[caption id="attachment_2456" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Andrew Airlie as Mission Control Flight Director Mike Goss in Defying Gravity. Photo by Kharen Hill and copyright of Fox Studios/ABC"][/caption]
What if your job required you to go away for a very, very, long time, say six years? And what if that journey would take you far, far, away from your loved ones and all else that is familiar to you, say, eight billion miles? You would want someone who was on the ball and with plenty of experience watching your back, right? On ABC's new Sci-Fi drama Defying Gravity, that person is Mike Goss. As flight director of the spaceship Antares, his post is Earth's Mission Control where he oversees a team of eight astronauts on a journey to explore Venus as well as other planets in our solar system. Production-wise it was almost down to the wire when the show's producers offered actor Andrew Airlie the chance to step into the shoes of the calm, cool, collected and by-the-book Goss.
"I came into the [casting] process a bit late into the game," notes Airlie. "I don't think the casting directors had suggested me to [executive producers] Michael Edelstein and Jim Parriott because at the time I was under contract to another series and wasn't really available to audition. However, it was getting, I believe,down to the wire and they still hadn't nailed down anyone for Goss. So casting directors Heike [Brandstatter] and Corren [Mayrs] suggested me to the producers and brought me in to audition.
"So it came up quite suddenly, and I didn't know much about the show other than the 'DNA' of it, which was that Michael Edelstein and Jim Parriott were two of the executive producers and I was familiar with their work and reputation. I also knew that Ron Livingston [Chief Engineer Maddux Donner] was attached to the project, and I'm a huge fan of his work. I thought, 'Well, all that's a pretty good start.'
"When I went in to audition I hadn't read the full script, only the two audition scenes, but I thought the writing was terrific and I really liked the character. He's so different from most of the roles I play. Very often I'm cast as the nice guy, and Mike Goss isn't especially worried about being a nice guy. He has an enormous mission to run and he's not interested in making friends or having others think favorably of him. He's a get-the-job-done-type of guy and that intrigued me. So I went in and had what I thought was a good audition, and Jim and Michael must have felt the same way because they said, 'OK, get him. ' As it turned out, the other series I was working on didn't get renewed, so I was able to come over to Defying Gravity and I couldn't have been happier."
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Airlie was around nine or ten years old when he began thinking about what he would like to do when he grew up. Acting was on the list, only not at the top. "I always had it in my mind that I was going to be a professional soccer player until I turned 30 - which when you're 10 years old means you're an old man and pretty much done as a player - and then immediately become an actor," he recalls. "Both my parents loved the cinema and as a child they took me to films a lot. And as so many children sitting in a dark movie theater and looking up at the screen, it was magical and I wanted to be up there, too.
[caption id="attachment_2457" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Mike Goss tries to work out a solution to a problem threatening the Antares mission. Photo by Sergei Bachlakov and copyright of Fox Studios/ABC"][/caption]
"I kicked around on the edges of professional soccer and player semi-pro for a couple of years, but then I realized that I was a dime-a-dozen kind of central defender player and decided instead to pursue an education. I went on to get my undergraduate degree and a Masters in international relations and was accepted to Columbia University to begin a PhD. I was 26 or 27, and the summer before going to Columbia, I said to myself, 'I've got to give acting a shot, otherwise 20 years or so from now I'm going to regret it.'
"I wrote to Columbia to ask for a year's deferral, and then naively went out, got some headshots taken and wrote a very scholarly-sounding letter to all the agents in Toronto saying that I wanted to pursue acting. I had three meetings and two of the agencies offered to take me on. I chose one and the next day they sent me to audition for a beer commercial. I got the job as well as the next two I went out for. I thought, 'This is a lark. It's like falling off a horse,'" jokes the actor. "Of course, there were lean patches after that, but I got off to a pretty good start. My third job was a campaign for Cathay Pacific Airlines and I went to Hong Kong for a month and it was so much fun. From there I began to make contacts and found out who I should study with. So I took classes and then started to climb the ladder with bit parts, then small principle roles, followed by principle roles and worked my way up that way."
