Raised by Wolves: How Jordan Loughran Portrays Trauma and Recovery in Epic Sci-Fi

This month, HBO Max launched its epic sci-fi series Raised by Wolves, produced by influential director Ridley Scott, who helmed the show's first two episodes. The series, which is off to a strong start, follows two rival factions who leave the ruined Earth behind to colonize a distant planet. The Atheists get there first by sending two androids, Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father (Abubakar Salim). Their only purpose is to bear human children and care for them into adulthood. Only one of their first generation of children, a boy named Campion (Winta McGrath), survives long enough to become a teenager.

That's about when the other faction, the Mithraic religious community, arrives on the planet. Mother destroys their colony ship, leaving few survivors, but takes a group of Mithraic children back to her encampment to replace the children she lost.

Among those children is Tempest, played by Jordan Loughran. Tempest is pregnant with the child of a clergyman who raped her during their interstellar journey. While Mother is determined to see Tempest's child to term, Tempest is struggling with the trauma of her assault.

ComicBook.com spoke to Loughran about Raised by Wolves and Tempest's journey.

Raised by Wolves Tempest Mother
(Photo: HBO Max)

For starters Raised by Wolves is pretty heavy-duty sci-fi. Are you a fan of sci-fi or is this something outside of your wheelhouse?

Jordan Loughran: No, I consider myself a fan of sci-fi, I've watched sci-fi and read sci-fi books since I was a kid. So it's something that I've always enjoyed. It's a genre that I've always loved, so having the opportunity to do something like Raised by Wolves was absolutely amazing.

What about Ridley Scott's work in particular? He's had a long and productive career. How well did you know his work before getting into Raised by Wolves?

He was a director that I was familiar with, I'd seen Alien and I've watched Blade Runner. And actually the summer before I got cast, I actually did in London, they were hosting a special secret cinema event. Where they do a live experience based on the film they were screening, and the film that was playing was Blade Runner. So I actually got to turn up at new Los Angeles and eat at the places that feature in the film and stuff like that, which was amazing. So then it was a little bit surreal, a couple of months later to actually be on a set working with Ridley.

Raised by Wolves is a show with a lot going on. What were your first impressions when you started reading scripts and getting into the show's world and mythology?

I remember when I was first reading the scripts and getting the scripts through just how epic it was. It was about excitement, that kind of thing, a whole new world being built, and it felt very different from anything that I've seen or read before. I was just excited to get each new script and find out more about the world that I was inhabiting, as Tempest.

Like a lot of the best sci-fi, Raised by Wolves is a reflection of your reality. What's your take on what the show is about at its core, in that respect?

I think at the heart of it, it's like any sci-f, is that question, what does it mean to be human? What does it mean to exist in the universe? For example, for Mother, it's the questions of what exactly is different? What are the different aspects of that? Where you have Mother whose core function is to be right and perfect and nurture.

And you have Tempest who found out that she's pregnant as a result of the rape that she suffers. And it's the idea of, I'm not ready to be a mother or I don't know if I want to be a mother. This is in the same sense that, Tempest was not prepared for and is trying to deal with the trauma she's already suffered while having to now cope with this pregnancy in this new world that she's landed on. And I guess it just shows everyone is different and unique and there's more than one way to be human, of thinking, or there's more than one way to exist in the universe.

Speaking of Mother, you spend a lot of time and a lot of scenes acting opposite Amanda Collin as the android character. Is there a certain extra challenge to acting opposite another actor who is acting deliberately inhuman, doing things that are just a bit unnatural, to communicate that artificial nature?

No actually. I mean, Amanda is such a brilliant actress and I think all of us are very lucky there's just so many incredible people working on this show. You get given so much from whoever you're in the scene with so as a performer it's just kind of like, cool, I'm just going to take what you're giving me and run with it, give back what I have to give. So actually doing the things with her, although it might seem like, "Oh, it'd be difficult because it's an interaction between a human and an android," it's actually what you get given and maybe there's things which are kind of slightly what we would consider off-kilter or slightly strange that just add on and our targets would be the experience of it all and the reality of the world in which we're playing in.

Can you talk a bit about Tempest's arc throughout the show, where it's headed, and what kind of resolution fans can look forward to by the end of the season?

The first thing that you see for Tempest to start the series is starting her journey of recovery. And so you see her working through her trauma and working through what that means for her now. Not just in terms of being pregnant, but in terms of how she used to see the world. Because as a result of what happened to her, she lost her faith, she lost her trust in people. Throughout the series we see her start to slowly try and rebuild that and recover that.

Would you say that moment in the fifth episode, where she drinks poison, is something like the bottom for Tempest, a place she can start building herself back up from going forward?

Yes,, I would like to say, but obviously going forward in life, we know that recovery isn't linear. But definitely that's one of her lowest points. And it's been kind of building back from that and her having to work out how to go forward and how to keep going.

How has playing Tempest helped you grow as an actor?

I think one of the main things that I've taken away from playing Tempest is just a reminder to trust my instincts because of the nature of what Tempest is going through and what she's working through, her recovery from her trauma, there's certain times where you can give a reaction and it feels right, but potentially the actor side of you is going, "Oh, I better not, that's too much" or "Does it make sense?"

I'll take a pause and go, "No, this feels right." You don't know how people feel about you, you just feel how you feel and hope those feeling are validated. I felt like particularly with her, it's kind of like, "Okay, so we're going to have this reaction, then we're going to have this reaction." And I don't think about it. I feel like I owe it to Tempest try not to overthink it, just to try to be and know that that's enough.



New episodes of Raised by Wolves premiere on Thursdays on HBO Max.