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‘The Path’: Hugh Dancy on Playing a Religious Leader and the Possibility of ‘Hannibal’ Returning

Warning: possible spoilers below.

The Hulu original series The Path follows a family at the center of a controversial religious movement, known as Meyerism, as they struggle with relationships, faith and power. As Eddie (Aaron Paul) questions whether all of the answers can be found within the religion that his wife Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) is so dedicated to, she finds herself pulled deeper and deeper into Cal’s (Hugh Dancy) world and his views on the way that they should be led.

During this exclusive interview with Collider, actor Hugh Dancy talked about what he most enjoys about being a part of The Path, the appeal of this character, the rapid growth of Hulu as a quality streaming service, what kind of leader Cal is to him, and the way these types of movements work with their followers. He also talked about how he’d love to return to Hannibal, at some point, and why taking some time away from it might be a good thing.

Collider: What are you most enjoying about being a part of this show and playing this character?

HUGH DANCY: One of the things I liked about the show, as a whole, and I’m sure this is true for Aaron [Paul] and Michelle [Monaghan], is that you had to spend a lot of time with the lines to get below the first level. So often, particularly Cal is speaking from a place of doctrine, but it’s also something that he really, really truly believes, and then that’s covering up something else. You have to do justice to all of those things, rather than just spouting a line. That’s good fun for an actor. Cal is constantly trying to balance so many aspects of his own personality without realizing it.

Coming off of a show as excellent as Hannibal, were you hesitant about doing another TV show?

DANCY: Yeah, I was. The fact that this is so different was definitely a part of the appeal, although that only goes so far. If you’re just looking for an extreme alternative, that’s not going to work out so well. But yeah, I was hesitant and I probably scrutinized it more carefully, as a result, looking for the cracks and the flaws. And then, the more I dug into it and thought about it, and particularly after I had spoken to Jessica Goldberg, who is the showrunner, and (executive producer) Jason Katims, I realized that with anything interesting, there’s a really good version of it and there’s a bad version of it. Anything that exists in an area of ambiguity that’s going to be fun to do, there’s a bad version that doesn’t achieve the subtlety that you’re hoping for. In this case, if you just tried to go straight for the charisma or the manipulativeness with Cal, that would be quite boring. I felt like they were coming at the whole thing from the point of view of, what are these beliefs, and then taking those beliefs seriously. I thought, “These people clearly want to make the best version of this show.” After that, I signed on.

It’s interesting how the show really puts the focus on the characters, and the movement itself is almost secondary to them.

DANCY: Everything they do is within the context of this movement, and I think it’s right that, in a way, it becomes invisible. If you are somebody living in that way, and I think it’s true for all of us, we don’t even notice our core beliefs. We hardly even know that we hold them. The opinions that we’re trying out, we’re much more aware of, and we voice them and see what happens. But the things that, deep down, identify who we are, we’ve lost sight of. There’s nothing wrong with that, that’s just the case. For these people, that’s the entire bubble that they’re living inside. And because that’s a given, what they’re thinking about is, what am I going to have for lunch, or how’s the marriage going.

Within TV projects, there are so many different canvases to pain on, with broadcast, cable and streaming services. Were you familiar with streaming services, prior to doing this show? Is that something you use yourself?

DANCY: Yeah, sure. I’ve watched shows on Netflix and Amazon, for example. When this came around for me, last June, I was like, “Oh, okay, Hulu.” Just between then and now, the speed with which they’re positioning themselves, with such quality, has been very impressive to me. But when I signed on to this show, it wasn’t because of that. I didn’t realize that was happening. I was like, “I don’t know what the platform will be like, but I love the show,” so I had to go with my feelings, in that regard. Now, I’m delighted to realize that this is a big calling card for Hulu, so they’re very invested in it and love the show. That’s all really nice. But the truth is, in the making of it, the only thing that differed, for me, was that you have this very unquestioning support from the people that are paying the bills. That filters down to the actors because it primarily affects the writers and the scripts. The message they were getting from Hulu was, “Go where you want to go and explore what you want to explore,” and you sense that when you get the script. We had freedom.

Because Cal is a guy who has so many layers, and he’s holding so much back from so many people, how do you view him? What kind of a leader is he to you?

DANCY: He is trying to hold it together and he is coming from a place of a very dark background, but all of that stuff is stuff that he’s shared and continues to share with his community. He’s not just putting a happy face on it. I think that is really interesting. Honesty can be used as a weapon. If you insist on honesty, under specific circumstances, particularly if it’s 95% honesty, it can be very powerful. He’s fully invested in the idea of transparency, he’s just not quite there. He is also very active. He’s not someone who’s going to sit around and agonize over what he’s doing. He’s just going to do it, and he’s going to do it strongly with a strong play. That makes him a leader. He is invested in the idea of how to exercise influence over people. It’s not just that, by default, he’s charismatic. He’s learning and really thinking hard about how to do this. He wasn’t planning on being a leader. He was going to be a follower to Steve, who was going to live forever.

