SPOILERS are ahead for The Wilds Season 2, now streaming with an Amazon Prime subscription.
While women disproportionately experience sexual violence in their lifetime (one in five), a quarter of men in the United States reportedly experience some form of sexual violence in their lives. Amazon Prime’s The Wilds brought the topic to the forefront with the introduction of the male island in Season 2, and CinemaBlend spoke to the cast about how it was handled behind the scenes.
At the end of Episode 4 of The Wilds Season 2, Nicholas Coombe’s Josh is shockingly sexually assaulted by Alex Fitzalan’s Seth in a dark tent after Seth becomes enraged by one of Josh’s comments, while the rest of the young men on the island are getting drunk by their DIY bonfire. When CinemaBlend spoke to Coombe about the sequence, he shared how the scene was carefully orchestrated on set. In his words:
Nicholas Coombe recalled speaking in depth with The Wilds showrunner Amy Harris and creator Sarah Streicher about the scene in particular and having conversations with them about how it would be handled. The Wilds newcomer continued:
The scene sets up the basis of the rest of the teen boys’ time on the island on their own, as we learn Seth’s troubling backstory and news of the incident soon spreads. Much of The Wilds’ plotline this season revolves around the boys’ reaction to Josh being sexual assaulted. Kiran, for example, fearlessly defends him and splits up the island, whereas Raf cannot bring himself to believe Seth was capable of those actions.
Zack Calderon, who plays Raf in Lost-inspired series The Wilds shared his own thoughts on this element of the season. In his words:
Series such as Game of Thrones, Thirteen Reasons Why, Orange is the New Black and Sex Education have spent time on sexual assault plotlines, that teter on helpful and tropey depictions of such a traumatizing event that can happen in someone’s life. Aidan Laprete, who plays Seth’s step-brother Henry in The Wilds, shared his thoughts on the conversation in the series:
In the season prior, The Wilds discussed teen suicide and sexual abuse, and in Season 2, the mature series about teens went a step further by centering things on a horrifying incident for Josh that the entire island has to attempt to understand and respond to despite there not being any laws around to monitor the situation. Troy Winbush, who plays Agent Dean Young in the interview sequences, shared his reaction to the series tackling this topic:
While we learn more about the male island, we do get some less heavy moments from the girls, two of whom share a sweet romance full of “joy,” as Mia Healey called it. Sexual assault is an important topic and television can continue to be a mouthpiece to the subject, as long as it is depicted with care, as seems to have happened on set with The Wilds covering the topic in Season 2.
You can find resources about sexual assault on the National Sexual Assault Hotline website or call someone who can help at 800-656-4673.
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