Margaret doesn’t suffer fools gladly, she doesn’t act on impulse and she has a wonderful, dry sense of humour. All in all, be it good or bad, that’s a lot like me so, apart from looking up the US governmental jargon, I didn’t need to dig too deep to find what makes her tick.
TV Series Hub: Had you ever worked on a supernatural vampire project before; what’s that been like?
JULIA: I’ve worked on several sci-fi short films including: Icarus, Birthright and At The End of the World and even played a German superhero in, Fox’s, The Gifted, but I’ve never worked on a vampire project before. In truth, there’s not too much difference between this show and any other drama, as the series is less about vampires and more about relationships and the choices that we make in life. Both the humans and vampires are presented with tough decisions throughout the series and that’s what drives the story so well.
TV Series Hub: The show has a very dystopian feel; does that make it mentally and emotionally harder to come to work each day?
JULIA: That’s an interesting question. I’d say that living in the real world at the moment, makes it hard for me to get out of bed each morning! Working on a project like this is my escape and distraction from what I hear on the news daily and I think that’s what a lot of TV and film is about these days. It’s pure entertainment!
TV Series Hub: We don’t know much about Season Two, but is there anything you could tease for us?
JULIA: Hmmm…well, yes, I can’t give too much away but new threats emerge and Margaret has to deal with enemies at home as well as on the east coast. Margaret’s journey and storyline is hugely challenging in Season 2 and she has to make her biggest sacrifice yet. I hope that’s enough of a tease.
TV Series Hub: As an actor, what’s been your main take away from working on this show?
JULIA: There are plenty of take-aways but the big one for me is being able to say that I’ve played the President of the United States – the most powerful person in the world! Although, I think Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin might have something to say about that!
TV Series Hub: What has been the biggest surprise about working on this show?
JULIA: The biggest surprise? Well, when we were shooting on a dry lake bed in the Mojave Desert, a huge whirlwind took up two of our location tents and blew them across the highway. We had to tie them to cars in the end to keep them held down. I hadn’t realized how bad the wind can get in the desert or that the dust, because it was a lake bed, would be salty. I had to stand in the shower for a good while after the shoot to get clean!
TV Series Hub: You’re also an established jazz singer in London. Any chance you’ll be sharing your voice here in the States?
JULIA: Sadly, my pianist in the UK, Phil Mead, passed away in January 2018 and it’s hard to imagine singing jazz again without him but I’m always looking out for musicians and singing opportunities and I’m still hoping that one day, I will tour again and I’d love it to be in The States.
TV Series Hub: Overall, what inspires you creatively?
JULIA: I have a very low boredom threshold so I enjoy doing a bit of everything but most of all, I love the process of rehearsing and then performing in a play or musical for several months. Some people think you are doing the same thing night after night but no performance is ever the same, it’s wonderful to really get to know a character over a period of time and there’s nothing that equates to live performance. It’s why I became an actress all those years ago.
TV Series Hub: Lastly, on any given night, what can we find you watching on TV?
JULIA: I have a degree in sociology and love to study people so more often than not, I’ll be watching a documentary or a documentary drama. But I love to escape too so adore all the epic, adventure, fantasy films such as the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchises and The Lord of the Rings triology.
Thank you, Julia Farino, for taking the time to chat.
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