New NBC show “Manifest” premieres on Monday, Sept. 24 at 10/9c.
From executive producer Robert Zemeckis, the show tells the story of a flight, which mysteriously lands five years later. The passengers themselves believe only a few hours have past, but the world thinks that the plane and its passengers have gone missing. The show explores the aftermath of these events.
NBC and The Cinema Society hosted a party to celebrate NBC’s 2018-2019 season at The Four Seasons Restaurant in New York. The Knockturnal was on the scene. Check out our exclusive interviews below!
Luna Blaise is the daughter of singer / actress Angelyna Martinez and renowned music video director Paul Boyd. She is probably best known for playing Nicole on Fresh off the Boat. She plays Olive Stone on Manifest.
The Knockturnal: Tell us a little bit about your character.
Luna Blaise: My character is Olive Stone and she has a family that was torn apart on an airplane in 2013 that surprisingly lands in 2018. It’s just really seeing her through everything that’s gone on through the past five years, and trying to build herself up again, and then getting torn down when the plane arrives, because it’s like, “What the Hell?” It’s like, “What, you’re back?” It’s really seeing a family that’s trying to rebuild.
The Knockturnal: Would you characterize Manifest as a Sci-Fi show?
Luna Blaise: It’s kind of like a This is Us meets Lost. That’s what everyone’s saying.
The Knockturnal: What do you love about playing her?
Luna Blaise: What I love about playing Olive is that she’s really real. The circumstance that’s she’s been through is not something that is normal, but she has real feelings and you see that, and you see the bond from her and her dad and her twin brother. I’m excited for everyone to see that.
The Knockturnal: How did you get involved with the show?
Luna Blaise: I just auditioned and I was out a week later filming a pilot in New York.
The Knockturnal: Where are you from originally?
Luna Blaise: Los Angeles.
The Knockturnal: How did you get your start in performing and your passion for it?
Luna Blaise: My parents are both in the business. When I was eight years old, I was like, “I want to be on the TV screen.” So I kept auditioning and then I got my first TV show, Fresh Off the Boat when I was 11. Now I’m on this.
The Knockturnal: Wow. That’s incredible. Constance Wu has become massive with the success of Crazy Rich Asians. How excited are you for her?
Luna Blaise: I am so excited for her. She really deserves it and she’s just an incredible person. Working with her for the past five years has been awesome, but this is a new chapter in my life and I have to sadly say goodbye to that character, Nicole. But, I’m moving on to Olive Stone now, so I’m very excited.
We also spoke with Athena Karkanis, who plays Grace Stone, Luna’s TV mom.
The Knockturnal: Tell me a little bit about your role on the show.
Athena Karkanis: So, I play Grace Stone, who is the wife of Ben Stone, who is one of the people who disappears on the flight. She is also the mother of Cal Stone, who also disappears on the flight. And, the story is kind of centered around the Stone family, Michaela, who is the sister of Ben, and Ben, and how they are trying to rebuild their family after being ripped apart in this horrible way, you know, this flight that has just vanished out of nowhere. And towards the end of the pilot you learn that Grace has actually moved on because she thought her husband was dead for five years, so there’s this very complicated love triangle that’s happening as she’s trying to rebuild her family with the man that she had children with, and I think it’s quite gut-wrenching at certain points.
The Knockturnal: Speak about playing out those emotional scenes and this complicated character.
Athena Karkanis: It’s challenging. Obviously, these are circumstances that nobody that we know has actually had to deal with, because there’s a bit of an element of supernatural, but then, there are also things that I can draw upon from my real life, you know. I’m also a mother, and so I know the depth and the profundity of that kind of love, and the challenges that come with that. So, it’s been great, actually, they’ve written Grace so beautifully, and she’s very full and fleshed-out, and she’s not “just the wife.” And it’s a beautiful family drama, I think, with this crazy thing that no one could imagine happening, because it doesn’t happen in real life, but it has happened in this show. But, it’s also kind of a thing that, it makes you think, as a person, like, how would I feel if this was my life, you know?
The Knockturnal: And where do you guys film?
Athena Karkanis: We film here in New York City, in Queens, in Long Island City, at Silvercup Studios. It’s amazing to be walking in the footsteps of these iconic, great shows, The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Girls, 30 Rock, all these, amazing shows that I’ve watched for years, and now, here I am following in their footsteps. It’s pretty exciting.
The Knockturnal: And where are you from originally?
Athena Karkanis: I’m Canadian. I’m from Toronto. That’s my hometown. I love Toronto. I miss it. I love New York, as well, but Toronto’s a cool city.