On Location with Alano Miller

by Natasha Wolff | March 23, 2016 12:50 pm

The new WGN America drama Underground[1] isn’t a light show, after all it follows a group of Georgia slaves as they plan to escape and make their way to freedom. And to hear Alano Miller, the actor who stars on the series as Cato, tell it, filming on location in Shreveport, La. could be an equally somber experience. 

“We shot on real plantations and at real slave quarters, which was very, very hard at times,” Miller, a Jane the Virgin alum[2], says. “We would get into the slave quarters and there would be blood and scratches on the walls. It looked as if someone was marking the days, the months, or the years that they were in there. The weight of the space was so heavy. You could feel the weight.” 

Still Miller, speaking from his home in Los Angeles[3], says there are times he misses the set, where he spent five months filming. “The relationships we created and the chemistry that we all built for the screen was so special—there were those moments, and I definitely miss those,” he says. Even if they were occasionally life threatening. Like the time Miller and co-star Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s husband, Josiah, encountered some very unpleasant weather. 

“I had to get my car, so Josiah was driving me to it and I looked up and I saw a really, really dark cloud,” Miller recalls. “I’m from Florida, so I said, ‘that looks like a tornado,’ and this guy told us, no, we don’t get tornados. Well, lo and behold it was a tornado. So, Josiah and I we were driving together and then all of a sudden everything turns pitch black and something happens to one of the wires hit the highway and a spark goes right under us, right under Josiah’s car. And we are all trying to move out of the way and it was just crazy. That was one of those crazy moments that we had—and we survived through all of it.” 

Indeed, Miller says that while the show’s cast grew close over the course of shooting the first season, what really bonded them all was the time they logged together off camera.

“We spent a lot of time together, cooking for each other and hanging out and going to bowling alleys and doing whatever we could,” he says. “I wouldn’t say we were forced into this, but we definitely all stepped into our roles of knowing that this was what was needed in order to shoot the show. We knew it was going to be well worth it. We knew that it was going to be a special show.”

  1. Underground: http://www.wgnamerica.com/series/underground
  2. Jane the Virgin alum: http://dujour.com/culture/jaime-camil-jane-the-virgin-interview/
  3. Los Angeles: http://dujour.com/cities/los-angeles/

Source URL: https://dujour.com/culture/alano-miller-underground/