Collider got a chance to sit down with Shawn Ashmore and Annie Parisse to talk about their roles on The Following. Read what they had to say about their characters and what it is like working on such a layered story.
When you do a show like this, that’s so layered, and you’re simultaneously learning about your character’s past and present, do you have to just give yourself over to the scripts and not worry about backstory?
PARISSE: We really do get the scripts as we go, and we don’t know what’s coming next. Sometimes that’s totally scary because you’re like, “Well, I hope I’m playing this right.”
ASHMORE: You worry about missing out on opportunities to really play a beat that you haven’t been able to think about.
PARISSE: But most of the time, to be totally honest, I look back on stuff and think that it’s actually great that I didn’t know about some of the things that were coming up because there are some things that, once you know them, you can’t un-know them. So, being able to have a blissful ignorance of some of the stuff allows you to have a really pure take on this moment, right now. You really commit to just bringing everything from your past to this circumstance, right now. There’s something very immediate and instinctive about that, and that’s what people do. We don’t know what’s coming, so it’s a great way to work.
ASHMORE: I agree. This show lends itself to working like that because of its immediacy. This show moves so quickly that you’re not really dwelling on certain aspects. Sometimes you get information and you’re like, “Oh, that would have been nice to play in that scene, two episodes ago.” But, the immediacy of this show, the movement of this show and the drive of the thrill ride that we’re on allows you to go with the flow and just react, as you’re getting it. Once you’re a few episodes in, and you understand your character and know where you want to go with him, you don’t have to necessarily know where the story goes. Kevin Williamson will spin the story for you and give you those pieces, but if you know how you’ll react, no matter what is given to you, then you just go along for the ride. I think it’s really satisfying to get a scene, sometimes the day before, and just be like, “Okay, I know how to do this. All I have to worry about is getting the lines down, but I know how I want to play the scene. There’s not even a question in my mind.” That’s cool.
PARISSE: Marcos and Kevin have been really great, at least with me, in terms of, if there is a scene that’s leading somewhere, they’ll let me know if I’m playing something that won’t make sense, three episodes from now. In those moments, where we’re like, “What’s this all about?,” Marcos and Kevin have both been like, “You know, try this.” That helps. They have a bigger idea of the whole picture.
You can read the rest of the interview here.