'The Leftovers': Regina King, Fellow Newcomers Ready to Dive In

A big shift in location and perspective comes immediately in season two.
Courtesy of HBO
'The Leftovers'

Most of the time, a TV series that's been on the air a season or more introduces new characters by easing them in to the story. They may get a few scenes in an opening episode and see their roles grow accordingly over time.

Not so with season two of The Leftovers. Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) and his family — central characters in the HBO drama's first season — spend much of Sunday's premiere on the sideline. Instead, the show spends most of its time introducing the show's new setting — a Texas town that lost no one in the Sudden Departure — and a new family, the Murphys: parents Erika (Emmy winner Regina King) and John (Kevin Carroll) and teenage twins Yvette (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Michael (Jovan Adepo).

It's an unusual way to open a season, to be sure, but one co-creator Damon Lindelof felt was necessary: "We wanted to create the feeling of the Garveys being on someone else's TV show [and] make them feel like they were the new family moving in," Lindelof tells The Hollywood Reporter Saturday at the show's red-carpet premiere in Austin, Texas.

It's a big job to lay at the feet of the new castmembers, but King says that wasn't really on her mind when she joined the series.

"I don't think we really looked at it like we're the main characters in this episode or we're going to be in a situation where [we wonder] if people are going to accept it. I think we just trust the fact that we read this script and it's a great script. We saw the first season and we know that Damon and [co-creator] Tom [Perrotta] are powerful writers."

Brown admits to feeling a little apprehension in addition to excitement about her role. "It was a little scary — scary in an ideal way," she says. "I wasn't actually scared; I just felt like I should be scared. Does that make sense? Once I got on set, though, and met everyone and met Mimi and met Damon, I realized … this is exciting. I get to create something with these guys. It's a blast. It was an absolute blast."

When the Garveys do re-enter the picture, Kevin will have to adjust not only to their new home but also to the fact that he's no longer a police officer. "I think it's a relief initially, but new problems are presented for him," Theroux says.

Kevin and John, a member of the town's volunteer fire department, also will forge an uneasy bond as the season moves forward, according to Carroll.

"John and Kevin find each other in a time in their lives when there are some similarities going on," Carroll says. "Both are heads of households, both are strong men, strong-willed men. There are issues that come along with the world we inhabit now that sometimes we tackle together and other times we don't."