Digital Spy recently spoke to actor Max Brown – of Beauty & the Beast fame – who joins the show for season two.
Your character Orion is something of an enigma when he joins Sleepy Hollow – how much of his backstory was laid out for you?
“I had to be aware of his heritage to help me grasp where the character was coming from, so they explained a lot to me. M Raven Metzner – who’d written my first episode – took me aside and we had long chats about where Orion is from.
“But a lot of it becomes explanatory in the script itself, and then I brought the flavour I wanted to as well, so it’s a lot of fun to play!”
Straying into a slight spoiler territory here, but he is an angel. How do you, as an actor, get into that fantasy headspace?
“You need to set him in some realism and relate to parts of him, so for me, it was more about him being that stranger from afar – quite a lonely character really.
“He doesn’t know that many people, and he’s gone through tough times and so I focused on that – and the fact that he doesn’t feel like he can trust anybody.
“For me, that was the interesting aspect to him. The superhero stuff, the fact that he can fly and things, you have to just be as normal as possible – it’s no surprise to him. So you have to get your head around that aspect and just try to look as cool as possible when you’re pretending to fly!”
How are the flying scenes? Is it the old notion of being strung up on uncomfortable wires?
“Yeah, that’s basically it. You’re strapped up in a very tight harness underneath your cool costume – you’re lowered in, you land on your feet as gracefully as possible and try to make it look like it’s something you’ve done a million times, as opposed to the first five rehearsals and the four takes!
“It’s always interesting taking on something completely foreign and new like that and trying to make it look real and grand – you can’t really practise for it, it’s not like you can take a class on how to fly! Hopefully I pulled it off.”
Is fantasy a genre you particularly respond to, or is it just coincidence that your last few jobs have been in that bracket?
“Yeah – I know Beauty & the Beast was kind of fantasy, and last year we started to make a show called Hieroglyph – which didn’t eventually get to air – that was an Egyptian thing with fantasy elements – and now Sleepy Hollow.
“But with Beauty and the Beast, I didn’t really feel like I was in a fantasy show – my character was very much on the ‘normal’ side of things. I played the medical examiner, and I didn’t really even meet the Beast or deal with that aspect.
“Sleepy Hollow though is very much fantasy and it’s been a lot of fun playing a character where you can be anything – they do such a great job of creating these characters, who are just so complex and have so much richness and history to them.”
Orion forms an immediate bond with Abbie (Nicole Beharie) – why do you think that is?
“I think my and Abby’s characters, when we meet, we’re both fighting wars on our own, and I think we find solace in each other’s characters.
“We’re both committed to the roles that we’ve been thrust into, and I think that’s where they find… more a respect than an affection toward each other. I think it’s because they’re both these lone wolves that they get on.”
How is it working with your fellow Brit Tom Mison (who plays Ichabod)?
“He’s a really lovely and charming guy, Tom – we actually met briefly on a red carpet in New York the previous year and had a brief conversation about Sleepy, so it’s quite funny that I turned up on set six months later!
“It’s always nice working with a Brit out in America, because you can talk about British things that some Americans don’t understand.”
“Oh, we were just ripping each other the whole time. Brits kind of understand that’s how we treat each other – with total disdain and disrespect, but it’s a loving relationship!”
Sleepy Hollow has a passionate fanbase – ‘the Sleepyheads’ – so have you experienced much of that fan passion?
“Yeah, when the early press stuff was released here, there was a lot of interest from the Sleepyheads – and it was just really nice. The character has gone down really well in America.
“It’s nice when you get feedback like that, and with something like Twitter, now you get that immediate feedback – which isn’t always good, but luckily on this show it was!”
So do you follow people’s reactions online or do you try not to dig too deep into that world?
“It depends on how self-centred I’m feeling! Sometimes, if you’re feeling a bit low, you read a few comments and it can be nice to hear that your work has gone down well.
“But obviously if there’s one bad comment in 100, you focus on the bad one – those are the insecurities that every actor has, I think!”