Category Archives: Television

Interview: Kevin Durand – ‘The Strain’

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On Monday, I was fortunate enough to be involved in a conference call interview with Kevin Durand, who plays fan-favorite Vasily Fet on The Strain on the FX Network. There were many writers in line to ask questions and I happened to be the last one to be able to speak with him and ask a few questions, obviously geared towards the comic book aspect of The Strain and its influence on his role in the series. During my follow-up question I brought up how I had always pictured Mr. Durand as Abraham Ford from The Walking Dead comic book series and his response shed some light on who might play a future villain when that arc in the TV show adaption approaches. He was thankful that I thought about him as one of the characters from such a successful franchise and revealed he had been approached to play the role of the nefarious Negan of The Saviors. Here is the full transcript of the interview with Kevin Durand.

 

SPEAKERS

Tom Ruffner

Kevin Durand

PRESENTATION

Moderator            Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to The Strain conference call. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. We will be conducting a question-and-answer session throughout the conference. As a reminder, this call is being recorded.

I would like now to turn the conference over to your host, Tom Ruffner with FX Networks. Please go ahead.

 

Tom            Hello, and welcome to The Strain conference call with series star Kevin Durand. I’d like to thank everyone for joining us today, and remind you that this call is for print purposes only. No audio may be used.

The Strain season one finale airs Sunday night, October 5th, at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only on FX, and, as always, we respectfully request that you do not post spoilers pre-air to help protect the viewing experience for the audience. Due to the fact that there are so many journalists joining us today we ask that you limit yourself to one question and a quick follow-up, and then get back into queue for any additional questions you may have.

So, with that said, let’s go ahead and take our first question.

 

Moderator            Our first question will come from Jamie Ruby from SciFiVision.com. Please go ahead.

 

Jamie            Hello, Kevin. Thank you so much for talking to us today.

 

Kevin            Oh, my pleasure. How you doing?

 

Jamie            Great. And I really love the show; I can’t wait for the finale next week.

 

Kevin            Thank you.

 

Jamie            But I’m curious, have you read any of the books or where did you get the inspiration for the way you play “Fet” from?

 

Kevin            Well, I read all three of the books before I fully signed on. And my inspiration to play “Fet,” I guess in reading the books I kind of saw him very similarly to the way that I’m playing him. I feel like a lot of it was on the page. I hear that he’s a lot more of a charming kind and happier than people had anticipated, but I kind of always saw that because through the journals and the books see how he really finds himself within this apocalypse and is blooming like a beautiful Ukrainian flower amidst the apocalypse.

 

Jamie            Right. Another thought, what’s been the most challenging for you so far?

 

Kevin            The most challenging. It’s just been such a blast and so much fun shooting. I mean we had long hours, it was cold. I know that a lot of the cast members found the climate to be a bit challenging; however I’m from 20 hours north of Toronto so I kind of felt really at home. So challenge wise I feel like all my preparation was there going in and my challenge was just to try to be the best that I could be every day.

 

Jamie            Great. Well, thank you so much.

 

Kevin            Thank you.

 

Moderator            Thank you. And our next question will come from Earl Dittman from Digital Journal.

 

Earl            Hey, Kevin, how are you this morning?

 

Kevin            Hello. How are you?

 

Earl            I’m doing great. Doing fantastic. So are you normally a horror fan or a thriller fan of films or television?

 

Kevin            Yes. Since I was a child, much to the chagrin of my father, my mother would keep me up and I would watch horror films with her since I was about four years old or five years old, so I’ve always been a fan. And they always say that you marry your mother, and my wife is the biggest horror fan ever, so I kind of experienced a rebirth in terms of my interest in the genre since I married Sandra four years ago. So when this opportunity came along we read the books. We were kind of like snickering and giggling like some little kids going, “Oh my God, this is going to be awesome.”

 

Earl            And what is it about this, I mean, the series is incredible, it’s unlike anything we’ve seen, what is it about it you think that is so appealing or is so appealing to a horror fan I think that we may not see in other things?

 

Kevin            Well, you’re seeing this story being told from the perspective of Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. But Guillermo has his eye on every single frame and he brings a certain beauty to the most horrific things, and it’s very hard to look away. You can’t help but stare at the Master’s face when you’re in an extreme close-up and look at the beautiful, intricate details. I think he has such a unique take on horror. I remember watching Pan’s Labyrinth and just being in absolute awe of the things that scared me, because they were so beautiful.

 

Earl            Well, it’s fantastic, and you’ve done a great job. Appreciate it, and best of luck.

 

Kevin            Oh, thank you so much.

 

Moderator            Thank you, and our next question comes from Rebecca Murray from Showbiz Junkies. Please go ahead.

 

Rebecca            Good morning.

 

Kevin            Good morning.

 

Rebecca            Why do you think he was so willing to take the leap from exterminating rats to exterminating vampires? I mean he did take a little while to consider it, but he jumped in with both feet.

 

Kevin            Yes. Well, I think that “Fet” has this inner kind of warrior, this Viking warrior inside of him, and it was always kind of living within him. But in this specific circumstance, when all hell has broken loose and the vermin have turned into human bloodsucking vermin, it feels like way more of a natural transition than probably you would assume. He’s a master at exterminating, and this new world really needs him and I think he’s so happy to step up to the task.

 

Rebecca            That makes sense. Can’t wait for the finale.

 

Kevin            Thank you. Me, too.

 

Moderator            And our next question comes from Kristyn Clarke from Pop Culture Madness.

 

Kristyn            Hello, Kevin. Thank you so much for speaking with us today.

 

Kevin            Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thanks for speaking to me today.

 

Kristyn            So, I’m curious, as we gear up for the finale and everything, how satisfied are you with where that has landed at the end of the first season and going into season two?

 

Kevin            I have to say I feel so good about it. Even the way that from the first time that we get to see “Fet” and the journey to where he’s at now, I mean, the whole journey I’ve been just kind of tickled by. And to see where he’s at now you could see that things are getting more intense as the minutes roll by, and it’s kind of like seeing a great kind of prize fighter before a big fight staying really calm and relaxed and ready for action, and I think that’s where “Fet’s” at. I mean he’s making googley-eyes at this girl when the world’s going to crap. That’s because he’s very comfortable, he’s ready, he knows that if there’s anyone for the job that he’s the guy.

