Patrick Husinger: “The main theme in ‘Absentia’ is love and trust”
Absentia premieres October 2nd on Sony Sci-Fi at 10:25pm. The main role is played by the star of “Castle” Stana Katic. The heroine is FBI agent Emily Byrne, who was investigating the case of one of the most famous serial killers of Boston. Emily disappears without a trace, and six years later she is found in an abandoned house, locked in a huge glass box filled with water. Emily remembers almost nothing about the time spent in confinement. The most terrible thing is that after the rescue she is under suspicion in a series of murders – skillfully set up by the perpetrator. Emily is forced to flee to continue the investigation and prove her innocence.
The tragedy of Emily’s life is that her family assumed she was dead and ‘buried’ her. Husband Nick Durand, also an FBI agent, surrendered, stopped investigating his wife’s abduction and married another woman. And now, when Emily is back, Nick does not know how to act. He is tormented by guilt and faces a choice – to regain his past life or save a new one. The situation is complicated by the fact that he was called on to investigate the case of Emily and find out whether she’s to blame for the brutal murders.
Nick is played by Patrick Husinger, known for playing the enemy to Tom Cruise in the movie “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” as well as on the series “Good wife” and “Gossip Girl”.
How would you describe Nick’s character?
Nick is an FBI agent, and he is a deeply traumatized person. Six years ago, he lost his wife, and over the years he had to learn how to deal with it somehow, had to put the pieces of himself back together. But only the shell remained of him. He is an introvert and expresses his feelings a little differently than many other characters that we see on the screen. For example, he is rather reserved. He does not know how to express passion, like most people. He hides the pain deep inside.
Did you have to master some new skills for the role?
Yes. Well, just to play it, new skills were not needed, but I had to learn something new in the process of filming “Absentia”, because I had not yet played in a series which would be shot simultaneously, as it turned out here. We basically shot scenes based on the location principle, so in one day I could perform a scene from the first episode, where my wife is still missing, and then I might need to play a scene from the fifth episode, where she’s already returned, and what happens to me is something very heavy, and then on the same day I had to portray something from the tenth episode. And it was not easy. Before filming, all actors has to realize the task: to clearly represent not only the plot, but also to track how the feelings of the characters change, how they themselves change, their relationships, and keep the logic of all this in mind. It’s complicated,
What attracted you to this story?
First of all, in “Absentia” I was attracted to the script. Like most actors, I got part of it in samples, read it and thought the story was very interesting. Usually, when a criminal thriller like this is being filmed, we know little about the heroes, and, let’s say, their usual life at home – their personal lives, their motivation. But sometimes things are different – for example, in the great Hitchcock criminal thrillers or in the films about Bourne: it’s just criminal thrillers based on character characters. This series is just like that. So I immediately wanted to know who the director was, because a series such as this needs a very good director. I was told it was Oded Ruskin. And I began trying to find info about him. I could not find any of his series, so I asked those who were engaged in casting to send me his TV series shot in Israel, called “False Flag.”. I turned it on and could not tear myself away the whole night. Then I called the director’s assistant again and said: “I don’t care if he liked the sample that we recorded – if he did not like me, call me, and I’ll come back and do anything.” Because at that moment I already knew that I need to work with him, and if I had such a luxurious opportunity to work with him on this particular story, it would just be cherry on the cake.
You had to play in very emotional scenes. How did you prepare for this?
Different actors have completely different methods of preparing for emotional scenes. And my own methods vary from project to project. If you play something on stage, you can afford the luxury of rehearsals and in the process better understand your hero, and then it is much easier, if you can say so, to plunge into the situation with your head. In fact, I do not profess Stanislavski’s system at all, but I learned something from this style of play. For example, I must wake up in the morning filled with the energy and the state of mind of my character, especially in emotional episodes. It must boil inside of me. And I have to carry it all day in myself, and warm up to a certain degree, so that when they say “Action”, I get in the right mood. The difficulty is that the injuries Nick experiences in “Absentia” are extremely diverse, he has so many injuries during these ten episodes, and they are described in great detail. As an actor, I needed to show both psychological development, and how this person deals with such traumas and with varying success overcomes the grief.
What do you think is the main theme of the series?
I think in ‘Absentia’ it’s about love and trust. Are you able to love yourself? How far can you go for the sake of those you love? What are you willing to do for those you love? And trust. Can you trust yourself? Do you trust yourself to make the right decision in a difficult situation? A true moral decision, even if sometimes this decision can lead to unacceptable actions? Here are the questions that all our characters have faced repeatedly in the course of these first ten episodes.
Do you think these are universal themes that affect the international audience?
Certainly. I think that our international audience will experience these topics based on their own family experience. I think that everyone has family members whom they love or once loved, even if your soul was injured or feelings weakened. We know what it is like to love parents, we know what it is like to love our children, our husbands, our wives, our girlfriends or boyfriends. And speaking of the international audience, I think it will be easy for them to ask themselves – if they were in the same situation, would they go as far as these people? Would they be able to accept the challenge and ensure the safety of those they love?