No stranger to moviegoers and TV watchers, the actor has appeared in such feature films as The Freshman, Fear, Final Destination 2, Fantastic Four and the upcoming Dear Mr. Gacy. On TV, Airlie has appeared on dozens of series including The Commish, The X-Files, The 4400, DaVinci's Inquest and Mysterious Ways.
The actor makes his Defying Gravity debut in the show's first season opener. His character of Mike Goss is seen prepping the crew of the Antares for its mission. Audiences also see his involvement in a prior expedition to Mars where he ordered Maddux Donner and Ted Shaw (Malik Yoba) to leave their fellow astronauts behind. This has led to a somewhat strained professional relationship between him and Donner, and in the first episode, both men have a heated verbal exchange, and later on, Goss is on the receiving end of Donner's fist. All this proved immensely satisfying for Airlie to play.
"That first episode remains one of my favorites," he says. "My character was involved quite heavily in it, and when we were filming it there was all this new energy. This project was new for everyone, and everyone wants to set the bar really high with their first episode, so I just remember everyone bringing their best work to the table. Not that that hasn't continued since, but you can really feel it when everyone is on the same page and you're not in the dog days of filming and the cast and crew are tired. The energy was just extraordinary, and also everyone was trying to find the tone of the show in a collaborative way, so it was fantastic.
[caption id="attachment_2460" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Mike Goss at his post in Mission Control. Photo by Sergei Bachlakov and copyright of Fox Studios/ABC"][/caption]
"I also had the opportunity to do a number of scenes with Ron in the series opener, more so than in later ones because his character is up in space and mine is back on Earth. The only other opportunity is in flashbacks, and Mike Goss tends to be slightly less involved in the flashbacks, so having those early scenes with Ron was a fantastic experience because he's just gold to work with. The scene where Donner punches Goss was great to shoot, as was the one where my character chews Donner out after he jumps the British reporter. That's one of my favorite scenes, and I remember thinking on the day we shot it, 'Wow, I hope we got all that,' because we did it at the end of the day and it was kind of a crushed and compressed scene. However, when I saw it in the final cut, I loved it. The way [director] David Straiton composed it and the way our camera guys shot it through some of the steel railings and from a lower angle worked so well. Everything that scene needed was there, so hats off to those guys."
While Mike Goss may not worry if people like him or not, he still has to carry himself in a professional manner while on the Mission Control floor as well as maintain a certain rapport with those around him. "Mike is someone who is married to the space program - it comes before everything else, so friendships aren't especially important to him or on the forefront of his mind," explains Airlie. "That said, his relationship with Karen LeBlanc's character of Eve Shaw has certainly warmed up a little bit. In the beginning, especially in the flashbacks, he is quite resentful of the fact that someone with no scientific or astronaut training or other serious professional credentials is assigned as sort of his equal. On some levels, Eve may have higher security access than Mike's, or certainly as high as his, and I think it annoys him that he has to work with an individual who he doesn't respect on a professional level.
"Mike's other primary relationship is with Maddux Donner, and I've really enjoyed exploring that, especially in the flashbacks where we've tried to show that Mike isn't a hard-ass for no reason. He doesn't personally dislike Donner and, in fact, I've tried to make it clear that Mike does acknowledge that Donner is one of the best astronauts he's ever worked with. It's one of those things where when someone rubs you the wrong way, quite often it's because of a characteristic you wish you had, or had more of, you know? With Mike and Donner, it's the fact that Donner is a maverick, and Mike probably resents as well as envies that.
"So he may not ultimately respect Donner the way that he should, but Mike knows that Donner is as good, if not better, an astronaut than he was, and it's probably that maverick sense and his ability to follow his gut that bothers Mike. My character won't make the gut instinct call. He knows what the procedure is and what the book says you should do every step of the way. Mike won't deviate from the book, and Donner will. So that's been a real pleasure to play with Ron, and in a couple of scenes I've tried to make Goss push Donner to a couple of cliffs to try to get him to step over the line. Hopefully it will come across that my character isn't doing that just to be a jerk, but rather that he's testing Donner and trying to make him an even better astronaut."
