Reverie star Sarah Shahi talks virtual reality heaven and hell as the new series launches on SYFY

The technology thriller follows a game that becomes far too successful for its own good.

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New SYFY series Reverie is every bit as addictive as the fictional game it is about.

A young tech genius has created the hugely successful personalised virtual reality game, Reverie, which allows its players to live out their greatest desires – whether they are adventures or to spend more time with a lost loved one.

The problem is, Reverie has become too successful and its players don’t want to come back to their real lives, leaving their health in grave danger.

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Former hostage negotiator Mara Kint is brought in to enter Reverie's virtual world to try to convince its players to quit the game – but with a tragic past of her own to deal with, she has to struggle against personal demons to rescue her new clients.

We spoke to Sarah Shahi, who stars as Mara, about her views on what happens when technological obsession goes too far.

What do you think v​iewers are going to love about Reverie?

“Every episode is its own theme and came from the masterminds of (creator) Mickey Fisher and (executive producer) Steven Spielberg. Much like many of his movies there is a conscious spiritual message in all of them. Every episode is thematically different. It provides pure guilt-free entertainment and promises to entertain you for 47 minutes at a time.”

Do you think the sh​ow’s escapism is important?

“I think the state of the world, the climate is a bit heavy these days and as entertainers if we can provide light relief and make people feel like they’re not alone, that’s important.

“My character is living in the day-by-day, she’s lost her sister and niece, she’s an alcoholic and a pill-popper. I think living day-by-day is very realistic and a lot of people can relate to that.”

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What did you think a​bout the obsession Reverie players have with virtual reality?

“We are living in a time where every day I read about another virtual game that has popped up. I come from a similar perspective to Mara, where I think we need to look at the world around us and look up. There’s a danger that we forget to interact with the people around us and engage with each other as human beings and brothers and sisters of the world. I feel like if we lose that then we really are in grave danger.”

There’s a scene​ where Mara says she’s tired of seeing people looking at their screens all the time…

“I agree with her, in my household of three children and a husband, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve echoed that. Now, when I go to a Starbucks, I’m the weirdo who just wants to people watch and observe but there’s nothing to watch anymore because everyone is just on their phones. That’s one of the other things that attracted me to play her because she’s in a world where everything is so technology driven.”

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If you could create​ your own Reverie virtual reality, what would it be?

“I was not very close with my father and I would want to go back to one moment in time when my father was alive and I was about three, four years old. The memory that I have is based on pictures but we were by the lake, I remember I could smell the water in the air, we were together and I would go back and try to capture more specifics from that time if I could.”

What did you like ab​out Mara?

“I felt like she was a real character in the sense that she was struggling, and I like playing people like that because I think it’s relatable. I don’t have anything in common with the quirky girl who has perfect hair at every head turn. I can’t really relate to that. But a character who is struggling day-by-day and is somewhat broken but has to hide that, I can relate to that, I feel like it’s real. I think it’s important today to show characters that the people of the world can relate to at the same time.”

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If there’s a secon​d season, what would you like to see happen to Mara?

“I think it would be nice for her to have a romantic interest. The one from the first season doesn’t really pan out in the way Mara would like it to. It would be nice for the girl to get a little action.”

Reverie launches on August 2 at 9pm on SYFY, launching with a double bill.

SYFY is one of 60 premium channels available on BT TV along with other channels such as E!, Comedy Central, National Geographic and many more.

> BT broadband customer? Get BT TV 

> Not yet with BT? Find out the great ways you can get BT TV here

> BT TV customer? Head to channel 319 to watch SYFY, or visit the BT Player

(Photos: Rex, Syfy)

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