Dark Was the Night starring Kevin Durand is now available on VOD and can also be seen in theaters. To mark the release, we spoke with the man himself about his new movie and how he is one of the coolest and most notable character actors working today.
Kevin Durand: Andrew!
Andrew Hawkins: Hello Kevin Durand! How are you sir?
KD: Hey. How you doin’ man?
AH: Doin’ good, doin’ good. I’m talking to you from CHUD.com and I wanted to see if I could ask you a couple of questions about Dark Was the Night and some of you’re work over the last 20 years.
KD: (laughs) I’d love to chat about such subjects, thank you.
AH: Oh hell yeah, very cool. Well to get started, I gotta tell ya, Dark Was the Night, that’s your movie. That’s all you. (Kevin Durand laughs) How did that come about? How did you wind up in the starring role in this creature feature / awesome horror movie?
KD: I know, I keep asking myself the same question. First off the “all you” thing, I thank you for being so kind. But I mean the cast I got to work with; Lucas Haas, Bianca Kajlich…
AH: Sabina Gadecki and Nick Damici. You had a great cast.
KD: Yeah, Nick is awesome too, and Jack Heller at the wheel. It was just an awesome experience being the said “leading man” (laughs) which was the first time I’ve ever done that. Y’know, I got a call about the potential for me to play this character Sheriff Paul Shields, and I read the script and I was blown away by Tyler’s script. I mean, it had been on the black list I think in 2009 and was living in production hell for years at a couple of studios, and Jack Heller read it and just went after Tyler and said, “Look man, I promise you that I will make this movie if you sign over the rights.”
And he made it and I had a Skype meeting with Jack, and we just talked about Sheriff Paul Shields and it was like such an emotionally charged conversation that we had, and he saw the character very similarly to me and actually pushed the envelope for me where we were gonna take him. And by the end of the conversation we were like, “Man, when do we start? Let’s do this!” and I’m so happy with how it turned out.
AH: You talk about the emotionally charged conversation and how the character of Paul Shields is connected to you, that’s a pretty serious role. You’ve got some tense stuff going on in the movie because you’re dealing with severe loss. You and Bianca are having to deal with losing a son and then everything’s happening to the town where you’re trying to protect your people. Where did you draw from to bring that out and have it come across in the movie?
KD: Well, I think I just drew from the words y’know, and the situations that Tyler wrote and the way that Jack would set it all up and was just so driven to dive into those issues. Playing those words, I’m not like a lot of people who have different methods how to conjure up certain emotions. For me I kind of live on the verge of all that all the time which is why I meditate allot. (laughs) So in order to play that loss I just had to think about what he was responsible for y’know. To actually think and make yourself responsible for the death of your son, that you believe that you’re responsible for it, you normally don’t have to do anything else than just play that, and it was just there.
And Jack Heller, every once in a while if I didn’t seem like I was deep enough in my sulking in my depressive state, he would come up to me and just kind of say, “You’re such a fucking asshole. You’re such a loser. None of us believe in you. You couldn’t keep your son alive, blah blah blah.” And then he’d walk away and I would just be there and play the moment. Jack and I really had a great connection that way. He would come to me and do that and I just totally got it, as opposed to him saying, “Sadder! Play sadder!” (laughs) He would just come and tell me like how all the people in the room felt about me and how I was such a disappointment. (laughs) And we would just go, and I’m so happy with the way it turned out even though I was depressed as shit for most of the shoot. (laughs)
AH: (laughs) Shit man, I mean it comes across in the film, but in the end you’ve got your big moment facing off against the creatures. And I gotta tell you now that that’s all over and you’re not being talked down to anymore, you’re the man. You have shown up in all these awesome movies from Smokin’ Aces to more recently Noah, and we’re watching you on The Strain right now, kicking ass as possibly the most arguably important character, Vasiliy Fet. What are you thinking about how you’ve been growing and getting more exposure over the past couple of decades in your career?
KD: Well first off, thank you so much for your super kind words. That really kind of touches me. Y’know I’ve been on a journey, I’ve been doing this for 24 years now. I left home when I was 17 with a dream of getting to do exactly right now, talking on the phone with you about these projects I’m really excited about. And I’m loving the direction that I’m moving in, and the idea that I get to carry more weight in these amazing narratives.
It’s really been my dream and I just kinda hope and pray and work my ass off every single chance that I can, and be grateful for everything and hope that everything just keeps moving in the same direction, and I keep getting to do what I’ve been doing. Fingers crossed, toes crossed, everything; even eyes crossed right now just hoping that I get to keep playing these characters in these wonderful stories.
AH: Yeah, we’re all about it ’cause every time you show up in anything. We instantly recognize you for your imposing characters, intense characters or somebody who’s cool as hell. Everything from comedy to horror to sci-fi to action, you’re nailin’ it. Are you looking forward to doing more of a specific kind of movie. Are you wanting to do more horror? Are you wanting to do more action? What are you thinking about digging into here coming up?
KD: Genres or like platforms don’t really make a difference to me. It all has to do with what kind of film it is. I love horror films. I’m a big fan of dramas, comedies, sci-fi, action; all of that. It’s just for me it’s more about just getting an opportunity to play characters with as much truth as I can and hopefully make them as compelling as I can. And to work with people that help me push the envelope in what I know I can do, and hopefully we can just keep stretching until I’m a really old and beaten, withered man sitting there going, “Wow. How great is it I got to get close at least to being creatively fulfilled.”
I’m just striving towards that every day. Right now I’m writing a movie and writing a character that I don’t think people would generally offer me, so I’m writing it for myself and hopefully that works. And in the midst of all that and people seeing The Strain and Dark Was the Night and Vikings; all these things that I’ve been so lucky to be a part of. Hopefully you all keep offering me great characters in your stories and I’ll keep putting everything that I have into all of them.
AH: Well I gotta tell you you’re working your ass off and you’re laying a great legacy. It’s been an honor talking to you sir. Thank you very much for your time. It’s been a pleasure.
KD: Hey man, thank you so much for your kind words and I’ll keep going as hard as I can. I hope that we get to talk again sometime soon and hopefully we have more exciting things to talk about.