SXSW Interview: ROGUE TV Series

By Mark Saldana

For my final interview at the film festival, I sat down with three actors from the new TV series Rogue. Starring Thandie Newton, Rogue tells the story of undercover cop Grace, a wife and mother coping with the murder of her youngest child and struggling with the belief that his murder resulted from her work as a cop. On my last day of the fest I spoke with Joshua Sasse, Leah Gibson, and Matthew Beard who enthusiastically discussed their roles on the show and why they think people need to watch their new series.  The interview took place the morning before their premiere screening; therefore, I had not seen any of the show.  Naturally, I wanted them to enlighten me as to what to expect.

Mark Saldana: Why don’t you first tell me about the characters you play on the show?

Joshua Sasse: You’re talking to the crime syndicate family.  I am the eldest son. Matthew plays my younger brother.  We are both fighting for our father’s throne. One’s the brains and the other is the brawn.  Leah plays my wife Cathy.

Leah Gibson: The mastermind, really (She smiles.)

M.S.: So you guys could be labeled as the villains of the show?

J.S.: Well, that’s what the audience is going to be questioned about. Who’s good? Who’s bad? The moralities, that is going to shift. That shifts all during the show. Good and bad really gets questioned.

L.G.: The interesting thing about this show is that the lines kind of blur.  It is centered around Grace.  She is an undercover cop.  She has a family. She’s living a double life, playing mom and doing her job.  She tragically loses her youngest son early in the show and there are some mysteries surrounding her son’s death.  She becomes so grief stricken and so obsessed in seeking the truth and how it may have been related to her line of work.  So she goes rogue and envelops herself in this crime family, the Lazlos.  It becomes complicated because she becomes morally conflicted.  How far is she willing to go to seek the answers? The lines are blurred.  Good and bad is kind of gray.

Matthew Beard: It’s about families, very different families.  The love and the bonds that connect the people in the families are there.  Yes, they may be criminals or cops, but what it’s really about are their relationships.  That’s why it’s so great.

L.G.: That’s the thing I really respect about Matthew, Matthew Parkhill, our writer and show creator.  He sheds a light on the humanity of all the characters.

M.S.: All of you have worked in both television and film. Do you have a preference between the two media?

J.S.: It just depends on your personality, what you’re doing, and what you’ve done.  If you’ve done nothing, but films, it’s nice to do a TV show or play.  It’s nice to delve into a character where there is room to grow where you’re not doing the same performance every night like in theater.  Film, television and theater are all so different.  With this show, I don’t feel I will ever get bored with it.

L.G.: I heard Thandie say in another interview that she was excited to take this role and that she was looking to do a TV show because she was looking to live with a character for longer than a film.  You work on a film for a few months and the character is gone.  She was looking for something more dynamic that she could live and grow with.

M.S.: What is your schedule like? Is it pretty intensive?

J.S.: 16 hours a day, 6 days a week.

M.B.: It’s certainly a tight schedule for TV.  The crew really has to be on top of things.

M.S.: How would you sell this show to the average person on the street?

J.S.: Shows like this don’t come around a lot.  I think what’s going to really draw people to this is that there are no holds barred.  DIRECTV has really given us free reign with all the subject matter.

M.B.: My question when I first read this script was why do we want another crime show when there are other amazing shows like The Wire?  When you get into it, it’s not like that at all.  What I hadn’t seen in a long time is a show dealing with similar themes, but presented in a very heightened, stylized and interesting fun way.  It’s actually a really fun show.

L.G.: If I were to explain why someone should watch this show, it would be Thandie Newton.  Thandie Newton is this amazing film actress and I was curious about why TV now for her?  Then I read the pilot and I got it. It’s amazing.

Rogue premieres Wednesday April 3, 2013, 8:00 pm. (Central Time) on DIRECTV’s Audience channel.

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