In Amazon's Utopia, a group of comic fans come together online over their shared obsession with a grim comic named Dystopia that appeared to predict a number of catastrophes and illnesses. When a sequel, Utopia, surfaces, the group meets in person and attempts to purchase the manuscript only to find out that the diseases and horrors on the pages of the practically mythical book are in fact real and soon find themselves thrust into the dangerous conspiracy on a mission to save the world.
Among those who are sucked into the conspiracy is a girl named Alice. Played by Farrah Mackenzie, Alice is a kind, sensitive girl unwillingly drawn into the chaos but quickly becomes an important ally to the group especially as the reality of their situation becomes clear -- as does her ability to take care of herself and the others when the chips are down.
ComicBook.com recently spoke with Mackenzie about her experience working on Utopia, what she learned from acting opposite veterans Rainn Wilson and John Cusack, her love of horror films, and what she hopes is next should Utopia get a second season.
ComicBook.com: What got you into acting?
Farrah Mackenzie: Well, my mom and dad were both actors. My grandparents both met on Broadway. So basically my whole family was in the business and I've been told that I've had a natural ability regarding acting. And I always love to do plays with my friends and my cousins, and my family seemed that it was fit for me to start professionally acting.
That's fantastic. I guess you can say it was in your blood.
Now most of my readers are going to know you from Utopia where, like I said, you play Alice, who is such an interesting and also surprisingly important character. I think when we first meet her, we don't realize she's going to be so significant. How did you get that role? What was that process like?
Well, the first audition was about a year ago, and I actually had to turn down the first audition because of 5 Seconds of Summer soundcheck. Oh, I'm sorry, I meant the first audition was two years ago, not one year ago I said. One year ago, yeah no, two years ago. So I had to turn down the first audition because I had a birthday 5 Seconds of Summer soundcheck.
But luckily we were able to reschedule it. And I went through that process and the callback was about a month later, and I actually met Gillian [Flynn] and Toby [Haynes] for the first time there.
Yeah. And then one more month for the second call back. And a few days later I got the call.prevnext
Was there anything specific about that particular role that made you interested in it?
Well, I hadn't known too much about the character when I first did the audition. So I didn't really know much about her, but I had read a little bit of the script and was like, "Oh, okay. So this girl, she's sort of different from me and I love playing roles that aren't me so that I could portray them totally originally and my own character. And I just thought the plot was amazing and so crazy and cool.prevnext
Alice is kind of a surprising character. She ultimately ends up doing a lot of the things that even the adult characters don't do. In fact, there's a lot of times, it's almost like she's more of an adult than the adults in the situation. She even kills someone. That is a wild thing that you just don't expect to happen? What was it like getting into that aspect of the character?
Well, obviously I've never killed anybody. So that was a little bit crazy to think about and to get into that head space, but I just thought of her... I thought of her situation and her friend's situation and what was going on. She and the gang really needed Jessica there. So she decided to step forward and I understood the circumstance there. So I put myself in her shoes.prevnext
What do you think was the most challenging thing about playing Alice?
Well, obviously, again, I haven't had to do anything that Alice goes through. And I love being able to portray this character, but it was pretty challenging to imagine myself in her circumstances.
Absolutely. Because her circumstances are definitely not something I think... I would hope most people in the real world never have to experience because it's a lot.
Oh yeah, totally.prevnext
Now there are some incredible actors in the cast of Utopia. Everyone did a fantastic job, but there are a couple of people who have pretty extensive careers. I'm thinking like Rainn Wilson and John Cusack. And both of those... John Cusack, in particular, have been in the industry for a while, have a lot of credits to their name. What was it like for you as a younger actor to be able to work with them, knowing that they've got all that experience? And did you learn anything from them?
Well, I was so honored to work with them and to meet both of them. They were absolutely amazing, amazing people, wonderful actors. The first person of the cast I met was John Cusack. He was so welcoming and so nice. And Rainn was so funny behind the scenes. And learning wise, I mean, they are so pleasing to watch. They seemed so natural and they just have this ability. So I would definitely keep a close eye on what they would do and study them and their actions and try to learn from it.prevnext
Was there anything specific that you saw and was like, "Man, I could learn from that. I want to remember that for my next role"?
Well, I definitely want to do a lot of horror and scary things. So I was watching Rainn Wilson in one scene in particular where he basically was getting tortured, and I was just learning like, "Wow, that's so real. It looks so real." But he's actually not getting hurt at all. And I really learned from that because I hope to be in scary movies or thrillers or basically in his position there. Not in real life, but in a movie or something. So I definitely learned that from him.prevnext
You said you want to get more into the horror and the thriller genre.
What about that genre draws you to it? Are you a big horror fan?
Oh yeah, I'm a big horror fan. I love everything horror. For some reason I just love it, even though it scares me to death. Yeah. No, it's just really fun.
Do you have a favorite horror movie?
Probably IT, the more recent one.prevnext
If Utopia gets a second season, what are your hopes for Alice?
Well, I know that at the end of season one, she basically walks off into the sunset with Ian, and I'm hoping that we have this dynamic duo bond where... I'm just hoping for that, because it seems like that may be where it's going for now. But my hopes are also to find Grant and Becky and get the team back together and save Jessica and continue our journey.0comments
Utopia is now streaming on Amazon Prime Videoprev