The series takes place in a mall Texas town, “where every summer the graduating seniors compete in a series of challenges, winner takes all, which they believe is their one and only chance to escape their circumstances and make their lives better. But this year, the rules have changed — the pot of money is larger than ever and the game has become even more dangerous. The players will come face to face with their deepest, darkest fears and be forced to decide how much they are willing to risk in order to win.”
Created and written by Lauren Oliver and adapted from her novel of the same name, the series stars Olivia Welch, Mike Faist, Jessica Sula, Camron Jones and Ray Nicholson.
Ahead of the series premiere, Shadow and Act spoke with Sula and Jones about their roles in the series and what it brings to the table. Sula and Jones play Natalie and Bishop, the best friends of Welch’s Heather.
“I describe Bishop, Heather and Nat as they’re not necessarily the popular kids, but they definitely just know themselves and they are very confident within that group,” Sula explained. “And I think they inspire each other. Natalie has a lot. She’s very driven. I think she’s way more sassy than I am. She has that potential to just snap back. So, I had fun doing Nat because at the beginning you’re trying to find a character as much as you can, as the show is filming and progressing. So I just went with her ballsiness and I think her quiet determination.”
With both characters, everything with them is not how it initially appears at the surface, especially for Natalie. “I feel [that] there’s a parallel there, we’re mutually determined. It was hard [to portray the character] at times with some of the choices Natalie makes,” the actress added. “I’d be shouting off like, ‘I can’t believe you’re making me do this. I’m going to look so terrible!’ Because I love her relationship with Heather [and] I adore also Olivia. So it was challenging at times.”
With Amazon just being one of many streamers and networks with a YA content boom, Jones believes that Panic is able to stand out in the pack.
“I think it’s the way that this show relates to kids today,” he said. “Just how [it] really taps into the angst and what it feels like to be a teen and feels like to be enclosed in an area, trying to escape and to be understood and to be seen. Olivia was talking about this earlier [and] the magical realism of the show really separates us from other young adult shows out there. And I think that’ll really draw a lot of people in.”
Watch the interview below, in which the two talk about what will surprise people about the series and more: