The Lazarus Project leads Paapa Essiedu and Anjli Mohindra have praised the sci-fi series’ accurate representation to the real world through its diverse casting.
I May Destroy You’s Paapa plays George, who discovers his world has been turned upside down as he navigates moving through time loops, changing the future, and rewatching events unfold in the past as he becomes part of a team of agents who try to prevent global catastrophes by resetting time.
Guiding him through the chaos is Anjli’s character Archie, an Mi5 agent whose sharp wit and sarcasm distract from the trauma she’s faced over watching horrific events unfold again and again in front of her, knowing there is little she can do to change them.
The series takes place in our world, and follows real events that could have been adapted in a time loop to change their way of occurring.
In fact, one moment links directly to the world we’ve found ourselves in over the last two years, as Archie hints to George that global extinction was saved during the pandemic because of a Coronavirus vaccine that was only created after The Lazarus Project members went back in history however many times they needed to, just to create a cure for the otherwise deadly virus that would have wiped out the human race. How else was a vaccine produced in just a matter of months?
It’s not just the events that occur throughout the series that reflect what could exist in real life, but the casting of the show is equally as realistic, with two people of colour as main characters.
Reflecting on this, Paapa told us: ‘I feel like even though we’re existing in a world that’s adjacent to the real world, in the fact of time travel, it was really important to me and to producers for the world to feel similar to the one we live in.
‘I live in London and diversity isn’t even a word I think about you know, I just look around and you see people of all colours and orientations so I think writers, directors and makers have got a responsibility to also do that when it comes to making certain types of shows.
‘Obviously there are certain other types of shows that demand like a slightly more curated look of what the cast look like, but for a show like this it would just be so weird if it was an all-white or an all-anything cast, it’s not that kind of story, a story like this demands the cast that it’s got.’
Anjli added: ‘It’s just representative of the world outside, I think I always expected it to be this way and had a sharp awakening that it wasn’t and you still see shows that come out in which the cast is predominantly white and it’s set now, it just doesn’t feel representative of the world we live in.
‘Whilst it is very exciting to be in something that has got that, it’s shouldn’t be something that we still have to mention.’
‘It’s really important to underline the idea that I don’t believe that any of these hires are diversity hires,’ Paapa continued.
‘I don’t think any of these actors, myself included, have been hired because we tick a box or fill a quota or look a certain way, one of the things that I’m most proud of in the show is just the quality of the performances.’
The show also features Caroline Quentin, Charly Clive and Rudi Dharmalingam, as well as Tom Burke and Lorn Macdonald.
‘We’ve got some of the best British actors that are working in the industry right now, and they happen to be from diverse places, I don’t believe it’s f***ing rocket science if I’m honest, but it feels like there’s more an understanding of that because it’s a very different thing of being like, “Oh we have to cast someone that looks a certain way because we don’t want to be accused of whatever,” I don’t think that is the case at all.’
The Lazarus Project will air on Sky Max and NOW on June 16.