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Last week was a bit of a surreal one. Courtesy of MuggleNet, I was lucky enough to attend the world premiere of a brand new YouTube Premium series, Origin. An amalgamation of Sci-Fi and Horror that had the audience gripping their seats in anticipation.
The first two episodes are now available FOR FREE on YouTube! Check them out here
Not only did I attend the premiere and get early access to the show, but I also got to speak to the cast of the film… who just happened to be Tom Felton and Natalia Tena (AKA, Draco Malfoy and Nymphadora Tonks from Harry Potter). As you may know from my usual content, I’m sort of a huge fan of Harry Potter. So THIS was absolutely unreal.
Let me start from the beginning. I arrived at the Vue cinema in Leicester Square on a brisk evening, dressed semi-smart to blend into the crowd. And believe me, this was a step up from what I wore last time I went to a premiere, which consisted of my work uniform (plus lanyard) as I teetered down the red carpet like an absolute mess.
Fortunately there was no outdoor red carpet entry at this event that I had to endure, but I did get a brief glimpse of the stars of the show once I was inside the venue, who were doing their usual photos and comments for the eager press. Being inside the official launch room made me feel extremely VIP, so I did my very best to look collected and calm as opposed to a squealing fangirl.
It was hard to suppress those urges, lemme tell you.
Once I’d gone into the cinema to take my seat (sneaking over to the front to be near the important people obviously) I was greeted with some lovely freebies, courtesy of YouTube. A free comfy shirt and popcorn. The latter I actually scoffed before the show even started. I just can't help myself.
The cast and crew of Origin! (Natalia Tena's dog kind of steals the show though) Photo credit - @OriginSeries on Twitter
We were extremely lucky to be treated to not one, but TWO episodes of Origin. Now, I don’t want to go into spoiler territory, but let me say this. The show sets the tone from the beginning. IE: It’s pretty uncomfortable to watch, but you can’t stop yourself from being hooked. These characters are thrust into a nightmare of a situation, with no real explanation on as to why.
A group of civilians wake up in a deserted spaceship, after they were on route to a distant planet to have fresh start at life. However, they begin to discover that they are not alone on the craft, and there are other disturbing things afoot.
The promise of paradise and ‘a better life’ had a lot of religious connotations for me. That this destination that the characters wanted to go to had the power to erase all sins, and allow anyone to live out a new life in peace. It’s therefore an ironic twist of fate that these characters are stuck in a nightmare; both physically on the ship, and mentally in their horrific memories of their personal lives that they desperately wished to leave behind..
At one point a character queries, “Are we being punished?”. Again, this makes me wonder. Were these people brought together specifically? Were they put on THAT ship, and left behind, for a reason? Were they ever meant to get to paradise at all?
Answers I’m sure that will be answered later on in the series!
After the roller coaster ride of the first two episodes, we were treated to an exclusive Q&A with the cast, writer and director of the show. This was also hosted by the most down-to-earth DJ on Radio 1, Clara Amfo. She created a great atmosphere for the whole panel, and gave us some very insightful topics to talk about.
The Q&A panel, all in conversation. Photo credit - Clara Amfo on Twitter
They kicked off by giving a little background on the filming of the show. Unfortunately they didn’t actually film in space (as much as we wish), but rather in Cape Town, South Africa. The creator of the show is the wickedly talented Mika Watkins. I have to say, from a personal perspective, it was so refreshing to see a young woman taking the reins for a full TV programme. This is a point that didn’t go unnoticed by Mika herself.
She joked how when she first met Tom Felton, he automatically assumed that she was another actress/crew member on the show, joyfully asking her “What’s your Jamberoo?”, only to be left feeling rather flustered when she revealed that she was the mind behind Origin. Hollywood is typically a man’s world, so her own command over this show is truly inspiring. She was a joy to listen to.
Speaking of Tom Felton, he’s also a complete natural when it comes to press junkets. He did a sublime job of welcoming all the other panellists into the conversation, coaxing some of the shyer ones in to ensure that everyone got their time in the spotlight. He was the perfect balance of charming and self-depreciating, breaking the ice wonderfully.
… Even when he admitted that he’d never seen Star Wars before. WHAT?!
Natalia Tena was also hysterical, re-telling her experience of filming a very intense scene. Despite the heightened emotions that her character was dealing with, the actress herself was suffering with (and I quote) “Chronic diarrhoea so bad that I needed a second pair of pants on set, just in case.”
God I love a bit of toilet humour.
Clara also complimented the natural diversity of the cast, taking a slice of people from all over the world, and weaving their backgrounds and cultures into the narrative. Mika praised the casting directors for their hard work on that front, and I have to agree. It was so refreshing to see so many unique stories from different countries, and I have no doubt that Mika’s own outlook on the film/TV world influenced that.
I can’t write this post without mentioning my claim to fame, in which the legendary Clara chose me for a question. That's right. LITTLE OLD ME. I actually had nothing prepared, but when they asked the audience and nobody put their hand up, I had an impulsive strike and threw up my arm confidently, not passing up the chance to speak to the cast.
Naturally, when I finally got the mic, I blabbered on like a hot mess. But from what I generally remember, I asked how the cast and crew had bonded over the production period. Lovely Tom was the first to answer, exclaiming to me gleefully, “Did you not see me grabbing onto everyone during the last episode?! We all love each other, we’re like family.”
Meanwhile I grinned at him, nodding along like the starstruck numpty that I am.
Where it all took place: Vue Leicester Square
Natalia also told a very touching story of the make-up artist that she bonded with everyday, and discussed how a process like filming a show allows you to get to know others on such an intimate level. You could really see how much the cast loved each other, and that trust shone through in their performances as well.
All in all, they answered my question with grace and gratitude, and it’s a moment that will stick with me for a while. I just wish I’d be less of a hysterical klutz when I asked it.
Next time, next time.
And with that, the night was over! Experiencing a premiere again was a surreal experience, and I was so grateful that I got an early glimpse as this truly unique show. It was also especially exciting in the build-up week to the new Fantastic Beasts to see some Harry Potter alumni. That’s definitely an item ticked off the bucket list.
If you’re looking for a new drama to keep you going until Christmas, then go ahead and stream the whole service over on YouTube Premium. The first two episodes are actually free to watch for everyone without subscribing, so why not give it a go? It could be your next fandom fix.