We Love TV!
This is just an unofficial fan page, we have no connection
to any shows or networks.
Please click here to vote for our site!
Interview with Sean Astin of "The
Strain" on FX 9/2/14
I missed this call (I had the wrong day written down),
and I'm still kicking myself! He's an awesome actor and does
a great job on any show or movie he's in.
FX NETWORK: Strain
September 2, 2014/10:00 PDT
Moderator Ladies and gentlemen thank you for standing by and
welcome to The Strain conference call. At this time, all
participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will
conduct a question and answer session. Instructions will be
given at that time. (Operator instructions.) As a reminder,
this conference is being recorded.
I would now like to turn the conference over to our host,
Mr. Tom Ruffner. Please go ahead.
Tom Hello and welcome to The Strain conference call with
series star Sean Astin. Iíd 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 airs Sunday
nights at 10 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 our viewing experience for our
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 go back into queue for any
additional questions you may have.
With that said, letís go ahead and take our first question.
Iíll turn it back over to you, Don.
Moderator (Operator instructions.) And the first question
comes from the line of Earl Dittman of Digital Journal.
Earl Good morning, Sean.
Sean Good morning, Earl, how are you doing?
Earl Doing great. I have to say first off you are fantastic
in this brilliant series and itís just wonderful to watch
Sean Thanks, man.
Earl Youíre no stranger to television. Youíve done 24,
things like that and feature films, of course the iconic
Lord of the Rings trilogy. How has The Strain been different
for you as a actor, in any ways?
Sean First of all working with Guillermo is a unique
experience for most people who are working on these shows, I
would say one of the most exciting things about it is
spending time with Guillermo. Heís just so full of life and
creativity and his imagination and you always feel like heís
both incredibly well prepared and in the moment and able to
be spontaneous, so thatís pretty great. And then I have not
in my life been a vampire guy really except when I was 16
and I worked in a movie theatre where my friend Corey
Feldmanís movie The Lost Boys premiered. That was probably
the height of my vampire interest. I sort of missed the rest
of the wave of Vampire Diaries and all the way through to
the recent Twilight and everything else, so being like
learning vampire lore was pretty cool for me, particularly
in Guillermoísóthe cosmology of vampires in Guillermoís mind
is really cool.
Earl Yes, yes, and a quick follow-up, as Jim, we donít hate
him; we donít love him. We understand heís empathetic. What
do you think about him in a couple sentences?
Sean Jim is basically a morally compromised guy and I think
he has the occasional quips that he has, comedic quips
reveals some kind of personality that it might be fun to
interact with, but his wife is suffering and so heís a
compromised guy basically the way I see him.
Earl Again, thanks for your time and thanks for your great
work, I love the series and you.
Sean Thank you so much, Earl.
Earl I appreciate it.
Moderator And the next question comes from the line of Hal
Boedecker from Orlando Sentinel. Please go ahead.
Hal Thank you, Sean. Congratulations. What does it mean to
be part of this series?
Sean Since being in Lord of the Rings this wave, this pop
cultural wave of franchise inclusion has swept the globe
where peopleóthese comic book franchises, bestselling book
franchises, television reboot franchises, they just come in
big waves and itís almost like being in one particular movie
or one particular show isnít enough anymore. So the fact
that Guillermo and Carlton Cuse came along with this new
incarnation of a vampire world meant a new franchise and so
I feel Iím grateful that Guillermo reached out and swept me
up in it. When you go to Comic Con, you have a team.
Hal I also wondered especially the convenience store episode
is so memorable. Can you talk about the challenges of
Sean Yes, it aired last night, so you guys are the ones who
are responsible not to do any spoilers, but I donít think
itís a spoiler now. Ironically the biggest challenge of it
was how cold it was. Toronto suffered really the coldest
winter in most of the crew membersí memory and itís one
thing to sit here in a 75ļ day in Los Angeles and talk about
cold weather, but it was bitter cold. So you look outside at
these vampires who were in their post mortem makeup and you
just figured that it wasnít too far off from where theyíre
going to be if they had to stand outside any longer. But the
emotions of it, I was told in my very first meeting with
Guillermo and Carlton that this character from the books,
who didnít last that long in the books, wasnít going to last
very long in the series, so they invited me to be a part of
this show knowing full well that in episode eight my
character is going to get killed off. So there is a little
bit of the gallows anticipation that comes knowing weíre in
episode five; itís only a few episodes away now before I get
to say good-bye to all my new friends.
And then when you find yourself actually in the convenience
store doing the work, there is an emotional responsibility
that you have to the relationship between the characters.
