Parallel universes are a staple of the science fiction genre. The possibilities for storytelling are literally endless, which is why it’s a trope that we see quite frequently today in multiple mediums. Marvel Comics is even basing an entire event around all of their alternate realities colliding. But if you’re not looking to wait a few weeks for ‘Secret Wars’ to begin, movies are always a nice way to provide instant gratification and luckily there is one movie in particular that is on Netflix right now that could feed your hunger for this sort of thing.
From director Christopher Leone, ‘Parallels’ stars Constance Wu of ABC’s hilarious new sitcom ‘Fresh Off The Boat,’ Eric Jungmann from ‘Not Another Teen Movie,’ Mark Hapka, Jessica Rothe, Michael Monks, and Yorgo Constantine in a film that follows a group of inter-dimensional travelers brought together by a search for a loved one that are trying to find their way home. However, things get considerably complicated when some new details about their lives emerge. To learn more about it, check out the trailer below, followed by the official synopsis of the film:
A sci-fi adventure, ‘Parallels’ follows the lives of estranged brother and sister, Ronan and Beatrix, who are reunited when their father mysteriously disappears. Their neurotic neighbor Harold tags along on their search for their missing father, which leads them to a building that they accidentally discover is a portal to parallel Earths. On their travels, they are joined by Polly, a seasoned traveler who teaches them the ins and outs of jumping from one Earth to another. Ronan and Beatrix ultimately reconnect as they uncover the dark truths behind their family’s broken history.
The worlds introduced by ‘Parallels’ are so interesting and the journey that we take through them are quite inventive. However, after watching the movie, you do get the vibe that there’s so much more to this story that we haven’t seen yet. So in an effort to uncover more about this world (or worlds), I had the pleasure of speaking to one of the film’s stars Mark Hapka. In our conversation below, you can check out everything he had to say about his character Ronan, the existence of parallel universes, the potential continuation of ‘Parallels’ in some way, and more:
Mark Hapka (MK): The first thing that was appealing was that it was different than anything else that I’ve done. There’s more of a tougher outer shell [with Ronan]. He’s a little more jaded and a harder character. What I took from the character, which is something that I brought to the room that I thought was different from everyone else, was that instead of playing the tough guy, I chose to make him a brooding little boy that was forced to put on this mask or façade to survive.
SF: Ronan seemed a bit skeptical of the idea of alternate worlds at first. What is your opinion on parallel universes?
MH: There’s some pretty hard scientific evidence behind it. That’s one thing that’s so interesting about this project. Even though it’s technically sci-fi and fantasy, it’s grounded in fact.
SF: Were there any alternate worlds that you were hoping Ronan and company would visit in the film before finding Alex? Maybe one where Ronan was the UFC champ or something like that?
MH: [Laughs] Quite possibly! But from what we’ve seen so far, everyone has run into other versions of themselves, while Ronan has yet to run into an alternate version of himself. If this were to continue, there are worlds that I think would be interesting to visit and explore. I’m trying to put this in a way that doesn’t give away too much, but I think that answers the question.
SF: Out of everyone on the cast, you had the most physical role. Was there any sort of special training that you had to undergo prior to filming?
MH: What was cool was that they kinda trusted my background with physical roles. I’ve done movies where I played a high school wrestler, a football player, and whatnot, so they let me go in with the stunt coordinator and the other actor and mess around with a couple of different ideas. They sort of let us choreograph this great fight and then they just reined it in. We had some crazier moves at one point and he said, “Alright guys, take it easy. We don’t need that much.” But yeah, it was a lot of fun. I do prefer at any given moment to do my own stunts just because I know as a viewer that seeing a stunt double takes me out the project. I just think that it’s more impactful if you see a big hit or a slam and it’s the face of the actual actor.
SF: While there was a good amount of ass-kicking from Ronan, there were some lighter moments as well. In the film, you spend a lot of time with Constance Wu’s character Polly and we saw a little bit of the comedy that the world gets to see every week on ‘Fresh Off The Boat’. What was it like working with Constance?
MH: It’s actually not the first time I worked with Constance. There was a really funny moment when I went to the chemistry read. Constance was already cast as Polly and this was before ‘Fresh Off The Boat’. So I walked in and we did a double take and laughed because we did a movie together called ‘Deadly Revenge’. We weren’t actually in any scenes together, but we were on set at the same time. It was a little Lifetime movie and it was really fun and interesting to see her again. She was so great. We had a lot of fun and we cracked a lot of jokes. Everyone in the cast in general was so detail oriented and really cared about how they came across onscreen. There was a lot of respect that went into creating this and I think that’s why it ended up as good as it is.
SF: After seeing the open ending, I got the vibe that there’s more story to be told here. I feel like a TV series would be the perfect outlet for this world, but a couple of films would work well too. Is anything in the works yet?
MH: I agree! But honestly, they tell me nothing. The general consensus seems to be to make this a series, to make this a show, and I couldn’t agree more. I mean, we barely even touch the surface in this more with the possibilities of this or that. This has very good potential for longevity.
SF: So I guess that means you’re more than willing to reprise your role as Ronan if something came up?
MH: A thousand percent! He’s a very interesting character and it takes more than ninety minutes to create his arc and see where he’s going. When he starts jumping universes, he finally feels like he belongs for the first time. That’s something that he never felt back home, so I could see him blossoming as time goes on and this adventure continues.
SF: I really hope that we get to see more of ‘Parallels’ because that ending was like WHOA! Really?!
MH: Yeah, I know. A lot of people are feeling that. When we created this, it was just a project. We didn’t know whether it was a movie or a pilot or a television series. We just made it based on this script that existed and we also thought that there were a lot of unanswered questions. I imagine if the demand is big enough, I don’t see why they wouldn’t continue this story.
With any luck, we’ll get to see some sort of sequel to ‘Parallels’ featuring Mark Hapka and the rest of the cast. But until we hear more on those developments, you can watch the Fox Digital Studios sci-fi thriller on Netflix and other Video OnDemand platforms like iTunes, Xbox, and Amazon right now.