Richard Madden heads to a seemingly desolate planet marked for colonization in his newest project, "Oasis," a future-set drama pilot available to stream from Amazon's current pilot season crop.
After the death of his wife Bea (his centering force), Peter Leigh (Richard's character) receives an offer from David Morgan, a leading figure of a group called USIC, to serve as the chaplain for workers at the Oasis project, whose goal is to make a distant planet inhabitable. Although Peter and his wife were originally against Oasis, believing it was focused on developing a home for the ultra-rich to escape deteriorating conditions on Earth, Peter decides to accept the offer (after a USIC rep promises to donate a sizable sum to continue his Earth work helping people in 2032 London).
But, heading to the outer space locale may not be something Peter is in the right mindset for. For starters, there's the question of whether he's taken enough time to grieve his wife.
"Absolutely not," Richard told AccessHollywood.com when we posed the question. "I think that's one of the things I'm excited about the series to come hopefully, is that grief's got to come out. We have to deal with it somehow and it always does come out. And I think when we meet him at the start of this episode, I think he's kind of just shut down. I don't think he's really grasped it ... what he's gone through, and I wonder what's going to happen to him when that grief comes out and he starts connecting with that -- how much that's going to drag him into his past, because without his wife, he doesn't have the thing that kept him together anymore."
Time for grieving though, is put aside as Peter quickly boards a space shuttle bound for the outer reaches of the galaxy.
Another passenger, who reveals the crew heading to join the Oasis project has been training for months (an indicator that Peter is very much the odd man out), is named Sy (played by Hayley Joel Osment). Not long into their pre-flight banter, there are hints that the two could be on their way toward an interesting friendship.
"I think they're both outsiders and … they both see that within each other, so I'm really hoping that Hayley's character is going to be kind of my buddy throughout it. And I think they share a lot of the same compassion and share that kind of being an outsider [perspective] and having to kind of stand up for themselves and get on with things," Richard said. "They're kind of like chalk and cheese as characters, but I really think they're going to get [along] and we're going to see some interesting stuff between them."
When the men arrive on the planet, they find harsh conditions outside. And inside, away from the wind and sand, a worker named B.G. (Michael James Shaw) hints to Peter about more trouble – sleeplessness nights, and he just might start seeing things. But, Peter doesn't take everything he hears at face value right away.
"He's keeping everyone at arm's length and trying to take things in as they go and that's something that I hope we're going to see a bit more of is these sleepless moments with these characters," Richard said of what he'd like to explore if the show is picked up to series on the streaming platform. "I think something happens when people are that sleep deprived or scared to go to sleep because of the kind of visions that they're seeing and stuff like that, and then that brings out a kind of really different animal, explosive part of humans when they're really sleep deprived and scared."
The pilot for "Oasis," based on "The Book of Strange New Things" from Michael Faber, a co-production of Amazon Studios and Left Bank Productions, is available to stream – and comment on – on Amazon Prime, now.
-- Jolie Lash