Interview with Richard Coyle from "Crossbones" on NBC - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Richard Coyle

Interview with Richard Coyle of "Crossbones" on NBC 6/18/14

I really enjoyed watching this show this past Spring/Summer, and I'm annoyed that it got canceled. Richard Coyle was one of the best reasons to watch it. He was outstanding in his role. On the phone, he came over as just a really nice guy and very professional.

Moderator: Matthew Mitchell
June 18, 2014
1:15 p.m. ET

Operator: Good morning, or good afternoon. My name is (Michelle), and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the conference call of Richard Coyle, from Crossbones. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise.

After the speaker's remarks, there will be a question and answer session. If you would like to ask a question during this time, simply press star, then the number one on your telephone keypad. If you would like to withdraw your question, press the pound key. I would now like to turn the call over to Matthew Mitchell. Please go ahead.

Matthew Mitchell: Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining today's call with Richard Coyle, who portrays Tom Lowe in the embassy summer drama, Crossbones. If you'd like a transcript following the call, please reach out to me or Marsha Rickett, and we'll send, once it's ready within the next 48 hours.

Just a reminder that this conference call is recorded. Once again thank you all for joining us, and we can now begin. Thanks, (Michelle).

Richard Coyle: Hello?

Matthew Mitchell: (Michelle)?

Richard Coyle: No.

Operator: Yes, sir. Are you ready for your question?

Matthew Mitchell: Yes, we're all set.

Operator: OK. Anybody who has a question, please press star one on your telephone keypad. Your first question comes from Jamie Ruby, from SciFi Vision. Your line is open.

Jamie Ruby: Hi, thanks so much for talking to us today. I'm really enjoying the show so far.

Richard Coyle: Great. How are you?

Jamie Ruby: Good, you?

Richard Coyle: Yes, I’m good, thanks.

Jamie Ruby: Great. So can you talk about what it was that first attracted you to the role that made you know that you just had to do it?

Richard Coyle: Well I suppose it was – it's a great script, so it was a great script, and I immediately liked the (pas de das) between Lowe and Blackbeard, which was fascinating, and it – if actually – you know, obviously it's a series-long arc between these two characters.

But in the pilot, the first episode that I read initially, you know, it was very – it's very much like a boxing match, it was very, you know – these two characters going toe-to-toe. I found that very interesting, the idea of an agent of the crown (square to) an Osama Bin Laden like terrorist, and the – you know, the potential for where that would lead, so it was – it was intriguing.

Jamie Ruby: Great. And can you talk about some of the stunts in the show? I mean, you guys have jumped around a lot.

Richard Coyle: Yes, it's a very physical – it's a very physical role, it's a physical show. There's a lot of stunts, a lot of sword fighting, a lot of running around, a lot of hand-to-hand combat. But that's all – I love to do that stuff, and it was – it was – yes, that was a full-time job in itself, as part of – you know, a full-time part of this role, was hands-on with the stunts.

And an amazing stunt department. I think, you know, Keith Campbell and Andy Dillan leading, and Thomas Dupont were – they're guys – I’ve worked with them before, and it was amazing to have a chance to work with them again in such a close way on this, you know, brilliant, brilliant guys.

Jamie Ruby: All right. OK, thank you so much.

Richard Coyle: OK.

Operator: Your next question comes from Patty Grippo from Pizzazz Entertainment. Your line is open.

Patty Grippo: Hi, Richard. Thanks for talking with us today.

Richard Coyle: Not at all. You're welcome. How are you?

Patty Grippo: I'm good, thanks. So let me ask you, what is it that drew you to this character?

Richard Coyle: I think it's – there's something really interesting about Tom Lowe, there's something – a duality about him, which is – which I find interesting. You know, whenever I find those – the kind of dualities like this, I’m always drawn to it.

And then with Tom Lowe, it's a case of his nature is to tell the truth, but his job is to be a liar. So it was like how do you reconcile those two sides of who you are? And I found that fascinating, that he had to lie, you know, and dissemble, really, is the word, for a living.

But is – he is a man of integrity and truth, and tallying those two things was fascinating prospect, especially given how the series develops, and what happens later on, which obviously we haven't seen yet, but …

Patty Grippo: Right.

Richard Coyle: Yes.

Patty Grippo: Well and let me ask you this, what would you say is the most challenging thing, other than the stunts, about being in the series?

Richard Coyle: The most challenging thing other than the stunts. I think probably some of the learning, the sheer volume of some of the dialogue probably, in a short amount of time. There's – as the series progresses, there are some incredibly wordy exchanges between Lowe and Blackbeard …

Patty Grippo: OK.

