‘Keep Breathing’ Showrunner on ‘Extreme Game’ of Survival Series Shooting in B.C

Canadian showrunners Brendan Gale and Martin Gero say they’ve spent much of their careers playing Canada as a stand-in for Los Angeles or other locations as far away as a distant planet.

But in their new Netflix survival show, “Keep Breathing,” Gale and Gero say they want to take viewers to a part of the country that’s just as otherworldly, if less often seen on screen.

“We really, as Canadians, wanted to bring the world as Canada, and not substitute for anything else,” Gero said in a recent interview.

“We started coming up with the idea of ​​trying to figure out how to bring the whole world to the Canadian wilderness in a way that was also thrilling.”

The six-episode limited series follows New York lawyer Leo, played by “In the Heights” star Melissa Barrera, as he struggles against the elements after being stranded in remote Canada after a plane crash. Is.

The BC production also had to contend with the forces of nature to capture the intensity and serenity of the show’s setting, said co-creators Gal and Gero, whose previous collaborations include the sci-fi TV thriller “Blindspot.”

Last summer’s shooting schedule was often determined by ground conditions, Gero said, with four-wheelers hauling heavy filming equipment through forests and over mountains to remote locations.

Cheek added that a few locations had to be nixed because the province placed them under fire watch, and crews were “on a razor’s edge” that a warning could shut down filming weeks into filming.

“It was extreme sports for us to make this show, taking those kinds of risks,” said Gale, who grew up in Halifax and lives in Toronto. “We just had to make the leap, and we were very fortunate in what we got and what we were able to achieve.”

Gero said that the showrunners did not want to alter the natural beauty of the set by using too many visual effects. But he took exception to many of the computer-generated campfires seen on the show, saying controlled open fires would pose too much of a threat to the environment.

“We wanted to be custodians of the land,” Gero said. “It was important for us to leave it as soon as we found it.”

“Keep Breathing” is the latest in a string of survival shows that have been released during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Jaro said he thinks the timing is no coincidence.

“It feels like there’s a survival instinct that’s activated in all of us,” Gero said. “I think seeing the most extreme version of that screen can be deeply, deeply cathartic.”

While other series in the genre, such as “Yellowjackets” and “The Wilds,” revolve around group dynamics of survival, “Keep Breathing” has a single protagonist, so its central conflict is with itself, Gero said. said

Gale added that it’s an internal struggle that might resonate with viewers returning to the world after the extended isolation of the COVID-19 lockdown.

“She’s incredibly capable as a lawyer. She’s incredibly confident as a person in New York City. But she’s been on a full-time mission to distance herself,” she said. he said.

“Besides living, getting enough to eat, not dying from the elements, he himself is forced to sit out there and sit quietly. He has nowhere to hide.”

“He’s forced to sort of reconcile his past in order to move beyond that landscape and hopefully move toward his future.”

“Keep Breathing” premieres Thursday on Netflix.

– Adina Bridge, Canadian Press