Justin Theroux plays police chief Kevin Garvey in HBO’s latest show “The Leftovers,” which premiere’s today on June 29 and 10PM.
We had to do our research retroactively, everything takes place three years later where a lot of the tough questions had already been asked, a lot of the things have already been said. Congressional hearings have happened. So it’s really more what attracted me was that everyone was fractured and splintered and became who they probably were at their core, or were not. I just like the way that different people dealt with grief and loss. Some people repress it, some people embrace it, some people become weird, some people become crazy, so all those themes I really like. Each character has such a unique voice.
In terms of what’s at your character’s core, how would you describe his emotional state is when you try to meet him?
I think he’s trying to put the lid on a pressure cooker, an emotional pressure cooker for himself. If he ever became self-examining, it would be a much more darker place for him. He’s trying to do the more practical things in life, which is wake up, go to work, take care of his daughter, and do his job. Those are all in a sense, escapes from having to really confront what the actual event was. Not his part in it, but the way in which he relates to it.
We also spoke with many of the actors on the show. Read our exclusive interviews below:
So you have a pretty interesting character on the show, tell me about who he is.
There’s a lot of mystery surrounding him. We don’t really know where he’s from. We know that he’s not originally from this town, he lives in this town now. Dean is a man of action. Dean sees that there’s some tasks that there needs to be done, but nobody is really willing to do and he’s willing to do the hard, hard things, and they’re really, awful, distasteful things. But as the show progresses, he really has the people and town in mind and that’s who he’s trying to take care of.
Tell me about working with Justin.
I love Justin. Justin is super smart, he’s really kind, he’s always prepared. He’s really the guy that I mostly work with. I worked a little with a couple of the other actors, but mostly it’s just me and Justin. It would interesting to see how he would answer the question, but I feel like we really work well together. I love it and am having a great time.
Tell me about your character in the show.
I play the Reverend Matt Jamison, an Episcopalian preacher.
What do we see him do throughout the season? CE: We see him do a lot of pretty disturbing things. He gets beaten a number of times, Liv Tyler kicks his ass, which is not an unpleasant experience I have to say. We see him weep, we see him smile, we see him struggle, we see him in the woods with Justin Theroux, we see him do a lot of things. He climbs on the roof of his car and rips a sign off the pole. He’s busy, he’s a busy reverend.
Tell me what attracted you to the project.
CE: The novel. I read the novel about three years ago by Tom Perrotta and I thought that’s a very interesting character there, this was in fact a very difficult rapture, this is a man who is not taken so he’s gonna be angry, he’s gonna be confused. So I felt the character’s dramatic potential.
So tell me about your role in the show. Well I play deputy Dennis Luckey, he’s works with the Chief of Police. Dennis a nice lovable guy on the surface, but even though he’s affable … I think that there is a bit of an undercurrent of vision and strength, so it’s good to have access to a character like that and a script like that. It’s great because Damon introduced it in sort of a smaller way, and it’s grown into something that many people will find interesting.
So tell me how did you first hear about the show?
I went in for an audition, a year ago now. I cant believe it, it’s been a year.
And tell me about collaborating with the creative team, we have some heavy hitters, we have Damon and we have Tom!
I mean Damon and Tom what can you say, they’re out of this world, these guys are super geniuses. Tom wrote an amazing book, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to that, as well as Damon’s and Tom’s teamwork in the writer’s room. I mean what they bring to these scripts – every time I think for a second that I can be a writer, I just read one of their scripts and I squash that immediately. And I realize that what they do is just out of this world, and I’m grateful to be apart of it.
Speak about working with Justin, the Chief of Police?
Justin is great. The guy’s in shape, comes in with his lines memorized, good person to be around, takes his job seriously, and I think he promotes sort of a culture of hard work and dedication and people come in ready to play the game like there supposed to, all professionals, real actors. People who came to get down, not just walk around a look cute.
Tell me about the tone, because there is kind of an eerie tone to the world.
Extremely eerie, you have a situation where in a split second, 2% of the world’s population disappears, and you’re left in the aftermath trying to figure out what happened, but there’s really no way to figure it out. You can only guess and speculate. I mean if that doesn’t create and eerie world, for any individual, then I think a psychiatrist is the next step.
And tell me what are some other projects we’ve seen you in?
I’m a blue collar actor, I’ve been doing this thing, I went to Juilliard here in the city, did “Raisin in the Sun” on Broadway with Diddy, a few years back, been fortunate enough to work on a lot of different mediums in the city, film, television, great new movie out on Amazon, available on DVD now called ‘Home’ with Gbenga Akinnagbe and myself. Gbenga’s doing “24” now, and it’s just a wonderful story about a mental illness in the African-American community.
Kenny Leon is having a mega-year, he just won the Tony, tell me what you admire about him.
What I admire about Kenny is his vision. Kenny is the kind of guy when he sees something great he doesn’t let anyone else, direct him in any other way, he sticks to his gut and goes with what he knows and it ends up usually being a nice little concoction of people and creative talents. I loved his production of “Raisin in the Sun” this year. I loved the one we did as well, and I can’t wait to see “Holler If Ya Hear Me.”
Where are you from?
I’m from Illinois outside of Chicago
Tell me how New York has influenced you as an actor.
I am a New York actor … this is my heart this is my home right now, I will always have roots in Illinois, but yeah I will always consider myself a man of the New York scene theatre, film, television, all that stuff because that’s what I love. And I love the people here too, the energy is great, you can’t get this kind of energy anywhere else in the world, whether you like it or not.
Max Richter did the music for the show. So tell me, how did you come to score the music for the show?
Damon called me up and just said are you interested in this, do you know about it? And I read the script and I thought the script was incredible and then I saw the pilot, and I thought the pilot was incredible, and they had already been using a lot of my music in the pilot, so I just thought well this would be a really nice, interesting experience.
So tell me about what you were going for musically.
The music is kind of a landscape … where the stories live. So it;s kind of environmental in a way. Obviously there are themes for certain sets of characters, like the Garvey family, which has music, and then there’s the departure itself, which has a music. But it’s more like a kind of psychological atmosphere for the whole show.
What is your creative process for scoring?
Well it’s a mixture of lots of thinking and planning and blind luck, we always have ideas about how we want to handle a scene or what we want to do with it, and oftentimes those work out, sometimes they don’t and you just try something and go “oh wow that’s amazing, we weren’t expecting that, but that really works,” so there is a process but there’s also chaos.
How did you get your start in music?
I started out playing the piano, and then I went to music college and university, and very classical kind of background, and over the years filmmakers started to use my music in projects, then people started asking me to score stuff and its just gone from there.
Tom’s at that point where he’s searching for himself, he’s searching for an identity, he’s searching for answers, and now this huge, big disaster happens and no one has the answer as to why. He’s just trying to find himself right now. Not only is he trying to answer that question or figure out that question, but he’s trying to grow up.
What’s it like for you to be working on an HBO show right now?
It’s an absolute dream come true. I remember being on a couch in Ohio watching “Oz” and being like, “Wow, this is rad TV, I could do this”, and its really been a great ride and dream come true to work with them.