Christian Slater enters the wild and crazy world of TV espionage (it's a lot scarier than real espionage, you know) in My Own Worst Enemy Monday night, so I joined a few other blogger types on a party line with the star to chat about the show, his love of spy movies, karate, why Pump Up the Volume rules (and it does), and more. I've seen the pilot episode, and honestly? Pleasantly surprised by it. It really is a lot better than it looks, and I was happy to find out from Christian himself that Alias alum John Eisendrath, who knows a thing or two about running a spy series, has a hand in the show. Get the rest of the highlights from the call after the jump!
Henry and Edward don't really know that one another exists. Are there going to be clues along the way that give them a heads-up that something is not quite right?
Christian Slater: Well, yeah -- in the first episode it's called "Breakdown," and the microchip that is implanted into Edward's brain has started to break down. And the two personalities are beginning to merge and a lot of chaos starts to ensue. And they do find different ways to communicate with each other -- you know, writing signs on each other's hands -- so when they do come to, they can see what they've been up to. And as the show develops they find much more technological ways to stay informed.
Are you a fan of the spy genre?
CS: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
Do you have a favorite?
CS: I love Sean Connery. I grew up watching all of his films as Bond, and I love Daniel Craig and think he's a great Bond. So yeah, I've traditionally always loved this genre.
Are you doing a lot of the stunt work and have you been training with weapons and stuff like that?
CS: Yeah, yeah, they've been great about getting me involved. We've got a great stuntman, Ian -- I wish I could give you his last name right now -- I can't think of it. But he's fantastic. I've got a great stunt double who's fantastic. But for me I enjoy getting involved in the fights. I love doing it. We've been working with the guns, and we haven't done so many things with [other] weapons or swords, although I did have a good fight the other day with a pair of handcuffs that went well.
I took Kempo Karate for two and a half years and I just started to go back again, because I would like to get my black belt. I'm two belts away from getting my black belt, personally. So I'd like to continue to do that and incorporate as much of what I know into the movements that Edward is capable of doing.
Out of all the shows that have premiered this season, yours was sort of head and shoulders above, in terms of the production value, action, the storyline. Is that what you wanted or is that what you needed if you were going to commit to a television series?
CS: Well, you know, it's always a risk and a gamble, whatever project you get involved with. But I can honestly say Ben Silverman and Terry Weinberg and Katie O'Connell really kept up their end of the agreement. They told me that they were going to try and put a movie on TV every week, and as far as I can tell the production value and the things we've been able to do have been extraordinary. And the crew and the team that is assembled is beyond first-class. So to show up to work everyday is a phenomenal pleasure.
As a long time move actor, what do you like or dislike about the storytelling differences with working in television?
CS: You know, with this, it's a continual unfolding journey, and it really is up to the writers and how creative and clever and interesting they're feeling and willing to be. And I can honestly say that John Eisendrath and the direction he's been taking the show, I couldn't be more excited or -- you know, it makes me laugh.
One of your characters is this intense operative and he speaks many, many languages. How many languages do you actually speak in real life, and did you have to fake it until you made it as far as languages go on the series?
CS: Yeah, some -- well, as far as the series goes they've brought in dialect coaches and they record the stuff on CD and give it to me with enough time to prepare and get ready. And the languages that we're tackling so far have been Russian and a little Chinese, and some German.
Can you say any more about James Cromwell's role?
CS: Yeah. James Cromwell plays a character called Trumbull, who really is, I would say, the head of the organization. He is the big boss of the organization, kind of overseeing everything.
Looking back are there one or two projects that stick out to you that you're especially proud of?
CS: For me, I go way back, probably, to a film I did called Pump up the Volume that I enjoyed a great deal, and I loved playing that character. And he kind of had a bit of a dual, split-personality thing going on, as well, so I think this particular show is reminiscent of that in some ways.
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