He gets stick in this situation he didn’t expect, but then he uses it to his advantage.

DANCY: I don’t know if that’s self-preservation, but that part of him that grows alongside his desire to save the movement is a much more ambitious, domineering thing. The two go hand-in-hand.

As you were getting the scripts and learning more about this fictional movement, did you find yourself identifying with what was being presented?

DANCY: Like a lot of people, I have mixed feelings about that. I don’t think of myself as a joiner, although I think a lot of us have the capacity to fall head-long into the craziest beliefs, and none of us are immune to that. I’m not saying it will happen to all of us, but any of us have something inside of us that’s a place of vulnerability. If the right person at the right moment reaches out and touches you, you can go so far down the line before you even know where you are. I really believe that. We also don’t know what our capacity for doing awful things is, or turning a blind eye to terrible things. We’d like to think we’d be the hero, but most of us would not be the hero. But I do understand the desire to have a community, even if it’s just in your close friends. It doesn’t have to be a structure, but people who you can turn to, with all your flaws, and say, “I fucked up. Don’t judge me.”

It’s interesting to see a movement like this push that they’re like a family, but then if your family doesn’t agree with their beliefs, you’re supposed to cut your real family off.

DANCY: The more maligned versions of this kind of movement put a lot of effort into undoing family bonds very quickly, and they try to convince you that your family doesn’t have your best interests at heart. There isn’t a human alive that hasn’t, at some point, had mixed feelings about their parents. If you tap a person at the right point, you can exploit that. And I don’t think that’s particularly what’s going on with Meyerism. It’s a more general sense that the people outside are going to bring about the destruction of the entire world. If I really believed that my family were a part of bringing about the destruction of the entire world, I’d like to think I’d still stick with them, but you never know.

With as much as everyone involved loved being a part of Hannibal, if it was something you could find a way to revisit, at some point, would you?

DANCY: Oh, totally. Bryan [Fuller] has got plenty on his plate and everybody is busy, which is fantastic, but I think we’re in a place where we can say, “Okay, let’s see what happens in four years.” If we’re able to revisit it, maybe it would be different. I don’t know what shape it would take. I’ve said many times, and it’s completely true, that I would love that. If we were able to come back, maybe taking a few years away for it to reform itself might be the best thing that could happen for it. I certainly think it’s warranted, just by where we got to in the story. Sure, you could start a fourth season, or whatever it would be, with a big splash and see what happens when they hit the water, but I think it would be more interesting to find them a few years down the line.

The Path is available at Hulu on Wednesdays. Source.

April 8th, 2016
admin

Hugh Dancy Joins ‘Fifty Shades Darker’

“Hannibal” star Hugh Dancy is set to join Universal’s “Fifty Shades Darker,” sources confirmed to Variety.

Kim Basinger, Eric Johnson and Bella Heathcote have also recently joined the cast, with Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan returning to reprise their roles of Anastasia Steele and Grey, respectively. James Foley is taking over directing reins from Sam Taylor-Johnson.

Dancy will play Dr. Flynn, Grey’s psychiatrist in the books.

Luke Grimes, Eloise Mumford and Max Martini are also returning to the cast, with Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti producing along with author E.L. James and Marcus Viscidi. Niall Leonard and James are penning the script.

Universal is planning to shoot “Fifty Shades Darker” and the final pic, “Fifty Shades Freed,” back-to-back, with “Darker” set to bow Feb. 10, 2017. “Darker” is currently in production.

Dancy currently stars on Hulu’s drama “The Path” with Aaron Paul and Michelle Monaghan. He previously starred on NBC’s “Hannibal” and he was nominated for an Emmy for his playing the Earl of Essex in HBO’s miniseries “Elizabeth I.”

He’s repped by UTA, United Agents, Parseghian Planco and Jackoway Tyerman. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news. Source

April 7th, 2016
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‘The Path’ Star Hugh Dancy on Cal’s Shocking Secret and “Deep-Seated Fear”

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the first three episodes of The Path.]

In the world of The Path, Hugh Dancy’s Cal has been a confident and charismatic leader within the religious movement at the center of the show. But the third episode of the series gave viewers a glimpse at what’s been going on beneath the surface, and what was revealed was pretty dark. Not only is Cal helping to conceal the deathbed illness of the founder of the movement, Steve Meyer, but he’s using that information to position himself as the next leader of the movement.

Viewers also learned a lot more about Cal’s background through a toxic visit with his alcoholic mother (played by Kathleen Turner) and learned how close to the edge he lives. The Hollywood Reporter talked to Dancy about what all this means for Cal, and whether we can trust his motivations.

This episode is quite a turning point for Cal. He’s been kind of mysterious up to this point. Given what happens with him, was it important to learn something sympathetic about him, that he’s coming from this background with alcoholic parents, at the same time that we learn he’s keeping this huge secret from the movement?

