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Ally Maki Talks Wrecked’s Take on #MeToo, TV Diversity, & Why She Almost Didn’t Audition for the Comedy Series

"I'm just so grateful to TBS and everyone involved for taking these leaps in their characters."

‘Wrecked’ star Ally Maki talks to Awards Daily about Season 3 of the TBS comedy, why she almost didn’t audition for the series, and the female empowerment episode that addresses #MeToo.

Ally Maki is embarrassed to admit that she was the only cast member of Wrecked to have never seen LOST when she booked the show.

“The day that I landed in Puerto Rico for the Wrecked pilot,” says Maki, “I ordered room service and watched the pilot of LOST the night before we started filming.”

The TBS comedy series, about a group of survivors from a plane crash, certainly takes cues from its ABC predecessor, but where Jack Shephard and company were trying to learn the mystery of the island, Maki and her group of survivors are trying to avoid real-life threats like disease, pirates, and evil billionaires, in the most hilarious way possible.

“While Wrecked has that LOST feel, it’s 100% its own thing, and the Shipley Brothers [show creators] have done amazing things with it that I think truly makes it its own action-adventure niche comedy.”

What a ‘Strong Female Character’ Looks Like

ally maki
Photo credit: Courtesy of TBS / Photographed by Mark Taylor

Fans know Maki as Jess, strong-willed survivor who’ll do whatever it takes (and we mean WHATEVER) to get herself and her friends off the island to safety. In Season 2, Jess and her love Todd (Will Greenberg) indulge the sexual fantasies of a pirate in a “reverse-reverse Indecent Proposal,” which ends up bringing her and the Scottsdale-Arizona-lovin’ bro Todd closer together.

“In Season 1, everyone is like, Why in the world would Jess stay with Todd? Even I was like, Why would my character stay with an awful human being? But I think what’s great about this show is that putting these people on an island, it really puts into focus priorities and what they care about, giving them a second chance at life essentially.”

But the Japanese-American Maki reveals that she almost didn’t audition for the part of Jess.

“I had it so ingrained in my head that if it’s ‘a strong female character’, that automatically it’s not going to be someone that looks like me. I lost hope in myself. I didn’t even think it would be a good idea for me to go in, because I didn’t think I’d actually be considered. So I went, and it was such a game-changer in terms of my own self-worth and confidence in myself. Half the battle was me not believing I could even be considered for a role like this. It changed my life 100 percent. I’m just so grateful to TBS and everyone involved for taking these leaps in their characters. You can see it in all of their shows, and they’re making really groundbreaking stuff.”

Maki even calls Wrecked ahead of its time when it comes to TV’s recent swing toward more diverse representation. Not only does the comedy prominently feature people of color, but it also undoes commong TV stereotypes, something and more projects are moving toward.

“There has been a huge dramatic shift, especially right now, with Crazy Rich Asians, which is a film featuring an all-Asian cast, the first time in more than 20 years. It’s incredibly exciting and emotional. I never really believed it would come to this place. I moved out here when I was 14, and it was incredibly hard. But I’m very excited for where the industry is heading. There’s definitely been a huge change in the types of roles I’m going out for, and they’re roles I actually feel like I’m being strongly considered for. It’s changing, not only with side characters, but leading characters are being put out to ethnic and diverse people and women of color, and it’s a very exciting time.”

What’s in Store for Wrecked Season 3

Season 3 of Wrecked finds our core group of characters washed up on a new shore with new obstacles, like land mines and mysterious strangers, culminating in a Hunger Games-type of situation for the survivors. Maki reveals that this season required stunt training from the team behind the X-Men franchise. Even though she also plays Mina on Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, she says she got to do more of the Marvel thing on Wrecked this season.

“I love both characters so much, Mina and Jess, and I think that they both have an impact on young women in very different ways.”

The new season of Wrecked even gets topical. Episode 2 (which airs Tuesday, August 14 on TBS) titled “Puke & Cigars” tackles #MeToo in a subtle but relatable way.

Ally Maki
Photo credit: Courtesy of TBS / Photographed by Mark Taylor

“Our creators and producers are such huge feminists and advocates of the #MeToo movement. I’m so fortunate to work with such awesome showrunners and men that really understand the delicacies of what’s happening in society right now. When I read that episode, I was so, so excited, because it’s definitely their little take on what’s happening right now. We have phenomenal women in the writers’ room as well who really had a ton of input on that episode. I like to call it the ‘women empowerment episode.’”

Maki also teases that her character gets in an “awesome love triangle” this season, even though she speaks highly of her on-screen husband, played by Will Greenberg.

“He is the nicest human being, nothing like his character. But he really is good at playing that guy, that Scottsdale-Arizona dude. I love working with him. This season you’ll get to see, now that we’re married, us work as a team. I think through the three seasons Jess has really found herself. She’s been through some ups and downs. She’s made tons of mistakes and she’s learning to stand on her own two feet and stand up for what she wants in the relationship and not take as much of his guff anymore.”

Between Hunger Games-type combat and love triangles, Season 3 could be the best season yet of the series, with lots of surprises along the way for Maki and her character.

“What I love about the Shipley Brothers is that they really go outside of the box and go to those places you’re not expecting. There are a lot of groups and alliances forming this season. Definitely don’t count anybody or any situation out.”

Wrecked airs on TBS Tuesdays at 10 p.m.