"Seattle Superstorm:" Interview with the Cast

By Jamie Ruby

Seattle SuperstormThis weekend Syfy will be premiering their newest Saturday Original Movie, Seattle Superstorm. In the film, unusual and deadly weather is caused by what is believed to be a UFO crash. As the superstorm spreads further, a scientist, played by Esai Morales, must help stop it, while protecting his family, including his children, played by MacKenzie Porter and Jared Abrahamson.

The three actors talked to the media recently about the film, airing Saturday night on Syfy.

Syfy Q&A
Seattle Superstorm
Esai Morales, MacKenzie Porter, and Jared Abrahamson

March 27, 2012
5:00 pm CT

Seattle SuperstormQUESTION: I was wondering if you could each talk a little bit about what brought you to this project, and what was it about it that interested you?

ESAI MORALES: Let's start with my little MacKenzie.

MACKENZIE PORTER: I heard about this project, I guess it was almost a year ago when I first read for Chloe the character. And I was really drawn to it because I've never done an action film before. So there's lots of cool stunts that we had to be involved in, and just a lot of action sequences. So that was really exciting for me and a new challenge for me, so that's one of the main reasons why I wanted to be involved with the show.

JARED ABRAHAMSON: Yes, this was - I guess we did it last April, I'd just come off a Hallmark movie. It was pretty sappy, heavy drama. So it was something polar opposite, I could into a different direction and show another side of me. So I just jumped at the chance when I read the script.

ESAI MORALES: And for me, I've never done anything quite like this. So it was very exciting to play, to imagine, to imagine all these things happening and see them. Also, I like to play the good guy every once in a while.

I often play, somebody beating up on somebody or trying to kill or some sort of, dastardly thing. So I figured, "Well here's a rare chance to play the hero, or at least one of the heroes." Because I think MacKenzie and Jared take over for the old people. I had a lot of fun.

JARED ABRAHAMSON: You follow suit.

SCIFI VISION: Can you tell us what you found the most challenging about filming the movie?

ESAI MORALES: I think it was keeping Jared and MacKenzie in line. I think that I was keeping them from trying to steal every scene. I said, "Leave a couple for the elder statesman here."

JARED ABRAHAMSON: Was that (unintelligible).

ESAI MORALES: Yes, go ahead. What was tough? I don't know.

MACKENZIE PORTER: I was going to say a lot of the visual effects are done after, in post-production and so it's a lot of, getting chased by a tornado that doesn't exist or, something is flying at you that doesn't exist. So it's a lot of imagination and I mean that's always a little bit difficult imagining a big, something extremely scary at you and it's actually not. So I mean that maybe the most difficult thing I think.

ESAI MORALES: Don't - spoiler alert, don't tell them it's not real.

JARED ABRAHAMSON: Everything is based on a true story if you guys didn't know.

ESAI MORALES: Yes, right. You didn't see this happen in Seattle? I - you know what; the media did cover it up. That's what it is. This is based on a real story, yes, or actually a story that might happen.

But yes, I have to agree with MacKenzie you know. Imagining what the effects would like know that we didn't have exactly the same budget as Inception.

So it's kind of - it was tough to say, "Okay, what kind of a human-like tornado are we talking about here that seems to have rage or it just seemed like these elements came to life." And just imagining how big, how small, how realistic or not, was a little tough, but still fun nonetheless.

JARED ABRAHAMSON: Yes, it's a great learning experience.


QUESTION: Esai, what's it like for you these days to step into a fun movie like this, as compared to the seriousness of a world like Caprica?

ESAI MORALES: Yes, well you know I enjoyed my time with the folks at Syfy and I felt I was safe enough there. So yes, it's a different animal. I mean Caprica was, one episode was probably more than the budget of this whole piece.

Again, I don't know, but it's just a different scale. So what you have to do is you play with your imagination. You literally have fun. I mean for me the fact that Caprica isn't there anymore and the fact that I have a young child, I can't be too snooty and go, "Oh well this isn't Martin Scorsese directing and producing."

