Interview with Joshua Sasse & Leah Gibson of the new DIRECTV series "Rogue"
By Lisa Minzey of The Reel Critic.com
Premiers Wednesday April 3, 2013
Hey Phoenix Film Fans! We have a bit of a treat for you in that we sat down with two of the stars from the upcoming DIRECTV Series, “Rogue”, starring Thandie Newton, Marton Csokas, Joshua Sasse, Matthew Beard and Leah Gibson. Grace (Thandie Newton) is an undercover police offices tasked to crime boss Jimmy Laszlo who intentions change after her son is gun down in cold blood. Trying to figure out the identity of her son’s murderer, Grace gets pulled in deep within the crime syndicate, putting everyone’s families at risk including Jimmy’s. Joshua Sasse plays Alec Laszlo, the crime boss’s eldest son and Leah Gibson plays Alec’s wife Cathy. What can be described as “The Sopranos” meets “Red Shoe Diaries” with more gusto and grit, be sure to tune into Rogue when it premiers on DIRECTV starting on April 3,2013.
PFF: There’s a lot of duality with two characters. How do you highlight the darker sides of the roles yet keeping them likable and intriguing for the audience?
JS: Duality is really important; it’s large part of the show, the two sides of everyone’s life. With Grace /Jackie, our home life and my gang life, that vulnerability is very important to Alec, and that family dynamic that we have between Alec and Cathy is on where the series goes for us; it’s the cog that turns in my [character’s] machine. She’s very much got a handle on it.
LG: I think when you’re playing a character you want to play them truthfully and finding the humanity in them, which I think that the shows creator Matthew Parkhill is so brilliant at doing. He take the sort of “classic themes”, good guys, the cops versus the bad guys/ gangsters, that at first glance they are interesting characters, but then you watch them closer and they are so human, defined by their relationships with one another. The complexity of relationships; loving and hating them at the same time; fearing for them and wanting to protect and provide for them, insecurities around that, it’s what humans face everyday.
JS: You want the audience to like you, or not like you but they need to empathize with your character. You want to try to find the humanity and who that person is as a whole and every facet of their character.
PFF: How did you go about developing a back-story to your characters to build chemistry?
JS: The casting team obviously had this project for a long time and had been trying to cast our characters for 4 months before they cast either of us. I got cast and read with Leah and they fund we had chemistry. That’s a really important time because you can see very quickly if these two people will work together. They walked into the room and we had this quite interesting experience; they kind of threw us in the deep end. We had a sex scene as our first read together to test our chemistry.
LG: It my chemistry read; Josh already had the role but they were still looking at a handful of other girls. It was my test; it was how well do you fare against this actor that is already chosen? It was interesting. We auditioned with a couple of scenes that I had been auditioning with in my 4 previous auditions for Kathy and then Nick [Hamm, Showrunner & Executive Producer] stepped over and gave us this scene hot off the printer that was what turned out to be our fairly graphic sex scene. He wanted us to cold read it so we had a few minutes to prep. Josh was like” Ohmigod, ohmigod” and I was like, “Ok. Throw me on the table. Put your hand here. Pull my hair. (laughs) Where can we go with this? “.
JS: After that we only had a couple of weeks before we started filming, so we had be quite open and giving each other a great deal of trust. We had to keep in mind lots of sensitivity toward the role because there has to be an authenticity to the part for the audience. Like you said, there’s a sense of history, a back story and you know we just went through and decided what our character choice would be. When we finally met up with our daughter for the first time, everything comes together very quickly and if you’re receptive the pages come to life very quickly.
PFF: Do either of you have any reservations amount this show on how much is displayed for the public?
JS: No not really. We treated that scene like we would any other scene. It tells a story and its there for a purpose. We spent an awful a lot of time working on it before we filmed it. When it came time to film, it was a very hard situation to be in, but once that wall is down you kind of go for it and enjoy it. When we were in the room filming, there was 60 other people watching; we’re not thinking about the millions of people watching it. You just do what you’ve been given and do it to the best of your ability.
LG: When I signed on, I knew I was signing on to a project that was intending to be very truthful; that the characters would be in these very raw, emotional states and be able to take these characters to some very real places. When the subject of our sex scene came up there was a lot of discussion. I don’t take any of my choices lightly; I completely believe in them to bring a character to life, giving them an honest quality. To me that scene is has never been just a sex scene. Its always been about these two people being in a highly charged emotional state. Its scene of power, conflict and I think we fulfilled that.
JS: There’s a lot of stuff out there that has graphic content; video games, featured films, the ante is being upped constantly.
PFF: With any new project there are new things that you learn about your self and your craft. Have there been any surprises you have found while working on this show?
JS: What I have learned on this show is the importance of a good and proper diet. (laughs). The hours are completely crazy. 60 hour weeks. We have learned a lot. We are surrounded by an incredible cast that you can’t help but saturate the talent and take it all in for the experience. You feel very privileged, I know we all do. Being able to perform writing at that standard is very flattering that they chose you to play this character, it’s an honor. With the characters you are constantly evolving and Direct TV gave us an incredible amount of freedom and liberty to do what we needed artistically and so the writers were able to collaborate with us and ended up writing for us by the end of in the show. That’s not something that happens on feature films or theater.
LG: For me it’s that I’ve really grown with the character lie this. In playing Cathy, it’s so unlike who I am in my day to day life, it was a joy to play someone so strong and their vulnerabilities. I’m a different woman now pre-Cathy and I know it’s a very satisfying place to be, able to play someone so different.
JS: Sadly I wear more leopard print now. (LG Laughs)
PFF: Why should we watch the show?
JS: Why do you watch tv? You want to be entertained. I think people want to watch something that’s new; they don’t want the normal drove. If it’s not believable, I personally don’t want to watch it. If you want to want to watch it, it’s a show that will keep you on the edge of your seat; it’s breaking a lot of new ground.
LG: The writing is absolutely superb; it’s raw, real, so many twists and turns, you have no idea what’s coming next. It delivers all the answers though out the 10 episodes and more. Cinematically, it’s beautiful. We had a D.P. who visually created something unique as far as TV goes. This is DiRECTV’s first scripted show, being that, it’s very cutting edge. You will see things you’ve never seen before.
PFF: After you’re finished promoting Rouge, what’s up next for you?
JS: I have a film that will be premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival called “ Frankenstein’s Army”, which is a horror movie that I filmed last year in the Czech Republic and a music festival in Bulgaria called “Matters in the Mountain” coming up so I have my hands full.
LG: I have a few things that were filmed last year that are about to be released and I just finished filming a movie in Canada called “Crook” with a wonder filmmaker named Adrian Langley. Right now it’s mostly Rogue & enjoying everything about the show.
"Rogue" premiers Wednesday April 3, 2013 on DIRECTV. Check your local listings for time and channel.