Poor Amber Rose Revah has a bit of a hoarse voice. She’s not sick or anything, it’s just that her hometown of Cardiff recently went through a cold spell and riding her motorbike in the cold air has left her throat a bit scratchy. The actress divides her time between London, England, and the Welsh capital where “the air is better”.
It’s an idyllic contrast to the much darker UK depicted in The ringroad. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz as Flynne Fisher, Prime Video’s latest sci-fi epic is from the creators of Westworld, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, who serve as executive producers. It’s a faithful adaptation of William Gibson’s 2014 dystopian novel
of the same name. The story unfolds as follows: Flynn, his sailor ex-brother Burton (played by Jack Reynor) and their dying mother live in a small town in Georgia in the year 2032. Sharing an avatar, the siblings pay the growing medical bills of their mother in playing virtual reality (VR) simulations, known simply as “sims”, to evolve the characters of wealthy clients. When Burton receives beta VR tech from a mysterious patron, Flynne plays in his place. But this sim is unlike anything she’s played before; it’s more real than ever, and his consciousness has somehow been transported to London in the year 2099. Flynne’s mission is to break into a company known as the Research Institute to steal a valuable secret. When things go wrong, the Research Institute’s all-powerful director, Cherise (T’Nia Miller), will stop at nothing to get back what was stolen from her.
While we’re not allowed to spoil Revah’s character Grace too much, we can say she’s a lead scientist at the Research Institute with good intentions behind some ethically questionable technology. “I think playing intelligent, fully capable women is really important to me,” says Revah, whose previous work includes NBC/Peacock’s the last light and The Punisher. “These are really interesting shows that strive for something new. It makes you think something differently or question things, which I like. I love science fiction because of that.
Indeed, the biggest question that The ringroad poses is where, as a society, do we draw a line with how far technology can take us? As a fan of French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, Revah constantly finds himself questioning human existence. “We are now part of the society where we see how influential and dangerous certain aspects of technology are. I think we’re actually about to ask ourselves, “Well, how do we handle this?” So many The ringroad addresses these issues in a parallel way. Especially when it comes to video games.
Do you play video games at all?
I do not know. I’m a bit of a Luddite when it comes to technology. I have a two year old daughter and she doesn’t have an iPad or anything like that. I haven’t owned a TV in two and a half years.
What did you do during the pandemic then?
Well, I gave birth to my daughter. I moved too. I’m a very practical person, I’ve never been someone who can sit still for a long period of time. I was always on the go, doing practical things. There are some great TV shows out there, The Peripheral being one of them. And I love movies. But I prefer to have the show or the film as an event. I can’t just have a screen running in the background, I find that quite exhausting.
I know we can’t give too much away, but what can you tell me about the scene you shot with T’Nia Miller?
We were filming at Kew Gardens [a botanic garden in southwest London], in the main veranda, The Palm House. With the Westworld team, they just had access to a lot of places, so where we shot was amazing. But that day was sweltering, one of the hottest days of the year. I think my suit was wool; it was a woolen polo neck all the way. But when I’m filming, you’re so engrossed in the character and the story you’re telling that you don’t really think about the heat until you come out and suddenly drop. But T’Nia is a wonderful actress, so generous. And to be directed by Vincenzo Natali, wow.
The show also deals with time travel. If you could move forward or backward in time, where would you go and what would you do?
My mother died two years ago. My mother always told me, “Don’t be sad. And I work every day not to be sad and to think how grateful I am for every moment I spent with my mother. If I could turn back time, I would spend time with my mother.
That’s such a nice answer. One last question because I don’t want to force your voice too much. A little like Westworld, I find that there are scenes that you watch that you erase without realizing how important they are later. What should the public watch The ringroad be careful of?
The main thing, I would say, is to rate each character, because you never know who might return because of how time and reality are warped. These are things that you may not think are important, but turn out to be very important.
The ringroad is available to stream on Prime Video, with new episodes released on Fridays. Here’s how to watch it for free.
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