And so blocking the scene where Eph and Nora discover that
heís been fully infected, it was really kind of cool the
first bit where they use the UV ray to see the worm in my
face and they go and lay me down and do this sort of butcher
surgery or field dressing surgery, that was all kind of cool
and relatively straight forward, relatively easy.
But then when we got into blocking, Jim discovers that itís
all through my back and then I realize that the only thing
to do is for them to kill me and Iím saying I donít want to
turn out like the rest of them and I donít want go after my
parents and asking Setrakian to basically explain what that
is with these vampires go to the ones closest to them. It
was pretty powerful emotionally and everybody had this
feeling that it was exciting to be doing maybe one of the
first big deaths of the show. I guess there had been others,
but for me it was the big death because it was me.
And this dual feeling that the showóthe characters move on
and the show moves on and that was definitely a dynamic,
unlike 24 where I never knew from one week to the next what
was going to happen and I open the script or sitting in the
makeup bus for episode whatever it was 13 and my character
has this spectacular Sentox nerve gas death. So youíre like
itís sort of shocking, but you know anything can happen on
that show and that is a very heroic death.
This one, Jimís redemption is kind of petty redemption.
HeísóI think the first one to plug in the UV ray lights and
is what I think is a kind of for me itís iconic where I come
out of the convenience store and Iím the first one to extend
my arm with the thing and burn one of the vamps with this UV
light; and then of course everybody does it because Jim did
it. But that feeling is yes, I donít know; it was cool. I
was at Disneyland with my wife and kids. I had run a
marathon, this Disney half marathon weekend, so we did a 10K
on Tuesday and a half marathon.
So Iím walking around and my legs are sore and the kids are
having a ball and I realized the episode is airing right
now. I hadnít really been paying any attention to my phone
for three days, but weíre sitting on the train going through
Fantasy Land and Iím looking at seeing all these messages
saying all right, Jim, weíre going to miss you buddy. It was
a sad way for you to have to go, Jim, but we tried to have
fun with it. What are you going to do?
Hal Congratulations, it was great.
Moderator Thank you and the next question comes from the
line of Mike Hughes for TV America. Please go ahead.
Mike You know what I found really interesting was when you
said that you were 16 and you were working in a movie
theatre because back then you had already been a successful
actor. How did you end up then working in a movie theatre
and whatís it like to be a guy whoís an actor working in a
movie theatre watching other people act?
Sean Itís funny I was looking online right before I got on
the conference call and there was this article about
celebrities who live below their means or something, modest
celebrities; and it talked about how Leonardo DiCaprio
occasionally takes a commercial flight. When I was 16 my mom
and I, I had a car for a little bit and then she wanted or
needed the car back, so I basically was doing summer school
and night school. I really wanted to graduate with a better
GPA than I had earned throughout the rest of my high school
year and I would take the bus into Westwood from my dadís
place in west LA. I just worked in a movie theatre. I worked
at the Bruin and Mr. Francis was my manager. I started by
taking tickets at the door.
The fun story I have is with my buddy Corey. It was his
movie. It was the first I guess I worked a couple of days
on, it was like the end of Supermanís run. I canít remember
what it was, but anyhow and then it comes in and thereís the
big premiere and Corey walks in and Iím wearing my blue
blazer with my gray pants and my name tag. I used my middle
name and Patrick is my middle name. I used my middle name
and all the actors are standing by the concession stand and
Mr. Francis, who is I donít know 147 at that point heís
since passed away and heís just a known guy; heís a known
figureócharacter personality and he said ďSean, you got to
go pick up that popcorn.Ē I grabbed the broom and dust pan
and I walked over. I was like ďExcuse me, Corey,Ē and he
looked and he saw me and heís like, ďSean, what happened?Ē
I worked my way up through the ranks. It took all summer,
but by the end of it, I was making bank drops from the box
office and I cleaned the butter maker and it was fun. I
remember my mom sort of being shocked that I would do that
job, but I liked it. And that couple hundred buck check
meant more to me than the $10,000 check that I got when I
was eight because that $10,000 check went into an account
that I didnít see till I was 18 and now I was 16 and I could
go spend that money. I donít know. I count that as one of
the good experiences for me.
Mike Thatís great. Thanks a lot.
Moderator Thank you. And the next question is from the line
of Brent Hankins from Nerd Repository. Please go ahead.
Brent Good morning, Sean, howís it going?
Sean Good. Good morning.
Brent I really liked Jimís arc on this season. I know going
from the pilot where they set him up and you think heís just
a bad guy. Then as the season progresses, you see Sylvia and
you see his motivation and it peels back this whole other
layer of the character. I think that makes Jim one of the
more relatable characters on the show because thereís this
human element to this struggleóobviously he loves his family
very much and would do anything for them. I think that gives
just a whole deeper meaning to that character. What was it
about Jim for you as an actor that really made you want to
invest in that role?
