Fallout : Press Conference with Jonathan Nolan, Ella Purnell, Aaron Moten and Creators

Fallout : Press Conference with Jonathan Nolan, Ella Purnell, Aaron Moten and Creators

Photo by Courtesy of Prime Video – © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC

Synopsis : Fallout is the story of haves and have-nots in a world in which there’s almost nothing left to have. Two-hundred years after the apocalypse, the gentle denizens of luxury fallout shelters are forced to return to the irradiated hellscape their ancestors left behind—and are shocked to discover an incredibly complex, gleefully weird, and highly violent universe waiting for them.

Executive Producer : Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Graham Wagner, Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy, Athena Wickham, Todd Howard, James Altman

Screenwriter : Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Graham Wagner

Network : Prime Video 

Genre : Action, Adventure, Drama

Original Language : English

Release Date : April 12, 2024.

fallout poster

Courtesy of Amazon Prime

Press Conference with executive producer/director Jonathan Nolan, creators Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Graham Wagner, Actors Ella Purnell, Aaron Moten, executive producer of Bethesda Game Studios, Todd Howard, Moderated by Kara Warner. 


Q : I would love to introduce this incredible panel that you’re more excited to see and hear from than me. Please welcome executive producer and director Jonathan Nolan, series creators and showrunners Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Graham Wagner, and our series stars Ella Purnell and Aaron Moten. Plus, one of the main reasons we’re all here, executive producer, Bethesda Game Studios, Todd Howard.

Q : Awesome. Thank you all for being here. This is so  exciting, to finally talk about this. I would love to talk  about the origin story. How did we all get here? What made you take on this incredible challenge of adapting this  game to series?

JONATHAN: I think it started, for me, with Fallout 3, which devoured about a year of my life. You know, I was an  aspiring young writer at that point. It almost derailed my  entire career. It’s so ludicrously playable and fun. No,  I mean, seriously, the games were just incredible.

I mean, it’s such a rare thing and such an  unbelievable thing, and I’ve gotten to do it twice in my  career, to take something that you love and get a chance to  play in that universe, to create, you know, your own  version, I guess, of that universe. The first go-round for  me was Batman, and this time with Fallout, a game that I  absolutely love, a series of games that I absolutely loved. About five years ago, Todd and I went and had lunch  together, it was a bit of a fanning-out moment for me, and  just started talking about the possibilities of how you  could take this incredible universe.

I mean, I think one of the things that’s so  powerful about the Fallout series is that every game is a  little different. Different characters, a different  setting, and a different look into this extraordinary  universe. And so, we came out of that lunch with a handshake deal that we were gonna try to make this work.

Q : Yes. Geneva and Graham, can you talk a little bit  about your approach? ‘Cause it’s not like this series is based on a game. We’re living in the world of Fallout, yes?

Graham Wagner : Yeah. It’s set in the world of Fallout, but it’s  a new story that comes, sort of, after the events we’ve  seen. So it really is, the show is built on like 25 years  of creativity and thinking and building. And we sort of thought the best thing to do is to  continue that, versus retread it. Because that’s sort of what has worked with Fallout over the years. It’s traded hands, it’s changed, it’s been altered, and it’s a living thing. And yeah, we kind of felt like we ought to take a  swing at trying to build a new piece on top of all of that.

Geneva Robertson-Dworet : Yeah, and I think, you know, the themes of Fallout  are also what really drove us to want to adapt this with  Jonah, and we were really especially drawn to the  social commentary inherent to the idea of these vaults.  Graham is a citizen of Canada.

I’m a dual citizen of the US and New Zealand, and  we often talk about how those care countries that are sort  of celebrated as these wonderful, peaceful utopias, and  “What if everyone was like there,” and the reality is not  everywhere is like those countries. But what would it mean if those countries were to open their borders and let  everyone in, and everyone could have a better life? Well,  they would change, right?

They would be the same. So,  like, we saw the vaults as basically a mirror to that,  right? This idea that, like, “What if we create a vault  that is very peaceful and wonderful?” But what does it  mean that not everyone gets to live there, and people suffer on the surface?

Q : Right. I think I’ve heard you say it’s a story of have and have-nots.

Geneva Robertson-Dworet : Yes.

Q : And then the lengths that we may or may not have to go to to survive, depending on where we are.

Geneva Robertson-Dworet : Exactly.

Q : Todd, I would love to bring you in here. What made you say yes to this adaptation? I just feel like, you  know, it’s a challenge from the outset, and you’re so close to this world, obviously, being a big part of it. Yeah, what do you love about their approach, and yeah, what made you say yes?

Todd Howard : Well first, you know, people would approach us over, you know, I would say a 10-year period after Fallout 3 came out, you know, from 2009 on, to adapt Fallout to film or  television.

And we took a very cautious approach, and Jonah was somebody I was such a fan of the movies he did and the TV he was doing, and I actually, you know, had someone reach  out. And when I first talked to Jonah, I mean, honestly, it  was like someone I had known for a long time, you know, obviously played the games a ton, and his approach, right  from the get-go, was in sync with what I was thinking.  Look, this is a creative endeavor, and having, you know, partners that you trust and can really bring something new to it, make it authentic, the world of Fallout.

