Launching earlier this year to much fanfare and critical acclaim on FOX, Season One of Outcast, the latest show from The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, lands on Blu-ray and DVD this week.
Outcast follows loner Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), estranged from his wife and young daughter after a violent incident and back living in his childhood home in the town of Rome in West Virginia. Plagued by demonic possession his whole life, Kyle teams up with Rome’s preacher, Reverend Anderson (Phillip Glenister) when the town appears to over run with a series of apparent possessions.
DIY spoke with Fugit about Season One ahead of the home release of the brilliantly tense show.
What was it about Kyle Barnes as a character that made you want to play the part?
I initially got two scenes for my audition and one of them was Kyle in the pretty early stages of Season One sort of describing to the Reverend what had happened to him when he was younger and to his Mom. So there was a very dark, tragic tone to that and it was very heavy. Then the other scene was probably the opposite, it was Kyle and Alison before they had decided to go ahead and have a baby which ended up being Amber. It’s about them talking about their lives and how they feel about each other and how hesitant Kyle is. But it’s also about Alison sort of bringing Kyle out of the hesitation and out of his shell and making him very happy and open and willing to try and have a baby. So they couldn’t be more opposite in terms of the main tone which I thought was very interesting but what was most of interest to me was that there was a very tragic undercurrent to both scenes. Kyle had been through so much and it was a weight on him. It also informed the darker scenes in the script - once I’d read it - the fact that Kyle was happy at a time in that way and also that he had committed so much to having a baby and it showed how much he wanted to be a husband and father and have a happy family and obviously unfortunately he doesn’t get that [laughs]. He’s being pulled in multiple directions which is very interesting.
Were you aware of the comic book before you got involved?
I was not, no. They sent me a little cover sheet which had a description of the show, the fact that Robert Kirkman was the creator of The Walking Dead and that was kind of all I had to go on. Once I went into the audition and had found out that I was going into the next stage of auditions I said: “Oh okay I should probably check this comic out because there may be something that I’m missing,” and I went and got the first issues that were out at the time and read those. There was a lot in the way that Paul Azaceta draws Kyle and the way they colour it and so on, it’s very interesting. To me it sets a specific tone.
Season One reveals more than the comic books have to date, do you have any idea where Robert is taking the story?
There is a certain point where we’ve caught up to the story that’s in the comics. It’s interesting because we move pretty quickly, Season One is already ahead of the comics and so there’s a lot of collaboration and checking in with Robert about the direction of the character and the story-lines that aren’t in the comics. We’ve got Reg E. Cathey who’s an amazing actor as Chief Giles who’s a great character and all this different material to explore [that aren’t in the comics] and it changes the landscape a bit.
You probably share the screen most with our very own Philip Glenister who plays Reverend Anderson. How was it working with him and how did he adjust to working on a U.S. TV series?
First of all he’s brilliant as this character, I think he’s so good. I don’t think he’s used to the amount of hours that we work on the show [laughs] or that American’s work in general. He’s hilarious. I think he has quite a lot of fun playing the Reverend. He sort of leads on that there’s too much religious text for him to say, it’s sort of like medical jargon for him. But then he’ll have these big monologues and be so excellent. We have a lot of fun, particularly in the first season. In the second season Kyle and the Reverend have to work together quite a lot but have both experienced different stuff along the way so they have their own perspectives in relation to the story line. In the first season they were together quite often. The first time that we as a cast got to go to London this year it was so fun to see the reaction that people had to him.
What has fan reaction been like?
Personal interaction with fans has been quiet positive. I think that people who are fans of the comics are usually pretty excited about the show and excited about talking to us about it which is awesome. People that are not yet familar with Outcast the comics are usually pretty familar with The Walking Dead comics. They’re a very passionate, very excited and involved group of people that usually transition well.
I know that you’re a huge Star Trek: Next Generation fan. Working with Brent Spiner must have blown your mind somewhat!
Yeah they were trying to figure out who to cast as Sidney and it happened quite late. They were considering Brent for the role and I think two other actors. And I was like: “Who’s playing Sidney?” and they said: “Well we’re talking to this guy and Brent Spiner…” and I was like: “What? Wait a minute why haven’t you got Brent Spiner yet? Why aren’t you in touch with him right now?” It ended up being Brent and it’s really fun to watch him play Sidney and then towards the end of the season we get some really cool scenes together. Sidney goes on a very unexpected journey, a very different character arc that I had anticipated at least and it’s thrilling to watch.
Outcast Season One is available now on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.