(KPLR) – WGN America's second scripted original program Manhattan debuts this weekend. FOX2's Melanie Moon had a chance to visit the set and interview the cast. The period drama takes place during World War II.
In the 1940's the world’s most brilliant scientist came together in Los Almos, New Mexico with the mission to build the world's first atomic bomb. To make the show as authentic as possible Manhattan is filmed in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Set designers transformed an old hospital in Santa Fe into a replica of the remote military compound where the scientists lived with their families surrounded by barbwire and guards. The actors quickly learned the challenges of working in the desert. One of the biggest issues was the dust storms.
“When we are acting we have to stand in it, we can't cover our faces. You have to open your eyes and look into the camera. God bless the wind and God bless the dust," said actress Olivia Williams who plays Liza Winter, a wife of one of the lead scientist Frank Winter.
The characters are fictional but the storyline stays true to history as great scientists raced to develop an atomic weapon before the enemy.
Actor John Benjamin Hickey, who plays Frank Winter, says his character's determination to build the bomb is almost obsessive.
"I think Frank believes very strongly if he can make his dream or idea come true he can save lives and he can end this war," said Hickey.
The show features other impressive actors including Daniel Stern, Argo’s Christopher Denham and Ashley Zukerman who plays a wonderkid scientist, said to be the brightest mind of his generation. His character Charlie Isaacs happens to be from St. Louis.
"What he ends up finding out is that his genius is going to be put toward the creation of the worst weapon that we as a human species has ever created," says Zukerman.
Manhattan debuts this Sunday night at 8 pm on WGN America.