I didn’t think of it as a counterbalance, exactly. For me, actually, the fact of him keeping the secret, I’m as sympathetic towards that as I am towards the difficulties of his background, because I think that he’s chosen to do something that is incredibly difficult and lonely in order to preserve this thing that he believes in. And I guess what you understand by seeing him with his mum and learning a bit about his background is why it’s so important to him and why, in a sense, he couldn’t afford to have this belief system collapse because it’s probably the only thing that’s holding him together. So the two things inform each other a bit.

So part of why he feels compelled to go that far is that he needs this movement as much as the movement needs Steve to still be alive.

I think, yeah. He’s taking on that responsibility for lots of very complicated reasons, but one of them is just simple self-preservation. And you could also say, and I’m sure he would say, that he can speak personally to the power of message and the beauty of the message and its ability to save people, so why wouldn’t he want to preserve that message for other people? That’s part of it.

Is Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) his only real confidante?

Yes, except that even she is not really his confidante. I don’t think he has one. The only people that he’s really honest with, able to speak frankly with — I guess we only meet them in the fourth episode — but there are three other people in the movement who are on the same level as him. They’re the other three people on the upper rungs, on the tenth rung of the ladder, and those three people are people that were there, unlike Cal, when the thing was founded, and they’re the only other people who know that Steve is essentially on his deathbed. But they’re not necessarily so happy with the way that Cal is driving it.

He also brings Miranda Frank (Minka Kelly) to town and tells Sarah that he thinks it’s a way to help her marriage. Does he really believe that, or is there this underlying need to get between her and Eddie (Aaron Paul) in that action?

I remember asking myself exactly that question, and I think it’s all of the above. I think part of it is because he knows something’s up with Eddie. He knows Eddie’s hiding something from him and it’s something to do with what happened in Peru. But I think Cal hasn’t even begun to imagine that Eddie might be losing his faith. It’s odd that that would be like the last thing on his list, but there are enough secrets that Cal’s keeping to his own chest that he can’t have somebody else keeping them, too. I think he genuinely does want to believe that he’s paying extra special care because it’s Sarah and he wants to look out for her. But by this point in the story, his more animal instincts are tuning in that there’s a weakness in that marriage. I always think that Cal is always striving to act according to the best intentions.

Sometimes it seems a little bit like he wants to be good, but when he looks at Sarah, she’s someone who just is good, it’s not a quest for her the way it is for him.

Yes, I think that’s true. I think she’s not in any way dealing with the same. … First of all, she doesn’t have the same things on her plate as he does, and he’s spared her that, basically. Secondly, he’s coming from this very broken place. But I also suspect that if the show goes on, if we get to tell more of the story, my feeling is that there’s more to Sarah than meets the eye. I don’t think she’s so selfless or so unambitious or whatever. She’s certainly got steel running through her. So, we’ll see.

Do you think he underestimates that about her, that he sees her as someone who’s purely good?

In that respect, I think he’s put her on a pedestal, very much, but I also think — he’s not the only person — but he’s one of the people who says to her, “You should step up. You could play a bigger part.” Certainly, as we get later into the season, he’s thinking in those terms. So he’s actually encouraging her in that respect. But I think the way he looks at her is very much like the guy who loved her when they were both 16 or 17 or whatever, and then that ended, and he put it on ice, and he’s never really moved on. She’s occupied this symbolic role for him and he almost needs her to be that symbol and it’s not totally wrong, but it’s not the full story. 

There are two different moments in the episodes where people imply that fate is at play, where his mother says wanting to be someone else never works, while Sarah, when he tells her that he thinks he might be fated to take over, says, “It’s always been you.” Is part of why he’s so invested in Meyerism the sense that that’s the fated person that he wants to be, rather than what he’s afraid might be true, according to his mother?

Maybe, but if you think about it, those two predictions counter each other. Because his mum is saying, “You may think you can get away from this place, but you’re always going to end up back here. This is where you’re from.” And Sarah’s saying, “You were always destined to be leading the movement.” I think when he hears his mum say that, it triggers him to go back and announce himself to Sarah as the leader. Because he, basically, is thinking, ‘You know what? Screw that, I will choose my own fate,’ but part of that comes from a deep-seated fear that she might be right.

New episodes of The Path debut every Wednesday on Hulu.

Source

April 6th, 2016
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‘The Path’ 1×03 Recap Chat: Co-Star Hugh Dancy

Cal Robertson comes more fully into view in “A Homecoming,” the first new episode of The Path following last week’s double-decker premiere. If you thought being in a cult warped Cal’s brain, here’s another fact for your diagnosis: His mother is a sad, charmless, drunk hermit played by Kathleen Turner. We sat down with actor Hugh Dancy, who plays Increasingly Complicated Cal, to talk about the episode.

