Interview date: 09/17/2009
Run date: 09/25/2009
David Anders has a face that should be familiar to those television viewers who enjoy action-packed hour-longs: in addition to spending five seasons on “Alias” as Julian Sark, he also wreaked havoc on the life of Hiro Nakamura during a multi-episode stint on “Heroes.” His next series gig comes in early 2010 as one of the additions to the upcoming season of “24,” but well before that, Anders can be seen in SyFy’s original adaptation of Stephen King’s “Children of the Corn.” Bullz-Eye spoke to Anders about his history with King’s writings and what it’s like to film amongst the corn fields of Iowa, then quizzed him about his earlier work as well, where he discussed his own thoughts on the second season of “Heroes.”
Bullz-Eye: Good to talk to you, David!
David Anders: Good to talk to you, too! How are you?
BE: I’m doing well. So you’re starring in SyFy’s “Children of the Corn” remake. Were you a Stephen King fan going into the project?
DA: Yeah, sure. Who isn’t? (Laughs) He’s the King, right? How many of his books have been made into movies?
BE: More than a few.
DA: Too few fingers and toes to count them.
BE: Did you have any trepidation about stepping into this one? Had you been a fan of the original?
DA: Yeah, I absolutely was a fan of the original. When it came out, I was probably all of five or six years old, if that. I remember lying to all of my friends because we’d all heard about “Children of the Corn,” but nobody was able to see it because nobody’s parents would let them. But I lied and said that I had seen it, and that it was the scariest thing I’d ever laid my eyes on. So I got some street cred by saying that. (Laughs) But, yeah, of course I was a fan of the original. I thought this was a truer rendition of the story, truer to the original novella, but I can only hope that we can maybe improve on the original.
BE: When it first kicked off, I couldn’t believe how much tension was wracked up just by way of the arguments you were having with Candyce. I would think that it would’ve been exhilierated but exhausting to film those.
DA: Yeah, it escalates and boils over pretty quickly. (Laughs) It seemed like she was screaming at me fo the whole movie. But whatever the case, we had fun doing it. Candyce is a wonderful girl, and she’s not at all the Vicki that she portrays.
BE: Had you worked with her prior to this, or known her?
DA: I hadn’t. And I wasn’t familiar with “Battlestar Galatica” at all…
BE: (Gasps in mock horror)
DA: (Laughs) …but a lot of my friends were huge “Battlestar” fans, and they knew her and loved her from that. It didn’t take me long to be a fan of her work, though.
BE: Where did you guys actually film this?
DA: We shot it in Iowa. We were based out of Davenport, IA, which is one of the quad cities on the Iowa / Illinois border, and we shot it thereabouts. We went as far as, like, maybe 90 miles out of there. But, yeah, a lot of corn fields around there. (Laughs)
BE: Oh, yes, I’m aware. My wife’s from Webster City, IA. (Laughs) So what were your thoughts on Iowa? Had you filmed there before?
DA: I hadn’t filmed there before, but I knew about the tax break… (Laughs) …so I knew it was a smart place to film. I’d been to Iowa before, because my family, my parents are from Minnesota, so I’d driven through there before. It’s beautiful country. The heartland. But, yeah, I enjoyed shooting there and working there. It was the beginning of football season, so it was kind of nice to be around heartland folk right around then. Nice place to work.
BE: How was Donald (P. Borchers) to work with as a director? I know that the majority of his work has really been more in production.
DA: Right. Yeah, Donald was good. He really tried to wear all the hats: producer, director, and writer. Sometimes we were worried that it was going to spread him thin, but I think he did a pretty good job juggling all of those tasks. He’s a very nice man and was very enthusiastic about the work and about the story. And, heck, this is the second “Children of the Corn” that he’s been a part of. So, yeah, it was a pleasure working with him.
BE: I understand that Stephen King helped with the teleplay. Did he visit the set at all?
DA: No, sir. He never did, no. But I heard that Donald was waiting for him to sign off on it. I don’t know whether he gave his approval or what. I hope he likes it.
BE: Well, I’m our site’s resident “Heroes” blogger, so I’m a fan of your work as Adam Munroe and Takezo Kensei.
DA: Oh, thank you very much! (Laughs) That was a lot of fun, doing that show.
BE: Plus, you had a chance to work with one of my other favorite guest stars on the show: Robert Forster. Of course, it was kind of a brief experience…
DA: Robert Forster! Yeah, that was short-lived. (Laughs) But it was great, ‘cause Forster, on his first day on set, he comes with a bag of gifts that he gives to everybody. It was these great pen knives that he gave everybody…which I guess he’s been giving out to people for years, because I’ve gone to other people’s houses, and I’m, like, “Did you get this from Forster?” And they’re, “Yeah, I did!” He must’ve gotten them at a really good deal on pen knives years ago, ‘cause he’s been doling them out ever since! (Laughs) But he was a really nice guy. Sadly, I didn’t get to work with him that much… (Laughs) …but without me, there would be no Forster on the show. He’d still be on a death bed somewhere.
