Entertainment,  Movies & Music

Resurrection: Interview with Kurtwood Smith & Omar Epps

What if a loved one who passed away long ago, came back into your life today..without having aged one bit?

That is the premise for Resurrection, the new TV series which premieres on Lifetime (Astro  CH709) on May 12, 2014 and will air every Monday for eight episodes at 10pm.

The #1 new scripted series in the U.S. revolves around the people of Arcadia, Missouri whose lives are forever changed when their deceased loved ones suddenly start to return. An 8-year old American boy called Jacob Langston (played by Landon Gimenez) wakes up alone in a rice paddy in a rural Chinese province with no idea how he got there.

Details start to emerge when Jacob recalls that his hometown is Arcadia and an immigration agent, Martin ‘Marty’ Bellamy (played by Omar Epps) takes him there. Upon returning to his home, the town and its people are forever changed, as Jacob has been ‘dead’ for over 30 years.. and he’s not the only one.

Kurtwood Smith plays Jacob’s father, Henry Langston, and is famous for his hugely popular Red Foreman character on That 70s Show and has made many other memorable appearances in TV and on the big screen such as Robocop, The X-Files, Star Trek: Voyager and the Academy-Award winning Dead Poets Society and Girl, Interrupted.

As for Omar Epps, his claim to fame is undoubtedly for his role in the hit medical drama House in which he received an NAACP Image Award for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series’ in 2007 and 2008.

We got to speak to these two very talented Hollywood actors at their recent Asian tour for the show, to find out more about the captivating mystery that is Resurrection.

VB: Having watched the trailer and being personally drawn in to the storyline, what made you to do this show as actors?

KS: For most of my roles, I play tough guys or funny guys..or both! I always enjoy doing those but always felt I had quite a variety within that. I have also played some softer characters but not characters that were necessarily caught in an as emotional and challenging situation as this character (Langston). I love challenges and the character spoke to me and I thought, ‘I really know this guy, I really understand his problems’ and so I really wanted to do this. Secondly, I just thought that the story of the show itself was so fascinating and caused me to think of so many things philosophically, and so I assumed it would be that way for other people as well.

One of the things that’s very fascinating is that people like characters on the show, and (in real life) we all would like it if someone we knew came back (to life) but on the other hand, what happens when they do come back? How does that change your life, because since that person has been gone..you’ve lived a life.

Things have happened, and say you get married to somebody else and all of a sudden your girlfriend from 10-15 years ago comes back, that changes things. That’s what really makes this show work from the introduction of the show, and what the rest of the show is about is how that affects the lives of the people.

OE: The storyline is fascinating and it’s something that we’ve all experienced in life; the desire to see people who have already passed on. I think we’ve all dealt with loss in our personal lives and this circumstance gives people a chance to think, ‘What if this person came back to life?’.

On Twitter, there was someone who stuck out that said he watched one episode and then went back and just sat down in one place for a whole hour and really imagined (what he would do) – I think it was his parent. And that’s the whole thing, it’s an emotional connection where the audience almost gets a chance to live vicariously through our characters.

VB: The series is based off Jason Mott’s The Returned – how true does it stay to the book?

KS: It deviates from the book in various ways; without giving away too much – the things that happen in the final episode (of season one) are things that happen at the beginning of Jason’s book. The book inspired the series and my character and my wife’s character are different; they’re older in the book – older than even I am, if you can imagine! They are older and kind of more mid-west – practically farm people in a way, than Frances and I played them or how they were written.

The TV series will go further than the book  and even though we finished the first season, there are things that happened in the book that haven’t happened in the series yet.

VB: So what genre would Resurrection fall under? Is it more of a mystery or a cop drama-type category?

KS: It’s always going to be sort of a philosophical mystery. More interestingly, are the questions that the show brings up are questions that we should think about and deal with in our lives. It is more than just the mystery of where these people came from. It has more to do with how you feel about life and how you feel about the afterlife, if there is any, and in the case of Henry in particular – what you do with your life and how you are accountable for what you do in your life at any particular stage.

If you think about it, one thing that Jacob’s appearance in the show causes is the accountability of his life when he has to think about what he has done for the past 32-years, and what he could have done and should have done. I think that the show brings that up for all of us to think about in terms of our lives. It’s certainly entertaining, interesting and exciting but it also causes us to reflect upon ourselves.

VB: Hypothetically speaking, who would you like to see resurrected from your own life or even someone famous for that matter?

OS: For me personally, it would be my great grandma – I was fortunate to have her around until I was about 16 so it would be cool to see her and have some borrowed time. As for famous people, there’s so many.. it’s whoever that comes to mind so right now, it’s Michael Jackson – I’ve never met him, it would be cool to ask him some questions.

KS: My biological father was killed in World War II and so I never saw him; he was overseas when I was born. So I think it would be great to see him. He would of course, be 24-years old and I would be older than him so that would be odd but it would be quite fascinating to see him.

VB: Kurtwood, you’re role is pretty physically demanding with all that running around..

KS: (Laughs) I kept saying, I managed to avoid running in film for 30 years and now you guys got me doing it in every other episode! One thing is that it’s easy for me to look like I’m about to have a heart attack – it’s kind of the way I feel when I’m running in the heat!

But nah, it’s not too bad. You always have to run slow because of the camera, and the camera can only move so fast.

VB: Also, there have been some comments online that your reaction when you first see your son on this how, but don’t immediately recognise him, is somewhat unrealistic. What do you have to say to your critiques? 

KS: First of all, it’s not like this kid is standing right in front of him – if you look back at that scene. He’s down there, by the side of the porch, and he sees this little kid.

He (Langston) buried his child. He’s not expecting (to see a young boy). My thought was that he (Marty) was talking about some guy who would be forty years old and was trying to pass off as my dead son or something like that. The last thing I’m thinking is that there would be some little kid..and also, I can’t see him all that well through the bannister!

VB: Got it! Any final words as to why your Malaysian viewers should tune in to the show?

KS: I think they should tune in for a number of reasons; I think the show covers so many different things – it’s a family drama, it’s also a mystery..multiple mysteries actually, as the show goes on and develops.

It seems like every week, new things arise that causes interest and excitement. New characters pop up, and depending on who they are – they aren’t all nice 9-year old boys, so we do have a couple of different kinds of mysteries going on.

One thing that the show does in the first few episodes is it really takes its time to develop each of the characters so we see them as people and individuals and what’s going on in their particular lives and when things start heating up as the show goes along and because we’re so invested into their characters, it makes the excitement even more exciting.

Catch Resurrection on Lifetime (Astro Ch709) on Mondays at 10pm, premiering on May 12, 2014. For more information, visit the website

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