Sean I didnít really care. Guillermo wanted me to do it, so
I wanted to do it. And then the idea for me was figure out
what it was that he saw in me that he wanted me to do it. I
think you could take a wide range of actors and put them in
that part and it would be a Rorschach test of who that actor
is. I think what he liked is that as Samwise Gamgee Iím
known for being a friend and loyal and likable, a nice guy;
and I think he liked the juxtaposition of somebody doing
something morally questionable or wrong, who is likeable at
the same time that it would makeólike you said itíll be
interesting for people to have to wrestle themselves with
There are all these apocalyptic franchises now and the
question becomes how accessible, he used the word
accessibleóhow, he used the word relatable, but how
authentic if you can really feel like what would it be like
if I was in that situation, if the power went out or if the
grid went out or if thereís some terrorist event or some
plague, the bubonic plague is around now, Ebola or whatever.
So if youíre going to use a vampire story as a metaphor for
that, you want to find ways into it that feel natural.
So, what I came to like about Jim, was the way that he
wanted even though he did the wrong thing, he really wanted
to be of service as a CDC guy, as an aide to Eph. He wanted
to help and so I liked leaning into that. Then during the
autopsy scene and during this scene in the eighth episode
and a few other times, something will happen and he just
sort of says what everyone else is thinking in a basic way.
I think that made him even more entertaining in moments for
Brent You spoke about making it feel authentic. I think one
of the most authentic things was his desire for not only
redemption, because you called it earlier you said ďpetty
redemption,Ē but he wanted so bad to be forgiven by Eph and
by Nora and itís sad that just as he kind of got almost to
that point, we had to say good-bye to him.
Sean Yes, itís a study on human nature because Eph is
reluctantlyóNora is sympathetic to him the whole time it
seems like to me. Her compassion meter has a little more
sensitively, but Eph finally kind of relaxes his anger
towards Jim for a little bit as Jim has acquitted himself in
battle really in the moment right before that. But then itís
Jimís mortality that really provokes Ephís empathy and he
doesnít want a patient to die, but he doesnít want his
friend to die. You can see it. He says at one point heís my
friend and that as an audience member watching it, I really
like that. I really like that he showed something of himself
and how he really felt. He would never have been that mad at
Jim if he didnít like him, because thatís what betrayal is.
Otherwise itís just villainy.
Brent We think it was great and Iím going to miss you on the
Moderator Thank you. And the next question comes from the
line of Jasmin Alyce from FanBolt. Please go ahead.
Jasmin Hello, Sean, thanks so much for taking the call
today. I wanted to know what is one of your most fun
experiences coming from the set and one of your funniest
memories? Because the show is dark, how do you guys keep it
Sean First there are lots of things that come to mind, but I
always hit this. People donít seem to remember, they donít
seem to talk about it very much. It was really, really,
really cold. Itís a vampire show. Vampires youíre not
supposed to be able to see their breath. It was a challenge
I think for the effects people to do it how cold it was when
thereís outdoor stuff and the vampires. But no, there was a
moment where Corey came in on his phone playing this video
game, the fighter pilot video game, so I downloaded it and
the two of us with our phones or iPad miniís in between
dissecting vampires and bludgeoning the turned captain in
the head with a fire extinguisher we were competing, frankly
I was no match. Even over the holiday break when I had some
time to practice, I showed back up and Corey was just an
absolute, he absolutely dominated the game, so that was one
And then frankly it was fun coming to work and seeing the
different things that they had put together. I keep going
back to the autopsy because I donít think anything like it
has ever been shown on television, a vampire autopsy. And
they spent so muchóit was such an expensive and intricate, I
donít know, was it a prop or special effect. Weíve been
working with this actor and now we were dealing with his
absolutely lifelike like corpse. It was really disturbing.
Another day we had when weíre at the airport hanger set and
we come around, everybody had been filming for a few hours
and they were on lunch break or something and my part
started late, so I come in and I walk around and thereís
nobody there, but a sea of 300 body bags all stuffed with
dead bodies with the morning dew, theyíd been filming all
night long, over it. The lights reflecting off of it and it
was really, really creepy and haunting and arrestingóyou
pick the word and thatís the kind of stuff youíd get.
Jasmin Right. Thank you very much.
Sean Thank you.
Moderator The next question comes from the line of Mary
Powers from TVGoodness.com. Please go ahead.
