Kevin Durand, the man of many faces.
We've seen him as The Blob in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Barry Burton in Resident Evil: Retribution, Carlos in The Butterfly Effect, and now Mika in The Captive, available on blu-ray and DVD now. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview the incredible Kevin Durand on The Captive, as well as some other, more basic questions! The interview lasted around 20 minutes, and it was really awesome to talk with him! Without further ado, here's the breakdown of the Q and A's:
What made you interested in being a part of The Captive?
I'm a huge fan of Atom Egoyan, and he and I were shooting Devil's Knot in Atlanta. And he said he wanted to talk to me, and I thought he wanted to talk to me about [my character] John Mark Byers from Devil's Knot, and he just said "You know, I've got this other idea." And when he first pitched the idea to me, my initial reaction was "Wow! I'm so honored that you think of me and want to work with me again. But I really don't think I can do that."
And then he sent me the script months later, and I thought the script was written so beautifully, and I was just like... it scared me, but I was like, well... as an artist, as an actor, if something scares you, it's probably a good sign. You get to explore these uncomfortable, uncharted areas, and you're not often asked to do that. So, I thought "Oh my God! Lets go on this crazy trip and see what happens."
I really love it when there are two characters that really play off of each other. Your character, Mika, and Cass both do this. It's interesting, because as I noticed you mentioned in one of the special features, and I'm kind of paraphrasing here, there's a power shift. When Mika first finds Cass, she's young enough to be influenced. But in present day, she's much older and can think for herself, and has learned how to manipulate Mika to get what she wants. I feel like this is a relationship we don't see often, in roles of a captor and the captive. How did you prepare yourself for that?
Well, it all just kind of existed in Atom's words and the work that we did, and we rehearsed and talked over the script, and you know, we were kind of playing into that he really, truly fell in love with her, and wanted to do anything to make her happy, other than let her go. And he kept just pushing the envelope to see how far he could actually go and get away with it, and try to bring her some type of joy or happiness in hopes that she would reciprocate that affection, you know? And she had him, yeah. She's really smart, and she figured out how to make him her puppet.
There's something really special about The Captive, because it has the potential to remind us the shocking truth that sometimes horrible things like this can happen. And I've heard that sometimes it's hard to keep things lighthearted on set when filming something like this, just because of the constant reminder of "This is, in a sense, real." Did any of you encounter that problem, of just trying to keep things really lighthearted and joyful?
Oh, you have to! Yeah, you absolutely have to. Because otherwise, you know, we would have all gone bananas. You know, Atom has a real, kind of kiddyish, joyous way about him, and he's still kind of like this little kid, in a way. You know, he's got this great big playground that he created, and there's all these people helping him tell his story. He has this real, wonderful, infectious energy. So even though we're dealing with this horrific situation, [laughs] we keep it light, you know? And Alexia and I had to giggle and laugh, and joke when we were between takes, because you can't just stay there all the time.
Right, yeah. It's definitely not good for one to.
Yeah! And you know, there's a lot of levels to that relationship that's been built over so many years. That she's been with him and even though [laughs] he's got her in this "dungeon"-like setting, they've had a chance to kind of know each other probably better than any of them know anyone else. And even though it comes from a place of atrocity, they still really know each other.
Yeah. I mean you're right, like you said, she's kind of being kept in that setting, but it's still kept child-like, you know? She's got all of her books, and the piano, and she can watch her mom, and it doesn't feel like a normal "prison" probably would.
I think the art direction they had is so brilliant because when you're down in that basement, when you looked at the room from one side it looked like a cozy “den” of sorts, but then when you looked at it from the opposite side of the room, it looked like a prison cell. Just the way that they designed that room is... I think it's really symbolic of the situation. You know, she did have books, television, computers, and cozy places to sit and all this stuff, but then there was this reminder that she was held captive against her own will. Was she ever going to get out of there? And how did she make it through day to day? There's just a lot of interesting contradictions.
I’m a sucker for neat trivia facts on movies. And it can be absolutely anything. For example, things that were added by an actor to a character when it normally wasn't in the description, or a scene that was ad-libbed, anything at all. Is there anything you could think of to share?
