In Universal Pictures' blood-curdling sequel “The Purge: Anarchy,” the New Founders of America (NFA), has sanctioned its annual 12-hour Purge to ensure that the crime rate stays below one percent for the rest of the year. With police and hospitals suspending help, it’s one night when the citizenry regulates itself without thought of punishment or fear of retribution.
|Photo courtesy of UIP|
The new story follows an unlikely group of five citizens who, over the course of the night, find out just how far they will go to protect themselves and, ultimately, each other, as they fight to survive a night fraught with impossible decisions.
Portraying these characters are Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zoe Soul, Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez.
The filmmakers sought out actress Carmen Ejogo to portray Eva, a passive working mother who looks to her daughter, Cali, for strength. Just minutes before the annual Purge begins on , we are introduced to Eva, who works long hours at a diner to make ends meet, leaving work after meekly asking for, and being denied, a promotion and a raise.
Ejogo shares what drew her to the character and the film: “I thought it was interesting the fact that it was a social commentary on gun violence in America, which is something I’m very interested in and what the ramifications are for all of us culturally. Beyond that, my character goes through an incredible arc—from being passive and codependent on her daughter, to being proactive and empowered.”
As Eva and daughter Cali prepare to stay inside their home for The Purge, an intruder busts down their door and tries to kill both of them…setting us up for a night of terror.
For Cali, filmmakers looked no further than up-and-comer Zoë Soul. “The film explores what happens outside, not just indoors with one family in one home,” Soul says. “I was curious to see where it would take us. Playing Cali was a trip, because she’s such a strong 16-year-old, and she reminds me so much of myself when I was a little bit younger.”
Next up, filmmakers went in search of actors to play the separating duo Shane and Liz, two characters who are across town from our other players. Gathering last-minute items before The Purge commences—and discussing how to tell their families that they are separating—Shane and Liz discover that masked men on motorcycles have cut their fuel line. The couple is left with no choice but to seek shelter before the commencement…and very quickly.
After interviewing Zach Gilford and wife Kiele Sanchez separately, filmmakers realized the duo could bring a real-life dynamic to the characters’ relationship. Director James DeMonaco shares: “The fact that Zach and Kiele are a married couple brings an organic authenticity to their dynamic. There’s a scene when they’re bickering in the car, which plays very real because of course they’ve done that before in real life.”
What drew Gilford to the film was the fresh concept. He shares: “It’s a totally different take on the concept from the first film, which I thought was fun. It’s not a contrived way to keep characters from the first one continue their story, it’s just telling another story from this night.”
Sanchez appreciated DeMonaco’s views on what The Purge was actually about. She offers: “James and I talked about how we’re both terrified of guns and what would happen if you’re in a society where it is a gun culture. In this film, we have the revolutionaries come in who have figured out that the government is behind wanting to get rid of the poor. I thought that was incredibly unexpected and interesting.”