Richard Coyle: You know, like anything, it's like you have to make it – you have to own it, and make it truth, and you have to make it native to you, and sometimes that takes time, and you need the luxury of time sometimes to make that really land.

So the challenge, I suppose, was making all that stuff work with the time limitation that we had, you know, but it is – again, it's just part and parcel of, you know, what is required. But that was probably the most challenging thing apart from the stunts and the physicality.

Patty Grippo: OK, well, thank you very much.

Richard Coyle: Thank you.

Operator: And your next question comes from Rebecca Murray, from the Showbiz Junkies. Your line is open.

Rebecca Murray:Rebecca Murray, editor in chief, Showbiz Junkies: Good morning. Now you were saying when you first read that script you loved character, but also you have to love the idea of just going opposite John Malkovich. What is that like?

Richard Coyle: Well obviously, I mean, I’ve worked with John Malkovich before. I worked with John ten years ago on a film, and I had great memories of, you know, being around him, and what he was like, and I wasn't much – you know, I wasn't out of drama school that long when I worked with him then, and it was – I was pretty starstruck.

And you know, it's amazing to work with John, because you know, he is – he's almost unique amongst actors in that he's become this kind of cultural icon. He's more than just an actor nowadays, he's one of the only actors who's actually got a movie named after him, you know, with his own name in the title.

And he designs clothes, and he's sort of a – he's like a cultural behemoth, you know what I mean? He's an amazing character, and an amazing man to be around, and just sort of – it was a great thrill and a real privilege, you know, to be able to square off to John in character as Tom Lowe. And he's very generous, and made it very easy …

Rebecca Murray: Did you find …

Richard Coyle: … and he was just amazing, yes.

Rebecca Murray: Did you find your working relationship …

Richard Coyle: I'm a huge fan of (John Malkovich). Pardon?

Rebecca Murray: I'm sorry. Did you find the working relationship between the two of you has changed much since the first time you worked with him until now?

Richard Coyle: Oh yes, I mean when I first worked with him ten years ago, I was very much sort of – I was a character on the sidelines as it were, you know, I wasn't – I was sort of a – I was trying to make my mark as an actor.

And sort of, this is very different, because I am sort of going toe-to-toe with him as equals in this – in Crossbones in a sense, you know, we're adversaries as it were. And – but it's a much more complicated relationship.

So we – it's like adversaries and friends. There's a weird mutual respect, kind of mutual envy, and a hate, and it's a complicated relationship here, so it's a very – much more is required here than it was when I first worked with John.

Rebecca Murray: Great, thank you.

Richard Coyle: Thank you.

Operator: Again, if anybody would like to ask a question, please press star one on your telephone keypad. That is star one on your telephone keypad. Your next question comes from Suzanne Lanoue, from The TV MegaSite. Your line is open.

Suzanne Lanoue: Good morning.

Richard Coyle: Hi.

Suzanne Lanoue: Hi. I was wondering, when you got the job, and since then, do they tell you very much about your character or any of the secrets behind him, or do they just sort of let you figure it out on your own, or combination?

Richard Coyle: Well, as we're filming?

Suzanne Lanoue: Yes, and before you were filming.

Richard Coyle: Well I mean obviously I have, before we started filming, I read the script, or as many scripts as were written, which was, you know, six, I think, at that point. So there's a lot of – a lot of information available to me.

And also – yes, I obviously I could pick up the phone and speak to (Neil Cross), which I did, frequently. So yes, I wasn't – and I mean once we all arrived in Puerto Rico before – you know, the weeks before we started shooting, there was plenty of opportunity to, you know, sit down and flesh out back stories and ideas and secrets.

So you know, I think it's important to have that stuff on hand, and I think what you'll – as the series progresses, you'll see that it sort of deepens. The sort of direction of the characters, certainly of Lowe and Blackbeard, changes a little bit, and you realize there's a lot more going on than you may have first have realized. So it was all sort of plotted and planned, you know, there's a – there's a direction, yes.

Suzanne Lanoue: All right, well, thank you. I look forward to the rest of it. I've enjoyed it so far.

Richard Coyle: Great, thank you.

Operator: Again, if anybody would like to ask a question, please press star one on your telephone keypad.

Richard Coyle: I'd like to ask a question. Can I ask a question?

Operator: Go for it.

Richard Coyle: No, I’m just kidding, (Michelle), don't worry.

Operator: I have no more questions. I will turn the call back over to Mr. Mitchell for closing – oh, we do have one more question from Rebecca Murray, from Showbiz Junkies. Your line is open.

