As the fall season of television gets underway, Amazon Prime’s upcoming original series Utopia is highly anticipated. With a star studded cast including Rainn Wilson (The Office), Sasha Lane (American Honey) and John Cusack (Love & Mercy), it will premiere on Amazon Prime September 25. Portraying an evil scientist by the name of Dr. Kevin Christie, Cusack sat down with Entertainment Weekly to discuss the upcoming show and what it’s like to portray a villain.
Utopia tells the story of how a bunch of nerds go from being comic book fans to heroes. The group of avid readers become convinced that a newly released comic book is giving clues on how the world will end and it’s up to them to prevent that prophecy. Going on a dangerous mission, they must also contend with the spread of a deadly virus which is brought on by the billionaire tech mogul, Dr. Christie.
Gillian Flynn, the bestselling author who wrote thrillers such as Gone Girl and Sharp Objects, serves as the writer and executive producer on the show. The upcoming series is a remake of the 2013 British TV show Utopia, and Flynn wrote the role of Dr. Christie for the American version as he was not in the original. Noted for her dark and violent stories that always involve complex villains, Cusack’s character, is a charismatic multilayered man .
Discussing the ins and outs of the flawed scientist, Cusack revealed how Dr. Christie is not the stereotypical villain. He’s more complicated than simply bad, as he truly starts out with good intensions. Cusack told Entertainment Weekly, “He’s somebody who’s trying to make the world a better place from the top down, in the mold of benevolent billionaires and cultural philanthropists. He’s trying to solve some of the riddles that are facing modern humanity. He’s trying to help with food and water shortages, pandemics, and viruses. He’s a major player from the big foundations and think tanks, from the very top of capitalism. But he seems like a good guy who is trying to do his best to make the world a better place.”
It’s impossible to ignore how relevant the storyline of a deadly pandemic is in the upcoming thriller, and Cusack acknowledged it. He told Entertainment Weekly, “It felt timely, in a tragic way of saying that. We felt we were a step away from these things happening. If something is absurd, it indicates how things might be down the road a couple of blocks. But this felt like, Oh s—, we’re on the same block!” With the relation between fact and fiction blurring, the current state of the world was not lost on him.