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Exclusive Interview with Steven Culp


January 15, 2014

By Annika Leichner & Nicole Oebel @ myFanbase

1. In season 2 of "Revolution" a new party was added: The Patriots. You are Edward Truman, a high commander of this group. What is your take on the character? And how would you describe this new group and their motives from what we know so far?

I'm not sure how I should answer these questions about Revolution. For one thing, there are many secrets on this show, and even the most casual answer may reveal something that the producers would rather remain a secret. Obviously, my character was alive at the end of the mid-season finale, so you can assume that he'll be returning with the show in January. But for how long? Well, you'll just have to watch and see, because I can't give anything away--and I might not even know myself at this point.

It's been an intriguing show to work on, partly because I know so little about where things are going. The character of Truman, and the Patriots themselves, were somewhat mysterious to me when I started. I only knew what I read in each script as it came. I could only guess at what Truman's motives were, what drove him, what he wanted, what his personal ambitions were, his strengths and weaknesses. I always spend a lot of time preparing and rehearsing on my own, and I always try to come up with a strong backstory and given circumstances for my character, but on Revolution I would find, repeatedly, that when I got onto the set and started playing the scenes with other actors it would be very different from what I had envisioned. A lot of the time it was about finding the right tone, the right key in which to play the scene. Working with the directors and my fellow actors, I would try to find the most effective way to play each individual scene, and as those scenes came together I would discover something new about Truman, or would at least learn something from my mistakes. And so the character began to take shape.

I had a similar experience working on Grey's Anatomy, where the first time you saw a new script was at the at the table read, with the rest of the cast. And I liked it; I liked being surprised, not knowing what was coming, discovering things even as I was reading them for the first time. It felt more like life to me, just going from moment to moment like that. But the reality on Revolution is much more heightened and extreme than on Grey's, and developing an inner life that could accommodate that took more time. It was a bit trickier.

Now, all these episodes in, I find that this opaque quality of Truman's--he can be very hard to read at times; you're never quite sure where he's coming from--is one of my favorite things about him. There's always a bit of give and take between the writers and the actors--they see what we do, and they respond to what works--and we all seem to have found a good groove with this character. There are qualities emerging in the writing that are distinctly "Truman." And I have come up with a pretty strong backstory for myself, one that I like and that works for me. But, if you don't mind, I'm going to keep it my secret for now. For one thing, I might get a script that totally repudiates everything I've come up with in my mind. I want to keep things fluid for myself. And I'd like to keep the audience guessing as much as I can. Ask me again when it's all over.

The Patriots, at least at first glance, appear to be the "good guys." They want to restore order, get the food and medical supply lines up and running again, protect towns from the various warlike clans that have sprung up in this dystopian society. And Truman takes pains to make sure that that is how they are perceived. But, as we've seen, that's far from the reality: I think it's safe to assume that they are intent on grabbing power and establishing a "New World Order" of their own, one in which they call the shots. "Restoring America to its former glory" seems to be an important concept for them. There's any number of parallels you can draw from history or current events. And that's all I'll say at this point.

2. When you got the part on "Revolution" was there any actor you really looked forward to working with? Or still do, since you haven't worked with all of the cast yet?

It would be unfair to single anyone out, since they are all so terrific. I've really enjoyed working with everyone there. Early on, I was sitting on the set at 3 a.m. with Elizabeth Mitchell and Stephen Collins, waiting for a shot to be set up and having a very interesting conversation about one thing and another. And it occurred to me: if I'm going to be sitting on a set at three in the morning, these are the people I want to be with. There's a real sense of camaraderie on the set--all for one and one for all. And a lot of humor, which is a tonic on a show where cast & crew work long hours under sometimes adverse conditions. Everyone has been lovely, and very supportive and encouraging, which is not the case on all shows. Though I have to say I've been very fortunate in most of the programs I've worked on.

To read the full interview, go to myfanbase.

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