V118: The Cast of 'Now Apocalypse'

V118: The Cast of 'Now Apocalypse'

Gregg Araki's first TV creation, a Steven Soderbergh collab on Starz, puts a vivid spin on modern love.

Gregg Araki's first TV creation, a Steven Soderbergh collab on Starz, puts a vivid spin on modern love.

Photography: Jakob Landvik

Styling: Yohana Lebasi

Text: SAMUEL ANDERSON

This feature appears in V118, our Spring 2019 issue, on newsstands now!

The psychosexual noir Now Apocalypse isn’t your average buddy ensemble. What binds the all-over-the-place foursome at the new Starz series’ center—a paranoid anti-hero, a camgirl, a naive jock and his scientist/dominatrix beau—is the self-alienation of the modern 20-something.

When we meet our hero, Ulysses, he’s being booted mid–Grindr hookup. “Everything in my life is a question mark,” he later vents to a self- taped video. Like any hero’s journey, Ulysses’s peripatetic rotation of screen-based encounters is a search for meaning, says star Avan Jogia. “He is painfully, beautifully exploring,” Jogia says.

Now, premiering March 10, is a kind of fun-house reflection of its cast. Though he doesn’t identify as queer, Jogia related to Ulysses’s sense of in-betweenness. “We all share feelings of being not enough or too much,” says Jogia of being mixed-race, a subject he explores in an upcoming poetry book. Beau Mirchoff, who plays Ford, has processed his own existential question marks. “I’ve written a couple scripts about having to go on a journey to get what you want—or think you want,” he says. Such themes course throughout Now, the first major TV venture of pioneering Asian American director Gregg Araki.

BEAU WEARS SHIRT AND PANTS BALENCIAGA, KELLI WEARS DRESS MIU MIU, SHOES MANOLO BLAHNIK, AVON WEARS COAT, SHIRT, TURTLENECK, PANTS PRADA, SHOES GUCCI, ROXANE WEARS DRESS NUMERO 21, SHOES MANOLO BLAHNIK

Executive produced by Steven Soderbergh and co-written by Araki and Karley Sciortino, the show weaves together Araki’s heightened style with lived experience. “Some of Ulysses is based on me when I was younger,” Araki says. “[It’s also] basically a culmination of every movie I’ve made.” Ulysses’s cam-girling friend Carly more closely mirrors Sciortino, known for her sex-ed empire Slutever. “I pulled from a decade of asking nosy questions and a lot of slutting around—as research, of course,” says Sciortino.

As a Disney alum, relative newcomer Kelli Berglund found catharsis in playing Carly. “I have always been proudly sex positive,” says Berglund. “It’s nice to be on a show where [that’s] not shunned.” Now teases out a super-size Kinsey spectrum (polyamory, something called “sexual waterboarding”). “I don’t want to say ‘brave,’ but it was scary!” says Mirchoff of playing the oft-nude, easily seduced Ford. “It was far outside my comfort zone.”

Roxane Mesquida, who was reared in French cinema after being discovered at 11, reciprocated Araki’s fearless direction in her role as the BDSM-curious Severine. “It’s so fun to work with Gregg,” says Mesquida, who starred in Kaboom, Araki’s 2005 film and Now’s spiritual predecessor. “His [work] is really an image of who he is; he’s always joking about the end of the world.”

Laced with outbursts of wry laughter, Araki’s apparent attitude toward the end-times is one that resonated with his young cast. “I was born to a generation whose parents told us, ‘You can be whatever you want.’ Which is obviously a lie,” says Jogia. “But I believed the lie, and sort of tricked myself into doing it. So maybe it’s not a lie. Maybe it’s true... Maybe!”

Credits: HAIR TAKASHI YUSA, MAKEUP LOUISE O'NEILL, STYLIST ASSISTANT NATHAN SIMPSON,

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