Surface’s Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Creator Veronica West Tease the New Thriller


By now, you’ve read our Surface review, which previews the new Apple TV+ series.

We were honored to participate in the Surface press day and chatted with leads Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Oliver Jackson-Cohen, as well as creator and showrunner Veronica West.

Now that you know our thoughts on the series, you can learn about West’s inspiration, discover the actors were drawn to Surface, and so much more.

Mbatha-Raw takes on the mysterious lead, Sophie, who first appears with very little memory after a tragic accident.

Sophie needs to cull information about her life from those around her while relying on them to be honest and open with her.

That creates some difficulty when she’s warned that all is not as it seems.

As Sophie struggles to understand what is real and how every new revelation fits into her life, Mbatha-Raw gets to bring it to life.

Mbatha-Raw calls the role liberating, as she gets to build Sophie from scratch.

Jackson-Cohen has become a master of the man shrouded in mystery, and as we only know of Sophie’s husband, James, through her eyes, it’s difficult to pin him down.

It’s fascinating that Jackson-Cohen has nailed so many of these similar characters without repeating what has come before.

We also asked him to describe the show in three words, and it was like a game of stump the band watching him struggle for the words.

Check out our full interview with them below:

All those thoughts were backed up when we chatted with West, who created Surface to examine our many selves and how we show them to others.

West was intrigued by the idea that Sophie would be a clean slate, having lost her innermost thoughts, demons, and emotions and only recapturing her essence by living again.

West calls Surface an escapist, sophisticated thriller that captures a place we’d be eager to visit and spend time in.

The show is beautifully filmed, with high fashion and beautifully decorated interiors.

That, too, was done with purpose. Sophie’s similarly patterned life matches the glossy, almost too-good-to-be-true settings.

West also shares how she and her writers broke the story to reveal just enough information to increase the mystery, culminating in the end.

There is a sense of dread and suspense throughout the first season, and part of the fun for West and the writers was to ensure that you never have time to rest before the next thrilling twist.

Get her viewing tips and much more with the full interview below.

Surface premieres with three episodes on Friday, July 28.

We will review the show weekly, so don’t forget to return to follow along with us!

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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