The Dialogue

The Dialogue is CSICON's interview-themed show. Posted on rather irregular intervals, depending on when we get the opportunity to hold interviews, it will be a one-on-one discussion with people relevant to Geek Culture. Expect authors, thinkers, writers, pundits, actors, Internet broadcasters, directors and people involved in other geek themed online endeavors.


The Dialogue #1: Victor Webster

Published: 2012-07-27 23:04 - 27 minutes

In the first episode of The Dialogue, we sit down for a chat with Victor Webster, currently playing Carlos Fonnegra on Canadian sci-fi police procedural Continuum.

The interview is available as an MP3 at the bottom of this entry, which is a transcription of the interview.

Q: All right, so two episodes remain of the first season, Family Time and End Times, and I understand that a second season is still not approved. What kind of hopes and ambitions do you have for the second season?

Well, I think we have a lot of characters. And all of them have an interesting story to tell, so there are so many different ways that we can go with the show. Obviously, you have the whole Liber8 movement, and whether you see them as terrorists or freedom fighters and to explore how they got involved, we have the future, we have the present – which is 2012 … I’d like to get to know a little more about Liber8 and their movement and what drew all of the members, so I can – as an audience – have a little more empathy for what they’re trying to achieve. I think that would be interesting. I think we’ve touched on that.I think the writers are so good at giving a little taste of something and then holding back and leaving you wanting a little more. And they’re so great at just throwing little curve balls in; right when you know where the story is leading, they all of a sudden give you a 90 degree angle and you’re like “Whoa, what the heck just happened? This is something that I didn’t even think of”.

You know, one thing that I can’t stand is when you go to a movie or when you’re watching a TV show and you know everything that’s going to happen before it happens. That’s not the case with this show at all, and that’s one of the things that I love about it, it’s so smart and it takes all of the current events of our world that are happening right now and incorporates them right in and lets them grow and you can see where those things might lead to in the future. So there’s so many possibilities.

Also, you have this procedural drama element where you get to go along with the characters and solve a crime each and every episode, but then you have the – it’s serialized in the way that you follow the characters from episode to episode and what they’re going through, their struggles. So it’s got something for everybody.

Q: You mentioned a couple of things that I’d like to touch on. First up; Liber8. A lot of the fans of the show have discussed that, despite their methods, Liber8 have a lot of good ideas in their base philosophy. Kiera (Rachel Nichols) represents an oppressive corporate government and it’s hard not to root for them. They’re fighting against a totalitarian regime. Do you feel that they have redeeming qualities or are they simply “the bad guys”?

Absolutely, that’s one of the things that I think Simon Barry was so great about; you understand where they’re coming from, he develops this society where people live in oppression and I don’t think anybody finds that appealing. I think people understand why they’re fighting and what they’re doing and agree with it. They may not agree with their methods, of course, they’re very extreme in their methods, but – is that the only way they can go about it, or is it not?

Q: Right, that’s something that I’m hoping to see more of in a second season. See maybe a more subtle approach, see them maybe trying to manipulate the media or talk to the grass roots more, rather than instigating protests or arranging kidnappings.

Yeah, well, as you saw, they are doing that in The Politics of Time, when they’re now in bed with Tahmoh Penikett‘s character. They’re going to start influencing government in changes. Now, in this episode they were murdering people, so – you can see that they’re exploring all these different avenues.

Q: You also mentioned that the show is a procedural. A lot of fans – me included – felt that the show suffered in the first couple of episodes, because it wasn’t exactly clear that this was going to be a police procedural with science fiction elements. But since then, it’s settled quite comfortably into a weekly show with an overall story arc. [...] How do you feel the show’s setup – the police procedural setup – is as a framework for telling this story?

Well, I think it’s great, because everybody likes to tie something up at the end. They like a beginning, middle and end. People like that. But they also like to – the reason that people come back to serialized shows like Game of Thrones - they want to know where the characters are going to lead, they get invested in these characters. Now; our good guys and our bad guys are there every episode, but we also have these really interesting characters that come in throughout the episodes and we sprinkle new faces in here and there, so we’re actually following both the good guys and the bad guys – to simplify it – so you develop a bond with all of them, you actually care about them.

I think that was one of the interesting things about the first few episodes of our show; you had so many characters to develop. They had to develop a story line of the future, they had to develop the bond between Kiera and her husband (John Reardon) and her son (Sean Michael Kyer) and what that means to be ripped away from.

