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Monday, February 11, 2019

Manifest Interview: Matt Long on Zeke's Relationship with Michaela, Jared, Cal and More!


Manifest took an unexpected turn when Cal (Jack Messina) followed a calling and saved a missing man's life in the wilderness. This mysterious man, Zeke (Matt Long) lost time just like the passengers on Montego Air Flight 828 and added to the overall mystery about the callings, what they mean and why people have lost time. Will Zeke's integration into the Stone family disrupt their lives, help them solve the mystery, or a bit of both?

TV Diehard spoke with Matt Long to get answers about what's coming up on the final two episodes of Manifest Season 1, including about Zeke's relationship with Michaela,  the reunion with his family, his introduction to Jared, the wolf calling, the special bond with Cal, and a tease of the finale.

When Zeke and Michaela first meet, they had some skepticism of each other. It seems that they are starting to build some trust between them. Is that the direction they're going? Are they starting to really trust and rely on each other? 

Long: Yes. Yeah. I mean if you think about it for Zeke, Michaela is sort of the only thing he has in the world right now and you'll see more about that in the next episode. That answer will make a little more sense. But he's been gone for a year. He's estranged from his family. So when you've been gone for a year and everyone thinks you're just disappeared, or your dead or whatever, you can't just show up and then get back in to all your friends' lives necessarily. There's already trust issues because of his previous behavior in his past with his addiction issues. So he looks to her now because of that stuff, but also because of his experience in the cave having a picture of her, latching onto that, and using this image of this girl he didn't even know. There's sort of a reason and a will to continue to live under those circumstances. 

For Michaela, I think she relates to Zeke because we both had the shared callings, we've had similar experiences in the past with my sister and with her best friend in the car accident, the guilt that comes with the shame that may come with that. And also that like I said the shared experiences the callings that she doesn't have with Jared. And I guess Zeke would obviously just be understanding of those things that she wouldn't have to explain. They also went on this journey together. You know she helped me overcome or deal with this huge hurdle that I was trying to deal with when I got stuck in a cave. And that brings two people close together. And she went on the journey with me so it brings her closer to me in my eyes and also me closer to her in her eyes I would think.

You mentioned that that Zeke's going to reach out to his family. Can you preview a little bit of what what that looks like?

Long: He makes a decision on his own to do something, but he has good intentions, but the thing that he tries to do get him into some trouble. He doesn't go about it the right way.

Zeke and Jared are going to meet and are not going to necessarily get along. What's the dynamic between the two of them? What's the struggle look like?

Long: When he meets Jared, he doesn't know who the guy is because Michaela's never told him anything, but immediately Jared is hostile and you'll see that in the next episode. I don't know what the world's going on but right after that I ask Ben and Ben tells me that they used to be engaged. So obviously, Zeke gets the message that there's all kinds of history there. Jared doesn't trust Zeke because he's mysterious guy. He just showed up out of nowhere suddenly everyone's trusting him. I also think he has this air of mystery about him and Jared's a cop and he sees a lot of people that maybe have the wrong intentions or something. So he's always, he maybe is always questioning people. And then I think he also has some jealousy because Michaela was gone for this long period time when she was in the mountains and going to the cabin in the mountains with me. And he was questioning what where are you what's going on. And she never really told him what was happening. Then she comes back and tells him that she was with me. That obviously raises all kinds of questions and also creates some jealousy on his part. Plus Michaela and I both have callings and he doesn't have them, so he feels left out of that sort of experience. He starts to do some digging on Zeke and he finds out some things. 

Oooh. A mysterious background?

Long: Yeah, a bit. [laughs] It's all a bit mysterious because we don't know anything really. 

In last week's episode Cal and Zeke both were having the wolf calling and James Griffin gets pulled out of the river. How does Zeke have any kind of draw to James Griffin or involvement in what happens next?

Long: You'll find out a lot more about James Griffin in the next episode. A lot more. The only connection I could tell you that Zeke has to him really is the curiosity of who this guy is and the fact that when you when you see the next episode that something similar happened to this guy. So, as they all feel. Everybody who was on 828 as well and everybody on the show has questions about him because he sort of skipped time. 

In last week's episode one of my favorite parts was when Zeke was talking to Cal and trying to reassure him that he wasn't creating these futures. In these last to episodes, do Zeke and Cal build a relationship? 

Long: Yeah. I think Zeke comes to realize that Cal is also somebody that he takes some solace in or feels some warmth from because because Cal drew pictures of him as we saw in the last episode. There's something about Cal that's special and I think Zeke realizes that. And he also appreciate the fact that Cal trusts Zeke and that means a lot to Zeke.

Were there things that shocked you in the Manifest Season 1 Finale?

Long: Yeah for sure. Multiple things. Things that don't have to do with me that happen to other characters, things that have to do with all of us, and things that I'm directly involved in. A lot of stuff that happened there. There are some big answers given, but I feel like with those answers come some huge questions, as well as, some huge problems. 

Manifest airs Mondays on NBC.