“It’s a show about intimacy to a degree. The people on the show are seeking connection and truth and openness, though they’re not always succeeding.”

You are from the U.K., but I’ve only seen you in shows like Hannibal and The Path where you use an American accent. How did you work out your American accent?

Doing it for a living, I’ve gotten increasingly comfortable with it. I grew up in England, and we were heavily exposed to American culture as you can imagine, so it wasn’t such a huge leap.

And you’re married to an American [Claire Danes].

Yes. I think I was playing an American when we met.

The Path has a much more naturalistic sensibility than Hannibal. Does The Path use a smaller crew?

It’s not necessarily a smaller crew, but the shows operate much differently with the lighting and camera setups. On The Path, we’re using three cameras almost all the time with fairly minimal lighting. On Hannibal, the lighting — or, in some cases, lack of lighting — was much more stylized.

The Path feels like a much more intimate, personal show.

It’s a show about intimacy to a degree. The people on the show are seeking connection and truth and openness, though they’re not always succeeding.

And it’s a show about a family in the way that Parenthood and Friday Night Lights — Jason Katims’ two previous shows — were oriented around families.

That was noticeably absent in Hannibal. [Laughs.]

You are in Peru at the beginning of this episode, so you know that Dr. Stephen Meyer [Keir Dullea] is in a coma, and you tell a few fibs about that. Do you see that as Cal papering over some doubts or being an opportunist?

Cal knew as the season started that Stephen was potentially on his deathbed, so he’s convening at the beginning of this episode there with some of the 10R elders. They have gathered to hear the doctor say that we’ve run out of hope, but that’s not news to them. Cal is not somebody who ever had ambitions of leading the group and he is still a believer, but his original beliefs had Steve leading this group forever. The movement has saved his life, and he needs to bridge to a second generation. To do that he has to keep a lot of secrets, and he sees that as a selfless thing. As the season goes on, that will increasingly dovetail with his own drive and ambition.

The movement is not based on thinking Dr. Meyer is divine, right?

Not exactly. Steve told us that he would provide the 13 rungs that would be The Ladder to progress up until we get to The Garden, and the whole movement is predicated on that. The idea that he’s going to die from mundane causes before he finishes that is a major fault line. It undercuts everything we’ve understood.

“You need a fierce and vulnerable actress to play [Brenda Roberts], and [Kathleen Turner] has both of those things in spades. There’s no vanity about it.”

What is so disturbing to Eddie [Aaron Paul] about seeing Dr. Meyer in that condition?

Sarah [Michelle Monaghan] is talking to Mary [Emma Greenwell] in the first episode and says that Steve is off in Peru completing the final rungs and that he “lives in the light.” That is the line that has been propagated — that he’s reached this level of purity where he’s bathed in light and completing the rungs for their spiritual salvation.

So Eddie feels like he’s been sold some BS about that?

I don’t think he knows what he feels. When you live inside a belief system like that, just seeing Steve like that is not enough for him. He doesn’t think everything he’s been told is bullshit. It takes a while to process that.

Kathleen Turner plays your mother in this episode. Is this the first time you’ve worked with her?

I had not worked with her, but I had shared a train ride with her once. [Laughs.]

So did you see her on set before she was dressed out as the drunk mom?

We shot all of those scenes over a couple of days, so we didn’t have a lot of rehearsal time. You need a fierce and vulnerable actress to play that kind of part, and she has both of those things in spades. There’s no vanity about it.

Does she want you to take that drink because she wants you to give her something — to do something you don’t want to do — or was it more about getting you to admit something about yourself?

She knows that I have the same weakness that she does, and she’s using that, but mostly she’s trying to pull me back into her life. It infuriates her that I’ve chosen this other parent and this other life over her, and she knows that I’m just a drunk like her.

She explains some of your backstory that you went into the movement fairly young and not of her doing.

That’s right. The backstory is that my father was — like her — an alcoholic, but he extricated himself from that and took me to join this nascent movement. After a certain point, he got out and I was old enough to stick around.

So Steve Meyer then becomes your father figure.

Yes, he was very much my father figure.

“The real thing [Cal is] committing to is loneliness.”

There’s more discussion in this episode than in the first two about the various rankings in the movement. Cal is a 10R. Who are the other 10Rs?

Steve has written 10 of the 13 rungs, so 10R — 10 rungs — is as high as you can progress. Cal is 10R, the two elders who are with Cal at the beginning are 10R, and Silas is 10R.

Do we have enough evidence at this point to know why you would be a 10R and be so much younger than the others?

Cal grew up in the movement and essentially became Steve’s adoptive son. Cal and Sarah and Eddie were young stars in the movement, but Cal dropped away everything in his life that wasn’t related to the movement.

What are Sarah and Eddie’s rank?

