Ever since it premiered on February 14, 2020, fans have been obsessed with Utopia Falls!
For those who haven’t watched it yet, the Hulu show stars Robyn Alomar and Akiel Julien, and it take place hundreds of years in the future, in the last living colony on earth. It follows 24 teenage candidates who are chosen to take part in an annual musical competition known as “The Exemplar.” For Aliyah, the independent and adventurous daughter to a city government official, it’s the beginning of an incredible adventure.
Wow, how epic does that sound? If that wasn’t exciting enough, J-14 just got a chance to chat with some of the stars from the new series, and they spilled a bunch of epic behind-the-scenes secrets. They even dished on the possibility of a second season, and what they’d like to see happen next!
J-14: Can you tell us in your own words what Utopia Falls is about?
Akiel Julien: Utopia Falls is a sci-fi teen drama about a group of performing arts teens and their formidable journey in uncovering the truth about the utopic world they live in, and their gradual revelation of identity and individuality. These teens use the power of rap, song, dance and overall freedom of expression to overthrow their culturally repressive state.
Robyn Alomar: Utopia Falls is about a group of teens in the dystopian world of New Babyl, where every year, 16-year old are selected to battle it out in “The Exemplar,” the state’s prestigious performing arts competition. Aliyah and Bohdi’s worlds are turned upside down when they discover a hidden Archive containing forbidden cultural artifacts, like Hip hop and so much more.
J-14: Can you share some fun behind-the-scenes stories or secrets from on set?
Akiel: A kind of fun behind the scenes story would probably be the time when Dwain Murphy (who plays Moore Times) put dried mealworms in my pants in between takes of a scene without me knowing.
Robyn: We were constantly pranking each other on set! My favorites prank was by Mickeey Nguyen (who plays Mags). He went into ALL our trailers during filming and positioned our clothes in crazy poses… Some were hanging on the ceiling!
J-14: When the cameras stopped rolling, were you guys close?
Akiel: Yeah, we were all pretty close when the cameras stopped rolling. If we had a lighter day, we’d crack jokes, or we’d sit in video village and watch our fellow actors act on the monitors.
Robyn: We got so close on set and have stayed close. How could you not after filming with each other daily? We have a group chat! We always have each other’s backs.
J-14: How do each of you relate to your characters?
Akiel: I think Bohdi and I are similar in some ways – he’s composed when he needs to be, has a bit of chip on his shoulder, but very compassionate and strong-willed, he fights for what he believes in and loves music.
Robyn: I relate to Aliyah a lot, especially towards the later end of the season. Aliyah’s friends mean so
much to her. She’s inspiring, supportive and fiercely protective. She’ll stand up for her friends and for
J-14: I know the show has a few musical numbers — what was it like filming those?
Akiel: Filming the musical numbers on the show was one of my favorite parts of shooting the series. It was quite challenging at some points because of a lot of last minute changes that were made because certain lyrics weren’t hitting the right way or even choreography. The music production team had to once completely rewrite one of my songs thirty minutes prior to filming a scene — one of the most challenging yet fulfilling days for me I believe.
Robyn: Filming the musical numbers was amazing! My favorite was the solo dance routine from Episode 8. I remember being on stage, in a massive stadium — I just felt like a pop star. It was also pivotal moment for Aliyah to step into her power and rebel for a good cause. It was a really, cool experience.
J-14: Was it nerve-wracking dancing and singing in front of cameras?
Akiel: It got nerve-wracking adjusting to last minute changes, but we had such a supportive and trusting team behind us which made it a lot easier for us.
Robyn: It wasn’t nerve-wracking to dance and sing in front of cameras… but it was extremely nerve-wracking dancing in front of the background actors. The majority of them were trained dancers, so it felt like all eyes were on you to kill it!
J-14: What was the training process like? Did you have to go to a lot of dance rehearsals?
Akiel: There were a few dance rehearsals where we’d learn choreography taught by Tanisha Scott. We’d have to take choreography home, practice, and come back stronger than we were last rehearsal. Proud of my costar Robyn who doesn’t have a strong dance background, but held her own with the art form regardless.
Robyn: We had a ton of dance rehearsals. Probably 4x a week at certain periods. It was hard work, but tons of fun working with Tanisha. She’s so talented and patient. She customized my choreo to my movement to bring out the best in me and taught me so many new moves.
J-14: What was each of your all-time favorite scene to film?
Akiel: One of my favorite scenes to shoot I think it would probably have to be the Reform Sector block party, where Bohdi calls out Moore Times using his new discovered rapping ability for the first time.
Robyn: One of my favorite scenes is from Episode 3. Aliyah learns about the racism and classism. This is the first time she’s awake to the reality of New Babyl, and it sparks something in her.
J-14: Do you think there’s going to be another season?
Akiel: There’s really no way to tell right now, but there is it’s going to hit a lot harder and stronger than the first season.
Robyn: I really hope so! Fingers crossed!
J-14: What are your ideas for Season 2? What would you like to see happen next?
Akiel: I don’t know if I’m spoiling anything by saying this — already made that mistake in my last interview, yikes — but I think at some point I’d want Phydra and New Babyl’s Tribunal to become an adversary, after a few more awesome head budding scenes with the antagonist of course. I’d want her and the tribunal to join us in bringing down New Carthage — the city that holds New Babyl in servitude.
Robyn: For season 2, I’d love to see Aliyah fully step into her role as the leader of the rebellion.
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