Mary Hello. After I went through my initial stages of grief
after watching the episode this past Sunday, I went back and rewatched and one of the things I noticed was that Setrakian
I donít think severed Jimís head. Now I donít know how the
disease works, but the question is are you quote ďmaybe
aliveĒ? Will we possibly have an opportunity to see a vamped
out Jim or was that actually the end, period?
Sean Iím pretty sure that Fet killed Jim properly.
Mary Okay, okay.
Sean He established, I think even in that episode, Setrakian
reestablished that severing the head is one thing or
injuring hisóhe goes into some description about how hitting
certain bone things can hurt them this way and that way, but
I think theyíve gone outside and shot them a lot. Eph and
Nora are each shooting guns and killing them and Nora says
heís still coming and itís like you got to shoot them in the
head, so I donít know how many times he pulled the trigger,
but it felt like at least four or five at point blank range.
I think Jim, Iím sorry to relate that Jim isóI appreciate
the mourning. I feel close to Jim. My favorite thing was
people with the hash tag RIPJIM. I kind of wanted to get
that blown up and put that on the office wall.
Mary Now what about Jimís wife, Sylvia Kent, will we see her
again? They just kind of left that storyline in some sense
Sean The vampire says to me in the train station that now my
wife is consigned to die with the rest of something or
other, so itís kind of a general comment and I suppose that
that could mean whatever the normal course of cancer is can
take place or as the plague sweeps the world, she doesnít
have any protection from it, but anything can happen. Jim
could have an evil brother who wants to come and anything
can happen, but I think in terms of the way the story is
giving itself to the audience, I kind of think the Jim and
Sylvia of it all has moved on.
Mary Okay. Weíll miss you and thank you.
Sean Thank you so much. I was surprised to see you doing an
interview question because the word geek or nerd didnít
appear in the title of your blog.
Moderator Thank you. And then next question comes from the
line of Preston Barta from Fresh Fiction. Please go ahead.
Preston Hello, Sean, thanks for taking the call today. Iím
curious since youíve been a part of a few horror affiliated
projects like The Strain and Cabin Fever, do you have the
capacity to be scared of your own projects?
Sean When you say of my own projects, it kind of makes me
think that you mean of the final product and when I watch it
Preston Yes, thatís exactly what I mean.
Sean I donít know. Iím sure I do. It just depends on when
you see it. If you see it at the premiere maybe itís fun to
get really into it, but then youíre aware of like the
cameras outside. I think there are definitely moments beyond
the first run of a show when you discover something late at
night or if you find some reason to watch your things.
Mostly with the horror things, I find myself thinking, man,
thatís cool. Like yes, I did that and if somebody else is
really scared and I was never like this as a kid. I never
liked the idea of watching horror movies. I always thought
it was fine for people to do them, but the idea that
filmmakers would say they really in a kind of amoral way
like to terrorize people and see people scared and make them
jump. They love that feeling of like laughing when they
could make people scared and I never really liked that idea.
But now that Iíve done it a little bit, I definitely am more
connected to the idea that if you do something well, if you
really commit like in Cabin Fever to the idea of this
horrible disease and of your role in it and the malevolence
of it and if somebody responds to it, I donít know. I get
the attraction now, so I think thatís a cousin of retaining
the ability to be scared by something Iíve been in, but Iím
not sure. Iím more scared in the moment that we do it
because I try and be invested in what weíre doing while
weíre doing it, but Iím not so sure afterwards.
I find myself when people are really startled by certain
things or theyíre scared kind of pleasantly surprised. Like
I like it when someone says that really freaked me out. Iím
like ďReally? It did? Wow, thatís cool!Ē
Preston And as a quick follow-up, Iím calling on behalf of
my university, so if you could teach a college course of
your creation, what do you think you would teach?
Sean I sort of think I am teacher in my disposition. I gave
a speech just now at the University of Idaho and afterwards
we met with a group of drama students. I really like talking
about leadership and I donít know that Iíve led anything all
that great, but I think I understand the anatomy of what it
takes to be a leader. And that theme gives you entrťe into
virtually everything in life and human experience. I was
just giving a talk at the Disney, the run Disney Expo for
the Disney marathon weekend and I spoke each of the days and
I talked a lot about inspiration ó so yes. I donít know. I
think leadership and my training is in history and American
literature and culture, so maybe English or something. I
donít know. I donít know.
Moderator Thank you and next question comes from the line of
Jamie Ruby from ScifiVision.com. Please go ahead.
Jamie Hello, Sean, thanks so much for talking to us today.
Jamie So you talked about your last scene and everything,
but I was curious, how did they do the sort of special
effects with the worms and everything? Was it all digital or
was some of it practical?