It is revealed in the first two episodes of Defying Gravity that there is a mysterious presence - referred to as "Beta" - that is the real guiding force behind the Antares mission. However, only Mike Goss, Eve Shaw, her husband Ted, who is in command of the Antares, and a few select others are aware of this. As the first season unfolds, this unseen force pushes events in a specific direction, and Mike has to roll with the punches.
[caption id="attachment_2462" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Mike Goss and Eve Shaw (Karen LeBlanc) watch as events unfold onboard the Antares. Photo by Sergei Bachlakov and copyright of Fox Studios/ABC"][/caption]
"What I've come to realize with Mike as we go along in these first 13 episodes is that he's coming to grips with the fact that he's a control freak, but he's not going to be able to hold onto that control the way he always thought he could," says Airlie. "He's not going to be able to manage every moment of this mission the way he wants, but he's never going to give up on the hope that he can. Early on, I think my character was a little more frustrated in his experiences, especially having to work with Eve and the role she plays in the mission. In some of the latter episodes, though, he's been slightly more collaborative with her and more accepting of the fact that you simply cannot micromanage a project of this scope and size. So I'm trying to find those moments just to show added shades of this character and make him a little more accepting of that reality."
Prior to Defying Gravity, Airlie appeared on Reaper. He played John Oliver, who, together with his wife (played by Allison Hossack) sold their son Sam's (Bret Harrison) soul to the Devil in order to save John, who was gravely ill at the time. "I have a warm place in my heart for Reaper," says the actor. "I truly loved my time on that show. When I originally asked my agent to pursue the role of John Oliver, the [script] specs on him were rather vague. He was more or less described as a 50-ish Dad who doesn't quite get it.
"I had my first audition with the producers, who had several callbacks for the role, and they ended up casting me. When we shot the pilot, the very first scene is where Sam wakes up on his 21st birthday and his parents are having a conspiratorial argument of sorts at the bottom of the stairs. When they see Sam, John says to him, 'Hey, Sam, you look great. I'll be there in a minute.' We rehearsed the scene, locked the cameras and the director, Kevin Smith, walked over to me at the last minute and said, 'Dude, they told you about this guy, right?' I said, 'No, not really,' and Kevin said, 'I love what you're doing, I really do, but I just thought I would give you one other thing to think about - Dad is probably not human.' Then he turned to the crew and said, 'OK, roll sound! Action!'
"So for me, that remained one of the challenges, certainly in the first season, where from an acting standpoint I was never really told what my character's background was. I knew he sold his first-born son's soul to the Devil, but it was never confirmed to me until literally the end of season one that he'd probably been here [on Earth] before. They also didn't quite go so far as to tell me that Dad was going to be a demon. That was something [series creators/executive producers] Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters intended to delve into in year two, but for whatever reason, we didn't get to do that. Again, that presented an acting challenge for me, but overall I absolutely loved my time on the show."
In the first season Reaper finale Cancun, Sam and Mr. Oliver look to be headed for a one-way ticket to you-know-where when they are buried alive by a group of disgruntled demons. "Working on this episode and, in particular, the burial scene was much more enjoyable than I thought at first," says Airlie. "I was slightly anxious going into that scene and wondered how we were going to do it right and not make it look chintzy, but the director and everyone involved walked me through it. The day before, they showed me the mixture of dirt and very soft peat moss they'd be using. And you can only rehearse something like that so much because it's a big deal to dump that much dirt, then gather it back up and dump it again. We'd have to get by with maybe two takes at the most.
