The best sci-fi stories are the ones that take an ambitious premise and then inject that concept with real-world ideas, challenging the audience to think about what they would do if they found themselves in futuristic or dystopic situations. This approach to the genre is assuredly reflected in Prime Video's new series The Peripheral, with advances in technology offering Flynn (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Burton (Jack Reynor) a glimpse into their future, giving them opportunities to change their lives in the present, while also challenging the nature of their reality. The Peripheral debuts on Prime Video on October 21st.
The Peripheral centers on Flynne Fisher (Moretz), a woman trying to hold together the pieces of her broken family in a forgotten corner of tomorrow's America. Flynne is smart, ambitious, and doomed. She has no future; until the future comes calling for her. The Peripheral is master storyteller William Gibson's dazzling, hallucinatory glimpse into the fate of mankind—and what lies beyond.
ComicBook.com caught up with Moretz and Reynor to talk about how they'd handle their characters' journeys, entering the complex world, and other projects.
ComicBook.com: Since the world of The Peripheral is a little bit about inserting yourself into a video game-type world, as a fan of video games yourself, is there a video game world that you would actually like to immerse yourself in and actually live in and see what that's like?
Chloë Grace Moretz: Oh, that's kind of fun. Final Fantasy, that would be crazy. I play a lot of Final Fantasy XIV, so I would love to be my character in there, for sure. I'm one of the bunny ladies. I'm one of the bunny girls, and I live in Ul'dah. So this means nothing to a lot of people, but for people that play the game, yes, I do want to be living in Final Fantasy.
I was thinking maybe Minesweeper or something, a real video game world.
Jack Reynor: Minesweeper, what a game.
Moretz: Cyberpunk  would be cool to live in, too. That'd be really crazy, actually.
Speaking a little bit more to the themes of this series, Jack, since a lot of this show is about understanding your timeline, understanding your trajectory, do you think you personally, not even necessarily your character, you personally, are you the type that would rather want to know your own future if you had that knowledge or would you rather not have that information?
Reynor: No, I'd rather not have it, man. Variety is the spice of life, and yeah, I think if you know everything that's going to happen, there's no point. It gets a bit nihilistic, doesn't it?
I think there's the case to be said that if you do know your future, then whatever daily struggle you go through that day, you're like, "Eh, it's not so bad. I know I'm going to be here for another 15 years," or whatever.
Reynor: Well, I guess you're a glass-half-full kind of guy.
Moretz: Mr. Nihilistic over here. God, almighty, Jack. Oh, my God.
Since this is definitely a very expansive world, each episode we're uncovering more and more things, just completely ambitious themes, and the filmmakers who are involved are exploring these complex things, are you the type that when you got involved in this project, you wanted to know where everything is headed? Or because your characters are learning about this world as we go, did you prefer to not know everything so you could discover along with your character?
Moretz: No, no, no. I love to prep. I love to know the entirety of where we're going to go, how we're going to get there. That way I can map it out. And we were, what we call "cross-boarded," so we were shooting Episodes 1 through 8 in a day with multiple directors, in multiple locations, and as we know, in two different worlds. I was pretty much the only character throughout the whole show consistently that was in both worlds, so it was pretty intense. I basically wanted to be super aware of where we were going to go, and I even had a color-coding system with all the scripts that I came up with.
Reynor: That was the smartest thing ever. Thank God she said that. It's really tough when you're shooting one scene out of one episode and then you go straight into another episode, another scene. You do that three, four times in one day, it's really, really intense.
Moretz: Especially when they are discovering so much.
Reynor: So Chloë very quickly came up with the idea of, "Okay, let's have each episode printed on different colored sides," basically. We had all those and we'd be able to go through, you just remember the color and you could go to it really fast, and that was so critical, so critical. Nice going on that one, by the way.
Moretz: It also looked really pretty.
Reynor: I don't know if they ever gave you enough credit. She looked great.
Moretz: It looked pretty. It was a colorful script, not me.
Reynor: Oh. I thought you were talking about yourself.
Reynor: I looked really pretty. I was in great shape.
I like the idea that maybe, Chloë, you were just like, "Oh, I'm just going to print out these different colors because it's pretty," and then the afterthought of the coding system.
Moretz: I just wanted a different color script. I just wanted fairy colors.
Reynor: We'd bring her balloons to her trailer all the time.
Moretz: Pacifiers, anyway.
Well, pacifiers, those will play a key role in Season 4 of the series. It's just planting that seed.
Moretz: Yeah, these are all Easter eggs.
Jack, something I've been wondering about you for a few years now is, ever since you did Midsommar, your image is the image online of a terrible person and a terrible boyfriend. Does that at all affect you of like, "Oh, great, my face represents sh-ttiness," or is it, "That was my character,"?
Reynor: Yeah, man, real pointed venom and just f-cking hatred for toxic masculinity.
Moretz: Jack Reynor: "My face represents sh-ttiness."
Reynor: Poster boy for dickheads. You know what? I actually find, when I'm going around at home, when I'm in Dublin, people do come up to me about that movie and it's still pretty evenly split between people who go, "I mean, you were a sh-thead but you got a raw deal," and people who were like, "Yeah, you deserve to get f-cking burned alive."
That's nice, at least it's split.
Reynor: So it's half and half.
Chloë, you've talked before about how you're a fan of Marvel and those big blockbusters and stuff, and I wonder, have you ever gotten to actually have a meeting with Marvel Studios about a role? Has it gotten to that point after you've said you like Marvel?
Moretz: Yeah, we've talked a little bit about it. I mean, I think for me, I would be really interested in playing a villain in Marvel or DC, and jumping into the darker side of the role. I love a superhero, I think that'd be really fun, too. But I think it's just all about finding the one that really matches what you're wanting to get across, and the scope of the character. I think it'd be really fun if it was the right role and the right project.
The Peripheral debuts on Prime Video on October 21st.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. You can contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter.0comments