Sean It was all digital. Basically they would put little
orange dots, reference dots, all over the area where the
worm would be, but you know what that is totally unfair what
I just said. Scrap that. The actual prosthetic of the cut on
myóI was immediately thinking of the worm effect, because
that was the closest to me because I just saw it the other
day for the first time. But no, they had a brilliant piece
that they put on my cheek that they could sew and unsew and
it was really, really good. People really responded to it on
the set and I liked working with it, so it didnít take very
long to put on at all. It was a piece that started at the
top of my inner eye at the bridge of my nose and went down
right under the eye all the way around the eye basically
kind of like in a half moon and then up into the hairline
and down around the jaw and kind of underneath the jaw on
the top of the neck and then up and around the same side of
the mouth. So it almost looked like the Phantom of the
Operaís mask sort of like a miniature version of that or
that with a convertible version of the Phantom of the Opera
And then they painted it beautifully and then they added
theóit was really cool was they pull the thread through it
because if youíve ever had stitches, Iíve had lots of
stitches in my life and it felt the same. When they numb
you, they put a long needle in and they numb the area that
theyíre going to give you a stitch, you can still feel it,
but it doesnít hurt and thatís exactly what it felt like
when theyíre threading the cut on Jimís face. The actual
worms, though, were orange dots.
Moderator Thank you and our next question comes from the
line of Angela Dawson from Front Row Features. Please go
Angela Hello, Sean.
Angela I was going to ask you since you did have some fair
warning of your characterís demise, have you had an
opportunity to look around what youíre going to do next? It
sounds like youíre not looking for a franchise, but looking
for something unique like this was and so whatís coming up
on your agenda?
Sean Iím sort of the opposite. When a franchise, a really
good one, comes along, itís great to be included. Actually I
meant the opposite of that, so I play the voice of Raphael
in the Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise and
Iím one of the many Raphaelís that there have been, so I
kind of like that. Maybe Iím kind of a joiner, I donít know.
The one thing I would say for everybody is that I knew that
I was going to die, but I didnít know how and when I got the
script for it, which was only a few weeks I think
beforehand, I loved it. Before that I had been a little bit
kind of sullen over the fact that I was just getting to know
everybody and enjoy everything and I knew I wasnít going to
be around very long. But when I saw how cool the episode was
with this kind of ďButch and SundanceĒ battle royale out of
a convenience store and then like the way that it was
discovered on me and how the relationship is resolved and
stuff, I absolutely felt like you couldnít have asked for a
better send-off. I was pretty happy with that.
I have an independent film thatís coming up called The
Surface with me and Chris Mulkey. Itís a two-hander kind of
a meditation on hopelessness and suicide, so thereís that.
And then I also have a little animated film that I guess is
being released independently called Ribbit about a poisonous
tree frog, who believes heís destined for something more
than the life of a poisonous tree frog, so I play Ribbit.
Thatís coming out I think in September. I donít know if itís
in wide release or not, but itís on my radar.
And then I donít know, Iíve been getting offered lots of fun
things in the Sci-fi horror realm, which I havenít grown too
tired of yet, so as long as thereís something to play, Iím
willing to keep thinking about that. And then I donít know,
looking for the next thing and the next thing to get excited
Moderator Thank you. The next question comes from the line
of Robert Samo from Fanboy Nation. Please go ahead.
Robert Good morning, Sean. How are you?
Sean Good, finally somebody with Fan Boy in the title.
Robert Iím going to fan boy out for you right now. Rudy is
one of the only movies that makes me cry.
Sean Thatís good.
Robert Tell us about the trek through Guillermo del Toroís
mind. Weíve seen him from Panís Labyrinth and Hell Boy and
everything else that heís done. And to work with him that
closely, there has to be some insight that you gathered to
take that little stroll in his mindís eye.
Sean Now everybody expects something huge from Guillermo
every time he opens the door, so I guess what really
impressed me about him is that he continues to deliver in
the face of overwhelming expectations and he does it in a
way that is calm and fun. He just seemedóIím not sure if
itís because he lived with this book for the years that heís
lived with it and wanting to make the show the way heís
wanted to make it and then getting to make it the way he
wanted to make it, or if this is just the way he is
everywhere he goes. But he was just happy, just a happy guy
and when it came to giving direction, he was very specific,
very detailed. If you had a question, he would relish in
being able to elaborate on an answer as though this was the
most fun part of the process.
