HBO's The Leftovers Premieres at the Paramount

Locally shot show unveils second season at red carpet event

At this point, Austin is no stranger to having television shows shot in the area. HBO’s The Leftovers, the latest entry to the list, showed off its wares Saturday night with the premiere of season 2.

Justin Theroux (Photo by Rod Machen)

The Paramount Theatre hosted the event, sponsored by HBO and ATX Television Festival, with creators and actors alike in attendance, and a large crowd of fans showed up to see the first two episodes of the new season, the first of which aired Sunday night.

The show changed locations dramatically, moving from New York state to Central Texas for this second go-round. This change in scenery was important to the plot, but filming in Texas in the summer had other implications, namely the weather.

"There was something about the heat that really was oppressive,” leading man Justin Theroux said. "We shot here all summer, and the heat was so brutal.” The flip side of this was the gorgeous natural environs of the area. "You look up, and it’s big sky country. It’s beautiful.”

Carrie Coon (Photo by Rod Machen)

Filming in and around Austin also gave the cast and crew a chance to get to know our city, and without exception, they loved it and made it their own. Chris Zylka (Tom Garvey) found a nice little place to walk his dog at Second and Congress, and Carrie Coon (Nora Durst) raved about the pizza at the backspace and the coffee at Juan Pelota.

Regina King (Photo by Rod machen)

As for the show itself, the second season sees big changes on the screen. A new family has been added to the mix, helmed by Regina King (who plays Erika Murphy, and was recently in Austin shooting the second season of American Crime) and Kevin Carroll (John Murphy). The Murphys are central figures in the show’s new location, Jarden, Texas – renamed Miracle for how it survived the Great Departure that kicked off the show, with 2% of the world's population abruptly vanishing. Not a single person from the town disappeared during the event.

Kevin Carroll (Photo by Rod Machen)

Carroll is especially engaging as John Murphy, an intriguing mix of joviality, confidence, and not a little menace. He’s a complicated addition to a complicated show. His children, Michael (Jovan Adepo) and Yvette (Jasmin Savoy Brown) figure to be big players as well. In fact, the season’s main conflict was introduced before the credits rolled, as Yvette and her friends vanished without a trace. Showrunner Damon Lindelof has moved seamlessly from his hit show Lost to The Leftovers and still manages to create indelible images that last well beyond any particular viewing.

Damon Lindelof (Photo by Rod Machen)

"As storytellers, we think about it in terms of moments,” he said. "Big emotional moments that can sometimes be epic or very insular.” Sometimes these can be hard to watch, such as the stoning death of one of the characters last season. “That was another moment where we don’t think about how it’s going to happen visually, because if we do, we probably wouldn’t write it in the first place.”

“This is a show that’s not for everyone. Some people are going to love it, and some people are going to not love it, but we want everyone to feel something.” With heavy doses of mystery, grief, and violence, The Leftovers seems ready to deliver a challenging and formidable second season.

Liv Tyler (Photo by Rod Machen)
Christopher Eccleston (Photo by Rod Machen)

The Leftovers airs Sunday nights, 8pm, on HBO.

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The Leftovers, HBO, ATX Television Festival, Damon Lindelof, Justin Theroux, Liv Tyler

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