I can't afford that, I have to have - be realistic and see that there's an opportunity here to play a guy who wasn't a stereotype, who wasn't even Latino, he just was. Ona Grauer and these wonderful young actors that along on the line with us, is was just a chance to play, a chance to learn a little bit about science. It's actually quite fun when you talk about all these things and you go, "Okay, what the heck does that mean?"

So it was antithetical in the sense that it wasn't has as heady. You're right, it wasn't some sort of, "What is it to be human," conundrum. But at the same time it is, "What is it to be a family?" So that - it's a different dynamic, yet the similar things at stake, the survival of your family.

QUESTION: You guys are all a part of the social networking site Twitter, why is that such an important place for you all to promote your work and connect with fans?

ESAI MORALES: That's where all the twits are?

JARED ABRAHAMSON: You know what; to be honest I'm not as active on Twitter as I'd like to be. I'm still getting it figured out and I'm not - it's just all new to me. But I think it's great. You get people from Spain for instance, check on a movie that you're in and you're connecting to those people all over the world and it's pretty cool.

MACKENZIE PORTER: I think yes, like the intimate connection that you have with your fans where you're literally responding to some of their questions, or talking a bit about your life or what you're doing that day. I think people like to know that and they feel closer to you and therefore wanting to be more involved in your affairs. So it's kind of a mutual benefit.

And I follow all my favorite actors, musicians on Twitter as well. So I think it's a great way to promote yourself, but also to promote your friends and support people that you want to support.

ESAI MORALES: Yes, I mean my twit comment aside, when I first did it I said, "Oh this is my first twit - tweet, I'm officially a twit." But no, I resisted it for a while because I kind of find it a little alarming that we are creating our own files, that we are creating our own like, kind of if anybody wants to really keep an eye, all they have to do is check out your Facebook page and/or Twitter.

So I get into my conspiracy theory mentality and I was resisting it for a while, but at the same time, like Jared and MacKenzie said, "It is an incredible way to connect with your fans and do so in a short but intimate way." You know.


ESAI MORALES: It's short-sweet, but they get to know you. The laundry just screwed up your order or something. You know I mean, it's a kind of combination of the mundane and the worldly. I mean you can connect to the world in an intimate way.

MACKENZIE PORTER: Yes, and I think too like it's important to adjust some of your settings, because there are setting where, they can tell exactly where your tweeting from or Facebooking from, like the exact location. And I think it's important to keep some sort of privacy in your live, but also keep your fans as involved as you can while keeping that privacy.

ESAI MORALES: Right, try not to tweet from the shower.

MACKENZIE PORTER: Yes. TPS is a little intimate there.

ESAI MORALES: Yes. Did that answer your questions? By the way I want to ask whoevers there, we want to make sure that answer is...

Seattle SuperstormQUESTION: Yes, and about promoting your work there too.

ESAI MORALES: Yes. Absolutely, it gives you that opportunity to let the people know what you're up to.

JARED ABRAHAMSON: Yes, I'm from the North. I didn't even have a computer until I moved to Vancouver, so I'm still figuring it all out.

ESAI MORALES: Say, Jared actually used to come to work on a sled every day, it was amazing.

JARED ABRAHAMSON: Yes, had a dogsled bring me in.

ESAI MORALES: He's from Flin Flon.


SCIFI VISION: Is there something specific that you guys are looking forward to the fans seeing in the show, like a scene or something that you can talk about without revealing too much?



JARED ABRAHAMSON: Definitely...Yes, I'm looking forward to them seeing some of my driving skills. I'm going to be in the next Fast & Furious after they see this.

ESAI MORALES: Yes, there you go. MacKenzie what are you looking forward to?

MACKENZIE PORTER: You know what, I'm really looking forward to the whole thing, like I - like we said, "We filmed it last April," and then we - I'm sure we all did ADR for it. But I really - like there's certain scenes -- I don't even know if I remember doing stunts.

I always love going back and watching and having it bring back all those memories of like being on set or what you were actually feeling in that moment. Or the jokes that were going around when you were doing that scene or whatever. So I'm really excited to see the whole thing.

