Melissa Barrera stars in the new Netflix survival drama Keep Breathing, and it’s a smart, thoughtful series that showed off how dedicated she was to the role.
Set in the northern wilderness of Canada, Barrera stars as Liv, a New York lawyer who crash lands in the middle of nowhere and has to find a way to survive while she’s also dealing with a lot of emotions from her complicated and difficult past.
Created and executive produced by Brendan Gall and Martin Gero, who also created Blindspot together, the two had a lot to say about Barrera, and how she gave the role everything.
“She was immediately likable, personable, charming; all the things that you see every time she speaks,” Gall said. “You never really know how someone’s going to be until you’re out in the woods in a freezing cold lake with mosquitoes and bugs and freezing cold nights and boiling hot days. You find out who someone really is, and Melissa is exactly who she says she is.”
“She’s a self-proclaimed warrior, and she wants to be challenged. She wants to push herself, and she wants to collaborate. She wants to tell the story, but she also wants to bring herself to it, and she did that at every step of the way. It was a phenomenal experience,” Gall added.
However it didn’t start out easy, and the production put her to the test quickly.
“The concern for us immediately was [that] the lake we chose to shoot on… Brennan went to scout it in May [and it] was frozen,” Gero said.
“So that water was freezing, and we were trying with all of our expertise and experience and these incredible teams trying to figure out, is there a way that we could make an acrylic pool in the middle of the lake that we could heat up? Do we build a barge on an infinity pool? And none of it was going to work. There was no getting around that. She was just going to have to be in the freezing water,” he said.
Barrera agreed to do cold water training in her hotel room for the role, and she went above and beyond for the part.
“She was so overprepared, so diligent; she was such an incredible leader on set about what she was capable of. And, like you said, that underwater sequence, there’s no faking it; that’s her, and it’s just incredible to watch her. She learned how to scuba dive for the production just for safety,” Gero said.
Watch the full interview above to hear how the co-creators came up with the story, worked together, and more.
Keep Breathing is streaming now on Netflix.
Images courtesy of Netflix.
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