Sarah is an 8R. When we see Eddie at the beginning of the series — when he’s on hallucinogens, by the way — he’s in the process of obtaining 6R. We talk more as the season goes on about achieving the rungs. There’s a book for each rung, and there are tasks for each rung. The writers’ room has a clear idea about that underlying structure, but you don’t necessarily see a lot of that.

You’re coming from Hannibal, which had a deep mythology, to another show with a deep mythology. Have you thought much about that?

In the case of Hannibal, the mythology was more the richness of the source material — the Thomas Harris novels — where here the mythology is the underpinnings. I think you could say the same of any good piece of writing. If you’re in a good family drama you’re only going to see the surface, but the actors need to know much more detail about the intricacies and dynamics of the family. I think that’s a quality of good storytelling.

You seem to downplay Cal’s messianic ambitions a bit. Do you think there’s not much evidence of that ambition?

When we shot the scene toward the end of this episode when I come back from Peru and break the news to her in a not-completely-honest way that Steve is working on the final rungs and invite her to recognize that I’ll be a leader, my reading of that was that he was acting out of the shock of the experience of his mother and coming back to where he began and fully committing to that.

The commitment that he’s making is ambitious on paper — he’s committing to the idea of being a leader, and that ambition will grow — but the real thing he’s committing to is loneliness. He’s signing off on never being able to share the truth of what is happening with Steve and everything that means to him, including the fact that he must have some greater doubts about the whole belief system.

Is that the source of the mixed signals he sends Mary?

I think the source of that is that he’s really drawn to her.

Is the implication that he should be alone?

He knows that the nature of his attraction to Mary is not a very elevated one. [Laughs.] Since his teens, Cal has basically been celibate. He’s got big self-control issues, and he has probably been very self-denying. He has also put Sarah on a pedestal and made her a symbol of purity and effortless virtue within the movement. He’s fighting the other side of his nature with Mary. – Source

April 6th, 2016
admin

LA Times Photoshoot

I have added high quality images of Hugh’s photoshoot with LA Times for The Path promotion to our photo archive. Also, for those wondering about “The Path” episode 3 screen captures, they are coming later today. I’m giving a little time for those who haven’t seen it to watch and not be spoiled once they are posted.


April 6th, 2016
admin

Full list of 2016 TV WEEK Logies nominees

ALEX DIMITRIADES – Matt Bashir, The Principal, SBS

HUGH DANCY – Ellis Ashmead Bartlett, Deadline Gallipoli, FOXTEL – SHOWCASE

MALCOLM KENNARD – Ivan Milat, Catching Milat, CHANNEL SEVEN

PATRICK BRAMMALL – James Hayes, Glitch, ABC

SAM NEILL – Lang Hancock, House Of Hancock, NINE NETWORK

Source

April 3rd, 2016
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The Path Stars Totally Understand How People Would Join a Religion Led By Hugh Dancy


Hulu’s newest series, The Path, is a dark look at a cult-like religion—actually, as the characters will point out every time someone from the outside uses the c-word, it’s not a cult. It’s a movement. While its founder is in Peru “transcribing” the final tenets of the belief system he created, Hugh Dancy’s Cal is on the ground in upstate New York trying to get more people to join the grassroots Meyerist Movement.

And Aaron Paul (Eddie) and Michelle Monaghan (Sarah), who play the married couple at the center of the new show, which debuts on March 30, totally get it.

“He is so perfect for this role,” Paul tells E! News. “He’s just so charismatic, so charming, and that’s what this role has to have. And I absolutely buy into everything he is selling.”

Would they follow a movement created by the handsome British actor? “Fancy Dancy? Absolutely,” jokes Monaghan.

While Sarah was raised in the Scientology-esque Meyerism, Eddie converted, and the first episode kicks off when Eddie questions the religion to which he’s dedicated his life.

“Aaron’s character is suffering something of a crisis of faith, and the question is whether he has grounds for that or not,” explains Dancy. “There is a kind of transition of power—or maybe leadership is a better word—and my character Cal is basically positioning himself to take over. And the question is, is that a benevolent thing? Is he trying to keep the ship from sinking or does he have more personal ambition?”

At the same time, Rockmond Dunbar’s detective character is investigating whether the seemingly peaceful Meyerists are not as benign as they seem. “I start investigating slowly but surely and open up a can of worms,” he explains.

Press play on the video above to see the actors explain what their new show is all about—and why everyone, regardless of religious affiliation, will relate to the thrilling new show.

The Path debuts Wednesday, March 30. New episodes will hit Hulu each week.

Source

March 29th, 2016
admin

“A Cult Is Totally in the Eye of the Beholder”: Hugh Dancy on Religion, ‘Hannibal’s’ Future, and Starring in Hulu’s ‘The Path’

Posted on March 28, 2016 over at flavorwire.com
by Shannon Carlin

After the cancellation of his last TV show, Hannibal — news the actor says he got on his birthday — Hugh Dancy is returning to the small screen in the new Hulu original series The Path.

