Hypable spoke with Sebastian Roché to get his thoughts on Mikael’s latest plot for revenge on The Originals as well as what it was like working alongside Liam Neeson in A Walk Among the Tombstones.
Mikael Mikaelson was dispatched to the Other Side via White Oak stake in The Vampire Diaries season 3 when Klaus plotted to eliminate him, the final living threat to Klaus’ eternal survival. With the collapse of the Other Side, Julie Plec and company knew that it was now or never to bring back characters that had already passed, and Mikael was one character they simply couldn’t just let go.
In addition to his work on The Originals and The Vampire Diaries, Sebastian Roché has worked on many hugely popular series, including Scandal, Supernatural, Fringe, and Criminal Minds and some pretty incredible films, i.e. The Last of the Mohicans and A Walk Among the Tombstones.
Hypable took some time to sit down with the man behind the Mikaelson patriarch and we got some interesting information about The Originals season 2 and what it was like working with a legend like Liam Neeson.
How does it feel to be back in the world of The Vampire Diaries/The Originals?
It feels good actually, it feels very good. I feel very flattered to be back on such a good show, especially having died once. Although I’m quite used to dying on nearly every show I do. *chuckles* It feels really good. I have to admit that when I died on The Vampire Diaries, I wanted a little more for Mikael, and now my wishes have been granted. I feel very, very blessed actually.
When they asked me to come back for “Le Grand Guignol” which was episode 15 (of The Originals) which was a flashback to New Orleans, that was an extraordinary episode and I felt how wonderful, and I so wish I could continue on this adventure. When they called me back and told me this might be happening, I was more than delighted, at having already shot 5 episodes of season 2, it’s gearing up to be one of those extraordinary seasons, and I’m very excited for what’s coming up.
Is Davina the ally he would have chosen? Who would he rather be working with?
I don’t know if she’s the ally, but why not? He doesn’t know how powerful she is, but he tends to choose allies that can suit his purpose. She could be a pretty good ally. He wouldn’t take anyone from his family, of course. Davina seems like a pretty good ally, even though I don’t think anyone is an ally for Mikael, everyone is a potential enemy with a semblance of being maybe an ally from time to time. He will always use them. He’s a user.
Is Mikael pretty much the same guy we’ve met before? Has his agenda changed at all?
No, that’s what I love about Mikael is his agenda never changes. He’s been consumed with rage and a sense of revenge for the people who turned on him, those who’ve been his family, which makes it even more intense. So, no, I think he’s still the same man, and now that he’s closer to his goal, his resolve is even more furious. He’s still the same badass revenge-monger.
Will Mikael have any interaction with Kaleb, the new character played by Daniel Sharman?
Uhh… He might have. There’s a possibility that that’s going to happen. I can’t really go into too many details. I think being surprised is much more fun than having spoilers. Even though my wife as soon as we watch a series she instantly tries to find spoilers. She always wants to know what’s happening. It’s more fun, the surprise is more important.
Switching gears a little bit, what do you think is the biggest difference between Mikael (on TVD/The Originals) and Yuri Landau (character from A Walk Among the Tombstones)?
I think there’s a huge difference between Mikael and Yuri Landau. That’s what’s sort of interesting about the characters in that film, the drug dealers appear to be bad guys, but they’re actually in hugely terrible circumstances in the sense that one of their loved ones have been kidnapped by two sadistic psychopaths, so you know, on the outside you can see them as bad guys, but on the inside they’re very human, been through tragedies in their own lives.
In sort of seeing the outward appearance of ‘bad guy’, you see a very human person in a very vulnerable state, it makes them very, very different. I’m not saying that Mikael can’t be vulnerable, I would actually welcome that, but that’s what’s so interesting. The dichotomy between who he is and what Yuri Landau is going through is phenomenal. You don’t see a drug lord, you see a desperate father trying to find his daughter, so there’s quite a big difference. You could say Mikael is a desperate father, trying to right the wrong that was done to him, but eliminating the people that gave him so much pain.
How was working with Liam Neeson?
First of all, it was a great cast, wonderful stage actors. I mean, working with Dan Stevens, it was so funny, cause I was such a fan of Downton Abbey and to see Dan completely different, completely transformed in the role, he did such a great job. We actually had a great time working together.
Working with Liam Neeson, I mean, come on. Who wouldn’t want to work with such a prince of a man, he truly is a true gentleman. Incredibly approachable, very kind, very generous. One of the highlights was us in the trailer, between shots, playing Cards Against Humanity and laughing our heads off. Dan Stevens is the best at Cards Against Humanity, he’s actually very funny. He’s a very smart and witty guy. That made for a fun shoot.
You’ve done a lot of work in the fantasy/crime drama genres, do you have a preference as to which you like working in more?
I like to work, you know. For me, it’s all about the work, there’s no preference. If the character’s great, I’ve been lucky to have wonderful characters in both these mediums. For me, it’s all about the character and how much fun I have delving into the character. Acting is one big family, there’s no genre for me. It’s just me having fun like I was when I was 6 years old playing with my swords, and here I am 50 or 40 years later having as much fun on a movie set.
I wish I could have appeared in LOST. I actually remember auditioning for the part of Desmond, and there was a tiny bit of interest at one point, but it never went further. I would have loved to have been on Grey’s Anatomy actually, I could totally see myself as a doctor. So many other shows, I would have loved to have been on Mad Men, Breaking Bad, such game changers, The Sopranos.
There are some shows that I auditioned for so many times that I just couldn’t get on. I’d love to be on Sherlock. I would love to be on Downton Abbey, and who knows? That could still be a possibility. And who wouldn’t want to be on Doctor Who? And there are shows that I find really great like Boardwalk Empire, like the new show The Affair on Showtime looks pretty cool. You know Outlander would be right up my alley cause I’m Scottish, I’m a Scotsman, so that could be fun. And of course, the one I truly want to be on is Game of Thrones, and I totally think I am Game of Thrones material, so, if they hear that, I’m available. It’s right up my alley, and it’s dramatically so wonderful.
You’ve also worked with some pretty outstanding showrunners (Julie Plec, Shonda Rhimes, Jeff Davis), are there any experiences that stand out in your mind as being particularly great?
It has been fabulous to work, and I love the fact that they’re women, too. I love working with women. My managers are women, more kudos to them. Julie Plec and Shonda Rhimes have sort of mastered their own art, and I remember auditioning for How to Get Away with Murder and I think it’s going to be a really great show. I’m excited about it. And to tell you the truth, my time on Scandal was an absolute delight. The atmosphere on the shoot was just phenomenal. And I love Julie, I think she’s an extraordinary woman, she really, really has done so well. She’s now a series mogul and it’s just been a pleasure working with her.
Last Question: Give us one word/phrase/thought that will get us really excited for The Originals season 2?
Season 2 is going to be epic, truly epic. So hang on to your britches. It’s going to be epic. It’s going to be a sort of gothic fairytale with epic, sort of, Shakespearian proportions, in terms of the family dynamic, so, I’m excited.