 

Kristyn            And as a follow-up, obviously we’ve seen that he has become kind of a full-fledged member of the team now. What kind of affect do you think that had on the character?

 

Kevin            Well, I don’t think he’s used to playing with other kids in the sandbox, but he’s a smart guy and he understands that there’s a lot of power that comes with numbers. He looks around the room and he has a genuine respect for everybody in that group and knows that we can all play our role in taking down the Master.

 

Kristyn            Great. Thank you so much.

 

Kevin            Oh, thank you.

 

Moderator            Our next question comes from David Martindale from Hearst Newspapers. Please go ahead.

 

David            Hello, Kevin. I love the show. You’re really wonderful in it.

 

Kevin            Oh, thank you so much.

 

David            Yes. Several weeks ago FX scheduled a call like this for Sean Astin on a Monday and his character died the Sunday night, so I’m kind of relieved that you’re okay. Is there a story behind how you hooked up with this show and with this character?

 

Kevin            I was prepping for a film at the time called The Captive that I did for Atom Egoyan; I lost like 40 pounds, and I had this little mustache, and I looked like a very different person. Then I found out that Guillermo and Carlton wanted to meet me on this project. So I had three days. I read the book, went in, and after I read that first book I was like there is no way that Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse are going to see me at this big, robust, heroic, stoic fella “Vasiliy Fet,” because I was so skinny and sick looking.

 

And we had this meeting and sat down and I assured them that I was kind of starving myself just for this project I was going to do and then I was going to get back to normal. In the room they asked me if I wanted to be “Vasiliy Fet.” Every day since I’ve been so grateful for that meeting, because in playing him I don’t know if I’ve ever had so much fun, ever. And also in watching it, it’s been so incredibly gratifying to watch the season unfold.

 

David            Yes, I agree as a viewer. I was at Barnes & Noble a few weeks ago. There’s a whole wall of vampire fiction there, which is great, because teenage girls needs something to read. But I think it’s cool that this show has taken vampires back away from those books and TV shows and movies that want to make the vampire charming and sexy and brooding and angst ridden. Do you kind of take pride in being involved in a show that makes vampires truly bad again?

 

Kevin            Absolutely. I mean, obviously, I can’t take credit for that at all. It lays in the wonderful, crazy, beautiful, dark mind of Guillermo del Toro. Because he’s been having dreams about these vampires and making sketches and taking notes since he was a child, and that’s how these vampires came to fruition. They’ve been a part of his nightmares for decades. So what’s really satisfying is to see Guillermo, who is such a lovely, charismatic visionary, actually get those nightmares out of his head and onto the screen. And I’m so grateful to be a part of it and help him tell the story.

 

David            Cool. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you so much.

 

Kevin            Thank you. Thank you kindly.

 

Moderator            Our next question comes from Henry Otero from TVFanatic.com. Please go ahead.

 

Henry            Hello, Kevin. How you doing? You’re awesome on the show, by the way.

 

Kevin            Oh, thank you so much. How are you?

 

Henry            I’m doing all right.

 

Kevin            Good.

 

Henry            I was curious, since you’ve read the books is there a particular scene in the second book coming in the next season that you’re really excited to watch come to life on the show?

 

Kevin            It’s so hard to pinpoint a specific scene, because even in just trying to imagine what we’re going to do in the second scene, because the books have really served us but they’ve been almost like a skeleton, and then Carlton Cuse and Chuck Hogan and the amazing writing room they kind of like put the flesh and the blood and the muscle on that skeleton as the season goes. So I can’t even tell you what I might be up to.

 

And one thing that’s interesting in the transition is in the second book I have a lot of—well, in the first book it starts and then I have it all the way through the third book as well—but “Vasiliy” is journaling a lot. So for me I’m starting to read the second book again just so that I can try to figure out how to play that kind of between the lines of just kind of like he goes through this almost like a rebirth; as everything goes to crap “Vasiliy” keeps getting stronger and more confident and more able. So I’m really looking forward to that evolution.

 

Henry            Very cool. And quick follow-up, welcome to Twitter. I know you’re brand new to Twitter. What was that live tweeting experience like last night?

 

Kevin            That live tweeting experience last night – I was so excited and had so much fun. I’ve always been so against doing the social media thing. I don’t know, my head must have been up my butt. I’ve just been so scared to share stuff. I thought I should stay mysterious, kind of. But I have to say since I’ve joined I’ve really enjoyed being able to see immediately people’s reactions and have communications to people who are watching the show or other projects that I might be a part of. Luckily they’re not tweeting and saying, “Wow, Kevin Durand, you really suck.”

 

Henry            Yes, it helps that everybody loves “Fet.” Absolutely true.

 

Kevin            Exactly. Exactly. It could have been a very different experience. I might be Astin already if that was the case. But yes, it was just so lovely to get all that kind of support, and, yes, I really enjoyed it. I think I might want to do it again for the finale. I don’t know, we’ll see.

 

Henry            Oh, excellent.

 

Kevin            Yes.

 

Henry            That sounds good. All right. Take care. Thank you very much.

 

Kevin            Hey, thank you.

 

Moderator            And our next question comes from Mary Powers from TVGoodness.com. Please go ahead.

 

Mary            Hello and good morning.

 

Kevin            Good morning.

 

Mary            And just like everyone else said, I think you’re the bomb on this show. Just fantastic.

 

Kevin            Oh, thank you. I’m the bomb. The bomb.

 

Mary            Yes, the bomb. Yes.

 

Kevin            I love that. “Fet” loves bombs.

 

Mary            Okay, “Fet” thinks very quickly and has nerves of steel, even when he was facing that sleeping hoard of strigoi in last week’s episode. Given that, what do you think it would take to really unnerve this guy and put true fear in his heart?

 

Kevin            Wow, that’s a really good question. I’m not really sure, because we haven’t gotten that yet. I don’t know if we will. I mean I think he has—it’s going to be interesting to see him in a group of people like this, and when you’re in a group of people under such a high level of duress there is a very high, intense level of bonding amongst the group. So I think the idea that “Fet” will develop feelings for people within this group would definitely raise the stakes for him and probably put fear in his heart.