For fans of Will Graham, Dancy’s new show, debuting March 30, definitely packs the same dramatic punch, but instead of a cannibalistic serial killer, he’s now taking on a cult-like religious movement. Dancy plays Cal Roberts, the unofficial leader of the Meyerist Movement, a controversial religion not unlike Scientology, in upstate New York. David Miscavige, though, Cal definitely ain’t. Dancy’s complicated, charismatic leader isn’t palling around with Tom Cruise; he’s putting boots to the ground, trying to spread his religion’s message while battling his own demons — ambition being one of them.

Over the phone from Los Angeles, weeks before the show’s premiere, Dancy spoke to Flavorwire about becoming a different kind of religious leader, how all religions are ultimately cults, and why he definitely would have watched The Path if Idris Elba starred in it.

Flavorwire: You signed on to The Path weeks after it was announced that Hannibal wasn’t coming back. Were you originally planning on coming back to TV so soon?

Hugh Dancy: Well, I wasn’t thinking about that at the moment. We struggled to have enough people to tune in to NBC, even though they supported the show valiantly. But I knew that it was out there, it was relevant, and I didn’t want to let that go and slide away. At the same time, I was really proud of it and obviously wanted to do something that felt like it was a worthwhile thing to follow it up with. Just for myself. I probably didn’t formulate that thought yet, you know, I was just feeling sad that the show wasn’t coming back. I had just started thinking, “OK, what might another job look like? What might I want to do?” And then this popped up, and in a way it stopped me from having that conversation.

What made you want to sign on to this show?

I thought there was an opportunity. Obviously, it’s a pretty bold character, and that seemed daunting but really intriguing. But I thought they were doing more than paying lip service to the fact he was complex. I thought, “Yeah, he’s a driven guy. He’s an intense guy.” He had charisma, but he’s more than quote-unquote charismatic or manipulative. He has a very, very rich series of personality traits that were driving him.

On a bigger scale, more than just Cal, what I felt about the script as a whole was — and I couldn’t put my finger on it until I spoke with Jessica [Goldberg, The Path creator] and [The Path executive producer] Jason Katims — the sense that they put a lot of time and thought into what it meant to these characters to have that faith or put that need in faith. And secondly, what that belief system was [resonated with me]. You need that, that underpinning in the whole show, because if you’re not taking that seriously, it’s not going to stand up.

A lot has been made of the religious movement in the show, with many comparing it to Scientology. But, after seeing The Path, I think the family aspect of the show is a much stronger selling point than the religion.

Totally. I think the religious movement on its own is nothing. It has to be about the individuals within that. Why they’ve chosen to make it their lives and how they live it. And then how it became their mundane reality. So that’s what keeps the show thriving.

Jessica Goldberg mentioned to me that she originally wanted Idris Elba to play Cal. But once it was announced that you were free, she never thought of anyone else to play this character. Did you know that?

[Laughs] I didn’t know that, but I’m a huge Idris Elba fan. I would have definitely been tuning in to watch the show if he’d done it. I can see why she would think that, because he’s pretty remarkable. He’s a pretty great actor.

She also said that you brought something different to this role, something unexpected. How much of this character was on the page before you signed on, and how much did you bring to it?

That’s a really difficult one to answer. I think that [the character] has to be on the page. As an actor focusing on one character, you’re obliged to and expected to have thoughts about that character in more detail than anybody else — including the person that wrote it. You’re hopefully bringing some complexity to it that they hadn’t necessarily [developed] themselves. But it has to be there; it has to be imprinted in the thing. It’s your job to find it and bring it out.

To bring the character of Cal out, what kind of research did you do? How did you learn to be a cult leader?

First of all, let me say this: I now think that the idea of a cult is totally in the eye of the beholder. Anything can be a cult, and certainly any religion, big or small, started out that way, being on the outside, stigmatized, feared. The ones that survived stopped being cults.

So I was reading about that moment when anything, from bigger religions or smaller groups, managed to survive past their [initial] lifespan, past their first leader, and how that happened. And you know, it takes a specific set of circumstances. It takes somebody to come along who’s maybe more pragmatic, who’s got quite an ambitious vision but is also an absolute believer. That’s the thing that happened again and again.

And that’s really helpful, but for me, you have to get yourself in the right mindset. This is a guy who never would have wanted to step up in the leader position because he’s a believer, and for him, like anybody else, to believe it would mean he’s replacing the man he reveres as his savior, and no one wants to replace the messiah. But having to make the decision to do that, to save himself, to save the thing he believes in, in a sense for everyone else’s sake, there’s something very selfless and lonely about that. That felt like a much more interesting place to start then a Svengali twirling his mustache.

Cal definitely feels like the character that could be identified as the show’s villain, the mustache twirler. Is that something you worry about, or, as an actor, do you feel it’s out of your hands?

