Hightown Cast Previews Starz Drama’s Timely Story, Rich Characters, and More!

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The wait is finally over. 

Hightown premieres tonight, and you’re about to witness one of the best dramas of the year. 

We chatted with Dohn Norwood, Shane Harper, and Atkins Estimond about the new Starz drama. 

Below, we have some excerpts of our interview with them, in which they tease the series, their characters, and what fans should expect. 

TV Fanatic: What drew you all to Hightown?

Dohn: Dynamic characters dealing with the opioid epidemic, a new story, peering into a world that you don’t see on TV. I don’t know if there’s a show like it. There was breaking bad that went to Albuquerque.

And I think most people never thought about Albuquerque, you know? In that same way, we’re going to bust things open with Cape Cod, because that I think no one’s seen before.

Atkins: When I initially got the sides and the breakdown of the character, I was really excited.

The challenge of playing this character is that I hadn’t had a role like this before. The people who are attached to the show: Jerry Bruckheimer, Rachel Morrison, Rebecca cutter, Gary Lennon. So many great people attached to the project.

And once I got deeper into the story and seeing how well it was written and put together, I was super excited about working on this show.

Shane: Yeah. I think it’s kind of a dream. It’s a dream world for an actor with all the wonderful creatives attached behind the scenes. And then, you know, the stories themselves and the characters themselves, they’re just real.

It’s like half the stuff that comes through just doesn’t even feel like it’s grounded in anything.

You read a lot of scripts, and a lot of material just doesn’t have what this has, which is just fully grounded in reality, but still has those great drama elements that keep people wanting to come back for more.

So I think the show has kind of got everything and it definitely lands under that category of dream job as a role. It really is.

Atkins, you play Oscito, a character who immediately emerges as a piece of work. What did you like playing that character?

Atkins: Oh, man. I mean, getting to be bad can be so fun, you know?

Like I said, I hadn’t had the opportunity to play a role like that. As an actor, it was just so much fun getting to play in that space that I hadn’t had a chance to occupy before.

And I’m just getting to go there. It’s like when you see the show and you see the things that he does going that far and that deep into it, it’s a real stretch as an actor.

And I just really enjoyed the whole process of working through it, but also the fact that he wasn’t just a villain, he wasn’t just a bad guy, that there was also some heart to him as well.

And the code and working with both of those elements to try to bring him to life was a great experience on this project.

Shane, you play Junior, a recovering addict. What did you think did you find unique about that role? 

Shane: The role itself was very exciting and unique for a lot of reasons. One of them being, you don’t often get to play someone who has such a harsh reality.

His reality is very hard. He’s addicted to heroin, he’s addicted to fentanyl, he has overdosed three times.

He has a woman that he is not married to with a kid that he loves, that he didn’t show up to the hospital for.

It’s all very dynamic moments, and that’s unique to get to play.

And that’s real life for a lot of people. It was honestly a bit scary to play something like that because it is so real and so harsh for a lot of people.

Addiction touches way more people than I think a lot of us imagine, especially addiction to heroin and fentanyl and things of that nature.

It was unique to step into that role, and it was scary, and it was really exciting. You know, I tried my best to be grounded in what that reality looks like.

It felt like the most unique opportunity.

Dohn, you play Allen, a detective who works with Ray. Is he your typical TV detective?

Dohn: He’s pretty clinical and by the book. I think that the one element about him that doesn’t come out as much this season.

There’s more than meets the eyes that he does have an agenda. He doesn’t break the rules per se, but you can see his intentions.

You can see what he disagrees with and what he’d like to change. 

Hightown premieres tonight at 8 pm on Starz. 

Return to TV Fanatic after the episode airs for a full review, and also return throughout the season for more reviews and post-mortems with the cast and crew. 

Scroll down to find interviews with Hightown creator, Rebecca Cutter, director, Rachel Morrison, and actors Monica Raymund, Riley Voelkel, and Amaury Nolasco. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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