[caption id="attachment_2465" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Mike Goss and Eve Shaw agree to disagree. Photo by Sergei Bachlakov and copyright of Fox Studios/ABC "][/caption]
"So they ran two cameras and Bret and I had a blast having dirt dumped on us. It was one of those scenes where half your job is done for you because you don't have to act much. Dad had taken a large spade to the back of the head, so I'm supposed to be unconscious, and for Bret, his character was fighting to keep him and his Dad from being buried alive. I was pleased in the end when I saw the scene. It did look quite believable."
Lucky for Sam, he is saved by two of his ex-neighbors-turned-demons, while Mrs. Oliver comes to her husband's rescue and digs him up. Because Mr. Oliver is a demon he cannot die, and in Reaper's second season he reappears as a zombie. That allowed Airlie to reinvent his character, with a little help. "The make-up process was slightly daunting at first," he says. "Initially, it took three-and-a-half hours, and in subsequent episodes, they refined the process and got it down to two-and-a-half hours and then an hour and a bit to remove it all.
"The other sort of big physical challenge with playing zombie Dad, certainly in the first couple of season two episodes, were the contacts that I had to wear. Once I popped them in, I couldn't see where I was going. I could see lights, but not people or objects. So in those first two episodes I had to somewhat limit my movements, but after that, they left the pupil in my left eye clear so I could see where I was going.
"Acting-wise, the trickiest thing in season two was trying to find the right tone for Dad, and we kept receiving mixed notes about what that should be. You want your character to hang together and be coherent, and there was a lot of comedic opportunity with that particular storyline, but, unfortunately, I don't think we got to explore all of it. Just the same, though, I had a ball playing a zombie. Reaper was a pleasure to be a part of and I was sad when I found out that it wouldn't be continuing."
In the summer network TV doldrums of inane reality series and reruns, Defying Gravity is a welcome oasis and one that Airlie hopes proves popular with viewers. "Jim Parriott has a fantastic, long-term story arc planned that you wouldn't believe," he enthuses. "I don't want to give anything away, but what I was really impressed with and jazzed about was the pace at which things move along, especially after episode five. There's always the danger that you can draw things out, like a mystery or a secret, and play on the patience of audiences, but Jim doesn't do that. Wait until you see the second half of these first 13 episodes. Things just gallop along, and it doesn't feel forced or too fast, either. It's a fantastic story and I hope we get the chance to tell more of it."
Steve EramoDefying Gravity is produced by Fox Television Studios and OmniFilmProductions, in association with the BBC, Canada's CTV and Germany's ProSieben. As noted above, all photos by Kharen Hill or Sergei Bachlakov and copyright of Fox Studios/ABC , so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any form. Thanks!
[caption id="attachment_922" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Tyler Labine as Bert "Sock" Wysocki in Reaper. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the CW Network"][/caption]
At the end of Reaper's first year, our heroes' lives were, as usual, in a state of turmoil. Sam Oliver was targeted by the demon community and nearly buried alive along with his dad, who, it seems, has been hiding more than one secret from his son. Meanwhile, Ben Gonzalez was bemoaning the fact that his friends forgot to pick him up after he was released from serving an eight-day jail sentence for a sham marriage. As for Bert "Sock" Wysocki, well, he had the misfortune of falling for a female demon, or succubus, whose life-sucking kisses robbed him of a year of his life. When the show's cast and crew eventually went back in front of the camera to start shooting season two, it was something that took Tyler Labine, who plays Sock, a little getting used to.
"Up to that point I'd been suffering from the one season of TV syndrome for a while," jokes the actor. "I never actually had to come back and reprise a role for a second year of a show, so honestly, I think I tripped myself up a bit. I thought, 'Oh, boy, what if I can't do it. What if I don't remember how to play Sock. I'm going to blow it,' and all the other weird and wonderful actor neurosis that we have. Then, however, I got to work and was like, 'Oh, yeah, I remember how to do this.' And within a day you slip back into the dynamic quite easily, especially with guys like Bret Harrison [Sam], Rick Gonzalez [Ben], Missy Peregrym [Andi Prendergast], Donavon Stinson [Ted Gallagher], Ray Wise [The Devil] - the whole gang was back. It was like a family reunion as well as work.
