Political strategies

Moonhaven’s Ayelet Zurer details political strategies and the power of speech

The following contains spoilers for Moonhaven, available on AMC+.

Lunar HavenThe utopian society is collapsing. The sci-fi drama is set on the moon, where an idyllic colony is Earth’s only hope. This Garden of Eden has been tasked with solving the problems plaguing the planet below, including the depletion of its natural resources and the resulting wars. An advanced artificial intelligence, dubbed IO, observes and guides the community. On the moon, life thrives.

Maite Voss (Ayelet Zurer), one of the Lunar politicians and head of the Moonhaven council, is on board. Though loved by her citizens, Maite’s past and secrets continue to haunt her. A murder case involving freighter pilot Bella has revealed a murderous conspiracy surrounding the bridge, an agenda that would see the first wave of Mooners return to Earth in order to help enact the reforms needed to save humanity. It seems Maite is too late to change the bloodbath that awaits her people. Zurer recently spoke with CBR about Moonhaven’s version of utopia, the secrets of Maite, the power of words and the strange fate of her character.

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CBR: There are so many interesting characters in Lunar Haven. What made Maite Voss stand out for you?

Ayelet Zurer: The first thing that jumped out at me was the way he spoke. The poetic language is so visceral and non-specific in a way that I really enjoyed. It’s almost like when you play Shakespeare. The more I dug, the more I realized that there were always two meanings to what she said. It reflects the opinion she has on the subject she is talking about.

There is a nice line that we filmed, but it was deleted. It’s something Maite said to Indira about human beings, that we’re always dissatisfied. It really reflects something that I liked about his way of looking at things. She says, “On the one hand, we move on and on,” which means we are always dissatisfied. But, at the same time, if we are always unsatisfied with what we want, we are also greedy and never satisfied. It carries within it yin and yang, dark matter and light.

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Speaking of language, what was the secret to finding Maite’s voice? She’s extremely sweet and almost ethereal, but there’s a lot of power and punch behind her words.

What I found while working on it, I wondered which direction to take it…whether it should be more childlike, clownish, or more ethereal with witty swan lake-type movements. I realized that she held both sides. Moreover, nature affects everything in performance, including sound. The softness is there, but at the same time, when there is an action, it will react with an equal and opposite action.

Each utopian society is unique. Where do music, dance and art fit into Lunar Haventhe version ?

They are forms of expression. That’s what’s special Lunar Haven. The people of Moonhaven speak out. They allow themselves to feel what they feel, whether it’s pain or joy, without judging it or pushing it away. In a way, dance reflects joy. It reflects love. All forms of art enter into this arena.

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What does it mean for Maite to be in a position of power as chairman of the board?

That’s really his motivation. She was born and, from an early age, was probably educated in a certain direction. You know how they have names? Someone is a Seeker. Someone is a Creator. From my perspective, Maite was raised to be exactly who she is, with the talents she has to think things through and to be an empath. She has so much knowledge of science and human history that I think she was made to become what she is. There was no way she had gone through everything to not protect her people. If holding the key didn’t help keep her people safe, then she’d let it go easy.

How uplifting is it to have Maite’s devout faith and beliefs?

You are not able to predict the future, but you can bet on it based on your perceptions. Everyone’s perception is that you can’t trust human beings, but Mooners have a sense of trust because they trust each other. Confidence can be his Achilles heel. She ends up acting against it, surprisingly.

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At one point, Maite says Bella is the message she’s been waiting for. In what ways does this cargo pilot move her?

The coincidence of her appearing, on the spot, that IO can go further and that someone actually drew her in…and, knowing that Bella’s mother was trying to get to the source… Maite thought she had called her. What this means for Maite is that there is something “beyond” she can reach.

A major bombshell about Maite is that she was Bella’s mother’s significant other. How did this relationship inform her?

Maite thinks if there’s no way the bridge will work, then she’s counting on IO and whoever is on the other side of IO to help her – and she thinks Bella’s mom is from the other side.

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Finally, Maite chooses to fall backwards off the edge of a cliff and disappears in the penultimate episode. Can you break down this scene? What was going through his head? What did you think of this sacrifice?

Maite is always ahead of the game. I don’t know if you remember when she was waiting for Bella to walk into the room a second time. She sits and waits for him because she knows Bella will be back. So when she’s waiting for them, whether it’s really her or IO mirroring her, and they’re running after her into the crater, she’s doing it on purpose. She wants to be able to show them where she’s going and plant a seed. Maite is always ahead of the game. She always plants a seed.

She is more of a strategist than a manipulator.

I couldn’t say it better. I’m actually going to steal this. The directors and editors did an amazing job of making sure people wouldn’t get it until the end. To say that Maite is a strategist rather than a politician or a manipulator is the correct way to describe her.

The first five episodes of the first season of Moonhaven are now streaming on AMC+. The Season 1 finale airs Thursday, August 4.