Epix’s upcoming supernatural horror series “From,” will premiere later this month, and take it from me, it’s not to be missed. Ahead of the premiere, I sat down for an interview with Eion Bailey (“Band of Brothers”) who plays Jim Mathews, a father who, along with his wife and children becomes trapped in a town where every night entities emerge from the woods to try and brutally kill the residents.
Kelli McNeely: “I’ve seen the first four episodes and love it so far! Out of curiosity, what was your first thought after reading the script?”
Eion Bailey: “I have to do this. That was an easy decision. Yeah, it was because I felt like I was just reading a brilliant understanding or take on the world as it is now, the world we find ourselves in through allegory so everything is all the true circumstances we’re all emotionally feeling and the real things that play in the world, but in a heightened reality. And through the science fiction of it, we can examine what is truly happening in our lives and look at the psychology that we’re all creating for ourselves. So at any time in life, if an artist wants to speak to the times in which we live and unscripted storytelling, this is a really great way to do it through science fiction and the horror genre as well for these times. So to me, that’s just a great opportunity.”
Kelli McNeely: “Jim and his family are experiencing so many different emotions. But why is he adapting so well?”
Eion Bailey: “It’s good. Do you think he’s adapting so well? I think for two parts. One, he’s got to hold it together for his family. He’s got children that cannot see how desperate the situation is. That’s his fatherly duty to keep everybody with some small sense of normalcy. And then also it’s by the design of what he does. He’s an engineer. He builds things. He thinks with logic and reason first and does his best to keep emotional tributaries from coming off the main river. And the main river is trying to deliver that water downstream. And that’s the goal. And the goal is to get out of this place. So he’s pretty good at keeping focused until there are moments when he just can’t and he spins out and then collects himself again.”
Kelli McNeely: “Okay, awesome. The town, I’m not sure where it was shot, but it feels so remote. Does that kind of help with the vibe on set?
Eion Bailey: “Oh, yeah, it is remote. Nova Scotia, Canada. That’s the easternmost province of the country. And it was on the outskirts of a small town called Beaver Bank and a very interesting place. Huge property, old folks home. That’s so odd. It looks like a fairly newish large. It almost looks like a Cape Cod resort, but it’s an old folks home that just looks out onto the film set, surrounded by forest. And it has some sort of military installation in the back of the property, which used to be for some kind of telecommunications and sending signals into space. I think I heard. So it’s got all kinds of mysteries at this place. So it’s in the air, feel it, and it supports the story, and it feels very isolating, for sure.”
Kelli McNeely: “I know that there’s a big difference between normal life and playing a role, but it must have felt weird to walk into that room where the family died. Did that affect you?
Eion Bailey: “Yeah, it all does. I started to realize that somebody asked me once recently or actually, it’s a question I fairly regularly get asked. It’s an actor question. Do you take on the role after you’re done either? How do you shake it off like a snake? Does its skin or does it stay with you? And I realized that they all stay. They just get layered one on top of the other. Every role I’ve ever played, it stays. And that consciousness is now in me. And so the desire to navigate what feels like a dystopian nightmare and protect one’s family, that feeling has remained, and I don’t know if that will go away, but certainly here now.”
Kelli McNeely: “I imagine that’s difficult to live with.”
Eion Bailey: “It’s great as well because it’s all a gift. At the same time, even when things are really difficult, we realize I realize it’s part of our journey of growth. It’s our evolution. So I must be wanting this experience. Jim, my character, must be wanting this experience on some level to heal. Therefore, I do, too.”
Kelli McNeely: “What is your favorite aspect of the show?”
Eion Bailey: “The nicely, finely tuned balance between science fiction ideas, concepts, advancements is a finely drawn character investigation of human psychology. And I don’t think it’s often you get to experience both of those things balanced together where the Sci-Fi can appeal, the mystery of it, the Easter eggs, the scares, the thrills that’s all there. But also looking at scenes from marriage and hopefully seeing that they feel true and resonate and are relevant to your own life. That’s a real gift to have both of those elements in a story, and I think this one does.”
Kelli McNeely: “Right. And speaking of the marriage, do you think that has anything to do with how Jim is handling them situation, that he almost kind of seems to be relieved to be there.”
Eion Bailey: “Relieved to be there? That’s interesting. Yeah, I see what you’re saying. That goes along with what I was mentioning about one. If you believe that one contracts the experience that they need, like you don’t necessarily get what you want in life, but you get what you need. And there’s a lot of healing to do. This family has been through a tragedy that most could not recover from, and they certainly have not recovered from it yet and may never. And the best that they could hope for is to heal and come to some kind of understanding and forgiveness, and maybe that will repair the bond that has been fractured, and that will be their best chance at growth and achieving what they need, as opposed to what they want.”
Kelli McNeely: “What role have you played before this that made you have the right mindset to play Jim?”
Eion Bailey: “I’ve played a few characters who get themselves into very precarious situations and have to find a way to extract themselves but have loved ones to protect. I did a movie called Extortion and a movie called The Canyon that I can think of right off the top of my head. I think I live it to one degree or another. I’m a husband and a father. There’s always the fear that some kind of tragedy is right around the corner or that it could happen because it does happen. And we still have to figure out a way to walk boldly and keep our head held high and not be crippled by fear and live in some semblance of freedom and keep our heads on straight and not lose our minds. That’s a living experience and an artistic one, and they both just dub tail together for me. It’s certainly on display and you’ll see it throughout the season.”
Kelli McNeely: “If you had to describe Jim in three words, what would they be?
Eion Bailey: “He’s a reasonable man who is very inquisitive and extremely determined.”
Kelli McNeely: “That sounds right. He’s a very interesting character.”
Eion Bailey: “Well, thank you, Kelli.”
I can’t wait to see how the story continues to unfold for Eion Bailey’s character Jim and all of the other characters in the series that can best be described as edge-of-your-seat entertainment. Don’t be surprised if you see “From” on our “Best of 2022” list.
Be sure to tune in to Epix on February 20, 2022, for the premiere of “From“. Join the Twitter party on February 17th for a sneak peek and live tweet!