 

It’s just like “Setrakian” has told us before, he said love is our downfall. And I think of him being a loner up to this point, like even seeing that he hasn’t seen his father or mother, he’s been estranged from there for years. He hasn’t really had to account for anyone for a long time, and now he seems like he really, genuinely respected “Setrakian” at this point and I see a relationship budding there, like a father/son relationship. It seems like he’s kind of interested in “Dutch” as well. I don’t see a whole lot of love lost between him and “Eph” but, who knows, they may become friends. I don’t know. But I think that that might be the thing is connection to these human beings under that duress may take him to that point.

 

Mary            And then, just a quick follow-up, this was a question that came up several times I saw on Twitter last night, so what’s the deal with “Dutch?” Does he like this girl, or is it just harmless flirting, or what can you say about that?

 

Kevin            We haven’t really explored it a whole lot. I think that he sees a spectrum of things in her. Obviously, she’s not hard on the eyes, but she’s hyper intelligent, she’s rebellious like him, she’s tough like him, she doesn’t take any crap like him, and he really gets a kick out of it. I think he sees she’s kind of reflecting to him kind of like a mirror in some ways in the short time that they have known each other, so he’s just intrigued.

 

Actually, as you probably know if you’ve read the books, I mean she doesn’t exist in the book.

 

Mary            Right.

 

Kevin            So her fate and what she ends up doing within the show are completely a mystery to me. It’s one of those things that I’m so excited about with this show is that we really don’t know what’s going to happen. So if I make it through episode 13 then I’ll get to shoot a second season, and then maybe we can find out.

 

Mary            Well, thank you. I’m looking forward to the finale.

 

Kevin            Thank you. Me, too.

 

Mary            Yes.

 

Kevin            And I love, love your accent, by the way.

 

Mary            Well, thank you.

 

Kevin            It’s such a gorgeous sound.

 

Mary            Thank you so much.

 

Kevin            Have a good day.

 

Mary            You, too.

 

Moderator            And our next question comes from Terry Stanley from the LA Times.

 

Terry            Hello, Kevin.

 

Kevin            Hey, how are you today?

 

Terry            Dude, everyone loves “Fet.”

 

Kevin            Oh, that’s so good to hear.

 

Terry            And you know you’re the son that “Setrakian” never had, so you’re not going anywhere.

 

Kevin            Well, we’ll have to tune in to find out.

 

Terry            Yes. Well, you mentioned earlier, I thought it was really interesting, about “Fet” essentially being kind of an upbeat character, and sometimes I wonder if he really thinks things are going to turn out okay or if he just has no fear.

 

But anyway, talk to me about the role of hope. When we look at especially the first two books, The Strain and The Fall – super dark.

 

Kevin            Yes.

 

Terry            So talk to me about the role of hope in this series. Maybe it’s more important for the show than it was for the books.

 

Kevin            I think that when you’re going up against the odds that we’re going against, I mean even just putting our little group just against that one seven foot, eight foot, maybe nine foot tall Master, I mean that’s scary enough as it is, but now we have a population that’s just exploding with these things. The only thing that you really have is hope. The only thing that you have is optimism.

 

And I think that’s part of why people have been drawn to “Fet,” because he’s not kind of letting the fall of civilization get him down. I think he truly believes and truly has hope in his heart, and not just hope, though. I think he really believes that he is going to get through it, and he’s starting to understand that he’s going to be instrumental in that, and it really makes him feel good and strong and confident in himself.

 

Terry            Right.

 

Kevin            I don’t know if I answered that question. I kind of danced around a lot. I was trying—

 

Terry            No, I think you did. Well, the difference between the books and the series, do you feel like for a TV show it’s really important to give people, to give the viewers some kind of ray of light?

 

Kevin            Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean I think you have to have a reason. You can’t be watching this show for five seasons thinking that they’re all doomed. There has to be some chance that they could make it, and this is the group of people that I would hope for in a vampire apocalypse. I hope that there’s a real “Fet” and an “Eph” and a “Setrakian” and a “Nora” and a “Dutch” out there to help take us through it.

 

Moderator            Thank you. Our next question comes from Jasmine Alyce from Fanbolt.com.

 

Jasmine            Hey, Kevin. So nice to talk to you today. Thank you for joining us.

 

Kevin            Oh, thank you. Thank you.

 

Jasmine            If you could play any other role on the show which one would you pick and why?

 

Kevin            It’s so funny, because someone asked me that last night and I was so paralyzed by it, like I am now, because when I read the first book I didn’t even know that they wanted me for “Fet,” and “Fet” doesn’t start in the first book until about page 240. But even in the last, I guess it was the second half of the book, just off of that second half of the book I was like, “God, I hope I get to play that guy. I hope that’s who they want me for.”

 

In watching the show I guess maybe “Eichhorst” would have been fun, because I usually, up to this point, people usually see me destroying the world as opposed to helping to save it. So I can’t really think of who else I could have played, but “Eichhorst” would have been fun.

 

Jasmine            Okay. Cool. Thank you.

 

Kevin            But kudos, I mean how amazing is Richard Sammel as “Eichhorst?” I mean I don’t know if I could have in any way gotten to that same level of just sheer—

 

Jasmine            [Indiscernible].

 

Kevin            He terrifies me. Yes, he’s a terrifying dude. Terrifying opponent.

 

Jasmine            Absolutely.

 

Moderator            Thank you. And our next question comes from Erin Willard from SciFi Mafia.

 

Erin            Hello, it’s Erin Willard. Thanks a lot for taking the time to talk with us today. You’ll always be “Keamy” to me, but I forget about Keamy when I’m watching “Fet,” because “Fet’s” so awesome, too, just in a totally different way.

 

Kevin            “Martin Christopher Keamy.”

 

Erin            What a great character that is, too.

 

Kevin            Sure it. Thanks for bringing me back to “Martin Christopher Keamy.” Thank God for that character. Thank God for Carlton Cuse.

 

Erin            Well, tell me, what kind of an impact did that have on your career?

