The Leftovers takes place three years after the Sudden Departure, a global event wherein two percent of the world's population disappears sans explanation. Before Monday evening’s New York City premiere at the Skirball Center, the series' cast and creators offered insight into the show's post-departure reality.
How are the Leftovers coping?
"People are hanging on," explained Tom Perrotta, series co-creator and author of the novel that serves as source material. Michael Gaston said his mysterious character, Dean, is the type that takes matters into his own hands. "He looks at this event and sees that there are tasks that need to be done that no one wants to do,” Gaston said, “and he has a deep commitment to them.” Dean's philosophy lies in sharp contrast to the Guilty Remnant, an organization Gaston explains as wanting " people to act appropriately and deal with what's going on.” The G.R. is lead by Patti Levin, who’s " not fooling around," according to Ann Dowd, the actress who plays her. Christopher Eccleston, who portrays Reverend Matt Jamison, described his character as "half ape, half angel," and added: "He cares and believes that he has the answer."
What's the most unsettling part of this universe?
"Everyone becomes someone new – whether they were directly affected or not," noted Annie Q, who plays Christine. "They all develop into entirely different people because of this event." Amy Brenneman, who stars as Laurie, agrees. "Laurie is unsettled by how feral people have become," she said. "Everyone is in this animalistic fight or flight situation." Series creator Damon Lindelof summed up the popular sentiment: "Everybody's on the same team: 'We don't know what to do with our lives, but we have to do something.'"
If that world became our reality, would you want to be taken?
"No," said Justin Theroux, who plays Mapleton’s police chief, while his on-screen son Chris Zylka answered the opposite. Carrie Coon, who stars as Nora, noted that the Leftovers carry the weight of constant mourning – analogous to how we all grieve in the real world: "Who are funerals for?" Coon mused, "Funerals are for the people who are left, not the people who are dead." Eccleston offered: "I wouldn't want to leave, and I wouldn't want to be left. I want to live." Perrotta had clearly made up his mind: "It would suck to be left behind, but that's where I belong.”
The Leftovers premieres on Sunday, June 29, at 10pm ET.