Season two of WGN’s 10-episode, hour-long hit series Underground, follows an unremitting struggle for freedom within a divided America on the brink of civil war, each side vying to enact their own justice. Set in the aftermath of the Macon 7’s daring attempt to stage the greatest escape in history, this group of American heroes continues on their harrowing journey to freedom, with legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman blazing the trail.
We sat down with the show’s stars Amirah Vann and Jessica De Gouw to the discuss what fans can expect. Be sure to tune in on Wednesday March 8, 2017 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Congratulations on another new season. The first episode was so intense. Your character, she’s in this very dark spiral. Can you tell us about playing out those dark moments?
Amirah: Yeah. You know, you got to go there. I feel like season was received so well. Our fans were so amazing that we all kind of agreed, that we wanted to commit as much as possible to season two. Go even farther. Really kind of try to enhance what was already written on these amazing scripts. It’s just about falling right into it.
Your character is more on the forefront. Can you share what fans can expect?
Jessica: Well, I think the first season Elizabeth was learning a lot. The second season is very much about what it means now. Her having found her new path. How far you have to go to commit to that.
Being from Australia, what was your perspective diving into the material?
Jessica: I had an idea of American history, but the Underground Railroad, specifically, no not really. It’s my understanding that a lot of Americans sort of don’t know enough about it as well. Yeah, a lot of learning, but we’ve had a season now to really get a grip on it. It’s just taking it to the next level.
For you, Pearly Mae seems to be haunting you. Can you speak a little bit about that and those tough decisions she had to make for her family.
Amirah: Yeah. I think that just, people loved, loved, loved that relationship and loved that character. It just makes sense, just how the past can kind of haunt you and that it carries on with you. It’s just what Miss Earnestine is going to constantly be struggling against is all the new, like how to exist in this new world. You can’t extinguish the past completely, as much as you try.
Your character is no longer in the house. She’s doing a lot of hard work out on the field and it’s taking toll. Can you speak a little bit about that emotionally?
Amirah: I think the same way that we learned season one, there was no difference. In the field, in the house, it’s torturous either way. There’s no benefit to either. I think the real tortures are psychological. The real tortures are the new relationship and that emotional relationship. The institution of slavery is awful whether you’re in the house or outside of the house.
Absolutely. For your character, she joins this sewing club of sorts. Can you tell us a little it about what fans can expect from this club?
Jessica: The sewing circle. I guess, the sewing circle is just about sort of showing that there are so many people involved in the Underground Railroad. There are people behind the scenes and a lot of different walks of life, all trying to rectify this horrible situation [with] what is happening. It’s about introducing this new bunch of women who are doing their part.
Can you tell us a little but about working with John Legend? He joins the cast!
Jessica: He does. Frederick Douglass.
Amirah: Yeah, he’s fantastic. He’s such a committed artist. He’s such a committed human being to human rights. I mean, I feel like he just embraced it, like he embraces everything. As an artist, really excited about it and we were excited to have him in that capacity, because he’s already an extraordinary EP for music. It’s just another blessing of just being surrounded by really extraordinary artists.
My last question is, can you share what you admire about Joe and Misha as writers and creators?
Jessica: Yeah. I mean, look at the show.
Amirah: Oh, yeah.
Jessica: Very exceptional. Also, they stick to their guns, I think. Their creative path is sort of very, very sure, which I appreciate.
Amirah: Yeah. I feel like, if they stick to any pocket, it’s just a pocket of truth. I think that’s what makes art really fantastic and kind of go farther is when you’re living in truth. When you look at your page and that’s what you have to go on, you’re starting from a great place.