"So everyone remembered fairly quickly how to do this, and then it was a question of, 'OK, where do we start?' We picked up right where we left off last year with The Devil and if he's Sam's father, and this season we're still quite cryptic as to whether or not that's true. I think, though, that it's definitely implied more that he is his father, or at least they're behaving like it is. We were all pretty happy with the overall concept of the season opener, but I personally felt like we maybe should have gone slightly deeper and more directly into the Satan/Sam/Father/Son thing. However, we have to fill out an entire season of TV, so you have to stretch your story out somewhat."
In Reaper's second season opener Episode IV: A New Hope, Sam, Sock and Ben are homeless and jobless after returning from a road trip. They have no choice but to move back into Sock's mother's house, where they are looked after by Sock's stepsister Kristen (Eriko Tamura), who Sock finds himself very attracted to. Sam is still on the outs with his girlfriend Andi, and The Devil assigns him the task of capturing 40 extremely violent Fight Club souls. When they run out of ideas on how to do this, the boys hold a "think tank," which involves them sitting around the kitchen table drinking beer, eating pizza and horsing around.
[caption id="attachment_926" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The Reaper Boys - Sock, Sam (Bret Harrison) and Ben (Rick Gonzalez). Photo courtesy of and copyright of the CW Network"][/caption]
"I have to say that the stepsister/lover storyline involving Sock was a real head-trip to pull off," says Labine, "and in hindsight I think I was right in thinking, 'Viewers are going to find this creepy.' I was constantly trying to make sure that it was less creepy. I didn't want people to focus so much on the fact that my character was trying to make out with his stepsister, and tried to make it [their relationship] a bit more cute, fun and innocent as opposed to being so doggish about it, do you know what I mean?
"The scenes with the Fight Club guys were a blast to shoot. We got to blow up a lot of stuff, which is always fun. As for the drinking of the beer and the brainstorming, the director set up the camera and for 10 minutes basically let us go. Everything that you saw on the screen just kind of naturally progressed. All of a sudden, Rick's hair was going crazy, I was wearing a beer box on my head, and before I knew it I had my shirt off. The extended version is hilarious. They sent me a copy of it, which is on the second season blooper reel, so [on the upcoming DVD release] you'll get to see almost eight minutes of us goofing off."
When Reaper viewers first met Sock, he was a slacker who worked with Sam, Ben, Andi and their boss Ted at a home-repair store called the Work Bench. He soon became involved with Sam's contractual obligation with The Devil to find and capture souls that have escaped from Hell. Despite his lackadaisical attitude to most things in life, particularly work and responsibility, Sock has proven to be a loyal friend and someone who Sam can count on when soul hunting. Although his character's overall modus operandi has not changed much, Labine has had the chance in season two to reveal some new facets of Sock's personality.
"We've gotten to know a little more about Sock in the sense that you see his gentler, more nurturing side because of his relationship with Kristen," notes the actor. "My character starts off by lusting after her and then gets to a point where he gains some morals and for the first time realizes that it's probably a bad idea to sleep with his stepsister. Sock explores other options like chemical castration and whatnot to quell his desires for her. He subsequently discovers that he has a real connection with Kristen and tries to prove to her dad, Morris [Hiro Kanagawa], that he's a good guy for her. But, you know, he ends up sleeping with her anyway. I hope, though, that it came across as more of a falling in love thing as opposed to Sock just out there for a [sexual] conquest.
[caption id="attachment_930" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Kristen (Eriko Tamura) and Sock make for "strange bedfellows." Photo courtesy of and copyright of the CW Network"][/caption]
"I don't think we ever really saw that [emotional] range from him until this year, and then, of course, after Eriko left the show, my character went right back to being a sort of jackass again," he laughs. "The stuff between Sock and Kristen was interesting to play, and it just goes to show that there's never a dull moment on Reaper. Our writers are constantly throwing curveballs at us insofar as the things we [as actors] have to do. It's not an easy show to be on; it probably appears to be because we're having so much fun, but they definitely give us some acting challengers, which we all love."
