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Alpha and Omega: Alan Tudyk on the End-All-Be-All of <i>Dollhouse</i>

The casting was brilliant -- get perpetual nice guy Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Death at a Funeral) to play a wacky environmental engineer on Dollhouse, then have him pull a 180 and stand revealed as psychotic ex-Doll Alpha. It was a casting decision that was Whedonesque in its brilliance, and would have been one heck of a shock... if we hadn't found out about it in advance. The spoiler didn't make Tudyk's performance less hypnotic, however, and we can't wait to see where he and Echo will end up at the end of this week's season finale, "Omega." We got to talk to him on a media conference call about the finale, the leak and even the remake of V he'll be appearing in. The last one he couldn't say much about, but we're sure it will all be on the Internet soon enough.

At the end of the "Briar Rose" episode you and Echo go off into the sunset... what, to live happily ever after?

Alan Tudyk: I think that's Alpha's plan, sure. Everything that Alpha has done has been to get Echo. Whenever you see Alpha, he's screwing with the Dollhouse, and it's always around Echo and his obsession with Echo. So now he has her, and he gets to fulfill his plan now, which is to make her like him. Alpha isn't really Alpha. He's a bunch of people crammed into one. He's 43 people at once. He's ascended in his mind to a godlike place.

Is one of those personalities Steve the Pirate?

Alan Tudyk: We'll have to tune in and see.

Eliza Dushku has insinuated that the next episode has a little bit of a Mickey-and-Mallory vibe with the two of you. Can you talk about getting to play the hell-bent couple together?

Alan Tudyk: That's great. I love how "Briar Rose" ends. It was that whole Sleeping Beauty thing, and you knew somebody was going to get kissed at the end. I'm glad it was Alpha kissing her, but you see that, both of us together. "Oh, my God, yes, I know who you are. Yes, I know who you are. Come on, let's go." We take it on the road. There's maybe a kidnapping or two in the episode, but for Alpha it's mainly about fulfilling his plan, which is just the last step. Getting Echo was the second-to-last step of his ultimate plan. He's got one more thing in place before they can really go on their worldwide domination ruling-the-world spree. It's about making her in his own image really. In his mind he's a god. He's ascended, and he wants to bring her up to his level of multiple personality person. So it's cool, you'll see.

So Alpha believes that he's basically like the pinnacle of human evolution -- isn't he basically right about that?

Alan Tudyk: I think he has the ability to be. When you're downloading a bunch of people, you're downloading perspective and experience. Somebody can go through one experience and have a conclusion about that, and another person could have the same experience and have a different conclusion. Somebody can end up enlightened, and somebody else could end up a villain. I think he takes the wrong lessons from his downloaded experiences. He is certainly evolved, but I don't know, the swine flu is evolution, isn't it? In a way, it's an evolution of flu -- that's sort of him.

We're used to you playing nice, lovable people who sometimes get killed tragically. When Joss came to you with this role, what was your reaction, and were you excited to get to do something so different?

Alan Tudyk: Absolutely. He set me up really well, because he didn't tell me that he wanted me for the role when he first described it. He laid it out like "the role does this, and he does this and he's this composite of these people." He gave me a full scope of the guy, that he was this person who was obsessed with Echo and was 43 people at once and has all of these skill sets crammed into one, but because he's 43 people at once, he's mad, and he's sort of godlike in his own mind. I was like, "Oh, my God, that's sounds so amazing. Who's playing that?" "I want you to play it." It wasn't like we were in his office discussing work. We were over at Nathan Fillion's house for Pictionary. We were on a Pictionary break when I brought it up. "What's going on with the show? I want to hear about your new show," because it had yet to start, and we were just getting into the strike time. I was really blown away that he wanted me for it, and I was excited to get to play it. As you said, I don't get to play badasses very often.

Were there enough familiar faces on set that you were comfortable coming in? Sometimes guest stars can feel thrown into the fire...