No, it’s not out of your hands exactly. But in this case, I really was thinking from the point of view of, he’s very isolated, and I was just focusing on that and trying to identify with whatever’s motivating him, what’s consciously motivating him. So, yes, he’s lying, and so on, but he has very solid reasons to do that. I don’t usually have this experience, but I watched the first episode and he’s a really dark guy. He may be dark, and he’s definitely very broken in some ways, but I hope particularly as the season goes on, you’ll almost have more sympathy for him. Some people I’ve spoken to who’ve seen more episodes of the season have been realizing his faith is challenged like everybody’s, but it’s completely real.

That’s something about the show that stood out to me. The Meyerist Movement feels very genuine, as if you could defend it. Even using the word “cult” seems a bit wrong, and I’ve noticed that you use the word “movement” while talking about it.

Look, when I’m trying to tell people about the show very briefly, it turns out, it’s just easier to use the word “cult.” [Laughs] But at the same time, I feel that the word does a disservice to the complexity of what Jessica wrote. It’s not so much that I feel the need to defend these movements — it’s made up, I get that. But, I think that Jessica and also Mike Cahill, who directed the first couple of episodes, really did a lot of beautiful work trying to make this completely what you’re saying: make it seem believable, like the real world, and also make it seem, at times, very appealing. That’s Jessica and Mike basically, and that’s probably why [the actors], say, “It’s a movement.” We’re just repeating.

The creators behind the show have, in a very real sense, created an actual religious movement. There’s a Bible that is featured in the show. The pamphlets that appear in some scenes look very real. I even read that while filming in New York, you’ve had people come off the street asking about the Meyerist Movement.

Yeah, that happened a couple of times. And that’s testament to the real depth of thought [that went into developing] exactly what the structure of the organization is. There’s a lot of material that we had access to, and secondarily, the design and set dressing team really took such pride in every scene. You find little Meyerist pamphlets and articles around that they’ve just written because they take pride in it. And they’re really convincing. So we shot a scene in a park in Brooklyn, and we shot another scene, later on in the season, where there’s an outpost, a little Meyerist outpost that has its own little office and these posters on the front window, and the designs kind of draw you in. By the time I had got there, several people had stopped in and expressed interest in joining. [Laughs]

Did anyone on set say, “Hey this isn’t real,” or did they just go along with it and let these people learn more about the Meyerist Movement?

I think most people probably would have worked out pretty quickly it was a film set, but not to take this too seriously, I think the people that are drawn to that kind of material are people that are actively seeking. Like, more than you or I might be. So it doesn’t surprise me that if you do it thoughtfully, you may pick up some interest.

Has the show made you think differently about these kinds of fringe religious movements?

Yeah, for sure, I’ve thought about it more. The main thing I’ve come away with is, regardless of the pros and cons, the rights and wrongs of any individual belief system, to begin with they’re all small outsider groups struggling to survive — and, essentially, they’re all cults. And it doesn’t matter if your cult is completely benevolent, you’re still a tiny organization — until you’re not. Then you’re suddenly accepted. But if you can get past that tipping point, it’s just a rush to keep up because there’s a huge reservoir of desire for belief in people. We’ve all got that in us, that curiosity for something bigger.

I would imagine getting to know these characters would make you less judgmental of how or why people follow.

That’s the thing: I’m pretty cynical, and it doesn’t make me any quicker to sign up for something. But I’m also not under any illusions [about] my capacity to be a follower. Even if I think I’m not, I’m just as open to something, if someone catches me at the right moment in my life. Like, bang, I’d be right there.

Have you ever felt like a blind follower of something?

[Laughs] I think the closest I’ve come is in individual friendship or relationships, where you feel like you’ve really ceded your own power to somebody else. And, you know, sure, I’ve definitely experienced that, but never any major belief system.

Throughout the first season, you have a few very big sermons you must give to your followers. How do you get yourself ready for scenes like that?

This is something that I learned years ago, actually from John Hurt. He told me, “I don’t prepare anything.” I’m not saying that I adhere to this entirely, but what he did say was: with any project, take one of those scenes and start learning the minute you sign on for it, and run them everyday. That’s what I did. And actually, because of Cal and who he is, he’s so performative, they kept writing those scenes for me. [Laughs] The more I did them, the more they wrote, so I just think to do that with conviction but without the shouting, you have to have completely digested it. As much as anything else, that means learning it and then learning it again and again and again and again, right up until the last moment.

 

After watching the show, it seems like the biggest question about the Meyerist Movement is: does it matter? Does it matter if this movement is real, if the story is real, or does it only matter that people really believe it is?

You know, I was reading a column just this morning from, I think it was Kurt Vonnegut, saying something along the lines of [that] his grandfather used to say, “If what Jesus said was so very special and true, does it really matter if he was the son of God?” I guess that’s a more inflammatory way of asking the same question. I think it really matters for these people in the show.