The actor chuckles when talking about Sock's relationship with the other main characters on the program and how they have further grown and developed during season two. "The writers have decided this year to make Sock and Ben 'a couple,'" says Labine. "They've started doing things like going grocery shopping with one another and picking out each other's clothes. And because Sock and Ben are so not gay, the writers have been able to throw as much sort of 'homoerotic' material at us as they want and it's been funny without ever actually crossing the line. I thought it was terrific because Rick and I got to have more scenes together than we ever did in season one.
"With Sam and Sock, it's business as usual, even though Bret's character has a lot more on his plate this season. Not only is Sam having to deal with his [demon] parents and whether or not The Devil is actually his dad, but he's also trying to deal with Andi breaking up with him again. Despite all that, Sock is, per usual, always there to give him crap, but at the same time also be supportive and help Sam when he needs it with a dose of honesty.
"When it comes to Sam and Andi, who knows what's going on with them," continues the actor. "Those guys are on and off, on and off - I can't keep up with what they're trying to do with those two characters. Sam and Andi are the couple that could, if only there wasn't all this other stuff in the way, and like most women, Andi is understandably worried about having a relationship with a guy who might be The Devil's son. Then there's Ben and Nina, who is masterfully played by Jenny Wade, and who, I think, is a great addition to the show. They're dating, so that takes them off into their own little world, too, and sometimes it just ends up being Sock with nobody. Because of that, the writers have to come up with crazy things for him to do. In a recent episode [The Home Stretch], Sock crashed a funeral and tried to make out with some chick he met there by pretending to know her dead professor.
"So the writers have definitely tried to round out the characters slightly more this year with relationships and how much more Sock and the others relate to one another and fit into each other's lives."
[caption id="attachment_933" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Andi (Missy Peregrym) joins the guys on a little soul hunting. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the CW Network"][/caption]
As Labine previously mentioned, Sock's relationship with his stepsister Kristen culminates with the two sleeping together in Underbelly, and in the following episode, The Good Soil, she packs her bags and returns to Japan. "There's a funny scene in Underbelly where Sock and Kristen are in the hotel room and he throws the cot out the window and she calls him on it," recalls the actor. "It was a well-acted scene, but for five minutes I felt like we were watching a very different program. I sensed the limitations of that relationship and where it could go. I don't think anyone wanted to see Sock and Kristen get serious. It was a fun episode to do, but when I watched it all I could think was, 'We've got to move away from this story line. It's not working,' and like I said before, it was making me feel creepy.
"Fortunately, we have very smart writers, and I think they saw that and decided, 'OK, we can't have this.' Then came The Good Soil, which was another episode I enjoyed doing, especially the scenes with Sock and Kristen's dad at the lake. When we first read that script and I saw that that was probably going to be the end of Kristen on the show I was disappointed. I would have liked to have seen Eriko stay. I just wanted the writers to change the dynamic of the relationship between her character and Sock, but I have a feeling that they were stumped and chose to wrap things up and send her back to Japan. I thought the way the two characters said goodbye was touching, and now Kristen and Sock are pen pals."
In the season two Reaper story To Sprong, With Love, which the actor describes as "a freakin' riot," Sam, Sock and Andi have an unexpected reunion with someone from their past. "Michael McDonald from MAD TV was our guest-star for that episode," says Labine. "He's a comic genius and awesome to work with. He couldn't be a nicer fellow, either. Michael played Mr. Sprong, an old high school biology teacher of Sam's, Sock's and Andi's and a notorious hard-nosed jerk that no one liked. We think he's the soul that we're supposed to capture, but, in fact, there's a soul named Jordy Boone [Charlie Weber] that's after Mr. Sprong. Obviously nothing can go smoothly for Team Reaper, so everything is a challange and Jordy is not making it easy for us to capture him.
