The actor talks about his popular character being killed off, the uproar it caused from the Internet, and his future
Demore Barnes has gained a massive popularity through his character Hector "Hammerhead" Williams on the popular CBS drama, The Unit. His popularity was never more certain than when his character met a sudden and shocking demise in the episode "Five Brothers" which aired on November 6. I had the privelege of speaking with Barnes over the phone.
What was your first reaction when you found out your character was being killed?
Demore Barnes: My first response was one of confusion. I think that's understandable since I don't think any of us saw it coming.
This has created quite a stir over the Internet. I've been on a few messageboards and people are saying they're going to boycott the show from now on, or they're calling for some sort of resurrection of your character. Did you know that the reaction would go that far?
Demore Barnes: (Laughs) That the reaction would go that far, in what regard?
That the fan reaction would be that high from your character being killed off?
Demore Barnes: Actually, I never really thought about it. I never really thought about it from that standpoint. I was very pleasantly surprised to be hearing that my departure caused such an extreme outcry. Apparently there were a lot of people who were very upset. A couple of weeks ago I was in Vegas at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino opening and there were several red-carpet situations where fans were strewn on either side of the walkway. People were yelling various things, they were being upset. That means I was doing my job.
On one of the messageboards I was on, someone posted part of a cover letter from (executive producer) Shawn Ryan, and it sounded like your character, or one of the character's demise was in the cards since day one. What are your thoughts on that?
Demore Barnes: Yeah, it makes sense to me. I mean, it was inevitable that somebody, at some point, whether it be in Season 1 or Season 12, was going to be meeting some sort of demise in the means of combat. So I think it's just matter of due course and due time, you know.
What was the cast's reaction when they initially found out you were to be killed off?
Demore Barnes: I think they were dissapointed because, as I love them, they love me as a person. We've become a family over the past three years. Whether it be people on the blogs, or whether it be Dennis Haysbert or Robert Patrick, no one was none too happy. But at the same time we understand that we're doing a military drama called The Unit. If we were doing Gilmore Girls it probably would've felt a little bit different. (Laughs)
(Laughs) Very true. Have you been asked to do anything special for the DVD of this season? Any special features or anything?
Demore Barnes: Typically the DVD features won't be until next spring or summer, so I'm quite certain that there will be some special elements and certainly my presence with those two shows, and possibly a show or two before leading up to those shows.
Do you have a favorite episode?
Demore Barnes: Yeah, I think my favorite episode was probably my last episode. It was a wonderful experience to engage and explore in the payoff of the relationships that have been built thus far and the characters that have been built thus far. Obviously, we as actors knew that something very significant and extreme was coming to a head. It was great to have that last episode with all of the boys, just in the dire circumstances that we all found ourselves in Lebanon. It was very touching. It was very poetic, very honoring and respectful of the reality of war, and those who have lost loved ones in war.
What do you miss most about being a part of the show?
Demore Barnes: I miss the comradery. I miss the guys and our girls as well.
What was your last day on the set like?
Demore Barnes: The last day was, it was surreal. It was the kind of thing that didn't seem real, I think for the entire day. I don't think it felt real to anyone. A couple of people in the cast and crew expressed that throughout the day. It's the sort of thing that ever could seem real, because it's not normal. It's kind of one of the more abnormal or unusual aspects of what we do. (He said something funny after this, because we were laughing, but my digital recorder somehow picked up some sort of feedback right as he said it. Figures.)
Is there anything that you can tell us about that you have lined up for the future?
Demore Barnes: No, not at this time. I think we'll have a better lay of the land once this writer's strike has been resolved. It kind of ground everything to a halt.
Is there anything you'd like to say to your ardent supporters over the Internet?
Demore Barnes: I'd say to those who are very torn and saddened by the loss of Hector, and I guess in some ways the loss of Demore, or my portrayal of Hector, to not worry. Keep your ear to the ground, because I'm just getting started.
Well, that's about all I have for you Demore. I thank you very much for your time.
Demore Barnes: All right, Brian. You have a good day, buddy.
While fans of Hector "Hammerhead" Williams might be mourning their loss on The Unit, I doubt they'll have to worry about his portrayer, Demore Barnes himself, in the future.