Erika Hardison interviews Mickeey Nguyen and Robbie Graham-Kuntz about Utopia Falls, working with rapper Snoop Dogg and discovering hip-hop…
If you are interested in something light-hearted, futuristic with an old school hip-hop soundtrack to it, Hulu’s Utopia Falls might be a series that entertains you. Utopia Falls is about futuristic Earth where teens must compete in a prestigious performing arts competition. As the teens prepare for the competition, they find themselves discovering some lost, but hardly forgotten culture relics which opens their eyes to a new understanding. Flickering Myth had the opportunity to chat with actors Mickeey Nguyen and Robbie Graham-Kuntz about their starring roles, working with rapper Snoop Dogg and hip-hop music.
How does it feel to see fan accounts made on social media for Utopia Falls?
MN: I think at the end of the day, I feel that the work I put out there is something that I love doing. It’s something I really take to heart. I think it’s really moving for me to see people go out their way to make fan accounts and make fan illustrations. It’s crazy because I feel so thankful and so blessed that I am able to do something I love and it gives people the drive to make fan accounts and show so much love and support. I think it really shows much love and support from a wide variety of people.
RGK: Just recently in the last week or so I’ve seen a couple of edits of our characters and two fan accounts that I know that have made of each of our characters which is really cool to see. Also, the support on Twitter which Mickeey was talking about how people are supporting us on Twitter and making fan accounts comes from people of all ages as well. It’s not just young adults age it’s coming from people who have kids, people who are in their 30s and 20s and it kind of reaches a broad group of fans.
Since the show is embedded in hip-hop, who is a hip-hop fan? What’s your favorite hip-hop song? What’s your favorite hip-hop artist?
MN: You know for me, what was an interesting path for me was that I actually never knew the history of hip-hop. So when I dove into the series when you meet our group of heroes and you see they get introduced to hip-hop and as you continue to watch you almost see the birth and rise of hip hop and what hip hop stood for. I think what was interesting for me is that it was almost kind of an introduction for me for hip hop and I was introduced to Biggie. It was cool because I got to pull from that where you meet our group of heroes and you see they are introduced and inspired by hip hop. I think for me the rise of hip hop and how our group of heroes use what they learned from the archives and what the do with it I think that’s what I took away from it. I didn’t have a favorite prior to this project but afterward, there was like a whole new library for me.
RGK: I would say currently my favorite hip-hop artist I find myself listening to the most is J. Cole. My favorite song by him is ‘Love Yourz’, and my favorite hip hop band would be A Tribe Called Quest.
What was it like working with rapper Snoop Dogg?
RGK: In all honesty, the whole Snoop Dogg part of the show and his involvement was something that was arranged after we had finished filming. So we actually never knew at the time when we were filming what the voice of the archives of what was going to be like. So when we were filming it would be one of our assistant director’s or something saying the archive line but obviously when things started to finish up the first season and R.T. (Thorne) let it slip that Snoop might the voice of the archive we all kind of freaked out a bit. It’s really cool to see how it all kind of seamlessly works its way in and adds a flair to the archive.
MN: They were so casual about it. I was in the middle of the post-production we were doing our voice overs and they literally just said that Snoop Dogg was going to be the voice of the archive. They just threw it at us like it was causal out of the blue. It was really cool having him voice the archive and see everything all together it was really cool.
If you wanted to convince someone to watch the show, how would you describe the show in five words?
RGK: Utopia, government, young-adult, discovery and hip-hop.
MN: Dystopian, inspiring, revolutionary, artistic and diverse.
Many thanks to Mickeey Nguyen and Robbie Graham-Kuntz for taking the time for this interview.