And then youíd see him off to the side having a conversation
with a digital effects supervisor about what the movement of
the worm was supposed to look like and he would be in this
enthralled state of bliss envisioning, making the fantasy of
these worms in his mind ďrealĒ in the digital space. I guess
he both loves the fantastic and the real and so and those
things serve each other. Those interests serve each other,
so it was fun. Yes, youíre right, it was really a privilege
to interact with him.
Robert Nice. Have you ever taken a look at The Strain comics
and also youíre working with Feldman on Ninja Turtles, where
heís voicing Spike, correct?
Sean Yes. I have seen the comic books. I havenít read them
all, but I think I understood a little of the story a little
bit better when I glanced at the comic book the first time.
I think I thought I get it now and thatís what thatís
supposed to be, but somehow that seemed different. I
listened to Ron Perlman read the audio books. Thatís how I
experienced The Strain the first time. I was riding my fancy
bike in the middle of the night. I was in training and I
would ride my bike all over the San Fernando Valley, which
made me think of Tom Pettyís song about the vampire standing
in the shadows freefalling. So the imagery, the ideas, the
vocabulary for it was very richly drawn, beautifully
performed by Ron Perlman; but when I saw the comic books, it
seemed to me like somebodyís interpretation of it not like
it was coming from the thing. I donít know if thatís right
or wrong; thatís just the way I came at it.
And yes, Feldman plays Spike. Itís fun to have my buddy
Corey be my little turtle who then turns into a monster.
Itís pretty fun because obviously he was around in the
original time of that franchise, seems to be the word for
the interview here, but yes, itís pretty cool.
Moderator Thank you. And the next question comes from the
line of Matt Molgaard from Addicted to Horror. Please go
Matt Sean, real quick, I just got to say as a father of a
soon to be 13 year old girl who absolutely loves the Goonies
and really just loves Mikey and a guy who was there himself
in 1985, thanks for giving us a real slice of history that
just canít be replaced.
Sean It was a privilege to be part of it. I have three
daughters, 17, 12, and 9 and when you said you have to say
on behalf of your daughter, I thought I was going to be in
trouble like for [indiscernible] this awful horror stuff
thatís going to give her nightmares for the rest of her
Matt No, no, she wonít watch it, but no, sheís not going to
bad mouth you. Listen, Jim Kent, heís a really complex,
conflicted character. I know a lot of actors that lean on
personal experiences and engrained emotions to bring their
characters to life in a believable fashion. Is there any
part of Jim Kent that makes you say ďI can totally relate to
that; let me use my own familiarity to generate a real sense
Sean Iím probably more like Jim Kent than I am Samwise
Gamgee in as much as I have to make choices in my life that
Iím not an ideal literary character because people always
want to know if I was like Sam and I try and embody some of
those traits that Samwise has, but for Jim, I guess my
technique relies on trying to feel the emotions or the
moments as the character would feel it in real time. Thatís
how I get the closest to manifesting something thatís
Having said that I donít think I can help but bring a large
part of myself to it. I just try not to draw one to one
correlation between something in my life that Iíve
experienced and something that it would evoke of an emotion
thatís the same or similar to something that Jim would be
feeling at that moment. I think that my empathy quotient is
high enough that when I see heís lied on behalf of his wife
whoís got cancer or heís trying to save people by plugging
in a UV ray to maybe stave off some vampires or any of those
feelings I find it very easy to be empathic for those
feelings. And itís easier for me because on take three and
four and five and whatever as you reinvest in it, it might
be harder for me to try and transplant emotions that Iíve
had in my life a second time and a third time and a fourth
I do know a certain music that seems to be able to do
things, but anyhow thatís my process.
Moderator Thank you. And the next question comes from the
line of Robert Fowler from AgentsofGeeks.com. Please go
Robert F. Hello, Sean, thank you very much for taking out
time this morning. I wanted to touch with you with regards
to Jimís overall role so far in the show and I guess not
future. Being one of the senior actors in the show, what did
you bring to the show with regards to perhaps adding your
character development to the other people on the show?
Sean I think youíre cutting out a little bit, but I think I
get the spirit of your question. We did have these story
meetings or not story meetings, but these sort of script
sessions where we really try and carve out at least a week
or two ahead of time some space for the actors to sit with
Guillermo and the writers and maybe whoever was directing
that episode just an opportunity to talk about it. Itís hard
when you donít have time to rehearse and particular at the
beginning of a series. I think once peopleís characters are
really established and youíre going towards the end of the
first season or into the second season, there might be a
greater dexterity for working withoutóyou know itís
sometimes scripts might come in at the last minute and that
kind of thing.
