Looking for a new series that you can digest in one quick bite? Fear the Walking Dead alum Danay García has something new for you to consume via Quibi! It’s called 50 States of Fright and it’s guaranteed to tingle your spine, petrify your soul, and leave you with a frightening feeling as each eerie story unfolds. García, who is well-known for her role as Luciana Galvez, on AMC’s hit series, has momentarily traded in her multilayered zombie-evading digs to take on a project that’s a bit more spooky. And here’s the nail-biter: it’s streaming on Quibi, the new short-form media platform that is only available on your smartphones… for now, anyways.
50 States of Fright is spearheaded by a familiar face and is directed, written and produced by Sam Raimi. You probably know of him from directing the original Spider-Man trilogy and making iconic horror movies such as The Evil Dead. His new series on Quibi comes in short-form, narrative driven horror stories, and promises to be quick, and BIG!
Garcia caught up with FANDOMIZE in the midst of a global pandemic to discuss the premise of 50 States of Fright, which aims to adapt urban legends and creepy folk tales from each state in the Union. Garcia’s character’s story takes place in Florida, a welcome change from Fear’s Texan landscape, and teases a satisfyingly sinister story with her new role.
From a dreadful past for Agent Vazquez to real life delicious quarantine-inspired smoothies, there’s no stone that doesn’t go unturned. Check out our exclusive FANDOMIZE feature with the incomparable Danay García.
MCKENZIE MORRELL: Can you describe the concept of 50 States of Fright and what your role is in the Quibi series.
DANAY GARCIA: 50 States of Fright is a series that shows each state and their story, and it tends to be a scary story, a spooky story. The state that my story takes place in is Florida. My stories are three episodes of 10 minutes each. Quibi stands for Quick Bite and the entire concept of the platform is short stories. Before the pandemic – the platform was for those that were in the subway or were on the go and they had limited time to check something out. That’s originally what Quibi was designed for, that type of audience. But now it’s for everybody! Because we don’t have to go anywhere!
MM: No, and a lot of people obviously are still so pressed for time, even though a lot of people are working from home, you seem like you’re working harder than you did before the pandemic hit so it’s good to have it in short form.
DG: I think now more than ever, we have to let everybody know we are in this together. Going silent, it’s not my nature, especially now, when people are going through different phases with the whole isolation and the new changes that we have to go through in order for this to stop. I’m very grateful that I have this Quibi series coming out, 50 States of Fright, to reach out to the audience and tell them, “Have fun and enjoy it, and we’re in this together.” You know? It’s a really good place to spread some hope and love. And if the story creates that momentum, that’s great.
MM: That’s so important, keeping everybody calm and entertained and we are relying heavily on entertainment and TV.
DG: I just downloaded the app and it has all kinds of content. We have 50 States of Fright, we have a little bit of comedy – called Flipped, we have the Chrissy Tiegen show doing this judge thing that I haven’t watched but I’m about to. It’s a variety of content. I’m always so pleasantly surprised to see how storytelling saves us as an audience, as a community. It’s something that we can share, that we watch together, or we watch at home and we can talk about it. It’s a really good place to connect.
MM: Especially when we can’t physically connect with people it’s good to be able to do it on a technological platform.
MM: And now obviously with Quibi, everything is short form. You say you have three of the episodes that are 10 minutes long. What was that like, the experience shooting a short form piece versus what you’re used to on Fear the Walking Dead?
DG: Well, everything is more intense in a sense which is weird to say that it’s almost more intense than Fear. It’s not more intense than Fear in terms of storyline, it’s just the journey that I go as an actor is more intense because everything seems to happen faster. The stories are very cut, so every step you see this character take, there’s no going back, you can’t think about it twice. It’s faster, it’s more intense, and it also creates a lot of mystery because I’m like, “How’s she going to get out of this?! Oh my gosh!” The audience will know there’s no going back, so either she’s going to make it or she’s not going to make it and that’s where the tension is built. And because the episode is divided in three little episodes, I’m very happy with the way they cut it together, because it leaves you in a cliffhanger to watch the next one. It’s really smart the way they put it together.
MM: That’s awesome. And obviously 50 States of Fright has been described as a horror anthology. Do you usually watch horror type genres or what would you say is your go-to genre when looking to binge-watch something?
DG: Since I work in a universe that’s so intense and bloody, I try to go in the opposite direction when I’m not working. For entertainment I usually go… I try to do comedies here and there to kind of make my days lighter after working on the show. I like to watch dramas. I was starting to get into the Marvel Universe. I’m always trying to go the opposite direction of what I’m usually living. At the same time I was not surprised that I got called in to do another mystery horror anthology series. But as an actor, it keeps me on my toes because playing a part of something that is mysterious or scary, I don’t want to make it predictable. I am my own audience too when I’m breaking down the character. Because I want to be also surprised and scared, you know? It’s like reliving that world again. We were in Florida – in a different story. So, it’s nice. And you also have to rely on the director’s vision. In this case, it was Alejandro Brugués. It’s just wonderful, I’m very happy we got to work together. And Sam Raimi put like an amazing crew together, too, incredible.
MM: And do you think that, even though there’s similarities in terms of the genre between this series and Fear the Walking Dead, do you think there’s any difference between your character? Like what’s the biggest difference that you’ve found between the two characters you’ve played in the past?
DG: The one thing I can say, when it comes to Fear, I feel like Luciana is constantly struggling for what’s coming at her. In this case, the zombies or the unknown, like the people she just met, trust is a big one. In the case of this character on 50 States of Fright, she’s fighting her past, and that’s all I can say about it. I think in any horror movie you’re fighting something, that you feel like it’s bigger than you, and that’s really what you’re trying to translate to the audience. It’s bigger than you and me. It’s bigger and it’s unknown so in this case she’s fighting a situation in her past and that is really scary for her. I think everybody will relate to that. Luciana is the future, it’s about what’s coming at her, with the apocalypse, with the zombies.