ESAI MORALES: Yes, I like to - I'm looking forward to moments where I don't cringe, when I see myself, because normally it's a cringe-fest. I just can't - it takes about three viewing for me to get over myself and the fact that, my head looks so big onscreen.

Anyway, just to see like MacKenzie said "Oh right, oh my God we forgot about this or that." It's been a while. So it's not exactly fresh off, in our minute. But it's, again we're not trying to reinvent the wheel here, it's fun, it's entertaining and I want to see how much of those effects I pulled off as looking like I was looking at them for real or not. I just want to see how credible we are and I can be as a scientist.

I'm very scientific in general, but sometimes that may or not come across. I want to make sure it's believable.

SCIFI VISION: Well I think it's good so far. I'm actually in the middle of watching, and I'm really enjoying it so far so.

ESAI MORALES: Okay, good. Well Jamie, thank you Jamie.

JARED ABRAHAMSON: There's our viewer right there.

ESAI MORALES: Yes, we got - okay we got one. We got one good review, half a star so far. Thank you. Also I think Pearl Jam should have done our soundtrack, but that's a whole other story.


ESAI MORALES: Actually they were big fans, I just heard last night from a dear friend that they were obsessed with Caprica. Obsessed, they may still be, yes. So you hear that Syfy? Anyway.


QUESTION: When a movie like this, with so many effects and things that aren't really there, how do you find the motivation, I guess, to make it look real, like you're really seeing something...[Do you] just have to imagine?

ESAI MORALES: Yes, I mean that's the whole name of the game of acting. I mean it's the most basic thing you can do. It's the big as if. You are reacting - what's the word, behaving truthfully in imaginary circumstances.


JARED ABRAHAMSON: It's all about each actor's process too. And I mean not all of us have been running full speed from a tornado, but there've been moments in your life where you might have felt that rush from something. And so you can substitute it with that and try and, pull from there.


ESAI MORALES: It can actually be more fun sometimes than acting with the real deal.


ESAI MORALES: Because it - you have to use the muscles of your imagination.

QUESTION: That's really where your art comes from right?

ESAI MORALES: Yes. MacKenzie come on, you got something to say.

MACKENZIE PORTER: No, I agree. I mean...

ESAI MORALES: What they said.

MACKENZIE PORTER: ...What they said. But - no, the work that I do too it's all about substitution and I mean there's many times in my life that I've been scared for different reasons. And it's easy for me to go back into that panicky kind of state. So, yes, I agree it's more fun sometimes to have to build it all up in your mind with - instead of, seeing it when you - I think.


QUESTION: Esai...What's it like to work with younger actors like Jared and MacKenzie, and perhaps you reflected...


QUESTION: ...on yourself years ago.

ESAI MORALES: Well it's so funny because they're both extremely charismatic and camera ready, if you know what I mean. Also very talented, so it just makes me feel like, "Oh boy, I better stay on top of my game before they just push me off the ledge."

No, I love it, they're very respectful. I mean they're good Canadian people here and Canadians are famous for their politeness and their consideration. And so there was no young diva or devos on the set, you know.

Everybody came to work and young Jared is actually a ultimate fighting type of guy. He does mixed martial arts, so it's very impressive the stories I would get from him. And he would teach me how to talk like from Flin Flon, up there. "Oh yes, you bet you eh?"


ESAI MORALES: Anyway, we just have a good time because at the end day we work while we play and we play while we work. It's a combination of having a work ethic that allows for joy. And if you don't have joy in your work then I think you're doing something wrong, especially if you're in this business. You got to follow your bliss.

And I just liked being there to be of, kind of like the elder statesman, the big brother on set, so any sort of advice. And MacKenzie's voice and musical ability very awe inspiring. So as her stepdad to be, I was very proud to hear her music and to see that she's making strides in her career in many areas. So...

JARED ABRAHAMSON: With the back stage jam sessions.

ESAI MORALES: Yes, that's right. We would play music. I mean that's - the thing is that, while you have to do, long days and sometimes very uncomfortable work, like in rain and fog machines and wind and stuff like that...