They you’ve developed our relationship and how she’s able to fit in to our society relatively seamlessly; how do you make that happen? So there was a lot of development of characters and setting the story and getting people on board before we could really jump into exactly what the show was. It’s a very smart show, and it could be very complicated if it wasn’t handled the way that it was, people could get really lost. So I think it was really important to really focus and kind of simplify what the goal of the show was and then from there move outward.

Q: Right. I also like the way that, like you said, things are sprinkled in. For example, Julian Randol, played by Richard Harmon; his character just appears for maybe five minutes an episode, but he’s definitely grown and developed as a character throughout the eight episodes we’ve seen so far.

Yeah, one of the things about our show is that you might see something in episode two or three that you won’t even notice, you won’t even think about it, but then in episode seven or eight, for example, that will have been a seed that has planted and a tree will grow from that and you will get a pay off a few episodes down the road. The show is such that you can watch the show on TV the first time, and then go back and you’ll see things that you never saw the first time, and you’ll be like “Ah! That’s what happened, I never even saw that!”, and I think that’s so interesting, and I think that’s a testament to the ability of Simon and the writers to plant all these little seeds that pay off. Now, there may have been seeds that have been planted already that are going to pay off in the next two episodes, or that are going to pay off in the next season. For me, I like to think and be interested and drawn into TV shows, and this is the perfect thing for me for that reason.

Q: We’ve only got two episodes left of the current season, and I understand if you can’t tell us all too much about what’s going to be happening in them, but in a very general way, what kind of thing can we expect? Will we see a conclusion to any of the current story lines or will it end on a cliffhanger?

It’s a tricky question, in that it’s hard to answer it without giving away some spoilers, but I think that it answers as many questions as it raises. There’s definitely some things that are answered, but then by answering those questions, you’re now asking more questions.

Q: Now, you don’t interact much with the majority of the cast, you’ve not interacted all that much with Liber8 and so on. How are you enjoying watching the show? Apart from yourself, do you have any favorite characters?

I’m really, really, loving the show. On set, you get to read the script, you know what’s going to go on, and then when you watch the show, you get to see the life that the actors have breathed into these characters, and everbody’s doing such a great job and I think all the characters are so unique and different.

You know, sometimes in some shows, you’ll see characters that are really similar, this person could say this line and this person could say that line, you could change the names of the characters and it wouldn’t make a difference. I think the characters are so specific to who they are and they all have such an individuality that it just creates this big colorful show of interesting characters … I wonder if I can say the word ‘character’ one more time in the sentence [laughs].

So I’m really enjoying seeing all the life that’s coming into it, and I love Kagame (Tony Amendola) because he’s this cerebral, Zen, thinking man, but I also love Travis (Roger R. Cross), because he’s the “kick in the door and I’m gonna beat you to a bloody pulp”-character, and I love those guys as well.

Alec (Erik Knudsen) has got so much fun and life and his character started as this kind of cyber nerd kind of introvert, and he’s becoming so big now, and celebrating all of his wins and victories and really getting into it, and you see him as a character really blossoming and coming out of his shell because of this involvement that he has with Keira.

And the Kellog (Stephen Lobo) character is interesting, because he’s so duplicitous, you don’t know what his agenda is. They write so well for him and he’s so good – you don’t know which side of the fence he’s on and he kind of walks the line between both, you can tell that he’s definitely in it for himself, but it doesn’t seem like that his only thing. He’s flirting with Kiera, but to what end? Does he like her? Does he want something from her? What’s his interest? You don’t know where he’s going, so he’s always interesting to watch because you don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s almost like a snake, like a viper cruising through the jungle, you don’t know when he’s going to strike or at what.

Q: Your own character, Carlos Fonnegra, sometimes feels a little underdeveloped. We don’t know all that much about him in terms of family, friends, social life and so on. Is this something that you hope we’re going to look more into or do you prefer portraying him as a straight-up police officer?

Well, we found out a little more about him a couple of episodes back, but I think that’s something that they’ve planned. I don’t think they want you to know a lot – there’s just too much information all at once, with so many different characters. What Carlos’s back story is is not as integral to the story that we’re telling as it is to understanding Carlos – so if you unfold Carlos’s character slower, we have the ability to do that because who Carlos is doesn’t really affect the story. So you get little tidbits in his actions, in his reactions, in how he acts and then – like in the episode we just had – we get to know quite a bit about where he’s from and some of his backstory. I think they’ll continue to sprinkle that in throughout the run of Continuum.

