Netflix’s Black Summer is the prequel to SyFy’s hit, Z Nation and it made it’s debut on Netflix in April 2019. We chatted with Christine Lee, who plays Kyung Son in the spinoff. Lee shares her thoughts on zombies, her plans to get her cats to safety in the event of an actual zombie apocalypse, and which 90’s sitcom stars she’d want as her sidekicks if zombies really did start to take over. We also chat about her character’s interesting perspective as a Korean refugee, far from home in Black Summer – check it out!
Black Summer Official Synopsis:
Black Summer followers survivors of a cataclysmic event who contend with zombies — and each other — to reach a military evacuation site. Jaime Kingstars as a mother, torn from her daughter, who embarks upon a harrowing journey, stopping at nothing to find her. Thrust alongside a small group of American refugees, she must brave a hostile new world and make brutal decisions during the most deadly summer of a zombie apocalypse. Karl Schaefer and John Hyams serve as creators, executive producers, and co-showrunners.
Pure Fandom: What can you tell us about your character in Black Summer?
Christine Lee: Her name is Kyung Son, but to a lot of people she just goes by Son. She’s a Korean refugee, who somehow landed in Midwest America. She can’t speak English in this zombie apocalypse world, but she does use her intelligence and strength for survival.
Very interesting! How are Black Summer and Z Nation connected?
Basically, “Black Summer” is mentioned in Z Nation as the mark date of when everything went down. Black Summer is the origin of what Z Nation will become. In terms of style, they are very different. Z Nation is a zombie – horror -comedy in a way. Black Summer is a little more grounded in terms of that, they seem like they are hard to connect. But they are both really, really dig deep into the human perspective of what it’s like to live in the zombie apocalypse. It challenges the audience with a “what would you do?” in both scenarios.
How would you do in a zombie apocalypse?
Oh my goodness. First thing’s first, I gotta take care of my cat. I figure if I had to run out of my house like right now, I would grab her, put her in her cat bag, grab some cans and then maybe grab a couple of knives for safety and then have a pair of comfortable shoes and go hide in the forest. Live the Hunger Games life.
Haha, great plan! Getting away from the zombies for a moment, let’s talk about Friends (because I saw that you are a fan)! Do you have a favorite Friends episode?
Yes! You know that episode where Rachael and Phoebe find out that Monica and Chandler are sleeping together, but they keep playing this game of like “who’s going to say it first.” Then Phoebe and Chandler start daring each other to make out with each other. That is my ultimate favorite episode. I think it such a great ensemble piece. I think the writing was brilliant. I think Lisa Kudro’s amazing. I think she’s such a gem. That episode is my favorite.
YES! Love that episode! Back to zombies! What were some of the way you prepared for your role on Black Summer?
I got really lucky, just because I am just a very physical person. I love biking, I love dancing and I just like exercising in general. I didn’t realize it was going to be this physically exhausting of a show, but I feel like what I do on a daily basis really helps me just prep for the physical aspect of the show.
In terms of the character, it was a lot of conversation with John [Hyams] and Abram [Cox] because they are the ones creating this universe. They gave me some ideas about where Son comes from. They wanted me to build on that. I watched a lot of North Korean refugees talking about their escape because Son escaped North Korea when she was very young. I think really helped me ground her in reality.
At the end of the day, these North Korean defectors, they want to live a better life, but they have a sense of longing for home and I think that Son is on the same boat. She needs to run and live and survive, but she also has to deal with the fact that she is getting further and further away from where she wants to go.
Is there a zombie show or movie you looked to in preparation for this role?
I watched Train to Busan, a Korean zombie horror movie. It was actually really helpful. It’s not really about zombies, but humanity and the main character’s relationship to his daughter. It was very inspiring and a very well done movie. I might be biased because I’m Korean, but I love it.
Back to 90’s sitcoms for a minute. If you could pick a 90’s sitcom character to be your sidekick during the zombie apocalypse, who would you pick?
Monica [Geller, Friends]! She would just get things done. Can I pick two?
Okay, and Niles from Frasier. I don’t think Niles would survive, but it would be good to have him around just to remind myself that there was a civilization before.
And he probably doesn’t run very fast, so you could out-pace him. He’d be helpful in that sense.
Yes! And then it would be just me and Monica.
How would you describe Black Summer in five words or less?
Gripping, shocking, requires full attention.
Perfect! Anything else you want our readers to know about Black Summer?
It’s a horror zombie show, but I’m really happy just because these characters are so real, and we have an actually diverse cast and we have a really strong ensemble together. That’s another thing that’s enjoyable about this show. We have really great, strong female characters and the response that I get from a female audience has been amazing. So, these are for all of the ladies out there who are into zombies.
Black Summer is streaming on Netflix now!