Rebecca Murray: Thank you. One more thing before they take you away from us, what – how do you explain the continuing appeal of pirate stories? Do you know why it is that audiences love watching pirates on film or TV?

Richard Coyle: Well, I would probably – I think it's probably something to do with the romance of it. I mean it's – you know, it's a bygone era, we don't have that anymore, it's gone, it's a time of romance and thrill, and swashbuckle, and all that, you know.

And we've made pirates into these sort of romantic figures of villainy, and I don't know, I think there's kind of an enduring appeal in there. It's like we can make anything up, anything goes, because we don't really know much, to be honest, about pirates.

And so they can exist in any sort of way we want them to, I think there's something appealing in that, in itself, do you know what I mean? We don't have any definites really. Pirates were figures of mystery and fear, and you know, and they still are in a way.

So I think you can almost tell any story and it's – we find it fascinating, any pirate story, because they can be anything we want them to be. It's amazing. I mean that's probably part of what it is.

Rebecca Murray: Great, thank you.

Richard Coyle: You know, we don't know anything about Blackbeard, really. It's like it's amazing, this figure who is like public enemy number one for so many years, and we really don't know much about him at all.

We don't even actually know what his actual name was. It could be Edward Teach, or Edward Thatch, or all of these possibilities. I mean it's amazing that these people came out of sort of out of the mist, and then vanished into the mist, and I think that's fascinating right there. So I’m sure that's part of its appeal, the whole piracy thing.

Rebecca Murray: Absolutely. Thank you.

Richard Coyle: Thank you.

Operator: We have another question from Steve Eramo from SciFiAndTvTalk. Your line is open.

Steve Eramo: Hi, Richard. Thanks for your time today.

Richard Coyle: That's OK. Hi.

Steve Eramo: I think the production values on Crossbones are fantastic, and I wanted to ask you, just in general, how does like the costumes and the sets you guys, how does that all sort of further inspire you with your performance?

Richard Coyle: Well you know, it was amazing I have to say, because the sets were – because we were filming in a – well it was a disused naval base, and basically we had the run of the place. So they were able to build, like a pirate town.

And you know, it's amazing to be able to work like that, because it's not like you're stopping off a block in New York City, you know, and (inaudible). We actually exist in that place, it's weird, I mean they had really ships.

So it's like you can just go no acting required, because I’m standing in this amazing costume, and I’m looking around, and I can see 100 people dressed as pirates, or as whatever they are, in this town square, and a – and a period town, and I’m in – I’m in situ.

I don't really have to do too much imagining, because I’m right there. So it's kind of amazing to be able to work in those circumstances, do you know what I mean? It's not like you're standing in front of a green screen …

Steve Eramo: Right.

Richard Coyle: … having to sort of draw these places and people in your mind. It's all there in front of you for real, which is terrific. And it's a real help for, you know, for you as an actor.

Steve Eramo: And then as a follow up question, just a general question for you, Richard, I wanted to find out, did you always want to work in this industry while you were growing up, or did you have other professions in mind?

Richard Coyle: Yes, no, I didn't – no, I didn't – I never – I never even knew about acting, it wasn't even – it wasn't even in the realm of possibility for me growing up. I'm not from any kind of a background in this business. So I guess, you know, once I’d decided that I didn't want to be a spaceman anymore, or a cowboy, which was obviously as a little boy I wanted to do, I then I wanted to be an architect.

That was what I really wanted to do, and then I was – do you know, it was just kind of like a curve ball out of left field, I started doing plays when I was at college, and I still even then didn't think I could do this for a living.

And eventually somebody said why don't you consider this, you're pretty good, and they sort of said this is how you would go about pursuing it. And that's when I first got the germ of the idea, and I just sort of went down that path.

But yes, it was out of left field, really. But I’m very glad. And I’ve been very lucky, you know, I always thank my lucky stars, because I’ve been doing well, and it's a notoriously difficult thing to do for a living. So yes, probably had I – had I had that knowledge, had I known that, you know, it is such a difficult thing, I probably wouldn't be doing it. My blind faith and determination has kept me going, so.

Steve Eramo: Well I’m glad you made that decision, and …

Richard Coyle: Me too.

Steve Eramo: … I'm going to actually – I want to slip in one other quick question if you don't mind …

Richard Coyle: Sure.

Steve Eramo: … again, going off the rails a little bit, TV show you did a while back, absolutely loved your performance in, Strange.

Richard Coyle: Oh, cool.

Steve Eramo: If you wouldn't mind, just very quickly perhaps, just a little bit about that show, and what maybe you enjoyed most about that character, playing him.