 

Kevin            For that one I got an audition, and I went in and I did this one scene that was kind of there wasn’t a whole lot of description or I didn’t really understand who this guy was, they didn’t really tell me much. It was so secretive.

 

Erin            Sure.

 

Kevin            And I went in and read, and I got it. I thought it was going to be one episode, and I thought, “Well, it would just be nice to go to Hawaii.” I went out there and we all kind of fell in love, and I loved what they were writing, they loved what I was doing.

 

And then all these years later I get a call that Carlton Cuse and Guillermo del Toro want to meet with me. I’m so grateful that Carlton thought of me for both characters, because I think these characters up to this point, and I’ve been doing this for like 23 years or something, they seem to be the characters that have had the most impact, and I’m so grateful for the fact that he thought about me for both times.

 

Erin            Well, earned. Obviously well done by you.

 

Kevin            Oh, thank you.

 

Erin            No. Absolutely. Then just as a quick follow-up, you’ve been in a lot of, a fair number anyway, you’ve been in so many different kinds of productions but you’ve been in a fair number of sci-fi related productions. What do you like best about it and what do you dislike the most about it?

 

Kevin            About sci-fi?

 

Erin            Yes. Sci-fi horror, that kind of genre work.

 

Kevin            Well, sci-fi done right is, as far as I’m concerned, is the greatest form of escapism. So not just as a reader or a viewer I’m a big fan of the genre, but even to be an actor stepping into that role it’s always just such a wonderful challenge and it’s always so exciting to kind of just – I always call it “drifting.” I always kind of drift off into these characters and become a part of these different worlds. Yes, it’s always been such a pleasure. When sci-fi is done right I mean there’s no limit to where we can take things and stretch our reality. And that’s why, it’s just limitless.

 

Erin            Sure. But is there a downside to it? Have you found a downside to it?

 

Kevin            Well, yes, it’s downside is when you don’t have enough money in the budget and you try to make these fantastical things happen, but there’s a lack of money and you see the lack of that money on the screen, and then it’s harder to kind of escape. It’s harder to get whisked away by something that the production just isn’t allowing you to go on that trip. Now when sci-fi is backed properly there’s nothing better.

 

Erin            Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for your work.

 

Kevin            Thank you. Thank you for your question and support. I appreciate it.

 

Moderator            Thank you. Our next question comes from Mary Powers from TVGoodness.com. Go ahead.

 

Mary            Hello again.

 

Kevin            Hey there.

 

Mary            I had just one other question. Last week’s episode where you were down in the tunnels and had to crawl through that tiny hole or passage that seemed like a very hard scene, and I just wanted you to talk about that. How in the world were you able to get through that?

 

Kevin            Well, you know what’s really funny about that is that they brought me in I think a week or two early and wanted to see if I could make it through that hole, because they knew that I was the biggest one in the group. So I came to work and I just shot through it really quickly, because I have way too much confidence in my athletic prowess. I was like, “Yes, look at that, big guy could do it really quick.”

 

I didn’t keep in mind, I didn’t do the math and realize that okay, well “Fet” has this really thick, bulky jacket plus his knapsack. So I got to set and Mía just shot through that thing like a lightning bolt, and I was like, “Oh, I have to beat Mía’s time,” in my head. I got in there and right from the start I could hardly move, and the panic on my face it was a real panic, like I don’t know how I’m going to get out of this. So it really happened, I really did almost get stuck. So it took a lot of me maneuvering muscles that I didn’t even know that I had just to move like half an inch forward. So, luckily I got out. I’m here right now still alive.

 

Mary            Yes. It scared the crap out of a lot of fans, though, I think.

 

Kevin            Well how fricking scary was that vampire coming after me?

 

Mary            Yes.

 

Kevin            I remember watching her go through that tunnel afterwards, and I mean I got chills, I got chills just watching the way that it was so subhuman; it was so like it was animal. It was really freaky. I’m glad that she didn’t bite me, thank goodness.

 

Mary            Yes. I think all the fandom out there is very glad as well.

 

Kevin            Good. Awesome.

 

Mary            Thank you.

 

Kevin            Well, thank you very much. Thank you.

 

Moderator            Thank you. Our next question comes from Dan Calvisi from Act Four Screenplays.

 

Dan            Hello, Kevin. My question is about the script that you get for the show, or maybe that your agent sends you for other films and projects. I’m wondering, what do you see as the difference on the page between genre material, like these thrillers and sci-fi and horror material or superhero movie like X-Men, versus more of an indie drama like Fruitvale Station, for example. I see that on your bio. I haven’t actually seen Fruitvale Station, but I’ve heard a lot about it and I know it’s more of a character driven type of thing.

 

Kevin            Yes. Yes. Well, from my perspective, I don’t approach the scripts in any different way. It all comes down to how the words on the page compel me or not, and I never really discriminate by genre. So if I have a visceral reaction to the words I’m reading then I know that I’m in the right place and that I’m interested.

 

So when I read Fruitvale I remember thinking I don’t think that I could play this guy, but there was a visceral reaction where I was like – so that means that I have to try. And it was the same thing when I read The Captive, Atom Egoyan’s The Captive, I was like there’s no way that I could play this guy. I was terrified, and I knew that I had to do it.

 

Reading “Vasiliy” every day, it’s not so much feeling like I can’t do it. I feel so stimulated by the opportunity to get to play someone heroic and stoic and good. And so it really just comes down to the quality of the words on the page as to what genre it lives in.

 

Dan            And which style do you prefer of shooting or directorial style working with the director; do you prefer more of a looser, getting a scene on its feet, maybe doing some more rehearsal and improve, or sticking to the script?

 

Kevin            It’s kind of funny, I’m kind of loosey-goosey, because I feel like I can learn from every experience. So some directors come in super regimented, like you said, and they have a very specific plan of attack, and I’m happy to be one of the players on the field and let’s attack your plan, let’s go, and let’s see what I can contribute. And then a lot of the times I’ve worked with directors where, like you said, like you could even stray from the page and just kind of find moments that might not be there, and I enjoy that, too. I don’t really have a preference. I’m just happy to be there, bro.