MACKENZIE PORTER: Wind machines.

ESAI MORALES: Yes, do you remember that, oh my God, you and your hair and everybody's hair. It was like we were all like, "Oh shweat (sic)." But it's inspirational to see young people out there, it makes you less jaded. That's all I have to say.

Seattle SuperstormQUESTION: I was wondering what you think that fans will really like when watching the film? What's going to catch their interests?

ESAI MORALES: Well, you guys want to talk first or should I? I talk too much.

MACKENZIE PORTER: Well I'll say kind of what I think. I think, not only does it have like the Sci-fi aspect that will grab the Sci-fi lovers, there's also family issues going on. So I don't really get along with stepdad at first, and I don't want to like my step-brother, or soon to be step-brother, stepdad.

And so it's nice that there's a lot of relationships going on at the same time as all of these, these other problems more of the Sci-fi elements. There are strong relationships in it too. So I think people will connect to that.

ESAI MORALES: Very good, yes I identify with that. Mister Fighter Man.

JARED ABRAHAMSON: I really like the same thing. I think that they're just going to enjoy watching this family try and figure each other out at the same time they're trying to figure out how to survive this disaster. So it's kind of interesting.

ESAI MORALES: Yes I think also the fun part of this, as we play in fantasy land is that, "What if, what if this happened?"


ESAI MORALES: What if something came back and affected us in a global - like with a potentially global - I mean look at Fukushima.


ESAI MORALES: I mean that's a real disaster and I think this will touch a nerve. Because people, survival is very, very much on the general population's psyche. You got a lot of people buying gold and storing, water and all sorts of like survival gear. You have all this talk about the end of the world, or aliens making contact or whatever.

I mean there's a ton of things that could go and I think people will identify with, and enjoy, the big, "What if." "What if this happened to my city, what if this happened to my world?" So that's part of it. And the other part is that I think that this piece from Syfy will finally give Mansquito and Sharktopus a run for their money.


ESAI MORALES: We - move over Mansquito.

JARED ABRAHAMSON: We're coming for you.

ESAI MORALES: There's a new tragedy in town.

QUESTION: Well we're looking forward to watch it all come down this weekend.

SCIFI VISION: Is there any like research or preparation you did before starting the film other than trying to build up your fear, like you did MacKenzie?

MACKENZIE PORTER: I really am a big fan of watching other movies where, big traumatic events like this happen, and watching those actors and how they went about it. So I watched a lot of movies before we went to set with the same kind of issues and I don't know, I think that really helps. Jared and I actually watched a couple together.

JARED ABRAHAMSON: (Shout out) and Twister, there's a lot of good.

ESAI MORALES: Yes, I mean for me, I'm already kind of science buff so, I just felt like this catches them by surprise. The dynamics here it's different than if you were going to play, a member of the French court in 16th Century, Paris.

It's different; it's contemporary so it doesn't have the usual types of prerequisites of research. I mean it's out there. I have to admit I did not go out and get a doctorate in biophysics, biochemistry, but you just go over the material. You talk to the director. You try to make sense. You try to make sure that when you say those lines you actually do know what you're talking about to some degree.

That's what, for me the preparation is, credibility. Making, going over it. Realizing that this is your world, or my character's world. Science, he's trying to figure out a way around this through what he knows, through what he sees as his forte.

And then his wife, the cool thing is here, I'm not really the hero it Ona, she's the bad-ass. You know she's just like knocking people out, and she's tough. And she's tough not only on the storm or the generals around her and whatnot, she's tough on me, you know. And I like that. There's something about a hot blonde being tough on me that just said I got to take this gig.

SCIFI VISION: Jared, do you have anything to add?

JARED ABRAHAMSON: No, these guys got it covered.


QUESTION: Esai I have a question that's specifically for you about some of your previous work here...Jericho and Battlestar Galactica, Jericho you kind of benefited from the super fan insanity with the 40 tons of peanuts.

ESAI MORALES: Brilliant move, man I wish [it] could work every season though.

