On April 25th, 2008, Mick St. John is returning to your living room with a giant bag full of unexpected twists and secrets that will keep your water cooler conversations guessing throughout the summer. CBS plans to air four all new episodes of its hit series Moonlight over the course of the next four weeks, and it will all cumulate in one slam-bang breath-ceasing season finale. We recently headed over to the Warner Bothers lot to get the inside scoop on the second half of Moonlight's first season. While there, we interviewed all of the key cast members including Jason Dohring and Sophia Myles. To read the first part of our set visit, CLICK HERE.
This time out, we got a change to speak with both Alex O'Loughlin and series newcomer Eric Winter. When we arrived, they were both busy working on episode fifteen, which sees Alex's Mick St. John transported back to World War II. It's a flashback, of course. But some pretty heavy secrets are revealed, and these plot threads will carry the show into one of the craziest season finales of the year.
Episode thirteen, which premiers this Friday at 9pm, picks up exactly where episode twelve left off. Mick is still mortal, and Beth is still angry with him for letting her fiance Josh die. Of course Mick won't stay human for long. The premise of the show is vampires. But he does get to have some fun in his corporeal skin. We see him enjoying orange juice for breakfast instead of blood, and there is a prolonged montage of him soaking in the sun. Sadly, all good things come to pass, and before this latest episode is over, Mick will once again be sucking on a donor bag. The big twist comes with how he is turned back into a vamp. It won't be the way you think. The protective salve he has applied to his skin doesn't wear off. No. Something much worse happens to the poor chap.
The way in which Mick is turned back into a vampire will have a dire effect on the entire structuring of the show. Certain roles will change, and relationships will become strained. Coraline will be returning, but not before the end of the season. We met up with Alex O'Loughlin behind a quaint family home decked out in forties regalia to get more information on the fate of his character and the entire series too boot. O'Loughlin showed up in his army uniform, his hair shorter than it has been during the duration of the program. He seemed in a rather cheery mood. Everyone on set seems to believe that Moonlight is definitely coming back for a second season next year.
For those of you who have not ventured over to CBS to check out the show, Alex plays Mick St. John, a captivating, charming and immortal private investigator from Los Angeles who defies the traditional blood-sucking norms of his vampire tendencies by using his wit and powerful supernatural abilities to help the living. It is a role that O'Loughlin loves to live. Here is our conversation:
Alex O'Loughlin: About my uniform today, Mick was a medic when he went into the army. He had basic overall training. That is what we will see in episode fifteen. This is where his firearm training is honed. We see him in battle, which is a reality for so many soldiers at war. A lot of my friends have been to battle in Somalia and the Gulf War. They have been to different parts of the world. They go in trained in one specific area, and they come out knowing a whole lot more. You experience a bunch of other stuff, because of the nature of what is going on. Some of the stuff we are dealing with in this episode is quite exciting.
You were a fan of the vampire genre before this show came along. Can you talk a little bit about how that has affected your performance?
Alex O'Loughlin: Absolutely. With the genre itself, I have always been really enamored by its shameless sensuality. It is unlike any other genre. And this genre has had tremendous success, especially with the way these types of characters live. You get to see how deeply these vampires feel about the world sensorial. Their senses are all heightened. If you compared them to an animal, it would have to be a cat, on a lot of levels. The touch, the smell. They are so sensitive, especially when they transform and morph. I've always loved that. As a kid, the head of my bed was underneath a really big window. You could see the stars really clearly. I would lay on my back and look up at the stars. From the moment I sort of learned the concept of infinity, and I could grasp it, I struggled with it. The stars used to keep me awake at night. So much so, I had trouble getting up to go to school the next day. I would be doing head miles about this thing called infinity. How it never stops. What do you mean it doesn't have an end? Even if it doesn't have an ending, what is after that? The immortality became entwined in my brain. This idea that you could go on forever. That everything would be dead except for you. I've always been fascinated by that as well.
Do you have a cat that you can look to for inspiration?
Alex O'Loughlin: I, myself, do not. But I know cats. There are a few cats around town that I am buddies with. I can chat with them. I borrow cats. I will borrow my buddy's cat. The best cat is your friend's cat.
Did you ever get in trouble for not bringing the cat back on time?
Alex O'Loughlin: I can't answer that.
If Mick was a medic during the war that means he was dealing with blood even before he turned into a vampire. Has that always been a main thing in his life?
Alex O'Loughlin: Yeah, absolutely. It still has a profound effect on him today. If you go back to episode eleven, when Josh's life is finished, and Mick has tried to save him? Part of what makes Mick unique is his ability to turn off his emotions and deal with what he has to deal with. There was so much blood. The urge to do what comes naturally to him can be subdued. That desire to drink the blood was right at the surface the whole time. So, he is no stranger to blood or body parts. He can control his natural instincts.
How did being a medic effect him as a vampire?
Alex O'Loughlin: I personally think that you make your own character decisions. And sometimes that stuff never makes it into the final cut of the show. One of the things I'd done a lot of thinking about was that Mick may have gone off and done a lot of research about hematology before becoming a Private Investigator. I think he studied up on it. He became educated in blood. This guy has such a strict set of morals. He doesn't kill for pleasure. Not any more. He gets his blood from a blood bank. He has structured this way of living. As a vampire that sits more comfortably with him. I'm sure it all has to do with his past. When he is consuming blood, he knows all about the cells. He knows the structure of the blood. A lot of vampires may not know about that stuff.
Where would you like to see Mick go to in the future. Do you think he and Beth should get together in season two?