BE: So, really, you can take responsibility for bringing him in.
BE: How did you deal with the criticisms that came from all of the “Heroes” fans during the second season?
DA: It was kind of sad, because, y’know, everybody says that the second season is where it dipped, and that was where I came in! (Laughs) I don’t know, I think they just opened up a lot of wounds that weren’t ever going to heal, and they really alienated fans of the new characters. I’m not saying that my character was a bad choice… (Laughs) …but there was just too much going on. There were times when I went cross-eyed watching it. But I don’t know: I lost track of the show after I died on it. After I died in the third season…
BE: …it didn’t matter anymore?
DA: No, actually, I was going to ask if it got better after that!
BE: It did. At least, I thought so, anyway.
DA: Okay. You know, I still think they could flash back. There’s 400 years of Adam Munroe and Takezo Kensei that they could flash back to.
BE: So if they called you, you’d be ready to roll?
DA: Absolutely. It’s a big fucking game of dress-up over there, and it’s a lot of fun.
BE: What can you tell me about your role on the upcoming season of “24”?
DA: I can’t tell you much… (Laughs) …but my name is Josef Bazhaev, and I’m a member of the Russian mob in New York. My father’s the head of the Russian mob, and he’s played by the wonderful Jurgen Prochnow.
DA: And beyond that…it’s highly secretive. I’m gonna have to get a little bashful and not tell you any more than that. (Laughs)
BE: Fair enough. Who first approached you to be on the show?
DA: On “24”? I actually auditioned…and in a heavy Russian accent. And I got the part. I mean, me doing accents? Kinda weird, huh? But I said, “I’ll give it a shot!” (Laughs) But after I got the part, they said, “Oh, but you were raised in the States.” So I’m actually playing an American on television, which is going to be a nice change!
BE: What are your thoughts when you look back at “Alias”?
DA: Oh, so many thoughts. That’s the reason for it all. And that was another big game of dress-up. It was a fun place to cut my teeth, to do the work and learn on the job. I mean, it was my first job ever, and to get to learn from such wonderful people as were on that show…? And Julian Sark was a real cool character, too. It was a real fun time. I was sad to see it go after five years. So, basically, it’s been my favorite job up to this point. (Laughs)
BE: What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on that didn’t get the love you thought it deserved?
DA: Well, actually, there’s a film that I hope will get some love. It seems to be getting love at some festivals. But it’s called “The Revenant,” and I hope it gets distribution in some form. It’s really good. It was hell to shoot – it was, like, four hours in makeup every day, and I had to wear white contacts like Data on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” – but it ended up being really great, and it’s something I’m very proud of. I hope you’ll get a chance to see it sometime.
BE: I read a little bit about it on IMDb.com, and the reviews I saw seemed to be relatively favorable.
DA: Yeah, I mean, it was a smalltime show, but…I don’t know, Kerry (Prior) is kind of a master in post-production. He really surprised me with his final cut. I didn’t think it was going to be nearly as enjoyable as it was, but, yeah, it’s something that I’m proud of. I loved watching it…and I can’t say that about everything I’ve done, let me tell you.
BE: And, lastly, what’s on your slate for the future?
DA: Well, I’ve got “24” right now, so that’ll be going on for a little while longer. And then there’s this movie that…I don’t know, I hope it goes, because it’s another good one, but it’s called “The Riot.” We’re supposed to shoot that up in Winnipeg in another month or so, but, of course, we were also supposed to shoot it last March, so who knows at this point? But that’s all I can tell you at this point.
BE: Again, I read a bit on IMDb, and, man, talk about a film that hits close to home.
(The description: “What would you do if you were desperate to survive? How far would you go? Three years from now, the United States has found itself in another great depression. On the cusp of disaster, the desperate people abandon their humanity to form a vicious mob with no remorse and no mercy. Amongst the chaos is the story of four friends. On this day, these four will have to unite in a way they never thought possible. To survive the devastating riot outbreak in their city, Andrew, Caleb, Jerrick, and Ors will fight to protect their lives and their home. And as the riots continue, they begin to realize that surviving is only the beginning.”)
DA: I know! I think it’s very topical and timely...and it’s good! These two kids straight out of film school wrote it, and it’s really energetic. One investor fell out, and then they went and tracked down another one, and he fell out. But now they’ve got another guy who’s sticking to his guns to give them what they want. For two kids who are in their early to mid-20s, I think they’ve got a bright future, and I hope to shoot this movie with them, ‘cause I really enjoyed the script.
BE: All right, David, it’s been a pleasure talking to you. I hope people tune in for “Children of the Corn” on Saturday.DA: Yeah, me, too! (Laughs)