BriefTake: Interview with Hale Appleman
Posted by Cole in Articles & Interviews, Hale, News, Television, The Magicians
Hale did an interview with BriefTake during which he discussed The Magicians season 4 and his new role, the Monster, as well as mentioned a new film! The Magicians season 4 will premiere on Syfy in just 3 days. Even though we’re going to miss Eliot, based on what Hale had to say about the Monster, we’re ecstatic! Here is an excerpt of the interview, with a link to the rest of it below.
BriefTake: What is it like playing a new character on the same show?
Appleman: I can’t say that it was as easy as playing Eliot, in the sense that I had all of this material to source and actual novels, that is a rare gift that you have as an actor. For me, as the Monster, I just saw it as a huge opportunity to change up the expectations of the audience and gave me permission to explore something completely different. I ultimately settled on this idea of the dark shadow of your inner child, someone who has been neglected and left alone for thousands of years. He’s finally able to explore the world around him, which has changed and of which he has no understanding. He has been so neglected that he is without a true understanding of human empathy, and his headspace operates around his need for attention and his need to follow through on the mission he set out to accomplish. So he has a hit list of people that he has taken revenge on and also has this amnesia kind of child-like view of the world. He cannot remember who he is truly or from where he came. So there’s this element of him piecing it together. He’s been living in darkness for so many thousands of years and he’s finally able to start to piece it all back together.
BriefTake: So it is like a shadow figure?
Appleman: I think about it as the dark shadow of a child. Inspirations that I could draw from were the great monsters of cinema such as Frankenstein’s Monster and the idea of a monstrous spirit living in a human body somehow, and needing to learn how to live within a new body. Something that I thought about playing with a little bit is how he speaks and how he forms words, the things that he encounters in the sort of every day human life around him — What’s an ice cream cone and what’s a t-shirt and how do I eat a bowl of cereal? [laughs] So there’s a lot of humor in it. I hope that people enjoy it; I definitely took a chance and it was really exciting to take an opportunity to change it up, especially in terms of what people expect from me. This show spans so many different genres and has influences from across the board. I like that there’s a meta-quality to The Magicians in which we can sometimes wear our references on our sleeves—whether it is pop culture or tropes within horror and fantasy.
BriefTake: What types of roles would you like to play in the future?
Appleman: I love that The Magicians has given me an outlet for comedy, although I see myself probably as a more dramatic actor. Not that I can’t play across genres, but I would love to do some work that is more grounded—not that The Magicians can’t be. I feel like part of my joy on the show is to ground material that could be very whimsical, and that’s the beauty of a show that has a swirl of influences around it. That’s an unusual opportunity, so I will continue to seize that opportunity for as long as I am a part of The Magicians. But I also love working on stage; I love theatre. I came from the theatre, so I would love to do some more serious work on stage. I’m doing a film in the next few months which I’m very excited about, but I can’t really talk about it. But it is character-based, and it is a movie about a relationship and it’s just a movie about a relationship between one human and another. So that’s really focused and it’s a huge departure from what I am doing on the show because it’s so single-focused in its central [pauses] there’s no plot [laughs]. The plot is the relationship. Anyway, I probably shouldn’t say anything. [laughs]
Read the rest of what Hale had to say in the full BriefTake interview.