Oh man, I don’t know! Atom really encouraged me to kind of play a little bit in the moment. I couldn't dissect it and pull some specific thing out that I was like “Oh, that just happened in the moment.” I might have to watch it again. [laughs] I haven’t watched it in a while, maybe I could tell you then. But there is kind of a sense of… he kind of keeps it alive by letting us play a little bit. It’s always a very virtual experience working with him in the two films that I worked with him. Very creatively, it was like he’s giving me the opportunity to push myself the most, and explore uncomfortable, dark places but also gave me the freedom and the confidence to just go free in the moment, and just kind of catch flight and see what happens.
Right. And that’s really cool that you’re allowed to do that and just kind of branch out some, you know? That you’re not stuck with “No, the script says this.” or “The character description says this, so you have to do it this way."
Yeah. Well, I mean with a character like Mika too it’s like, I mean, I don’t know how [laughs] he would… I couldn't look into what he would say things like this, or he’s thinking this when he’s saying this. A lot of it had to be kind of loose to just try to find stuff that appealed to Atom, that seemed truthful and sincere in the film. So yeah, a lot of that I think came through long conversations and in the moment while we were playing.
Out of all the characters you've ever played, which one is your favorite?
Oh man, I don’t know! Hopefully I haven’t played him yet. You know, I would hate to think that I've played him. [laughs] I’d like to think that I still have a long way to go. I have a real interest in all of them for different reasons. My friends and my wife especially know this, that they’re almost kind of like old friends, and I always pull out old pictures and go “Hey, you remember when I looked like this guy?” I always get a kick out of showing people pictures like “Hey, what do you think of this?” and I’m like “That was me!” I really have a lot of joy that wells up in me for all of them, because I just always feel like, and know that it's special to get the opportunity to make a living doing this and so I’d have to say I love all of them equally.
Well hey, that’s a good answer.
I don’t want one to get jealous over the other.
Yeah, and as you said about bringing up pictures… you've gone under some really crazy prosthetics for some of those roles. What is that like? I know that has to be time consuming, especially for your roles in I Am Number Four, and Wolverine.
Yeah, it totally is time consuming, but it’s always a really cool, kind of welcoming process because you have somebody else helping you become someone else, and that’s really cool, you know? There’s only so much you can do on your own. I get to transform, and be these different dudes, that when I look at them I feel like I’m not watching myself. When you have someone helping you with that by actually, physically transforming you either in the face, or the color of your eyes, or like on Vikings, I had this hour and a half to two hour beard that they would put on, every time, and it just [laughs]... all those changes, like these great artists coming in and helping you become someone else… I always love that process, as time consuming as it may be.
If you could choose any one actor or actress that you had previously not worked with, but want to, who would it be?
Wow. There are so many of them that I’m a big fan of, or have been a big influence for me. I've worked with quite a few of them too, which is really cool. But ones that I haven’t worked with yet? I mean, I would have to say I've always been a huge fan of Gary Oldman, he’s really incredible. I grew up loving and watching Clint Eastwood movies with my dad. But man, the list just goes on and on.
Is there a type of role or movie that you haven't done yet, but would really like to try?
Um, there's no real specific genre or specific type of character I'd like to play. I mean, in recent years, people have been letting me be the "good guy" a lot more, which is kind of fun. You get to "save the world, get the girl" kind of thing, that's been a refreshing change. But there's no specific archetype or genre that I would want to just stay in. I like that I can jump around and play different types of guys in different types of films and television shows. It just keeps it interesting and challenging, you know? There was a time where I was just like, "I just want to be an action hero." But I would like to be a bit of everything, depending on the project. All I ever hope for is that it's good. You know? Hopefully I can just keep doing good stuff. [laughs]
I saw that you played Barry in Resident Evil. Have you played any of the games?
When I got the part they gave me the games, and I went and locked myself up in a room and just tried to play them. I'm not a great gamer [laughs], so I got to touch on it a little bit, but it's kind of interloping when you take on something like that because there's so many people that are addicted to the games themselves, and you just hope that you don't mess it up for them. [laughs]
A big "thank you" to Moviepilot and Lionsgate for making this all happen, and to Kevin Durand for the awesome time!