 

Dan            How about on The Strain, what is the style of shooting, are there very strict story boards or animatics?

 

Kevin            Well, the style of The Strain the directors are all different from episode-to-episode. So, for instance, on episode 8 we had Guy Ferland direct it, and he had a shot list that was I mean it was truly insane like looking at this shot list at the start of every day. I mean we were just looking at each other there’s absolutely no way that we’re going to be able to shoot this in eight days. And Guy, it was phenomenal how he attacked it. No one believed that he actually got it all done, and not only got it done but did it in a way where I just think he really killed it and hit all the moments, and it’s one of my favorite episodes.

 

Then you have other episodes that are just like Peter Weller had a different kind of style. That’s one thing that I really loved about being on a TV series was that I got to work and learn from all these different folks, like every week it was a different plan of attack. So it was always trying to hold onto who you think the character is and how he would react in a certain moment and kind of help educate them, but at the same time be open to these different people’s opinions. That was kind of one of the fun parts of being a part of a collective.

 

Moderator            Thank you. And our next question comes from Angie Barry from CriminalElement.com.

 

Angie            Hey, Kevin. I’ve been a big fan of yours ever since Dark Angel, and it’s just a real pleasure to talk to you. So thank you for talking to us today.

 

Kevin            Oh, wow. “Joshua.”

 

Angie            Oh, yes, I have a lot of friends that really loved “Joshua.” When they found out I was interviewing you they were like let him know that we love him for “Joshua.”

 

Kevin            That is so fun. “Joshua: was the first character that I played that when, because I spent so much time with him because I was in prosthetics for five hours in the morning and then two hours taking it off and it was about usually between twelve hours and fourteen hours between that, my days were so long that when that show ended I genuinely missed “Joshua.” I mourned “Joshua.”

 

Angie            Yes. I think everyone knows him. Okay, so my question. You’ve played some different nationalities and you’ve done different accents, and I was just wondering do you work with dialect coaches or do you devote a lot of time to practicing different accents that your characters call for?

 

Kevin            I have a funny kind of OCD. I’m a little obsessive compulsive with sounds and people’s idiosyncratic behavior, and I generally I don’t work with anyone. Sometimes the production will have someone that will kind of check up on me. But I’m so obsessive with this stuff that I usually just come to the table with what I end up doing.

 

For instance, for Robin Hood before Ridley had actually given me the job I moved to Scotland for two months and was frequenting a lot of hangouts in Glasgow and Edinburgh and just recording people, having conversations. There’s this one fellow, Bill Haggerty in Glasgow, that I’d meet at a pub about three times, four times a week and I would record our conversations, and I was trying to become Bill Haggerty.

 

So it’s always a different process, and I kind of go about it organically. With “Vasiliy” I wanted to find a way to meld a Ukrainian sound with a New York sound since he spent the first—

 

Angie            I think you do a masterful job with it.

 

Kevin            Oh, thank you so much. I really—

 

Angie            Yes. I had a lot of friends that are like, “Where is he from; is he British, is he,” and I’m like, “Oh, he’s Canadian.” They’re like, “I would have never thought that. I saw him in Robin Hood, and I thought he did such a good job on that accent.” Then I had people saying, “Oh, well he’s obviously Ukrainian, I mean I hear his accent in The Strain and it’s so good.”

 

Kevin            That’s so good to hear. It was definitely a learning process trying to think out the marriage between the two accents. Because “Fet” to me is like really like I mean he is New York, but it depends. And I think about it, because I’m French Canadian and so my natural accent is not the one that I’m speaking in right now. So I know that in certain situations I start to hear my accent again when things are a little bit more intense, or if I’m having a couple beers, or if I’m just talking to my mom and dad it all comes back. So I kind of implement that into “Fet’s” kind of life. If he’s hanging out and talking to his dad, like that one scene, it gets a little thicker, because it kind of brings out the Ukrainian. If he’s just hanging out with some dudes from the neighborhood then he definitely gets more New York. So it’s been really, really fun finding it, and I’m excited to keep finding it every day.

 

Angie            Yes, you’ve done a really good job, and I really loved watching you on the show, and I can’t wait to see what you do next. So thank you so much for talking to us.

 

Kevin            I appreciate that so much. Thank you.

 

Moderator            Our next question comes from Robin Sanderson, MovieWhole.net. Please go ahead.

 

Robin            Hello. Thank you so much for talking to us this morning.

 

Kevin            Oh, it’s my pleasure. How are you today?

 

Robin            I’m good. How are you doing? Okay.

 

Kevin            I’m doing really well. Doing really well. Yes, I’m excited to get to talk about “Fet” and about the show. It’s awesome to be a fan of something that I’m such a big part of.

 

Robin            That’s great to hear. So “Vasiliy Fet” seems to distrust people and he also seems to judge them, and he also seems to let his emotions drive his actions and relationships on the show [indiscernible].

 

Kevin            I’m having a hard time understanding you. I think I’m just hearing some crazy sirens behind you right now.

 

Robin            Can you hear– Sorry. Sorry.

 

Kevin            Yes. Would you mind just asking again?

 

Robin            Not at all. Can you hear me now?

 

Kevin            Yes. Yes. Let’s give it a try.

 

Robin            Okay. “Vasiliy Fet” seems to distrust people and he seems to judge them, and he seems to let those emotions drive his actions and relationships on the show. What are your thoughts on that?

 

Kevin            So “Vasiliy Fet” mistrusts people and he what?

 

Robin            And he judges them. I feel like he has a lot of judgment for the characters on the show, for “Ephraim” in particular.

 

Kevin            I don’t know. I don’t know if I fully agree with that. I think “Vasiliy” is very straight up and he reacts to people the way—he’s very reactionary. So “Eph,” off the top, just kind of gave him – I think he’s a little bit, he has a thing in terms of judging people. I think that he kind of gets set off a little bit, his temper gets set off a little bit when people look down upon him and when they just expect a lot less from him. People have been looking down on him for a long time because of his job, and I think he feels that from “Eph”. And “Vasiliy’s” a very learned man. He might not come off that way, but he never, ever sees himself as a step below “Ephraim” just because he’s a doctor. So he kind of takes people for the way that they react to him, I think. I don’t think he judges people.

