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– by Mark Cook

We are now less than a month away from the 50th year of San Diego Comic-Con!  Numerous booths and panels come to the event each year, but this year you should definitely be on the lookout for the World Premiere of Dark/Web!

Today we are going to focus on the characters for the upcoming web series.  When speaking with co-creators Mario Mascione, Tim and Michela Nardelli, they elaborated on the plot stating that it is about a group of former high school friends who have drifted apart, but are forced back together when one of the friends goes missing and leaves them clues to her whereabouts via her stories.  The three went on the shed some light on how the process of creating their characters.

Inspiration For Characters

It’s easiest to write about what you know, right?  Mario and Michael are around the same age, so much of what the characters are feeling are what they are feeling in their 30s who grew up when social media was just being born and advanced to what it is today. They spoke of how easy it is to curate a perception of life on social media.  Mascione stated a concept regarding social media that I think we all can agree with, From the outside looking in, it’s easy to feel like you don’t measure up. Or maybe that your life was better before. That everyone else is happy and you’re not.” This is an idea that all of the characters are dealing with. They are all firmly in the grip of nostalgia, which is extremely powerful. He went on to state:

We all have friends who, at one time, seemed like they would be in our lives forever, until (of course) you grow up and grow apart.  We really liked the idea of these jaded, unhappy characters being reminded of this old relationship that was, at one time, so important, and wondering if maybe it should still be. Had they changed so much that they couldn’t have meaningful connections again?”

Nostalgia and how we depict our lives on social media will definitely be the focus of the series which will be connected to how and why each of the characters were chosen.

Types Of Characters

The types of characters created were derived from their overall goal in focusing on this social media age where no one is really happy which lead to the creators looking at it from several different angles. These different angles became their characters.  Below is Mario Miscione’s character descriptions based on these angels:

“Ethan, jaded and cynical about the state of news and information, recently phased out of his job in print media because the world ‘doesn’t read things off paper anymore.’ Ethan hates the way the world is changing and dismissive of the fake news and meaningless ‘influencer’ nonsense that makes headlines in this day and age.

“Sam is our social media superstar and obnoxiously upbeat lifestyle guru. Recently the victim of the hacking and dissemination of some very private photos, which only served to make her more famous, Sam struggles with the question of if the work she’s doing (and loves) ‘matters.’

“James is an adventurous traveler at heart, whose passion is overcome by adult responsibilities when he’s forced to return home to take care of his ailing mother. He is trying to reconcile the idea that his life is not what he expected or wanted it to be.

“Amy is a bit of a wildcard. To keep things light on spoilers, she’s incredibly savvy and cynical, wary of the dangers of the internet but deeply embedded and comfortable in it, unable to give it up. Though she struggles to interact with people in real life, Amy found a deep connection online to someone she’d never even met and her refusal to let it go has put her on a collision course with Ethan, Sam and James.  

“Finally, there’s Molly. Molly is the reason this is all happening. She’s talented, smart and successful. She’s landed an incredible, lucrative job that anyone would be thrilled to have. But she isn’t happy and she feels guilty that she isn’t happy. On the side, she pursues her true passion, writing, to mixed results in an increasingly cruel online world. Molly, too, has trouble reconciling how her life has turned out and how her dreams may never come true, but more importantly, Molly struggles with figuring out how to make an impact and a difference in a world that’s constantly in flux and seemingly falling apart.”

Michael Nardelli added that they also wanted to add realistic individuals into the high-stakes scenario that isn’t often seen.  For example, James is a teacher and Sam is a social media influencer, which aren’t usual professions depicted in this genre, but also aids in giving the series another realistic element.

The Casting Process

While there were not specific individuals in mind that the creators had for their characters, they did have archetypes they were looking for.  All three creators credited their casting director, Russell Boast, for providing amazingly talented artists. Boast suggested not necessarily starting with a specific actor or actress and keeping their minds completely open to all auditions because that could have a tremendous effect on what their final character looks, sounds, and acts.

Michael Nardelli shared that his favorite part of the entire process was the early development stage and the casting process. He stated:

But the beginning was really fun — like taking a big block of clay and starting to carve out ideas and themes. And then hand it to other artists and let them put their spin on it. Everything felt really collaborative and authentic — everyone just wanted to tell a very good story and express themselves artistically and hopefully entertain those who choose to watch.”

We are definitely in for something special once Dark/Web is released! Stay tuned for the next installment in this Dark/Web series of the contest of having a reader of LRM write an episode of Dark/Web.

RELATED: Dark/Web: How It All Began

The cast for Dark/Web includes:

Sibongile Mlambo (Netflix’s Lost in SpaceTeen Wolf), Clare Kramer (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Julie Benz (Dexter), Hannah Marks (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency), Gabriel Luna (Terminator: Dark Fate), Zelda Williams (Teen Wolf), Robert Davi (GooniesDie Hard) Siobhan Fallon Hogan (Funny GamesForrest GumpWayward Pines), Hayley Marie Norman (Top Five), Dora Madison (Friday Night LightsDexter), Molly Hagan (Big Little Lies, The Handmaid’s Tale), Cassie Thomson (The Alienist), Amin El Gamal (Prison Break revival), Lana McKissack (Transformers), Michael Nardelli (CircleRevenge), Brian Elerding (Mad Men), Noemi Gonzalez (Rosewood), and Rene Heger (CircleLinks of Life).

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Source: LRM Exclusive