The cast and creatives of AMC’s The Terror: Infamy took the stage at TCA to talk about the anthology series which combines the events of Japanese internment camps in World War II with Japanese horror stories (also known as kaidan). Showrunner Alexander Woo was joined by stars Derek Mio (Chester Nakayama) and George Takei (Yamato-san) as well as costume designer JR Hawbaker and cinematorgrapher John Conroy to talk about the upcoming season. More than that, they addressed the authenticity of the show and its relevance to immigration issues in the country.
The Terror: Infamy is set in WWII and centers on a series of bizarre deaths that haunt a Japanese-American community, and a young man’s journey to understand and combat the malevolent entity responsible. Woo points out that the DNA of the show is that it is a historical story told with a genre vocabulary. “The human terror is as palpable as the supernatural terror,” he adds. “The strategy was to use the horror Japanese ghost stories as an analog for the historical experience.”
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The show prioritizes authenticity starting with actors of Japanese descent in all Japanese roles. Hawbaker said that they use historical visuals in the series that are visceral to the era. She says that they had the blessing of the Japanese community with all of the visuals in the series and stressed that they want the community to be seen. “The story has not been told enough,” she added.
Takei, who is a consulting producer on the show, is also a survivor of a Japanese internment camp. He entered the camp at 5 years old and was 8 when he came out. “The thing that impressed me was the details,” said Takei of The Terror set. “When I saw the replica of the internment camp in Vancouver, I immediately recognized it. The extent of the details was really impressive.”
By combing horror and dark time in history The Terror brings attention to an era that is often overlooked. “I see this show and the depth of authenticity is intensified by the ghost tale,” said Takei. He adds that the shows the history of the “endless horror” being inflicted on marginalized communities. As Mio points out, the show speaks to the immigrant experience and makes it wildly relevant.
“We have reached a grotesque low,” said Takei of the current issues surrounding immigration in America. “Children are being torn away from their families at our southern border…this administration is so incompetent.” He hopes that The Terror shows that the issues and topics in the series are still existing today.
“Hopefully enough Americans will see this and try to keep this sort of thing from happening again,” said Takei.
The Terror: Infamy debuts on AMC August 12 at 9 pm.