British actor Philip Glenister never thought of furthering his career in the US.
The 53-year-old Glenister, who is best known for portraying Detective Chief Inspector Gene Hunt on British series Life On Mars and its sequel Ashes To Ashes, is currently playing a main role in American supernatural drama Outcast.
“To be perfectly honest, I got to an age where I figured it’s never been a huge goal like some British actors who just want to go here (the US) and work,” Glenister shares with a group of international journalists at the set of Outcast in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
“It had never been something I aspired to. If it happened, it happened, and that would be fine. Rather than flog my guts out, I was perfectly happy with my career back in Britain.”
But opportunity came knocking one day. Robert Kirkman, who is responsible for the global phenomenon that is The Walking Dead, was looking to bring to life another of his comic book series, Outcast, on the small screen.
“The casting director had seen me on some British shows which she really liked. So, when this came about, she immediately thought of me for the role.
“She got in touch with my agent and asked if I’d be prepared to put myself on tape. I thought I’d give it a go,” Glenister recalls how he first got onboard the project. After a series of auditions, he landed the job.
Glenister plays Reverend Anderson, a preacher who has devoted his life to helping deliver those afflicted by demonic possessions in the fictional town of Rome, West Virginia.
Outcast, which began airing early last month on Fox HD, centres on one Kyle Barnes, played by Patrick Fugit, who discovers he has the ability to cast out demons, and gets roped in by the preacher on his mission. But Reverend Anderson starts to question himself when his new recruit seems to be able do a better job than him.
“During the course of events, we find out that most of my character’s exorcisms haven’t worked. He’s not very good at them. Kyle seems to just touch them and they get better and I start resenting him,” Glenister says.
Meanwhile, Fugit shares that Kyle looks to Reverend Anderson as a “father figure and mentor who has been absent in his life since a young age.”
Kyle grew up without a steady parental figure; viewers learn that his mother was plagued by demons and he was moved to a foster home. The only constant figure in his life has been his foster sister Megan Holter (Wrenn Schmidt). “They’ve remained close. She’s sort of a beacon of light that looks out for Kyle and helps keep him on his feet,” Fugit says.
The 33-year-old American actor, who acted opposite Ben Affleck in Gone Girl, also talks about his experience filming the show’s exorcism scenes: “Each one has been a bit different. So far, most of them have had blood and spit and biting and punching, falling down and getting tossed around. They read real quick on the page, and they’re really great. You get excited to shoot them and all of a sudden you realise how many shots we need and how much of it is pretty physically exhausting.”
One of the series’ earliest exorcism scenes features a young boy Joshua, played by 10-year-old Gabriel Bateman, haunted by demonic possessions.
Fugit couldn’t stop gushing about his young co-star, saying: “I talk about the exorcism scenes being physically exhausting, they’re also mentally exhausting as you have to go to a high emotional pitch for a long time like between 10 to 14 hours of screaming and intense work. That’s hard for little kids, and he was gave 100% all the time.”
Not all of the series’ characters are onboard with the supernatural goings-on, including the town’s chief of police Byron Giles, portrayed by Reg E. Cathey.
Cathey, who picked up an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in House Of Cards last year, says his character “doesn’t really believe it’s demonic possessions just yet, that’s a little too much. He does know that it is strange and he knows that the Reverend is the best person to deal with it and so he wants to help him.”
Asked what the actors do for fun in Rock Hill when they’re not filming, Cathey, who admits he didn’t know where the town was prior to this, says he passes the time by playing the saxophone.
Meanwhile, Schmidt reveals: “I do ashtanga yoga and Patrick does Muay Thai training.”