The wild ones: He’s a lying cheat. She’s his revenge-seeking wife. The scene’s set for a showdown in the wilderness in Jenna Coleman’s tense new series 

  • The thriller, set in New York, stars Jenna Coleman and Oliver Jackson-Cohen
  • READ MORE: Jenna Coleman stars in first look images from upcoming psychological thriller Wilderness with Ashley Benson

Liv has the perfect marriage to the perfect husband, Will – or so she thinks. One Christmas Eve, her world comes crashing down when she finds a steamy text from another woman on Will’s phone and it’s clear he’s having an affair.

Liv, played by Victoria star Jenna Coleman, throws him out of their plush New York apartment, but when he pleads for forgiveness and pays for them to go on a road trip to America’s national parks – which Liv has always wanted to do – she takes him back.

That’s where Wilderness, a new six-part psychological thriller, gets very interesting. Liv duly discovers the extent of Will’s betrayal via an X-rated video on his laptop and decides that their holiday to remote spots such as the Grand Canyon will be the perfect opportunity to kill him.

‘Once Liv has committed herself to revenge, events follow on from each other uncontrollably,’ says Jenna, whose character even ends up having a hedonistic weekend in Las Vegas. ‘It’s like a rollercoaster or a mad, trippy, wonky, unexpected journey.’

At the heart of the thriller is the relationship between Brits Liv and Will (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), who’s moved to New York to lead the events team at a luxury hotel. 

Liv, played by Jenna Coleman, has the perfect marriage to the perfect husband, Will (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) – or so she thinks. Pictured: Will’s in danger from Liv at the Grand Canyon 

Jenna and Oliver went to great lengths to get to grips with the dynamic between the characters, even writing love letters to each other as Liv and Will.

‘We did a whole week of letter writing, with the help of our director,’ says Jenna. ‘Viewers have to believe the couple did love one other – Liv even says she still loves Will after he’s cheated on her – so it was important to build a history between them.’

Jenna and Oliver, a star of Netflix’s The Haunting Of Bly Manor, created back stories for their characters, including their favourite foods, their wedding song and how they thought Liv and Will’s first meeting with their prospective in-laws would have panned out.

‘We came up with some truly wild ideas and hilarious details,’ laughs Jenna. ‘But it all helped paint the picture of our characters’ relationship.’

There’s an excruciating twist when Will’s lover – workmate Cara (Ashley Benson) – and her boyfriend come across Liv and Will during their trip (they claim it’s a coincidence) and join them for walks in the great outdoors.

Ashley says it was important that Cara wouldn’t be seen as just a marriage-wrecker. ‘I think viewers will feel for her, because she’s not this evil person who wants to destroy a marriage, she’s been lied to by Will and has no clue about his deviousness. 

Obviously, the affair is one thing, but she actually becomes quite close to Liv and they say sorry to each other for what has happened.’

Liv duly discovers the extent of Will’s betrayal via an X-rated video on his laptop and thinks a holiday to the Grand Canyon is the perfect opportunity to kill him. Pictured: the couple on their trip

Oliver felt it was necessary to try to understand Will’s actions, even if viewers will feel he deserves everything coming to him. ‘I didn’t want him to be just a nasty piece of work; I wanted to try to at least explore his character.

‘He had a difficult time at his boarding school, and he may be a sex addict, so I watched lots of documentaries about boarding school and what that does to a kid. I looked into sex addiction and what people are looking for.

‘All these elements migrated into the script, although there’s no attempt to justify his actions – we just explore his flaws. But it was important to build a side to Will that explains why Liv stays with him.’

Jenna believes the series will strike a chord with many viewers. ‘Betrayal and revenge are familiar subjects,’ she says. 

‘During filming many female members of the crew came up to me and said, ‘I recognise the argument in that scene’ or ‘I felt like that’.

‘It’s going to be very interesting to see how the audience reacts to things that feel extreme but are actually very familiar. The exploration of betrayal by someone you love and what that can do to you is an interesting, if uncomfortable, angle to observe things from in a TV drama.’

Wilderness certainly promises to be a wild ride!

  • Wilderness streams on Amazon Prime Video from Friday.

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