Alan Tudyk: It was not like that at all. Because even though I never met Eliza, Eliza knew me through Joss, so I was already accepted. I didn't have to prove myself. Joss had already said, "This is the guy. We got a guy, he's good." She trusts Joss' opinion. Amy Acker and I know each other from... probably a Pictionary game is where we first met. I've done some Shakespeare readings with her, so it was really easy seeing her and hanging out with her. And Tim Minear directed the next episode. Tim was part of Firefly. He did my favorite episode, "War Stories," and he's one of my favorite directors on Firefly. The next episode coming up he wrote and directed, and I really like this next episode. I think it really shows off Tim. There's so much to play with and he does a great job.

Was your portrayal of Alpha entirely Joss' vision, or did he let you have a lot of space to create him?

Alan Tudyk: I think I had space to create him, but I was hungry for anything he gave me, any idea he had or any information he could fill in with his vision. I'm adding up everything people have said about him and then going to him and saying, "Are all of these impressions of Alpha true, because they're saying that's who he is, but are they right? What is your vision of Alpha?" I was really dependent on his vision because he's had this guy in mind since the beginning. In the actual shooting of it, we got to have fun, but the main thing for the last episode is he wanted Steven Kepler to be a full person that people could believe in before he flipped into one of those other personalities. It wasn't a very well kept secret, but they created a really great role in Steven Kepler.

Were you disappointed when that information got out there in advance of the episode airing that you were playing Alpha?

Alan Tudyk: Yes. At one point, it was on an Alan Tudyk Web site. First, I got it from a friend who has a Google alert for my name. He's like, "Hey, just so you know," and sent me this link, and I read it and I'm like, "No, way! No way! No way!" And then it was linked to an Alan Tudyk.net or dot something-or-other or Alan-fan-something-or-other. I was like, "You're supposed to be on my side, and here you are giving out secrets that really work against what I want!" I guess they're not up there to do my bidding. I started to write an e-mail, "Why are you doing this? Don't you think it would be best to keep this information to yourself if you have this, or even put out misinformation about this?" And then it's like, "Why am I writing this email?" and I deleted it and went about my life. There's no way to stop it once it was out. I was talking to some people in Baltimore after it had gotten out. I told them it's a lie, don't believe it, it's not true, but then somebody released a picture of me on set. I don't know where all these people are. The set is like one leaky boat, man. It's impossible. I can't stop the signal. It was out there.

What would the second season mean for Alpha?

Alan Tudyk: I can't say, because Alpha may not make it through the next episode. Alpha is a formidable person to deal with, but he has Echo and that's playing with fire. It could blow up in his face.

Are you in "Epitaph," the episode that was filmed but won't air?

Alan Tudyk: Oh, the the bonus episode. You'll never know until you buy the DVD. I don't want to comment on my state beyond this episode... Or Alpha's state. My fate beyond the episode is totally alive, living a healthy life in Venice, California. But Alpha's fate, it's uncertain.

Is that you naked on the coffee table in episode one?

Alan Tudyk: No, no, no, no. I have pictures of me naked on a coffee table, but it's a coffee table book of me naked, and I only have one copy. I don't know who that was. I think it was a model. Somebody said it was a model, which if you're going to do a body double for me, you're going to have to go get a model.

Can you talk at all about your role in the V pilot?

Alan Tudyk: I can't. I really can't. Although I can say this, it's really good. I hope that they pick it up. If you're a fan, which I was of the first one, this is kind of everything that you remember without going back and watching, because if you go back and watch the original V, you're like, "Oh, I thought this was great. It really looks kind of cheesy." It fills in your memory as it should be. It's like really awesome effects. The effects are done by Zoic, who did Firefly. All the spacecrafts and anything requiring digital enhancement is Zoic, and they do a great job. And then, of course, Morena Baccarin is in it, and she's the leader of the aliens, so you can't get any better than that.

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