Obviously, I don’t adhere to this belief system, but I think that a lot of these people, especially Cal, just needed, in the right moment of [their lives], comfort and safety. A system and structure. And someone came along and provided it for him. And it’s probably true that it could have been a number of different things. It just happened to be this.

I could not get off the phone with you without asking if there is any hope for some sort of Hannibal revival — a movie, a short series, anything?

I saw Bryan Fuller just the other day, and I think he has a very specific idea. And he’s obviously a very busy man, but I think he has a very specific idea of how he’d like to go about doing it. I think definitely the hope is alive.

A lot of people are asking you about Hannibal coming back. Do you even want to get back to that character, or do you feel like you’ve already said your goodbyes?

No, no, no, I wouldn’t say the thing about hope sarcastically… And I think, if anything, maybe everyone would benefit from a few years away. In terms of the storyline, from what Bryan has shared with me about what he might have done in a fourth season — he might even do a fourth season, actually — the idea of dropping out for a few years wouldn’t be a bad thing. I mean, who knows? But it would be nice.

March 28th, 2016
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Hugh Dancy & Michelle Monaghan Tease Their Mysterious ‘The Path’ Characters

Posted March 28, 2016 over at wetpaint.com
by Samantha Lear

As an actor, how do you follow up roles on a cult favorite like Hannibal or a critical darling like True Detective?
Well, if you’re Hugh Dancy or Michelle Monaghan, you forgo returning to your movie roots and instead team up with fellow TV heavyweight Aaron Paul for The Path, one of Hulu’s first drama series executive produced by Friday Night Lights’ Jason Katims.

The show, which premieres March 30, has been kept pretty under wraps, but it’s about a cult-like Meyerist Movement in bucolic New York and the “deep issues involving relationships, faith and power” experienced by its leader and a family within it.

Luckily, Wetpaint was able to speak to the stars ahead of the premiere at SCAD’s aTVfest last month to find out more about how they got involved.

“I wanted something that, at least for me, would feel slightly different,” Hugh says of stepping into the shoes of Cal Roberts, the leader of the movement. “You want it to feel like it’s something fresh.”

But while he was ready to change things up after his last TV hit, Michelle struggled a little more to find something that could match how “perfect” True Detective’s first season was.

“It was kind of one of those things where everything was going to be compared to it,” she explains. “So it was a matter of finding something that intrigued me and compelled me — something that I felt challenged by.”

She admits she read many scripts before finding this unexpected project, thanks mostly to its aforementioned EP, whom she met on the set of her first TV role ever on Boston Public.

“I remember sitting with him in a director’s chair one day and thinking, ‘He’s the nicest guy I’ve ever met,’” she gushes of the Parenthood helmer. “I’ve never forgotten him. Then he sent me this and I was like, ‘OK, I”ll go down this road with you.’”

That road meant tapping into some heavy emotions, as Aaron’s character’s devoted wife, Sarah Jones, who the actress hints isn’t “as seemingly serene” as she appears in the first few.

“You see a real intensity she’s pushed to in the latter part of the season,” the 40-year-old teases. “I think what’s interesting is seeing somebody who thinks their life is perfect, and when that starts to implode, how it affects them. I want to explore the unraveling of someone.”

Meanwhile, Hugh has the task of creating an “isolated and damaged” person in charismatic Cal, who he reveals will go “to some fairly dark places because he’s trying to hold everything together for everyone else.”

He continues, “The things he is carrying on his shoulders are not anything he can share with anyone else within the movement. Nobody does very well for very long with a bunch of secrets.”
The Path premieres Wednesday, March 30 on Hulu.

March 28th, 2016
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Additional Reviews

More reviews are pouring in as we countdown (4 days!) to the premiere of The Path on Hulu. I have included highlighted moments in quotes below, once again they are all singing praise for Hugh’s performance in the series, and with each review our excitement is building. Have you joined the movement yet? If not, follow ThePathOnHulu on twitter to keep up with everything “The Path”.

Dancy has never done better work. His Cal is a tinhorn messiah hampered by all-too-human frailty and desires. – SFGate.com

Dancy delivers a surprising vulnerability as the series moves Cal forward in his power-grab.


have assembled a superb cast, with Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Michelle Monaghan (Gone Baby Gone, True Detective) and Hugh Dancy (Hannibal) going all in with exceptional performances. – hollywoodreporter.com

“They have assembled a superb cast, with Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Michelle Monaghan (Gone Baby Gone, True Detective) and Hugh Dancy (Hannibal) going all in with exceptional performances. Dancy is effective at being both ominous and generous, and when The Path gets around to delving into Cal’s backstory, Dancy delivers a surprising vulnerability as the series moves Cal forward in his power-grab.”
Note: The reviewer on THR seems to have edited, see here for an original quote.

Among them, the acting group leader Cal (an outstanding performance by Hugh Dancy), a man torn by the demands of loyalty and his drive for control. – wsj.com

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March 25th, 2016
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