Monday, November 14, 2011

Hell on Wheels - Hitfix: Christopher Heyerdhahl Interview

Source: Hitfix [follow link for complete interview]

Hell on Wheels 3

HITFIX: Christopher Heyerdahl talks 'Hell on Wheels' and 'Breaking Dawn'

'Sanctuary' veteran discusses playing The Swede and the new 'Twilight' film

By Daniel Fienberg
Sunday, Nov 13, 2011

Christopher Heyerdahl wasn't in the premiere of AMC's "Hell on Wheels," but his initial appearance in this Sunday's (November 13) episode provides the period Western with a much-needed jolt of menace and danger.

Heyerdahl's The Swede arrives in Hell on Wheels as the head of security to Colm Meaney's Doc Durant and instantly turns his attentions (with good reason) to Cullen Bohannan (Anson Mount), who he sees as fly in the ointment of the Union Pacific's forward progress. The Swede (who isn't actually Swedish) is scary, tortured by his Civil War experiences and also oddly hilarious, the latest in a long line of scene-stealing supporting turns for Canadian actor.

From "Smallville" to "Supernatural" to "Stargate: Atlantis" to "Caprica" to "Human Target," Heyerdahl has been one of the staple guest stars in Vancouver's acting ensemble. For many viewers, he's best known for his regular roles as John Druitt and Bigfood on Syfy's "Sanctuary" and for an even larger audience, he's familiar as ancient vampire Marcus in the "Twilight" films.

In our wide-ranging interview, Heyerdahl discusses his inspirations for The Swede, his Vancouver ubiquity and working on the upcoming "Breaking Dawn" with Bill Condor...


... HitFix: I interviewed Joe and Tony Gayton and we were talking about the villains in this story, whether Doc Durant is an antagonist or a villain, whether The Swede is an antagonist or a villain. How do you look at him?

Christopher Heyerdahl: "Given the choice of those two words, "antagonist," I would say. Because you're giving two examples of people who are in a place of authority. Doc Durant, he's the boss. He's the president. He's the one laying down the rules. He's paying the bills. Everyone's gotta do what he says, or you take the track in the opposite direction. The Swede, his job is to play the part of the enforcer. Without him, the railroad is not going to be built. Without him, there's chaos, because someone has to keep these thieves and brigands and murderers and dipsomaniacs in line or hell will break loose."

HitFix: OK, I clearly gave you the wrong two words here. [He laughs loudly.] If I take "villain" and "antagonist" off the table, tell me about The Swede, then. Is he actually the hero of this story?

Christopher Heyerdahl: "Well, the story is about him. It's just for some reason they keep cutting to other people. I don't really understand why. For me, he's a dream character, that I would have the opportunity to play a character who represents a huge part of my heritage in the form of someone who is complex and conflicted and joyful and terrifying and someone you cannot put a finger on... So is he a villain? Is he an antagonist? Is he a hero? Yes. He's all of those things. They've drawn out a very three-dimensional human being and so he's unpredictable..."

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