Q: You were recently on a four-episode arc of Castle not too long ago, and how did you enjoy working with Nathan Fillion and the rest of the cast of Castle?

Nathan is like a big kid, you can see a reflection of that in his character as well. He’s very playful, and that just comes from Nathan. You know, that’s just inherent in him as a person. He’s always joking around, he’s really smart, he’s quick witted, I had a great time with him, just enjoyed him as a person and that whole set and cast and crew. Stana (Katic) was really interesting, really smart girl, she was reading comic books on set, which is something you would never guess about her. We had really great chemistry on and off set, she’s a really smart, beautiful woman, really talented on the show and their chemistry is so great.

I can understand when people ask what’s going to happen between Carlos and Kiera, because you get that same thing with Nathan’s character in Castle with Stana. The Beckett-Castle relationship is something that they’ve really developed. Now, you can see that there’s possibly something going on or them leading towards between our characters, but with our writing staff and Simon, you never know what’s going to happen. They could lead you in a direction and all of a sudden throw a curve ball at you, so just wait and see what happens with that whole situation.

Q: Keeping that sort of tension is always a good idea, I mean; it worked on Bones, it worked on The X-Files, and it works on so many shows. You have a male and a female lead and you kind skirt the edges of them expressing feelings or expressing a relationship but you never actually get there.

Exactly. You know, sometimes in life, when we imagine things or when we look forward to things, we create this fantasy situation of what somethings going to be like. A lot of times, it’s almost better than what actually happens. I think that a good scenario of this, is all of this build-up in the audience’s mind is so great and colorful and interesting, and if you just go out and just show it right away, it just deflates all of that possibility of tension you can have and really getting the emotions of the audience involved. So the build-up is key.

Q: Now, you’ve shown up as a guest on a lot of other shows, like NCISNCIS: Los AngelesCSI: MiamiBones and so on …

You trying to say I get around, or what?

Q: No, not at all [laughs]. I’m setting you up for a question here. Is there any other current TV series that you enjoy or that you’d like to show up on as a guest for an episode or an episode arc?

Oh, sure, there’s lots, I mean … Game of Thrones would be one. I love JustifiedBreaking Bad, you know, so there’s so much good television out – I think that’s why you see a lot of these people that are notorious for doing movie after movie are now doing television shows because they’re so interesting and you really get to dig in to the characters, and the quality has increased so much over the past five to ten years of television, to where we’ve got some incredible television shows on now. There’s a plethora of shows that I’d love to do.

Q: You’re also slated to appear opposite Katee Sackhoff in Growl next year, can you tell us anything about the current state of that movie?

Yeah, they’re working on that movie right now. In the movie business, nothing is definite – a lot of times you’ll have something set up and in the eleventh hour somebody will pull the rug out from underneath you. There’s a lot going with the movie that I really hope it gets made, because it’s such an interesting concept. I really hope it gets made, we just have to keep our fingers crossed.

Q: So do I, I’m really looking forward to seeing Katee in anything. The first ever post on CSICON was about her.

Yeah, Katee’s great, she’s one of my good friends, too. She’s doing so well in her show, Longmire, and she’s just such an interesting character, so quirky, fun, sexy and sassy, I’m really proud of her.

Q: Are there any other projects you’re involved with at the moment apart from Continuum and Growl?

I’ve got a movie coming out called Puppy Love which is a romantic comedy with Candace Cameron Bure. That’s a fun little romantic comedy. And then I just finished a movie called Bloodline which is a kind of psychological thriller / vampire horror movie, that’ll be coming out next year. And then there’s … September eleventh, I did an episode of White Collar that Renny Harlin directed, that’s a departure from their usual type of episode, there’s a lot of action in this episode and you get to see Tim DeKay and Matt Bomer in a different situation that you normally would – I wouldn’t want to spoil anything – and then we’re waiting to find out if they want to do another Scorpion King movie, which we may be doing.

Q: That must have been an interesting experience.

I’ll tell you what, that was one of the most best experiences of my entire life. I was in Thailand for three months, a month of fight training and working with these incredible stunt guys. These Thai guys will throw themselves through plate glass windows with no pads on – they just have no sense of self-preservation whatsoever. It’s insane what these guys will do.

