opposed to science fiction, and I should, if I am true to my declaration above, not care for it. He gets a pass for being brave and clever.) What's the quote from the film, "Spinal Tap?" "There's a very fine line between clever and stupid."
"Earth Abides" is an unsung classic. It's one of my favorites, too. I'm always surprised it never really caught on with the Environmental movement, it's so spare and haunting.
Unlike most folks working in the genre today - in fact, unlike most actors, really - you’re classically trained as a formal stage actor. I’ve noticed that your performances tend to imply there’s a lot going on inside the character beneath the scene in a way that I seldom see outside of British stage actors. I’m never sure if this is a tool you’ve learned in your craft, or it it’s an inherent part of your own personality. Or maybe both. Which is it, do you think?
Well first, I have to just say again that I'm extremely flattered that you see depth in the work. It means I must be doing something right in a business where there really is no roadmap to success, and the difference between "right" techniques and "wrong" techniques is all quite relative. The answer is it's certainly both personality AND training. I think the intensity of one's training, or at least the intensity of their application of it will only serve to enhance particularly compelling aspects of the actor's persona, and thus the character's. The opposite is probably also true. Conscientiousness is a personality trait. And a conscientious actor will bring it all. And if he/she has got a lot to bring, you'll see it in performance.
I've had some roles, Tyr certainly being one, where, when one considered the back-story, there just had to be a great deal at work within the character at any given time. It was my job to put that on the screen to the extent that anyone really wanted to see it. And since I could only really get at the authenticity of Tyr's psycho/emotional experience through tapping into my own, I think most found that the portrayal was most often genuine. I think it's just what decent actors do. As we'll discuss in some of your subsequent questions, I had a great deal to work with, from within me, and, in the beginning, from the character as drawn by the writer.
There’s an introspection in your work that I’ve always found interesting. It’s not the broody navel-gazing angst-cliché stuff, it’s more like a deliberating, like a genuine self-awareness and calculation before making a decision. Sometimes it’s dark and tragic, sometimes it’s self serving, sometimes it’s simply like your characters are making sure their exits are open. Have you ever played Hamlet? I’d love to see your take on that?
The answer to this question would really be just an extension of the answer to the question above. Both Noah Keefer in "AMC," and Tyr Anasazi in "Andromeda" were outsiders with a great many factors influencing who they were and how they were when they showed up. They were layered, and complex, as humans are in reality. And so, because the work to plant all that stuff within them had been done, if they were just allowed to stand still, you could watch their very active inner-lives. I've always looked for those moments for my characters, because I think that the greatest, most compelling drama is always man's struggle with himself.
Of course, the opportunities for this are not always utilized, in fact, most often not, in plot-driven television, which I'm afraid comprises the majority of televised sci-fi, and certainly soap opera (Let me here exempt the latest incarnation of "Battlestar Galactica," only the first season of Chris Carter's long dead "Millennium," the original "Star Trek" and the first couple of "Star Trek" films). I read some of your other interviews in preparation for this one, and I can't remember if it was Joe Straczynski or John Varley who was, to some extent, lamenting the nature of plot-driven as opposed to character-driven TV, but I could certainly relate. It's one of the most prominent places in this business where creative integrity is regularly eviscerated on the alter of the business model.
Speaking of... I've just gotta stop here to note that I very recently watched