Present that to the screen in a new way, but in an  authentic way, you know, you know it when you see it, and  it’s been a great, great collaboration, and everybody on  this stage and what they’ve done. You know, for someone  like me and the team here at Bethesda, it’s just a real  blessing to see what they’ve done with it.


Photo by Courtesy of Prime Video – © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC

Q : Nice. Before we get to the trailer, we’re getting close, everyone, Ella and Aaron, I would love to hear just a little bit about your characters. What intrigued you most before you jumped in the world, and, kind of, who are Lucy, and who is Maximus?

Ella Purnell: So, Lucy is a Vault Dweller, and what excited me  about playing her was that she is so innocent and so naive  and obviously very privileged as well, like you’ve touched  on. It was exciting for me to start in that place. You  know, she’s essentially a newborn baby. She hasn’t had any  real life experiences. All she knows is what she was  taught and what she’s read in books that she has in the  vault. It’s limited. And then you put her on the  Wasteland, and, you know, what happens? What happens with that? That’s a really exciting  for me to start in. What do you think?

Aaron Moten: Yeah, well, I play Maximus. He’s part of the Brotherhood of Steel. I guess, yeah, what excited me was a little bit of what Ella’s talking about. It’s like, you know, that starting place, and where you go from there, you  know. A person who’s lived in the Wasteland for his entire life, and he has to, you know, have a certain type of moral  ambiguity that is forced upon him, I think, living in the world that he lives in, and where you go from there. How you hold onto what is your unique, pure self, and how that changes, and how you discover what it is that you want.

Q : Yeah. Moral ambiguity, so fun to explore. There is a third very important cast member who can’t be with us  today. However, we have a wonderful message from him. I would love to introduce Walton Goggins, who plays The  Ghoul, and here is a few words from him.

Walton Goggins: Hello, everyone. I am so very sorry that I  couldn’t be there today. My name is Walton Goggins, and I play The Ghoul in Fallout. The Ghoul is, in some ways, the poet Virgil in Dante’s Inferno. He’s the guide, if you will, through this  irradiated hellscape that we find ourselves in in this post-apocalyptic world.

He is a bounty hunter, an iconic  bounty hunter. He is pragmatic, he is ruthless, he has his  own set of moral codes, and he has a wicked sense of humor.  Much like me. [laugh] No, he’s a very, very, very  complicated guy, and to understand him, you have to  understand the person that he was before the war. He had a name. His name was Cooper Howard, and he was a vastly  different person than the ghoul that you’ve seen so far.

Over the course of the show, through his  experience back in the world before the nuclear fallout, you will understand how the world was. And he is the  bridge between both these worlds. And I hope you enjoy it.  So with that said, we hope you enjoy the trailer. Thank  you very much for watching.

[trailer plays]

Q : Woohoo. That was my first time seeing that. I hope  you guys are as dazzled as I am. Like I said, there’s a  lot going on [laugh] in this series. One thing to point  out really quickly, hopefully you saw, the series debuts April 11th. All episodes are gonna be available April  11th. So that’s pretty exciting. And it’s coming soon. Todd, I would love to kind of start with you just after watching this.

And I guess a loaded question, seeing that and then kind of just thinking about your experience  working on this, is there something that stands out for you  as something that they got completely right in their  adaptation of the games?  Is there something that kind of when you visited  set, dazzled you in particular? Anything like that you want to celebrate or touch on?

Todd Howard : I mean, the authenticity they brought to it, the  obsessive. We like to say we make the games that we obsess  over every pixel. And Jonah and crew, they obsessed over  every pixel [laugh] of every frame, just to make it  authentic. And the other thing, watching that trailer and  the trick with Fallout is it has so many different tones. 

It goes between the serious, the dramatic, and action, and  some humor and nostalgic music and dramatic music. And I think the trailer does what the show does  really well, which is it weaves those different things  together in a very unique blend that only Fallout can  bring. And they’ve done just an awesome job.

Fallout 3

Photo by Courtesy of Prime Video – © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC

Q : Yeah, for Jonah, Geneva, and Graham, was there any  one specific thing that like you had to nail?

Jonathan Nolan : We talked a lot about the power armor. The tone was a big thing. I think the tone was maybe the most  challenging and the most intimidating thing for me. But  working with, you know, with Geneva and Graham, you knew  that we were going to be in a really good place with that  incredibly ambitious story. On a technical level, the scope of the world and  the power armor in particular was one of those things you go, oh, how on earth are we going to do that? But we got  there.

Geneva Robertson-Dworet : This is a small thing. But if you saw in the  trailer Chet, who gets splattered in blood, they got the Brylcreem just right. I know that’s not as ambitious as  the — but when they got the Brylcreem in his hair just  right, I was like, nailed it. And, you know, I guess we  could have done that on a smaller show. [laugh]

Q : That’s an important detail.

Graham Wagner : That’s the kind of thing I’m keeping my eye out  for. [laugh]

Q : Yeah. How about for you, Geneva?