Alex O'Loughlin: The minute he and Beth actually get together and consummate their love, it becomes a different story. At this moment, we still have the Romeo and Juliet thing going on. When this show was pitched to me, they said it was about a vampire P.I. I said, "Really?" I didn't think it would be good. But then I read it, and it is about so much more than that. It deals with epic ideas and themes. I think it has elements of Hamlet, it has elements of Romeo and Juliet. I think it has elements of a lot of big stories that have already been told. When we get together, that element will no longer be there. It won't be unrequited love anymore. That will push us in a different direction. Sure, we will deal with it. And it will be interesting, no matter what. Is that what I want to happen? I don't know. I really like the dramatic tension that is there because these two haven't had that physical and spiritual connection yet. Its funny. Where do I want this show to go? That depends on how long we've got. The limits to the storytelling possibilities are the limits to our imaginations. Because the ideas are so immense. We are dealing with immortality. And we have so much flashback work we can do. There are pieces of jewelry that Mick wears, that he has worn since the beginning of the show, that we haven't talked about yet. Those all come from different stories. There is stuff in episode twelve. All of the blood stuff, and that Mick comes from French royalty. Mick is involved with another bloodline. Does that make him more powerful? Does he have any new skills that he doesn't know about? Is he going to realize himself all over again, on a different level? I have lots of my own ideas. I walk into the writer's room, and they all go, "Oh, God!" The writers are the same as me. They feel there are so many ways we can go with this. I hope we get to season two, because there are just so many possibilities.
Do we see you engaged in combat in this episode you are shooting right now?
Alex O'Loughlin: Yes. Yeah, you see me in heavy combat with my best friend. A lot of this episode is based around that, and based around the fact that Mick may have a child that is alive today. And he would be about the same age as me. So, it is pretty heavy stuff.
After talking with Alex, we walked over to an area of the Warner Brother lot known as Mid West Street. Up until May 15th, 2007, this little corner of the studio was known as Stars Hollow, home of the Gilmore Girls. It is also home to the Seaver household from Growing Pains. Today, this area of the back lot has been transformed into a 1940s any town. Vintage cars roam the faux-streets, and everywhere you look is a woman dressed up in clothing from that time period. One of the grips hustled over to me and whispered, "Look at all of the tomatoes."
This is where they were shooting the final scene of episode fifteen, in which Mick St. John discovers his best friend is still alive after a horrible battle on the fields of World War II. This is also where we met up with series newcomer Eric Winter. He plays Assistant District Attorney Ben Talbot on the series. He is being introduced as a potential love interest for Beth, and a potential pain in the neck for Mick St. John. Here is our conversation:
Can you tell us about your character? He's new too the show, right?
Eric Winter: Yeah, he is ADA Ben Talbot. He is basically a good guy. We are learning more and more about him all the time. He is mysterious in that he is driven by his work. He will do anything to get the answers he needs in order to solve what is going on at the time. There is an interesting fondness he has towards Beth. I am learning about it as you are. Do you know what his motivation is towards Beth? Do you know? I think he was brought in for that reason. There may be a love connection there. Other than that, he is the assistant district attorney in town. While he is here to keep a little law and order, he is also here to mix up some personal lives as well.
Is he a vampire?
Eric Winter: No, not that I know of. That hasn't happened yet. Maybe I'll get turned one day.
Were you a fan of vampire mythology before coming onto this show?
Eric Winter: I was a big fan of Bram Stroker's Dracula. I love the mythology of it. I love the mythology of Dracula, and werewolves, and the mummy. It has always been fascinating to me. It is just a cool genre. I think they are real. I mean, wouldn't it be cool if they were? I dig the fact that this show is set in that tone and genre.
Coming onto the series, did you already know what was going on with the different characters, or did you have to play catch up really fast?
Eric Winter: I had seen some of the episodes early on. Then I started working on a couple of other things. It's terrible. Even though I do a lot of TV acting, I am not able to stay on track with a lot of shows. The stuff I had seen was because I knew some of the people that were on it. I loved what I was hearing about it. So I caught some of the earlier episodes when they aired. With the last couple, I have been playing catch-up. It was the strike that really screwed everybody up. But, yeah, I was a fan of the show before I arrived.
Was it a challenge coming on in the middle of the season?
Eric Winter: It can be hard, but in this particular situation it wasn't at all. They were extremely welcoming here. Alex and Sophia run a really great ship as far as the cast goes. They are really warm. Starting from the top down, everybody has been really friendly and supportive, which helps when you come in midstream like that. Especially towards the tail end, when a show is abruptly stopped such as ours was. This has worked out quite well despite that. Every show in this town is different. You are not always guaranteed a comfortable environment.
What do you hope to see happen with ADA Talbot?
Eric Winter: I can tell you what I hope to see, because I don't know a lot about what they have planned. I would love to see a little bit more insight into Ben Talbot. Who he is and why he has come around this situation. I understand that he is the assistant district attorney. And he is following up on the job of the last ADA. He is taking over in that sense, but I would like to see more insight into who he is. He is a very driven workaholic. I would like to see more with him and Beth. They are definitely headed in that direction. I am excited about that. I do want to see where that will go. I think Talbot will do anything. So there is no telling where he will go in order to screw with Mick. He definitely doesn't have any sort of loyalty to Mick. Maybe he wants to expose Mick, because the guy's business is constantly getting in the middle of my guy's stuff. Talbot wants to be the top dog, and any angle he can get to go at Mick he will take.
Moonlight returns this Friday, April 25th, at 9pm only on CBS.