Girl power fuels this 'Revolution'
Posted September 17, 2012
Much like Katniss Everdeen, Charlie Matheson is a teenage archer girl in the wilderness faced with staying alive in extraordinary circumstances.
However, that's where the similarities end between Tracy Spiridakos' main character in NBC's new drama Revolution (premiering tonight, 10 ET/PT) and the literary and cinematic heroine of The Hunger Games.
Created by Supernatural's Eric Kripke with Lost's J.J. Abrams as an executive producer (and a premiere episode directed by Iron Man's Jon Favreau), Revolution is set in a USA 15 years after a worldwide blackout, where nature has taken over in the absence of electricity and machinery.
Charlie is a headstrong girl whose brother is taken by a militia leader (Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito) for mysterious reasons, and she teams with her Uncle Miles (Billy Burke) and others on a quest to find her sibling and discover the reason behind the permanent power outage.
"The electricity being gone isn't what the problem is. The problem is her family not being together anymore and all the tragedies that have happened," says Spiridakos, whose character brandishes a crossbow that is "a very cool, very powerful little tool."
It's akin to The Hunger Games in that sense, but Revolution is much more influenced by worlds that have meant a lot to Kripke creatively, such as Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings and the plague-ridden America of Stephen King's The Stand.
"I certainly realize young women with bows seem to be at the front of our culture's minds right now," Kripke says. "But for me, it was just about a series of logical decisions that led to it: I need a young Luke Skywalker character I can introduce the world to, and it's a world where guns are very scarce yet she has to hunt. So what weapon can I give her?"
Revolution marks Spiridakos' biggest role to date -- she appeared in an episode of Kripke's Supernatural -- and Kripke was won over by the Canadian actress after one glance of her audition tape.
"It was a genius piece of casting," says Burke, who is Han Solo to Spiridakos' Luke. "She is a representation of the innocence and eventual hope we have on the show."
Charlie makes wrong choices and learns from them, Spiridakos says, and she's somebody to whom a younger audience â?? including the Katniss lovers â?? can get attached. "It's like everyone's little teenager, watching what happens when she does fail, what the consequences are to that, and how she grows and moves forward," Spiridakos says.
Adds Kripke, "If you can really see yourself in her plight, then it doesn't matter whether it takes place today or 15 years after a blackout or 100 years ago. People are people, and audiences connect with humanity, and what she brings to the table is just that."
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