How was it in Bulgaria?
I like Bulgaria. I had a good time there. I personally prefer to shoot in cold weather, but not hot. When we arrived, there were high snowdrifts, and it was a beautiful sight. I have a Bulgarian in my family who married my relative, and I always wanted to go there. This was the first time that I visited there. I can also say that the whole Bulgarian team is extremely hardworking, all were real professionals, focused on their work and giving it all their strength, and this is something that I am very responsive to. God knows, I can not wait to get back and work there again.
Why do you prefer to shoot in cold weather, and not hot?
Well, this is my personal preference. I myself am from Florida, and I really like the snow. I like to arrange a den in a hotel room, to set up a sleepy mood and concentrate. To be honest, I think that if it’s warm outside, it’s too good, too much temptation to go out and play. It’s like a writer who has to close themselves in a forest hut. You seem to be tying yourself to a place and just turning around to work, and this is the only thing that matters, it’s the only thing that exists. I like this atmosphere. This attitude.
You played a lot on stage, but what do you like most about filming for television?
Well, these are different things, right? And in each case, both have their advantages. In general, in filming television, the most exciting is just that. Doing a play on the stage, it is extremely difficult to stop and reflect thoughts. It’s impossible, no matter how hard you try, no matter how you send impulses to explain your behavior, no matter how you tell the story to the public, no matter what tone you give each line. No one can look directly into your face when you’re on stage. Maybe in some rare cases, but the public can not go up on the stage and see what you think. I really like that the camera has the ability to catch the thinnest movements of thought, its shades. This is extremely exciting. And vice versa, what is good doing a play on stage. In a series that’s already been filmed, you are separated from the audience, between the screen. You are not in the same room. And the theater has a unique power to assemble you in the same place. You are in the same room. There is only one possibility. “I’m right here in this room, and I’m going to tell you a story, and I can not stop, leave everything and go. If I do not catch a moment, I’ll have to move on. ” And the screen has the luxury of very subtle moments. And I think that there you will hear exciting stories.
You mentioned that working with the director Oded Ruskin was a great success for you. How do you like this experience ?
Oded is one of the most gifted filmmakers I’ve ever worked with. He has a very clear vision, a very clear point of view on what he wants to do. He is a kind of “mad scientist” – as if he were going to the laboratory, mixing his wonderful inventions in test tubes and coming back to us. But at the same time he adapts very well. Actors come to him with ideas, and he likes to cooperate. We come, we change something, and sometimes we actors have a better idea. The first thing I learned about Oded is why I understood, like about any other director, that he’s wonderful, that’s his great taste. You can immediately understand what a person’s taste is, if you look at his work. For example, I looked up “False Flag”, and that’s why I learned that he is a great director, that he has a terrific taste, because in this series he worked with a terrific designer, a terrific operator, and the actors were incredible. Of course, this is a compliment to those who participated in casting, but it is the director who has the final word, to cast the actor or not. And if not for the actors of the main roles, you couldn’t understand this. Even those who play on the second and third plane, they are part of the general atmosphere, the story that you are trying to tell. And such details indicate that the director is sufficiently responsible and intelligent enough to invest in the small things of production. This is how you can know the level of his talent. And Oded has it all. There is such skill. And we felt every day that we are one.
How did you work with your fellow actors?
One of the biggest values on the set of “Absentia” is an amazingly selected cast of actors. It felt that there was a collection of very talented, thinking, dedicated actors, who every day were ready to go a few extra miles. Sometimes on the set of television series people just get paid, or they just get lazy and only half-heartedly do what they were called for, but on the set of this series everyone was interested in high quality material and made every effort to make it even better every day. Everyone in this film crew put their whole soul into the story we tell, thought more about it than about themselves. But Oded did something else: he assembled actors with a healthy ego, and also a little more dedicated, and everyone was happy to devote themselves to the story, forgetting about personal interests.
Describe the favorite scene you shot…
We’re now only in the middle of filming, so when we finish, I can tell you my most favorite scene. But now there are a few. There were many beautiful scenes that were shot in the same way as Oded and our cameraman conceived, but there is one very special. In it, we are with Cara Theobold, who plays my new wife Alice. I just changed and went home, got into bed, and she feels something, like all partners do in such situations. They just know. We lie in bed, turning our backs on each other, and we conduct a quiet conversation. I’m entangled with my guilt, and she begins to understand that the return of Emily seemed take out the bottom card in her house of cards, and everything is about to collapse.
“Absentia” will start on the channel Sony Sci-Fi on October 2 at 10:25pm – will go on 2 episodes every Monday. New episodes are also available to viewers on the partner of the online cinema channel ivi.ru.