 

Moderator            Thank you. Our next question comes from Preston Barta. Please go ahead. And that’s from Fresh Fiction.

 

Preston            Hey, Kevin. How you—

 

Kevin            I’m good. How you doing?

 

Preston            I’m doing great. So, as you mentioned earlier during this call, horror films were kind of your babysitters growing up.

 

Kevin            Yes.

 

Preston            What do you think your eight year old self would say about The Strain? You think he would be inspired by it?

 

Kevin            Well, I think that my eight year old self would be so inspired by it, so excited by it, and I really, truly think that he would love “Vasiliy Fet.” I think that I’d be like, well actually I still am to this day, I’m still like, “Man, when I grow up I hope I can be like “Vasiliy Fet.”” Yes, I think that young Kevin would be really into it. Yes indeed.

 

Preston            Great. Well, thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

 

Kevin            Thank you.

 

Moderator            And our next question comes from Adam Bellotto from StarPulse. Please go ahead

 

Adam            Hey, Kevin. Really love you on the show.

 

Kevin            Thank you so much.

 

Adam            Since “Fet” has joined this group of characters I mean he sort of developed this flirty relationship with “Dutch,” you have some really great chemistry going with David Bradley, but “Fet’s” interaction with the other characters is a little more limited. Is there a particular character that either you as an actor or maybe that you think “Fet” as a character would want more time with?

 

Kevin            I love working with Corey Stoll. Whenever we got to do scenes together there was just a shorthand. I think we’re both kind of as journeyman actors we’ve both been around, both done a lot of work over the years, and I think there was just like a really nice understanding between us. So I look forward to getting to work with him a lot more.

 

And also, I’m very, very impressed by Mía Maestro as well, and we haven’t had a whole lot of interactions yet, but I’m looking forward to more of those as well.

 

Adam            Yes, I’m hoping to see more of all you guys in season two.

 

Kevin            Yes. Yes. Hopefully I make it through episode 13, and then I get to come back and we get to explore all this stuff.

 

Adam            Yes. And then, just as a quick follow-up, I mean because for the first half of the season “Fet” is sort of unknown, he’s sort of stalking the streets as like the solo hero, and then about halfway through suddenly you’re in this big group dynamic. What is it like going through that change as an actor?

 

Kevin            I really, really appreciated the opportunity to have the first half of the season to find “Fet.” I was really kind of exploring, trying to really feel him out, and by the time we got into the group dynamic I felt like I had a good hold on who he was. So when I started working with this group, who are all like such great actors and people that I genuinely fell in love with, became friends with, it was really rewarding to get to bounce ideas off of each other and move the narrative forward and find moments. Yes, it’s just really great to be a part of that group.

 

Adam            Awesome. Man, thanks so much for talking to us.

 

Kevin            Thanks, braugh. Thank you very much.

 

Moderator            And our last question comes from George Nakhleh from Spoiler TV. Please go ahead.

 

George            Hi, Kevin.

 

Kevin            Hey, how you doing?

 

George            I’m doing good. Thank you for doing this interview. We all appreciate your time. I’m a big fan of yours.

 

Kevin            Oh, thank you so much, George. I appreciate that. Thank you.

 

George            My question is The Strain trilogy has also been adapted into a comic book series, and being a big comic book fan myself I was wondering if you read them and if they helped you prepare for your role at all?

 

Kevin            Yes, it’s really interesting. When I got the books initially and read the books Guillermo also gave me some of the graphic novels, and reading through them it was very informative to kind of see the physicality of “Vasiliy.” And even though my ideas were a little different, I still did take a lot from it. Very helpful to get to see an artist’s rendition of who your guy, who your character looks like, and even in every frame you get a sense of his movement and it just gives you more artillery to go into work with.

 

George            Yes. To be honest, when I was reading the comics I actually did picture you. I’m not just saying that.

 

Kevin            Oh, you did? Oh that’s nice.

 

George            Yes, actually I did when I was reading them. They came out about a year ago, but I did picture you. Which brings me to my follow-up question. I also pictured you as, I don’t know if you read The Walking Dead, but I pictured you as “Abraham Ford,” and I wondered if you were ever approached to do that role?

 

Kevin            You know what, I wasn’t. I wasn’t, but I heard that from people. Ultimately for me it’s just really nice; it’s such an incredible compliment that you think of me for these characters. I’m so grateful for that. But no, nobody ever talked to me about that.

 

But I think by the time they cast “Abraham” I think I was already “Vasiliy Fet” by the time they did that, I think. So I think even if they had thought about it I think it would have been too late anyways, because I became “Vasiliy Fet,” the exterminator.

 

George            Well, we all appreciate you as “Vasiliy Fet.”

 

Kevin            Oh, thank you so much. Thank you. I’ve had a lot of people with The Walking Dead talk to me, mentioned that they see me for a character named “Negan,” but I haven’t read the comic. But my ears are always open to what’s being said out on, and, like I said, I’m always honored to hear any of your thoughts. Bring it on.

 

George            It’s my pleasure. Thank you very much.

 

Kevin            Thank you.

 

Moderator            Thank you, and that’s all the question we have for today.

 

Kevin            Great. Awesome. We done did it.

 

Tom            Thanks so much, everyone, for joining us today, and especially Kevin Durand. We really appreciate your time.

 

Kevin            Oh, thank you very much. I had a lot of fun with you guys. Thank you, guys. Thank you. Enjoy the finale next week.

 

Tom            Thank you, Kevin. As a reminder, The Strain season one finale airs Sunday night, October 5th, at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only on FX. If you have any lingering questions please feel free to give me a call at 310-369-0917.

 

You may now disconnect.

 

Moderator            Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude your conference for today. Thank you for your participation and for using AT&T Executive Teleconference Services. Once again, you may now disconnect.

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TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S2E2 Heavy is the Head

Agents_of_SHIELD_logoHunted and running out of solutions, Coulson puts his team right in the line of fire in the hopes of saving them all. But with General Talbot, Hydra and Creel all on the attack, can they possibly survive? Meanwhile, a mysterious Doctor harbors some dangerous secrets that could destroy one of the core team members.

