The Hot Zone's Lenny Platt says working on Nat Geo's Ebola mini-series "made me more germaphobic than I ever was"
Nat Geo is soon bringing to your screens 'The Hot Zone' - a very dark and intense adaptation of the true story about the deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus, and actor Lenny Platt is here to drop all the truth bombs about what to expect from the show.
Featuring acclaimed stars like Julianna Margulies and Topher Grace, the mini-series is based on the book of the same name by Richard Preston and shows Platt in the role of Capt. Kyle Orman, an Army Ranger who is assigned to USAMRIDD (United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases).
"He’s not based on a real guy, but more of an amalgamation of a few of the real soldiers’ stories from the book," Platt revealed in an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide. We asked what we can expect from the character, but of course, without major spoilers, and Platt was kind enough to share some teasing bits about how Captain Kyle's arc accelerates or dips on the show.
"There are definitely some fun and scary moments for my character. Without giving too much away, I’ll just say that it's a dangerous show and I was on the edge of my seat just reading the script the first time to see what happens to Kyle," he said.
Scary much? But that's not all that the 34-year-old actor revealed when it came to what his fans can expect from the upcoming show. Given the show's dark and intense nature, it might come as surprising, but the show will be sprinkled with several moments of comic relief, which Platt believes are more than necessary even for a drama as grave as the 6-episode 'The Hot Zone.'
"Obviously the show’s subject matter gives it gravity, but it's honest," assured Platt. "When things are scary sometimes human nature is to deflect it with humor," he added explaining those out-of-genre moments for the show.
"When we got to see the first two full episodes at Tribeca Film Fest, one thing that stood out for me was that comedic nuance in the tensest of scenes, especially with what Topher Grace brought to his role," revealed Platt, teasing a little more about Grace's character.
"Also, towards the later episodes as the mission to contain the outbreak escalates, there are some elements that feel like sci-fi/horror,
despite being a true story. Honestly, it felt a bit like being in the first 'Alien' film at times, especially in those hazmat/space suits," he quipped.
But it's not all comic relief and no gritty, challenging moments, as Platt would like to reassure his fans. Self admittedly, the show made him "more germaphobic than I ever was."
Speaking about him arriving at the bitter realization, Platt revealed, "When I found out I got the part, I was on vacation in Europe so I had to fly back early to head to set to Toronto. I hadn’t read the book before, but finished on the flight back. It was so damn good, but so damn scary. A long international flight with people coughing and sneezing all around you for 6 hours was not the ideal place to learn all about the terrors of the Ebola virus. Think I washed my hands twenty times on that flight."
And beware, this is where it gets gritty. "The book and script were pretty graphic, but necessary because Ebola does some awfully incredible things to the human body," warned Platt about what's lying for fans in terms of how dark the show gets.
"It basically turns a human into a zombie whose sole purpose becomes to help spread the infection before it basically liquifies your insides and kills you."
'The Hot Zone' premieres on Monday, May 27, at 9 pm, only on National Geographic.