In sweltering New Orleans in the middle of summer, I sit in the corner of a soundstage which has been dressed for the forthcoming television series The Purge. The show is based on the iconic film franchise, and my surroundings are decorated with terrifying masks, including cut-outs of famous serial killers and a nun’s face with the eyes gouged out. I can still see them all so vividly when I close my eyes. Amanda Warren isn’t bothered, though. In fact, she’s used to The Purge sets and all of the gore and violence that go with them.
The dimple-faced actress embraces me and sits across from me, her presence warm in all aspects in an otherwise eerie atmosphere—she’s even draped in a shawl to ward off the crisp air conditioning which flows through the room. Warren plays Jane on the upcoming series, a black woman who has clawed her way to the top in the finance world. The character’s spirit and determination drew The Leftovers alum to the role. “Jane is a young 32-year-old woman out of the Wharton School of Business—so Ivy League educated,” Warren said. “She’s driven, passionate, good in the soul and self-made, which is not the easiest thing for a young woman in this day and age who is unapologetically black. We see the challenges that are presented because of who she is. We see the challenges and the conflicts with her mother, with her boss, David Ryker (William Baldwin) and with her subordinates. So there’s a huge canvas to play with that.”
Jane’s frustrations with the glass ceiling in the finance world lead her down a dark path; one that gets her involved in the purge in a way that she never has before. After ten years of hiding during the purge (the series is set a decade after The First Purge), Jane is ready to up the stakes in a significant way. “We see what happens when a woman who has always stayed away from Purge Night, gets involved in a lawless state for 12 hours,” Warren revealed. “We see the challenges and the choices that are being made by her merely being outside in the world, having to deal with an overnight overseas deal. You are a participant whether you are preying or being preyed upon; if you’re out there, it is open season and ten years into having this law that is not lost on her at all.”
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