But for us they had the scripts largely finished to my
knowledge before we started, but they kind of rolled them
out slowly at least to me; but I did participate several
times in conversations where we would read through some
scenes and we would say this makes sense to me or this
doesnít; ďI donít understand thisĒ or ďCan I say this this
way?Ē and you really get to hear how each other are thinking
about your characters. And they were very responsive
toóthere was a strong mutual respect between the creators
and the actors. Everybody liked what was happening and
wanted to make it better, so those were very rewarding
conversations to be in.
And then I try and be myself, I try and bring my sense of
comfort and confidence to the process and maybe thatís
helpful to people, but at the same time Iím not immune from
the anxieties of being in a new space and wanting to make
sure that new space not just with a show that youíre doing,
but knowing that the stakes foróand this is whatís kind of
exciting, too. The stakes for a Guillermo del Toro project
are high because the expectations are high. People really
expect it to be great and that just means you have to try
and do something new and interesting and it has to be
I think you asked something about the other actors. I think
you said something about the older actors, but David Bradley
for example was someone that I had worked with in England on
a project. And when he started bringing Setrakian to life it
was just a privilege. The guy is indefatigable, just when
everyone else, when Iím freezing cold and my jaw is
chattering and my fingers wonít bend, heís smiling and
having a laugh and ready to keep going, so he led by example
in a way that was quiet and wonderful. I think everybody
feels that way about him.
I just watched Corey coming off of his show where heís just
had an incredible turn in House of Cards and it felt like a
privilege to be around him. Richard SammelÖ I could go
through everybody on the show and to-a-person it was a
positive interaction. Kevin Durand and I have the same
lawyer, so our lawyer really liked the fact that one of his
clients was killing the other one of his clients. I just
have so much respect for him and I love him so much and Mia
is just such a really whip smart, beautiful lady, a talented
lady, yes, I could keep going on. I loved everybody; Iím
sorry to be full on dead now.
Moderator Thank you. And the next question comes from the
line of Laura Bofill from EclipseMagazine.com.
Laura Hello, Sean. This is Laura Bofill. First of all I want
to say Iím a huge fan of you and I didnít get to talk with
you at Comic Con, so Iím happy to finally be able to talk
with you now, so thank you. This is truly a privilege and I
love the show.
Sean My pleasure.
Laura Yes, thank you. So I wanted to find out, youíve had a
rich career. What are the things that draws you to certain
roles that you accept either on TV or in film?
Sean Iím pretty promiscuous when it comes to what I do as an
actor. Often times it comes down to whether I feel I can do
it. If thereís a part ofóin an animated thing, thereís a
rake. I donít mean a rake like a guy, I mean like an actual
garden rake and Iím like can I see myself as the rake. Can I
be the rake? And so if I feel like thereísólike I can do it
credibly then Iím most of the way to doing it and it becomes
about ďAm I available?Ē
There are times when itís clear that movies have been
written and are getting made for reasons that are other than
that are purely financial and people have figured out the
formula. They figured out how to get money to make a movie.
Itís really hard. Iím incredibly sympathetic to how hard it
is to get things made, so there has to be an internal logic
within the story. The dialogue has to be credible, but it
doesnít have to be Shakespeare for me to be willing to do
it. Iím happy doing lower budget movies. I like doing big
budget movies. Itís really just a question of if Iíve done a
couple of really big things, things that have really scored,
then I like the idea of scrounging around and finding low
budget independent film where I can play a drug addict or
where I can do something like that. If Iíve done a whole
string of independent films that nobody has seen, then I
find myself yearning to get back on the grid, so I think my
career is very easy to interpret. Itís about working. Iím a
working actor; thatís how I see myself.
Moderator Thank you. And the next question comes from the
line of Robyn Schlau from Moviehole. Please go ahead.
Robyn Del Toro and Hogan stated that one of the reasons they
had went with FX to take the series was because the network
wanted the show to reflect the novels. Do you feel that your
portrayal of Jim Kent is very similar to the Jim Kent in the
novels or did you change him in any way?
Sean I think that those guys wanted freedom, the freedom to
make the books as close to the books that they wanted to or
the freedom to move away from them if they wanted to.
Understanding the essence of the books and the story of the
books and the tone and the spirit of it and not shying away
from the violence thatís in it and for all of those reasons,
Iím sure is why and more. Creative freedom is why the lads
would have chosen it.
But I donít think that Jim Kent is exactly like the book. I
think they wanted toówhen I met them they knew exactly what
they wanted Jim Kent to be. And when I experienced the book,
I didnít know what to make of how I might play Jim Kent, so
I really was relying on the fact that they knew what they
wanted and then it was my job to figure that out and give it
to them. Jimís character, I donít think is that fully
rendered in the books, so I hope Iím not telling tales out
of school, but no, I think Jim is one of the characters in
it that isnít slavishly close to whatís in the book.
