'Manifest' star Athena Karkanis says Grace Stone's pregnancy will not be 'uneventful', hints at Danny's return

It's a big season for Grace, after all, she is pregnant with Ben's baby and that has let Grace become a receptor for the callings well

                            'Manifest' star Athena Karkanis says Grace Stone's pregnancy will not be 'uneventful', hints at Danny's return
Athena Karkanis (Getty Images)

When the trailer for 'Manifest' dropped, many undermined the NBC show thinking that it would be just another 'Lost' ripoff. However, after the pilot aired on NBC in fall 2019, 'Manifest' defied expectations and is looking well-poised to become this era's 'Lost'.

For Athena Karkanis, who plays Grace Stone, wife of 828 passenger Ben Stone (Josh Dallas), it was the story that first attracted her. MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) caught up with Karkanis recently who said not only was the mysterious plot of the show "incredibly intriguing", but that she found the human stories behind the mystery to be both "heartwarming and heart-wrenching."

She says, "The pilot script was very strong but it’s never very easy to tell from a pilot where a character will go, so before signing on I spoke at length with 'Manifest' creator Jeff Rake who told me his vision for Grace to be a complicated and complex character and about some of the challenges he envisioned for her and her family and I was sold!"

It's a big season for Grace, after all, she is pregnant with Ben's baby and that has let Grace become a receptor for the callings well. Karkanis promises "some great cliffhangers and surprises ahead," while telling us that Grace will not be having an "uneventful pregnancy."

Grace (Karkanis) with Danny (Daniel Sunjata) and Olive (Luna Blaise) on 'Manifest' (NBC)

Karkanis also teases that Danny, whom Grace started seeing in the five-and-a-half years that Ben was gone, might come back. Olive is close to him and as Grace had suggested earlier in the season, telling the world that the baby belongs to Danny might keep it safe.

Karkanis says that Grace is "very strong and unflappable," while being the "island in a stormy sea" for the Stone family though it has not been easy for her. "It’s always challenging to step into someone else’s shoes and try to tell their story truthfully," she says. "I try to draw from my lived experiences as much as possible. I have no disappearing planes in my history but I have experienced loss and fear and worry and the deep bonds of love that drive Grace’s actions and choices."

She also says that she is grateful for the 'Manifest' team, "The cast who bring the characters to life, the producers who make the big decisions, the writers who create the story and all the crew who contribute their talent and hard work,  all of them are a joy to work with and they all do their best to make this show one that resonates so deeply with so many people."

She is all praise for her co-star, Dallas, telling MEAWW that he is a "gifted and generous actor and a funny and warm person." She says, "He is the most positive person on set. He lifts us all up. I love working with him and feel very lucky that we were cast opposite one another. It is a very special group of people."

Grace and Ben have a baby coming on 'Manifest' (NBC)

If Karkanis could spend more time with other characters from the show, she tells us that it would be Robert Vance, the NSA director who faked his death and is working with Ben to figure out what the Major wants. She says, "So far I have only crossed paths with Daryl (Edwards) in the hallways sometimes or maybe we are in hair and makeup at the same time but I have never had any scenes with him. Daryl Edwards is such a gem off-screen, I would love the pleasure of working with him on screen." 

Karkanis is thrilled with 'Manifest' being compared to 'Lost' and her show's fan following. She says, "Any time you work hard on something and put it out to the world you hope for the best, so we are all thrilled that people have embraced this show as much as they have."

While we know 'Manifest' creator has a six-year plan for the show, we asked Karkanis if she is privy to some hidden details for her character's future. Karkanis says, "Most things are kept secret until the script comes out. Once in a while, if you ask Jeff to throw you a morsel he will. I usually get the sense that he is excited to share our fates with us. As far as the big stuff though, like what happened to the plane, his lips are tightly sealed. I do hope, as any actor would, that they write some juicy storylines for Grace. I love a good challenge!"

As for Karkanis's other works, she has an upcoming independent film called 'Maternal', a thriller about a teenage girl (Amybeth McNulty) who has a near-death experience during which she encounters her deceased mother. Karkanis plays the girl's soon-to-be stepmother, Donna. On the film's director, Megan Follows, Karkanis says, "[She] does an amazing job of blurring reality so you are never quite sure what is real and what is in her head."

'Manifest' airs on NBC on Monday nights at 10/9c.

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