Ahead of the premiere of Apple TV+’s Echo 3, which comes from Academy Award winner Mark Boal, Nerds & Beyond talked with series stars Luke Evans, Michiel Huisman, and Jessica Ann Collins about the upcoming 10-episode thriller.
Based on Omri Givon’s award-winning series When Heroes Fly and the novel by Amir Gutfreund, Echo 3 is an action-packed series set in South America. The story follows Amber Chesborough (Jessica Ann Collins), a brilliant young scientist who is the emotional heart of a small American family. When Amber goes missing along the Colombia-Venezuela border her brother, Bambi (Luke Evans), and her husband, Prince (Michiel Huisman) — two men with deep military experience and complicated pasts — struggle to find her in a layered personal drama, set against the explosive backdrop of a secret war.
Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.
Nerds & Beyond: To get started, I wanted to ask all of you what interested you in a role on this show.
Jessica Ann Collins: What interested me was, of course, getting to work with Mark [Boal] and also that [Amber] is this complex female character with many different layers and a lot of subtext. There was so much possibility for that character within an amazing story.
Michiel Huisman: Reading the script, or the first scripts, I felt that this project would be a true adventure to work on. And a challenge, one that I was ready to take on, to be honest.
Luke Evans: Yeah, I think always looking for stories and roles and people that you want to work with and journeys you want to go on, they’re not easy to find. Sometimes, when you do read something that just triggers you in a good way, you want to do it, and this was one of those. Having the likes of Oscar winning screenwriter, Mark Boal, at the helm, writing about something he knows so well, and a world in which he knows to such detail and nuance, I thought, “Well, there’s no way this isn’t going to be one hell of a trip.” And it was it really was, from start to finish.
Nerds & Beyond: Jessica Ann, I really love how the show subverts the whole damsel in distress trope with Amber. She’s so resilient and cunning throughout this ordeal. What did it mean to you to portray a character like this?
Collins: It meant everything because I was allowed to be a fully realized female human being. I was able to go to those dark places and show sides of a character that sometimes were ugly or unappealing but that hopefully made her as human and relatable as possible. Because I think we all hold within ourselves, all of those things. So it was an incredible role. I feel just completely dumbfounded and honored that I got to do it, honestly. And I can’t wait for people to see it.
Nerds & Beyond: Was it intense shooting on location?
Collins: Yeah, it was very intense!
Evans: Yeah, when you shoot something every day, and every day is a real location. Firstly, before we arrived, the amount of work that’s gone into making that location even habitable and usable and practical and safe, especially when you’re working in the jungle, it’s a huge undertaking. You arrive, and there’s a whole compound of trailers of people bustling around this piece of jungle that has probably never been touched by human hands before. It was challenging but also very exciting. [There was] never a dull day on the set of Echo 3, because the journeys to sets were crazy. The sets were always beautiful. The wonderful thing about working on real locations is there’s no end to the set. It’s just like vast …
Collins: … nature!
Huisman: Like Luke said, we didn’t use any stages or anything. So most our show was shot on location in Colombia, and we shot all over the place — from Bogotá, to up north in Cartagena, and the jungle near Jurado. It was really a pretty spectacular experience.
Nerds & Beyond: This show isn’t black and white. There’s so much grey area that goes on in the story, especially because you’ve got 10 episodes to work with. What was it like to work on something that wasn’t just physically demanding, but it was also very emotionally demanding with the story.
Collins: It was taxing, but it was just thrilling to be given the opportunity to be stretched in both directions in a way and see how far we could go. We were supported. Physically, these guys were surrounded by so many just killer military dudes and advisors and a brilliant stunt team, a brilliant Colombian crew. Then, on the other side, we have these incredible filmmakers that were there supporting our emotional journey throughout those those physical storylines. So it was incredible.
Huisman: It was hard, at times. It was tough.
Collins: Yeah, it was very hard.
Huisman: But incredibly satisfying as well.
The first three episodes of Echo 3 will debut exclusively on Apple TV+ on November 23, following by weekly episodes on Fridays through January 13, 2023.