Moderator Thank you. And the next question comes from the
line of Theresa Argie from Americaís Most Haunted. Please go
Theresa Hello, Sean, thank you so much for talking to us
today. I really enjoyed the series. Iím very sorry to see
you go on the series, but Iím looking forward to seeing how
this plays out this season and other seasons to come. But on
a personal note, I was wondering youíve done a lot of these
horror type movies or supernatural slightly seen science
fiction type movies. Have you ever had a supernatural or
paranormal experience yourself?
Sean I am fully prepared to accept the existence of the
supernatural, but I donítónot one that Iím confident enough
to relate, but I donít think itís fun to live this life
without the possibility of the supernatural.
Theresa So if there was to be any sort of supernatural
beings be it ghosts, vampires, any kind of cryptic
creatures, what would be your vote for the most likely of
these supernatural beings to actually exist?
Sean Iím sort of boring, so I would kind of think that
whatever it is it would be very close to human beings. Some
other sensory, some other like mental psychological,
psycho-spiritual something or other that could cause sort of
group think or collective consciousness I would think is it.
I donít necessarily expect to see apparitions and vampires
walking around, but I do know that the mind is a very
powerful thing and that people are very suggestible and so I
remain open to that and to extraterrestrial potentiality.
Moderator Thank you. And the next question comes from the
line of Bruce Eisen from HereIsTV.com.
Bruce Good morning.
Sean Good morning.
Bruce So having done movies and TV and given what a lot of
people think is the golden age of TV, do you have any
preference at this point for doing TV over movies or movies
Sean I really donít. I really donít. I like to change gears,
so the rhythms of a television show play to my ownóI like
the rhythms of television. I like the speed of it. I like
the dynamism of it, but I also like the sense of detail and
immersion that you get in a film, so to me my work doesnít
radically change based on the medium as much as it does
relative to the story and the characters.
Iíll tell you Iíd like to do comedies right now. Iíve just
been shot in the head by Kevin Durand and one of the great
TV franchises of this new decade is leaving me, so Iíd love
to flip a switch and start working with a laugh track.
Moderator Thank you. And our last question comes from the
line of Angie Barry from CriminalElement.com. Please go
Angie Hello, Sean. Iíve been a big fan my whole life. My
question is you mentioned earlier that you really liked
seeing the hash tag RIPJIM going around, so I was just
wondering, do you keep up with fan feedback on your projects
or are you the sort of actor that prefers to just let it lie
and however it falls, thatís how it falls?
Sean I like scanning through the Twitter feed now and then,
but I donít have a consistency to it. I think every now and
then Iíll get really focused or thereíll be some reason if
Iím working on a kick starter campaign or if thereís
something that isnít going to get promoted anywhere else
that I really like whether itís something Iím doing or
something somebody else is doing, I get in there. A lot of
people have a charitable or other very emotional things that
they want or they ask or something like that and I find it
really hard to pick and choose at that, so I try and release
myself from any obligation to that, but every now and then
Iíll find something that I feel like doing it, so a little
I have a talk radio show on TradioV called Vox Populi Radio.
Itís a political radio show, so I definitely once a week,
find myself digging in and hoping and wanting people that
are paying attention to the conversations that weíre having
and trying to promote it and stoke peopleís interest. During
those moments, Iím acutely aware of what people are thinking
What I noticed is with the people that respond to me or
whatever, itís a very similar thing. Itís very, very rare. I
think I might have only blocked one or two people in the
entire time Iíve had Twitter because people are just
basically decent and have thoughts. Even if somebody is
critical, I usually agree with them; they usually have a
point that theyíre making that I donít think is too far off,
but I donít live and die by it.
Moderator Thank you. No more questions in queue.
Tom Thanks so much to everyone for joining us today and
especially Sean Astin. We greatly appreciate your time.
Sean Thank you. I enjoyed it. I just wonder like when you
finish the interview or when the person finishes
interviewing if they hang up and jump off, because like
theyíre just waiting for their question or if people like
hang around and theyíre waiting to hear what their
colleagues are saying or whatever, so itís weird to be in a
vacuum like that, but for anybody who is still listening, I
really appreciated it ó the questions were so good.
Tom Great. As a reminder The Strain airs Sunday nights at 10
p.m. Eastern/Pacific only on FX. Thanks again and 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 Service. You may now
Back to the Main Articles
Back to the Main Primetime TV Page
We need more episode guide recap writers, article
writers, MS FrontPage and Web Expression users, graphics designers, and more, so
please email us
if you can help out! More volunteers always
Page updated 9/12/14