Q: Also, acting opposite Ron Perlman must have been an experience, too.

Yeah; I mean, you’re in these beautiful locations with these tropical waterfalls and being picked up by elephants and thrown, these huge action sequences and these huge battle scenes every day. Then you’ve got Ron Perlman in the movie, he plays my king and my employer, he’s got this gravitas when you’re on set, he’s just so powerful and strong, and then you’ve got just out there, batty, Billy Zane and his character was so interesting. Those two couldn’t be more opposite of each other, Ron Perlman smokes cigars and drinks vodka, just a man’s man kind of guy and Billy’s just very eccentric; he’s kind of like a mad professor but very smart and very interesting. Then you’ve got Kevin ‘Kimbo Slice’ Ferguson and Dave Bautista, such an eclectic group of people brought into this movie. Then you’ve got my sidekick, Bostin Christopher, who played Olaf, just a really fun, big, jolly guy. I just had an amazing time.

Q: Right, and so it’s looking like we might see possibly a fourth movie in that series, then?

I mean; we’re in talks. I would love to do it and if everything works out all right, we can fit it into the schedule, then it’d be something that I’d love to do, so … Fingers crossed.

Q: Early on in your career, you were often cast as the obligatory hot guy, but you’re definitely grown beyond that – quite far beyond that – but what kind of roles do you most enjoy playing?

I like playing the dark roles. The darker roles like the killers, the – there’s something about that side of the character and how those people think is really intriguing to me. I like comedies; I love to make people laugh. It’s interesting that I like those really dark roles and I also like doing comedies because they’re so – so opposite of each other.

Q: Well, that just points to the fact that you’ve got good range.

Well, one would hope [laugh]. I think that’s – based on the audience and what they think, but I really enjoy it. I love testing myself and going into different characters; that’s fun. It’s one of the reasons I got into this business to begin with. What I was doing in my life at the time just felt like groundhog day, and this feels nothing like that – I’m in different places in the world, I’m playing different characters, working with different people, nothing is the same ever.

It’s great if you can handle that kind of life style. Some people can’t, some people need structure. I have zero structure; I can get a call right now and say “Hey, you need to leave for three months – tomorrow!”. What do with my house? What do I do with my dogs? What do I do with … everything in my life? It’s interesting, especially if you have a family. I don’t – right now – but I have friends that have kids, and then what do you do? It’s just .. gone for three months .. So it really takes a certain type of person to be able to handle that.

Q: I’ve really only got one more last question here. Comic book movies are huge right now, and is there any comic book character – or villain perhaps – that you would like to portray?

I mean; I love Deadpool, he’s just such a sarcastic ass-kicking guy, I love his sense of humor. Also, I love Hugh Jackman‘s portrayal of Wolverine, he’s just really, really, good. He’s just so perfectly cast and thank God that he’s continuing to make them because I enjoy those movies so much.

Who else is out there? I think all the really popular mainstream ones have been done. You know what would have been interesting is the Preacher [Priest. -Ed. Note] graphic novel, the way that the movie was was not really like the graphic novel at all, it would have been really interesting to have seen Preacher [Priest. -Ed. Note] done the way the graphic novel was. Another one is – oh, gosh, what’s the name of it – it’s about superheroes that live on this big star carrier and they’re celebrities, and they fight. They’re these hard partying, drinking, throwing parties on their star cruiser, doing drugs, superheroes. I gave Stana this comic book and I cannot remember what it was for the life of me. [Victor got back in touch after the interview to fill in the missing detail and correct Preacher to Priest. The comic book in question here is The Authority. - Ed. Note]

Q: Last, but not least, do you have anywhere on the Internet where people can find you; a fan page, a facebook page, a Twitter account or anything like that?

I have a Twitter account, it’s @WebsterVictor, and then on Facebook, there’s a lot of people there pretending to be me, I don’t have a Facebook page, so just as a note to people out there, I guess while we’re on it, I just got off Twitter with somebody – there’s some guy on there pretending to be me trying to con people out of money so … Yeah, that’s pretty interesting. I’ve reported them to Facebook, so beware! People take any opportunity to try to get one over on people, unfortunately.

Q: In that case, I’m just going to thank you for your time and good luck with Continuum, I’m really hoping to see you in season two.

You and me both! I appreciate it; thank you, man!

Download: MP3 Audio (28.5 MB)

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Breki Tomasson

Victor Webster