QUESTION: And then Battlestar, I mean just such a bold stance there. That experience with such involvement from the fans, does that kind of change you. I mean compared to, NYPD Blue [which] was extremely popular, but I don't think had the interaction like you get with something [like Caprica].

ESAI MORALES: Yes, no, NYPD Blue was a well-oiled machine by the time I got there. So yes, that was an incredible experience as well. But I - when you say Battlestar I'm sure you're referring to its prequel, Caprica.

QUESTION: Well yes, it's the Battlestar universe.

ESAI MORALES: Yes that's right. Well which I was again honored and I mean - what an incredible creative team, you know. Ron Moore and David Eick and the people on that show were just - it's mind-blowing...It's hard to second guess a network and why they make the decisions they make. I was heart-broken to say the least not continuing. And there is a Caprica fan, like there are pages, there is Twitter, places that Caprica fans still look after.

People like Sasha (Roiz), Alessandra (Torresani), all the - the great cast that we had. Eric Stoltz, whatever they're doing, whatever we're up to, they are still on top of it. So to a degree I feel like the Internet, the Twitterverse, has kept us alive. At least, even if the shows aren't alive, the fans have an identity or have something in common through the show's identity.

So it's a different animal, it's a different animal than when NYPD Blue fans came into being. And I think with Jericho doing what they did, it really shows that the fans are ultimately the last word if the network decides to go there.

But there's something funny I have to add, if I don't take up too much time here. Both Jericho and Caprica dealt with real world issues that I think paralleled things happening in our society. And one of the reasons I think Jericho is no longer on the air is not because of its popularity or lack of, I think it's because it was touching upon certain things that were very, very taboo to talk about. And that's all I can say about that.

SCIFI VISION: How are you both similar and different from your characters?

ESAI MORALES: Go for it kids.

JARED ABRAHAMSON: I think definitely similarity in TV. In real life I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie too, and I think Wyatt embraces that also. I mean when everyone else is a little bit more terrified of the storm, he's kind of looking at it like, "it's not that - it doesn't look that bad." And I can relate to that in a sense.

Differently, geez I don't know. I'm a lot older than my character is in real life. So it's different going back to 16 again. Fighting with your step sister and maybe I would have handled some situations a little bit differently, but that's a movie.

MACKENZIE PORTER: I think for me Chloe is a little bit more of a science nerd than I would say I am myself. But Chloe is very stubborn and I'm very stubborn. And I think if she puts her mind someplace she's going to get it. And I feel like I'm the same way in my life. So yes, we have - we're very similar and very opposite in many ways.

Seattle SuperstormSCIFI VISION: Esai?

ESAI MORALES: I am a brilliant scientist and I think that's where few people realize that E=MC2 was my initials initially, but I let this other cat take credit because I'm not in it for the glory I'm in it for the science, truth, knowledge. Okay, I am like my character because yes, I like to figure things out. I'm a big crossword, jigsaw puzzle type of cat. And I think that's what really drew him to this situation that is wife was on top of.

He figured, "Okay she'll handle it on a military level, I'll handle on, in my sphere of expertise." Which is trying to figure out, what, where, how, this all came about, and how we can undo this, how we can save ourselves. And how am I similar? I'm a nosey body who wants to help. if I can help somebody I will. I believe in random acts of kindness.

How am I not like him? Well I don't have such a mature son, I just have an 18 month old daughter. So on that level I'm a new dad, but I'm just - I love it. I love being the character, but I'm still trying to find out how I'm different. I guess I'm not as mild-mannered. He's a little mild-mannered, you know. I would have spoken up a little differently to the kids, you know. I would have said, "Shut up now." I would have been a little more Brooklyn on them.

But for TV we've got to be kind of peachy friendly, so...


ESAI MORALES: ...I don't know. But what do you guys think? I think we should ask each other like "How do you think MacKenzie and - how's Esai different?" And we might not like what we hear, but it'll make for interesting copy.

JARED ABRAHAMSON: There you go, there's the interview right there.

Latest Articles