Diane Lane: ‘Y’ was a ‘Russian doll of surrealism’

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 13 (UPI) — Diane Lane said filming Y: The Last Man during the COVID-19 pandemic was surreal. The show, which premieres Monday, portrays a deadly pandemic that kills everyone with a Y chromosome.

“We were like a Russian doll of surrealism,” Lane said on a Television Critics Association Zoom panel. “It was a lot going for us and it brought us very close together.”

Lane plays Sen. Jennifer Brown, who must assume leadership when her male superiors die. Lane said Y shows characters working to solve the crisis in a way she does not observe watching news about real-world crises.

“There’s a lot looming over our heads, and it’s nice to feel connected with people who are dealing with it,” Lane said. “We have their emotional experience, instead of just watching the news and freaking out internally.”

Lane signed up for Y before the pandemic. FX cast Lane in its adaptation of the Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra comic book in 2018.

Lane remained with the series as original showrunners Michael Green and Aida Mashaka Croal departed. Eliza Clark created the current adaptation of Y: The Last Man.

During production on Y, the cast and crew followed the industry’s COVID-19 safety protocols. Lane said the real-life circumstances contributed to the atmosphere of the show.

“Who knew that we were going to be faced with the experience as it laid out for all of us in the period of time we were filming?” Lane said. “As an industry, to work was challenging, and we felt very lucky to have work during 2020 and 2021.”

Jennifer Brown was a character in the original comic book, although she was a member of Congress, instead. Amber Tamblyn plays a character new to the television adaptation.

Kimberly (Tamblyn) is the president’s daughter and a conservative television pundit. When most of the world’s men, including the president, die, it threatens Kimberly’s ideas of traditional male and female roles in society.

“Kimberly is a woman who cares deeply about family values,” Tamblyn said. “Her entire identity is carried through her relationship to, and with, men, through her husband, her three sons and her father.”

Tamblyn said she had real-life inspiration for Kimberly. Tamblyn said she incorporated her observations of former first lady Ivanka Trump in the White House into her performance.

“There was a moment with Ivanka Trump where she was standing with all of the heads of state and the presidents from around the world, trying to get her opinion in the center of it,” Tamblyn said. “It was a painful thing to see from the outside. I felt slightly embarrassed for her.”

Tamblyn said Kimberly serves as a bit of comic relief in a show in which half the world’s population dies. Tamblyn said Kimberly will have a rough time adjusting to a world in which women are necessarily in charge.

“Everyone else is just trying to survive, and she’s just trying to get her heels on every single day,” Tamblyn said. “There’s something about her that is really funny and kind of ties us to the old world before.”

The last man of the title is Yorrick Brown (Ben Schnetzer), Jennifer’s son. Somehow he has survived, and Schnetzer said Yorrick is just as confused about it as everyone else.

“Yorick discovers a lot about the world as the audience does,” Schnetzer said.

Although Yorrick is the last man to which the title of the show refers, Schnetzer said he’s not necessarily the hero. Schnetzer said the show will explore Yorrick’s role in the new society.

“I don’t know if anyone would say that he’s the savior,” Schnetzer said. “That’s certainly up for debate.”

New episodes of Y: The Last Man stream Mondays on FX on Hulu.