MM: Do you recall any urban legends that you were terrified of growing up? As, like, a kid?
DG: Oh my god, if I tell you… I was terrified of anything scary. Anything. I would run out of the room the moment the music got lower. I never watched anything from the start to the end growing up. It was terrifying. I’m very shocked and at the same time surprised that I get to do all of this scary stuff. It’s weird.
MM: It is super weird. And obviously we’re all kind of living our worst nightmares right now, battling COVID-19 and this pandemic. What would you say is your biggest fear that you would ever have to overcome?
DG: My biggest fear… I think we’re living it. The entire world is completely shut down. Not because we’re trying to prevent it, but because we’re trying to survive this pandemic. It’s already going on… it’s out of our hands at this point. The one thing we can possibly do to stop it or prevent is to stay home. And that has always been my biggest fear, when something is so out of our hands, right? That we don’t know how to stop it or control it or prevent it or we have the cure for it. And I think, living this situation right now, what I try to focus on is what will happen when we go back to normal. How can we adjust to a new normal after this situation that we’re living that is so challenging for everyone involved? Children, adults, elders. Everyone is affected by this. And that’s what I try to focus on, like with my fans, let’s try to create a new routine that we can continue after this is over. Trying to look for the positives while we’re going through this, the most we can. I focus on that because we are already living in the worst case scenario worldwide. That’s, I think, anybody’s biggest fear. We’re all in danger, everybody is affected by it. The one thing we can do, basically, try to adjust to get ready for whatever is left of us. And learn from it. I try to turn things into a positive. I think problems happen to be solved, and we have to learn something from this. And probably that’s the lesson we have to think about right now, while we’re home.
MM: Yeah, what’s next, and how can we hopefully prevent something like this in the future, since it’s terrifying. We don’t know what our new norm is going to be when we get back to it.
DG: Exactly. And how can we adjust to our normal life? Because our normal life will not be like the same as we’re used to. Everybody kinda knows that, but we don’t know what to expect and how that’s going to work out. That’s going to be our next step to at least be prepared to confront a new world and hopefully do things a little bit better.
MM: I hope so. In terms of preparation, I mean, we may not be fighting off zombies at the moment but people are definitely fighting each other for essentials like toilet paper, bread, Lysol wipes, just so many random things. What’s one item that you wouldn’t be able to survive without during this whole process?
DG: Oh my god, an item. You know, if they shut down social media or the internet. I don’t know if that’s an item but that’s a tool that I think that not just me, but all of us, we have been able to survive with. I think we can handle no toilet paper, let’s be honest, we can take showers.
MM: Right? There’s water, we have leaves, we’re fine!
DG: We have soap. There’s so much we can do. But the fact that we are still connected and being connected either through WhatsApp, if you have friends overseas, or Facebook. Even phone calls. It’s really getting us into Skype and Zoom. Zoom is for kids nowadays in school. We are able to have some sort of normality because we have technology on our side. But I think if that’s over… and by the way, that’s kind of like the Fear of the Walking Dead world, there’s nothing to keep us connected. I don’t know if you noticed but we do a lot of talking and walking. Trust me, it’s so much better to have the internet. I’m just really lucky that at least that’s not being affected and we can be connected, and we can check on each other, and we can connect. I do a live Monday, Wednesday, Friday with my fans. I’m just so grateful that we have that. And TikTok, I’ve been laughing so much with that. So many crazy things.
MM: I spend hours on that, it’s a vortex.
DG: I know! And we have Quibi with new content coming out. For those that are horror lovers, they should check it out. We can survive without toilet paper, but at least being connected is something that we as a humanity need more than ever.
MM: Yes, I can’t agree more. As we kind of wind down, are there any hobbies that you always wanted to try but never had time to until now?
DG: You know, I’ve been doubling down on my yoga which is something I’ve been wanting to do. I’m just so lucky that it makes me feel so good afterwards. I’ve been doubling down on that and also I started calligraphy. I have this notepad that I bought a few months ago over Christmas. I didn’t touch it because I wanted to work on my writing. I write so much when I work. I like to write more than type sometimes when I work. And my writing has changed. And now I want to go back to basics. I don’t have to rush anywhere. Those things that I don’t take for granted. It’s really nice that I’m able to do it, and it’s improving. I also get to connect with my fans more often than before and they also have the time to connect with me. It’s been really refreshing to connect with fans on a deeper level and spend time together. And also sharing my experiences during this difficult time. It’s been very healing for this process.
MM: For sure, we’ve gotta stay connected, because if we don’t have that humanity, then our future is very bleak. To send off on a fun note, what would be your go-to quarantine snack?
DG: Oh my god. You know what’s been pretty amazing? Smoothies at home. It’s my favorite part of the day just to do strawberries, blueberries, bananas, almond milk. It’s so refreshing, it keeps me full for a while. The eating thing has changed too because I don’t work out as much as I used to do so I’m not as hungry. But I want to be healthy.
MM: Sounds delicious, and now I’m hungry! That’s pretty much all of the questions I have for you today, obviously we want to urge everyone to watch 50 States of Fright on Qubi. And if you have any final words you want to tell our readers, go ahead, this is the time.
DG: I just want to tell everyone to stay strong, to stay safe. Just take this time as a little pause to breathe, and to recharge, and to reconnect to people we love and to stay home. And I just hope this little platform Quibi will bring some light to your world and to others. Just stay safe! And stay connected, too.