The episode kicks off right where the last one left off with some of the team in a car accident or dead, and Creel on the run. Coulson and his team are still in disarray, and Talbot in pursuit isn’t helping. It is a bit strange though that Talbot is more focused on Coulson and his team as opposed Creel and the stolen tech.

Creel isn’t doing so well though. His deal with Hydra isn’t going smoothly, and the item he touched is causing some issues for him and anyone that touches it. What the macguffin is still isn’t clear, but its got me intrigued.

What’s really interesting to me though is Fitz and his mental meltdown. His trying to work through his brain damage, is intriguing and both fascinating and sad to watch. Fitz as part of a duo in the first season was fun, all by himself though, it’s rather sad.

The ending wraps up rather quickly, and a bit too nicely, though there’s a nice mystery and scene that transitions us to what the season will probably be about. The episode is a bit flat compared to the season premiere, but still an improvement from last year.

Overall Score: 7.75

A Sneak Peek at this Season’s Gotham

A cop on the edge. A city on the brink. In Gotham, the road to justice is twisted. A video has been released giving us a peek as to what to expect during the first season of Gotham.

TV Review: Gotham S1E2: Selina Kyle

gotham cast Fox‘s Gotham explores the world of Batman before Batman existed. We get to see the rise of his numerous rogues and allies, with the first episode showing off about a dozen of some of the iconic characters we now know. In this episode Detectives Gordon and Bullock investigate a child trafficking ring preying on Gotham’s street kids, including Selina Kyle. Meanwhile, Penguin resurfaces in the countryside and begins to make his way back to Gotham, leaving victims in his wake.

I’ve wondered how the series would flesh out those iconic characters, and it’s pretty clear from this episode’s title, “Selina Kyle,” which character this episode revolves around, sort of. While she appeared in the beginning of the episode, she really doesn’t show up much at all, appearing for maybe 20 minutes. Instead, the focus ins about her friends who have been abducted.

What we learn is, the abductions are for The Dollmaker, who has appeared in another DC television show, Arrow. Are these two series connected? Could be interesting….

The episode wraps up with more of Selina, that almost makes the episode’s title worth it.

Overall, the second episode is a solid one, not quite as good as the debut episode, but building out of it nicely.

Overall Score: 7.75

TV Review: The Strain S1E12 Last Rites

the-strain-logo1Dutch returns with a plan to broadcast Eph’s warning about the vampiric plague. However, they face a new threat when Eichhorst launches his own attack against the pawn shop. Palmer receives a special visitor, and Gus gears up for the on-coming fight but discovers there’s another mysterious factor involved.

The Strain continues to bounce around multiple plot lines giving more than enough of each so as to not feel shorted on any of them. What’s impressive though, with it bouncing around, we learn so much that adds to the impetuous behind the oncoming battle. While the series is focused on The Master’s plan on taking over the world, it’s as much about Eichhorst and Abraham’s history dating back to World War II and the Holocaust.

A lot of the episode, even for as much as it bounces around, gives us more insight in what Abraham has gone through as far as his battles. Both he, and another team member are forced to say good-bye to something they love. It really brings a nice touch of humanity to all that’s going on.

Overall, the episode on its own was so-so, with some solid moments. But, as part of the larger narrative, it adds a lot.

 

Overall Score: 7.75

Absorbing Man Absorbs the Past

Carl_Creel_(Earth-20051)The advent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is undoubtedly one of the biggest developments in both cinema and comics in the past ten years. Before comic book movies were consolidated into shared universes, their continuities were non-existent, as the movie watchers had to accept the fact that although there was a comic universe with all of the characters acting together, that the rare appearance by heroes on the big screen were separate. All of this changed with the introduction of Iron Man to the big screen.  It was originally seen as a huge gamble, and Marvel was not sure how it would work, but it did pay off.  Laying in the background of the first movie was the key to binding the entire universe together, S.H.I.E.L.D.  But was Iron Man really the first in the sequence of films?  Some would argue no, that in fact it was not, but rather in The Hulk from 2003.

The Hulk was regarded by most as a bit of a misfire in terms of a movie. The story line was unnecessarily convoluted and the editing of the movie to appear comic-like confused some people. It was also completely unrelated to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When The Incredible Hulk was released in 2008 as the second installment of the MCU it was labeled as a completely separate movie despite people asking “Why was Eric Bana replaced with Ed Norton?” Some of the problems with that were with the format of the movie itself. Despite the fact that it was supposed to be a standalone, it did rely in parts on the recent proximity of the previous movie to avoid repeating itself in terms of storytelling. There was no need to explain how Bruce Banner got his powers, nor was it necessary to describe who the Ross family was, even if they were played by different actors. The story seemed to pick up almost directly for where it had left off, to the point that when Eric Bana was last seen it was in the rainforests of South America, and then when Ed Norton is first seen it is in a favela in Rio de Janeiro.

One of the main criticisms of the first movie was the presence of Nick Nolte playing Bruce Banner’s father. The character was a scientific genius in his own right, and yet there was little sense in the character’s eventual turn into a supervillain. Comic fans were not able to figure out how to identify with him. Was he the madman that controlled Hulk-like dogs? The Absorbing Man? Zzzax? The lack of answers to this was another reason why comic fans turned away from this movie.

Agents_of_SHIELD_logoFast forward 11 years and there is finally an answer to the presence of this anomalous movie, and it came in the first episode of the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  This series has the daunting and maybe unfortunate task of carrying the weight of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in between the released of movies. Guardians of the Galaxy was a huge success, but now fans of the shared universe have to wait until next summer for the next Avengers movie.  In the meantime the fans are left with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Although the series has been at times frustrating to watch, it is definitely improving. Although it is unlikely as an answer to the earlier association with supervillains from The Hulk, what they have done with the first episode of season two is to take back the Absorbing Man. The character has now been thrust into the spotlight as a major player in this second season, perhaps taking the constant presence of Deathlok from the first season. Undoubtedly the series is going to lead into the second installment of the Avengers, if only in a subtle way, and if that is the case then the Absorbing Man is likely to play a prominent enough role in the lead up to the movie as well. This will even more help erase any connections of the new universe to the failed attempt of 2003, and help even more to establish the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a separate entity.

