Earlier this week I had the chance to chat with Continuum star Victor Webster, who plays Vancouver cop Carlos Fonnegra on Showcase’s hit series. We talked about the popularity of the show, how he got involved in the 11th hour and the possibility that Carlos and Betty (Jennifer Spence) will drunkenly hook up at a Christmas party.
Let’s bitch it out…
For nine episodes, fans of Showcase’s hit television series Continuum have watched members of the Vancouver PD battle a band of terrorists from 2077 in modern day 2012. I had a chance to chat on the phone with actor Victor Webster, who plays good cop Carlos, earlier this week before the series airs the season finale, the ominously titled ‘End Times’.
We began by discussing how he got involved in the show and, interestingly enough, it turns out that he joined the show just days before the series began shooting.
Webster explained: “I got involved in the show in the 11th hour after the show changed directions (with Carlos) from what was originally conceived. I was contacted on Wednesday, and flew out to Vancouver to meet with Rachel (Nichols) and do chemistry test on Friday. I found out I got the show Saturday and we started filming the next week.” He explained that the whirlwind casting process wasn’t a problem since Carlos is less prominent in the early episodes, which allowed him time to sit down with (series creator and showrunner) Simon Barry to iron out what they wanted to achieve with the character.
When asked whether he’s contributed to Carlos’ development as a character, Webster confirmed he had, explaining that “one of reasons you hire an actor is because he or she brings something to character; brings them to life and (helps them) come off the page.” I asked if he thought his physicality played into the casting decision, he immediately agreed. “Rachel is tall, so you need a male version of her – a big person with a presence that’s complementary.” He also laughingly admitted that his “genre background didn’t hurt,” referring to his action and sci-fi/fantasy roles in Mutant X and The Scorpion King 3.
Webster has talked a lot about what attracted him to the show, confirming the behind the scenes talent as a driving factor as well as the possibilities inherent in the format of the show (a genre-based procedural with season long narrative arcs). He believes that the success of the show has to do with its diversity: the format offers something for everyone and there are few limits to the direction Continuum can take.
As one of the few non-augmented humans on the show, Carlos plays a specific role in the Continuum world. “Carlos represents the audience. When he sees something, the reactions he has and what he says is what we would say.” He believes that this is important because it “grounds the show in reality. There are extraordinary humans and high tech weaponry, so you need to have a character that grounds everything and lets the audience relate. It gives you a sense of how big world is.”
One element that supports this ‘grounded in reality’ approach are the fight sequences since the actors are doing a lot of their own stuntwork. I commented on the graphic nature of the fight sequences, especially the kitchen fight with actor Terry Chen in 1×03 ‘Wasting Time’. Webster indicated that this was one of the goals of the producers and stunt coordinator Kimani Ray Smith: “Kimani really wants to ground the show in reality. Fights in the street, in reality, are never clean or pretty. People are slipping and falling, and everyone gets hurt. You’re using stuff around you. As a result, the action and fight scenes on the show are very realistic.” He also confirmed that the fight scene in ‘Wasting Time’ only featured half of the footage that was shot (which is crazy considering it’s actually quite lengthy!)
He’s addressed questions about a possible romantic relationship with Kiera in other interviews but I wondered if he had any insight on his relationship with another character on the show: fellow Vancouver PD officer Betty (Jennifer Spence). He jokingly suggested that such a development “depends on how much tequila is involved. It’s something that has been hinted at. There’s some sort of interest from Betty to Carlos and Carlos enjoys it, but I don’t know where it’ll play out.” We decided that in our make-believe timeline, the two characters hooked up at an office Christmas party. At some point I’ll have to track down Spence to see if she approves of our hypothetical plotline!
Since we’d talked about a few characters, I pointed out that the majority of his interactions were limited to just a few people. I asked whether or not he hopes to work with other actors if the show returns for a second season, Webster said he hoped to have the opportunity to spar with close friend Roger Cross (who plays Liber8 member, Travis): “Roger was a good friend of mine before we started shooting. He has a wrestling background, and we’ve spared together in real life. It would be fun to do it in character on-camera” (Side Note: Webster has a martial arts background). Expanding on his answer, he believes that should the show move forward, Carlos will interact with Liber8 more since they’ve already tried to kill him. “Eventually he (Carlos) will have to come into contact with Liber8. They’re going to come after him again. They tried to kill him in the shower (1×07 ‘Politics Of Time’) and they almost got Kiera to shoot him (1×08 ‘Playtime’). He’s coming too close, which will hopefully create dynamics to force them together a little more.”
At this point, Showcase has not yet made the decision whether the show will come back for a second season. It would be hard to imagine, however, that the show – which debuted powerfully and has been pulling in higher numbers that fellow timeslot companion Lost Girl – isn’t given the order. Webster refers to the indecision by Showcase as the “politics of business” but remains optimistic that “if fans want it, it’ll happen.” Considering the international interest that the show has garnered online (in both fan forums such as the Reddit community and positive coverage on sci-fi websites such as io9.com), one can only hope that Showcase is paying attention to the show’s popularity and brings Webster and the rest of the Continuum team back for S2.
Fans can catch Webster in the season finale of Continuum on Sunday at 9pm EST on Showcase. He’ll also appears in a Renny Harlin directed episode of White Collar in the fall, as well as the family-friendly romantic-comedy Puppy Love for Hallmark television in September.
Click here for all of bitchstolemyremote‘s coverage of Continuum.