Geneva Robertson-Dworet : Oh, God, it was everything. And we couldn’t be  more grateful to our incredible production designer, Howard  Cummings, who just poured his whole soul into this. Truly, arriving on set every day was like Christmas morning. And,  you know, that I think is something that Jonah has brought  to all of his projects is just this incredible eye for  meticulous detail. Every detail has to be perfect, and so  much of it, we made physically. It’s not the effects. So  I was really just grateful for that. Thank you, Jonah.  [laugh]

Q : Yeah, I feel like you have said Christmas morning  face was sort of your barometer. If people were walking  around sort of feeling that, then you had done your job.

Geneva Robertson-Dworet : And me. I must have looked like an idiot for  almost all of production ’cause I was just thrilled.

Q : Amazing. Again, thank you guys all for hanging out with us. I’m gonna get to some of your questions here. Like we said, there’s a lot going on in this show. What is Fallout about? How do you kind of describe what it is for the audience? Because there’s a lot out there in the world right now when it comes to series and streaming. What sets this apart?

Geneva Robertson-Dworet : Well, I think it’s not just the incredible tone,  which is, as people have talked about, this unbelievable blend of action and comedy and just weirdness. But I think  it’s, you know, these incredibly prescient themes,  factionalism, being maybe the most obvious. When you play the game Fallout, you go from settlement to settlement or  from faction to faction.

And that was something that we  were really excited to manifest with our heroes. You know, Ella being the Vault Dweller, Aaron being the Brotherhood of Steel member, and Walton being sort of the character that, you know, nobody really cares about, the ghouls in  the wasteland. But in a way that makes them, of course, the most empathetic.

Q : Right.

Graham Wagner : And for me, it was the Brylcreem.

Q : [laugh] That’s a marketing opportunity now.

Jonathan Nolan : I think you also have a moment that we’re in right  now in which the world, you know, it seems to be evermore  frightening and dour. And so an opportunity for us to work  on a show that gets to look that in the eye, right, and we  get to talk about the end of the world, but to do it with a  sense of humor. You know, I think, honestly, there’s a  thread of optimism woven into the show as well, that I  think for us, you know, is a bit of expiation to be able to  work on this every day.

Geneva Robertson-Dworet : Yes. And we’ve, I think, talked about so many  different postapocalyptic projects that we could do  together over the years, but this is the first one that was  also fun.

Jonathan Nolan : Yeah.

Fallout 4

Photo by Courtesy of Prime Video – © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC

Q : Yes, yeah. It’s amazing when you watch it, the tone  shifts from very dramatic, emotional, absurd, goofy. It’s a pretty incredibly layered experience. For Ella and Aaron, there’s a lot, you know, without going into too much detail, I think as actors you get to do a lot in this. Can you talk to us a little bit about the fun of the challenge of this world in both Lucy and Maximus?

Aaron Moten : Well every day, right? Every day on set was a new, fun challenge. And, you know, it’s super exciting as an  actor, I think to get the opportunity to show up to work to  do outrageous things. You know, I think we spend a lot of  time doing things that are normal, or there’s a  mundaneality to them. You know what I mean? And we spend  a lot of time doing that at work. So to get to, you know,  trudge around the wasteland with the power armor by my side  is an experience in itself.  And getting to see our stunt performer, Adam, you  know, in the full garb, and seeing the seas of people and  crew on sets part for him. You know that practical  realness to it is really exciting.

Q: Yeah. How about for you, Ella?

Ella Purnell : Honestly, exactly what Aaron said. It was so much  fun working on this show. Every shoot is hard. Not every  shoot is fun. And this one was just so fun for an actor.  No two days were the same. Every prop, every costume,  every location, every set was just bonkers. And, you know,  one of the joys of working with Jonah is he loves to do  everything as much as he can for real.

So you’re not working with that much greenscreen or,  you know, dudes in green leotards. You get to really work  with practicals. And that, you know, you don’t have to  imagine so much. It’s real, and you can really do it. And  just like, just a kid in a candy store, honestly. So much  fun.

Q : Yeah. I’m gonna make this a two part question, because we’re running out of our delicious time here. Video game adaptations, you know, have been around for a while. How do you kind of talk about achieving what you want to achieve while, you know, perhaps pleasing the fans of the game and also bringing in new audiences? And then  the second part of that, why Los Angeles?

Jonathan Nolan : I don’t think you really can set out to please the  fans of anything, or please anyone other than yourself. I  think you have to come into this trying to make the show that you want to make it and trusting that as fans of the game, you know, we would find the pieces that were essential to us about the games and try to do the best  version of those that we can. I think, you know, it’s kind  of a fool’s errand to try to figure out how to make people  happy in that way. You gotta make yourself happy. And I’ve made myself very happy with the show.

Q : Anyone else want to add to that? Excellent. Well, if there aren’t any last words, we thank you all for joining us here today. We’re gonna talk toss to the trailer one more time because you absolutely need to see it again. Just a reminder, again, everything embargoed until tomorrow March 7th, 6 a.m. Pacific time. And be sure to catch this pretty incredible series April 11th on Prime video. Thank you all so much.

Check out more of Nobuhiro’s articles. 

Here’s the trailer of the series. 

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