[caption id="attachment_936" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Sam, Ben and Sock contemplate their next move. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the CW Network"][/caption]
"In this episode, Sock decides to take on the role of Mr. Wrenchy Bench, the Work Bench's new mascot, and I dressed up in a big foam suit shaped like a wrench. My character ends up getting into a fight with the Bargain Bench's mascot, Brandon the Bargain Bench's mascot, Brandon the Bargain Hammer [Doreen Ramus], and Sock ultimately realizes that he got carried away with himself and the attention he was getting. All of us, Sam, Andi, Ben and Sock are going through some heavy reflection, and at the end of the episode I have this great scene in a bar where Sock praises all of them for what they bring to the table.
"The funny thing is, although I was doing the scene in-character, I was also getting the chance to tell my fellow actors how much I thought of them and just how awesome I think they are. I got to sort of paraphrase and ab-lib quite a bit, so I tried to throw in as many little personal things as I could about the characters I was talking about. I was able to get pretty emotional and give a big shout-out to all my friends as well as the characters in the show. This stands out for me as one of my favorite scenes this season. Another one is when Sock is in a compromising position with Jenny Wade's character during a dream sequence [in No Reaper Left Behind] when Nina is dressed in her skivvies and she shoves her hand through Sock's chest and pulls his heart out."
In next week's (May 26th) episode and Reaper's season finale, The Devil and Sam Oliver, Sam challenges The Devil to a game that could possibly change his and his friends' lives forever. Pending a decision by the CW Network, this could also be the series finale as well. The latter was very much in the backs of the minds of all those who work on the show as they shot this episode.
"There's always a certain amount of emotion that comes with what could be the end of something that you've put so much work into and where you enjoy the people you work with as much as we do," muses Labine. "So it got a little emotional around the set during the final days of filming this story. I don't want to give away any details of the finale, but I can say that it won't leave you frustrated if we don't come back. It should leave you feeling like you could go off and imagine what the rest of Sam's life would be like. I thought that was really clever because when they wrote this episode, the writers weren't sure if they were writing the end of the show or the end of the season. So I thought it was a good move on their part.
"Of course, it'll also be a good thing if we do come back because it will take Reaper into a whole other arena of storytelling."
[caption id="attachment_939" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Sock and Ben rush off to sort out another problem of The Devil's making. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the CW Network"][/caption]
Along with the second season of Reaper, Labine has a lead role in the upcoming feature film A Good Old FashionedOrgy, currently in post-production. The actor also has several new movie projects pending, the starting dates of which are dependent on his involvement in a new TV pilot he shot, Sons of Tucson, which has been picked up by the Fox Network.
"This would be a first for me as I'd be the lead of a show, which is incredibly exciting," enthuses Labine. "I worked my buns off on that pilot and gave it everything I had, so I'm hoping it turned out well, which it sounds like it has. The director, Todd Holland, has worked on lots of shows including Malcolm in the Middle, which the producers and writers were involved in as well, and they're all amazing. I've noticed a bit of a trend lately where people are once again coming up with well-written, clever and 'clean' comedies. With Sons of Tucson we're not doing pee-pee-poop-poo jokes. It's a funny, heartfelt comedy, so we'll see what happens."
[caption id="attachment_941" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="A very happy Tyler Labine of Reaper. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the CW Network"][/caption]
There has been some recent Internet buzz that if Reaper is not picked up by the CW for a third year, that the show might continue in first-run syndication. If, however, this is the end of the line for Sock and his buddies, Labine will take with him many fond memories from his time on the series.
"I can't say enough how lucky I feel to have been involved with the show," he says. "The best thing about Reaper for me was the chemistry among the cast, and when you go off to film something else, you sometimes forget how fortunate you were to be working with people who you can genuinely connect with. That's rarer than you might think. I know every cast says, 'Oh, our cast is the best,' and it probably is for them, but this for me has been the best working experience I've had with a cast and crew that I can ever hope for in my career."
Steve EramoAs noted above, all photos courtesy of and copyright of the CW Network, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any form. Thanks!