Gotham Debuts with 8 Million People Watching

gotham castFacing pretty stiff competition, Gotham was the first “comic book” based television show to debut in this 2014-2015 season. The premiere brought in 8 million viewers with a 3.2 in the coveted 18-49 year old demographic. The television show placed third behind CBS’s The Big Bang Theory, and NBC’s The Voice.

The show actually did better in its second half hour and was the nights’s top drama draw for men 18-49, besting both Scorpion and Blacklist.

The stats released so far does not include DVR playback or any streaming. With tough competition, I expect a lot of viewing will come from those sources.

 

TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S2E1 Shadows

Agents_of_SHIELD_logoCoulson and his team are now wanted fugitives with limited resources – but that’s not stopping them from keeping the world safe from powerful and unseen threats everywhere. However, with new members they hardly know, will S.H.I.E.L.D. ever be trusted again?

We’ve waited the summer for its return, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back! While the first season was uneven, it got better once it could show its true colors after last year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier. When we left the show, S.H.I.E.L.D. was in tatters after Hydra’s infiltration, leaving Coulson and his team on the run attempting to still do their jobs and protect the world.

Diving right into the story, the first episode goes back a bit in time with a flashback of Agent Carter as she leads the Howling Commandos to retrieve a mysterious object dubbed “084,” a number that was also previously used to describe the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Skye. One, there’s so much here as far as tie-ins, especially for the upcoming Agent Carter season, then there’s the reference to Skye too, deepening her mystery.

The opening also introduces us to a new villain, something the show has down quite well. Carl “Crusher” Creel, aka The Absorbing Man is now a part of the Marvel U, and with his history dealing with Thor, and the show’s previous crossover with Thor 2, you wonder where this might go. But, back to the story…. Creel is after the object from the beginning.

Overall, the episode has a much different vibe, adding numerous new faces, but at the same time dialing back the capabilities of the team, making the series more grounded, and realistic in a way.

But the episode really hits you as Coulson explains where everyone is at. This is a different S.H.I.E.L.D. If the last moments don’t get you excited even more, I don’t know what to say. Mistakes were made, but S.H.I.E.L.D. adapts, and moves on.

Overall Score: 8.75

TV Review: Gotham S1E1: Pilot

gotham castThere’s quite a few television shows based on comics hitting the small screen this fall season, but none have me more excited than Fox‘s Gotham. Gotham is the origin story behind Commissioner James Gordon’s rise to prominence in Gotham City in the years before Batman’s arrival. While the series focuses on Gordon, and his start as part of the Gotham police force, it’s much more than that.

When we think of the city of Gotham when it comes to DC Comics, we think of Batman, and the characters that surround him, especially his rouge gallery. Gotham adds a new character, this city itself.

The first episode does the impressive, mixing in the comic world with a grounded police drama. We could call this Gotham: SVU really, as it leans more towards the latter when it comes to the two, and this is a great thing. The focus here is Gordon, and his work in a corrupt city. Surrounding him is a peppering of characters we comic fans will recognize as growing up into some of our favorite characters.

And the inclusion of those other characters works…. almost. So far we have those who later become Poison Ivy, Selina Kyle, Penguin, and Batman (with rumors of a Joker thrown in as a mystery). The last two work perfectly in the series, while the first two seem out-of-place so far. But really, they’re flavoring for the focus, the police force. For comic fans, you’ll recognize characters beyond Gordon such as Harvey Bullock, Sarah Essen, Renee Montoya, and mobster Carmine Falcone. They are really the focus of the show, and like any good police story, they are the personalities that the show will sink or swim. After the first episode I’m leaning on swim.

Gotham is bleak, with corruption all around. In fact, it might be one of the more depressing shows on network television, with Gordon hoping to route out corruption, but in reality the more he attempts to do so, the worse we find out it is. Add in drama hinted at, and we have a show that’s rich in-depth, in story, character, and look.

And the look of it all is important. The first episode takes us to numerous locations within the city, each with a distinctive look, and feel, yet it all seems coherent and part of the same world, a realistic world. The coloring, the choice of framing, it all is spectacular, bringing a cinematic noir feel to the small screen. The look is what cements Gotham the city, as a character in Gotham the show.

I’ll admit I went into the first episode with some nervousness, but having watched the pilot, I came away wanting more. DC has nailed it when it comes to this show, adding an entry that’s engaging, and exciting, and most importantly easily accessible for new individuals. Gotham the city might have a rich history in the Batman universe, but Gotham the series feels like a fresh and new beginning in a dirty and grimy world.

Overall Score: 8.75

TV Review: The Strain S1E11 The Third Rail

the-strain-logo111 episodes in and The Strain decides to channel Blade 2!? How do you deal with vampires in sewer tunnels? For anyone that’s seen Blade 2, you know where I’m going with this. But while some are building weapons and planning on killing, others are having issues with the mission, especially due to the fact that Eph and Nora are doctors and supposed to help.

But, even with those apprehensions Vasiliy, Abraham, Eph, and Nora head into the tunnels in hopes of killing the Master, and ending the scourge. But, it’s pretty clear the “focus” of the episode is the slow crumbling of civilization. All around them, people are looting, and as they go into the tunnels, they are greeted by trinkets the vampires are dropping as they retreat into them. It’s some solid symbolism, and mixed with what’s going on in the streets, solid detail.

While they’re on their mission, the story of Gus continues, as he attempts to deal with how the vampire outbreak is affecting his family, friends, and everyone he knows. And Gus finally crosses our main cast, in the form of Zach who has decided to venture out from safety to do a task for Nora’s mom. In other word, Zach is quickly turning into the Carl Grimes of this show.

The episode also brings Eph face to face with the Master, something I didn’t expect for quite a while. What the meeting does really well is set up the Master’s obsession with Eph and why he decides to take a focus on him.

The episode isn’t the strongest, but there’s more than enough to keep the story moving and small details to keep us focused and debating. The series continues its solid narrative, keeping us on our toes. After the ending, it’s kind of hard not to be.

Overall Score: 7.75

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