Richard Coyle: Well I loved that – I’m always drawn to those kind of characters who exist on the fringes, and slightly strange, you know, people who aren't – don't walk down the middle, they sort of walk on the edges. And I loved that character, John Strange.

I loved the idea of, you know, a defrocked priest, somebody who'd witnessed – seen demons, and I loved that idea. I’m really into science fiction, not necessarily space, but science fiction in its original true sense, which is, you know, fiction that is influenced slightly by science, and …

Steve Eramo: Right.

Richard Coyle: So that was – I loved that character, I loved that show, and I thought – I liked the darkness, the gothic-ness of it. I think we were ahead of our time with Strange, I think now – if Strange was on now, it would be a very different story.

But Strange was on 10 years ago, 11 years ago, and I don't think, certainly in Britain, we were quite ready for that kind of stuff back then. I think the TV landscape has changed in Britain. It's – I mean it was always slightly different in America. You've always been slightly ahead of the game, I think, comparatively. But I don't think we were ready in Britain for Strange, which is a shame actually.

Steve Eramo: Right.

Richard Coyle: And I think now it would be a very different story. It was a shame we didn't get to make any more, because I think it was very interesting, it was definitely heading in a – in a dark and strange direction, if you pardon the pun, which I liked.

Steve Eramo: Richard, once again, absolute pleasure speaking with you today, and again thanks for your time.

Richard Coyle: Not at all, thank you.

Steve Eramo: Take care.

Richard Coyle: Take care.

Operator: Again, if anybody would like to ask a question, please press star one on your telephone keypad. Your next question comes from Sabienna Bowman from TV Equals. Your line is open.

Sabienna Bowman: Hi, Richard. Thanks so much for speaking with us today.

Richard Coyle: Not at all.

Sabienna Bowman: I was just wondering, can you tease a little bit about what we're going to see coming up in the next few weeks on Crossbones?

Richard Coyle: Sure. OK, well I think – I don't know how to tease without giving it all away. Well obviously I mean, you know, we see a lot of the whole – the fabric of the town. Santa Campana becomes much richer, we get to learn a lot more about some of the other characters in the town.

And we also – the deepening of the relationship between Lowe and Blackbeard is very important, and I think Lowe's – Lowe gets into a place of – his job becomes complicated, much more complicated than it would at first seem.

Because as things go on, I think, you know, like his, you know, his job is obviously partly – well, one of his main jobs is to assassinate Blackbeard, and I think as time goes on, you know, that – he has – the relationship between them deepens to a point where it sort of compromises everything about his mission, everything about who he is, what he believes, and where he's from, his loyalties.

So it's – it becomes – it's an amazingly complicated thing as it spreads, Crossbones, you know, and it was the same in the script, it becomes very rich and very – it's an intelligent drama, the more – as the series progresses, you know we see that things deepen and becoming more complicated.

Sabienna Bowman: That sounds amazing, and I just also wanted to – a quick follow up, in your opinion, what is Tom's greatest weakness?

Richard Coyle: That's a good question. What is Tom's greatest weakness, yes, it's a really good question. I think probably – I think, well, as I said earlier, I think there are two things about Tom. The thing that is – that drew me to him initially, is the fact that he is a man of integrity, and his nature is to tell the truth, and his job is to lie. So that's a great – I found that fascinating.

Sabienna Bowman: Definitely.

Richard Coyle: And I think that is also his weakness, is that he is a man of integrity in a business where he is required to lie and dissemble and cheat and manipulate, because that's his job, he works for the crown as an agent, and I think his weakness is – well I wouldn't say a weakness.

I think he has a – he has a conscience that is slowly creeping up, and gaining in strength and power. You know, all the things he had to do in the past are slowly creeping up on him, and catching up with him, and so I suppose you might say that would be his weakness, that he can no longer square away some of the things he's had to do.

Sabienna Bowman: Thank you so much, Richard. It was so nice to speak with you.

Richard Coyle: No, not at all. It was lovely. Thank you.

Operator: At this time, I have no further questions. Mr. Mitchell, I turn the call back over to you.

Matthew Mitchell: Thank you. Thank you for taking time to participate in today's call. Should any of you have follow up questions, or need additional information, please feel free to reach out to me, and I’ll do my best to get you all what you need. Thanks so much again, and have a great rest of your day.

Richard Coyle: Thank you.

Matthew Mitchell: Thanks, Richard.

Richard Coyle: Bye.

Matthew Mitchell: Bye-bye.

Operator: Thank you, everyone. This concludes today's conference call. You may now disconnect.


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