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Interview: Philip Glenister talks Outcast

Interview: Philip Glenister talks Outcast

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Something very scary has arrived On Demand… From the creator of The Walking Dead, Outcast follows a young man haunted by demonic possession on a journey to rediscover who he is and, along the way, he unravels spine-chilling truths with much wider ramifications for the whole of humanity. This is one to watch with the lights on, but just to make you even more prepared, we’ve broken down the big questions around one of the most terrifyingly best series of the year. Prepare to cower... and be absolutely hooked.

Outcast

What is Outcast?

Demonic possession, disturbing woodlands and lots of dark circles under the eyes are the key components of this comic book adaptation. It follows Kyle Barnes, a young, tortured soul, who changes the course of his life – and potentially that of the world – as he searches for redemption. Helping him is a preacher with some skeletons of his own, Reverend Anderson.

Who dunnit?

It’s based on the graphic novels by Robert Kirkman, who also wrote the comic behind The Walking Dead.

Outcast

Who’s in it?

Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous), plays Barnes. He’s joined by Philip Glenister (Ashes To Ashes) as Reverend Anderson. Also on board we have Reg E Cathey (House Of Cards), Wrenn Schmidt (13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi) and Kate Lyn Sheil (House Of Cards).

Did you say Ashes To Ashes’ Philip Glenister plays a preacher?

Yes, who’d have thought it. The Harrow-born, Life On Mars actor puts on his best Southern drawl to play the less-than-Godly Reverend Anderson. He may represent a glimmer of hopeful light in this comic book adaptation's infinite darkness, but he's got a few skeletons of his own. Want to know more? Of course you do! That’s why we sat down with the British star to get the lowdown...

Outcast

So Philip, give it to us straight: why should we watch Outcast?

Philip Glenister: "I genuinely don't think there's anything else quite like it!"

And how did you get involved in the show?

"The casting director had seen some of my work. So when Outcast came up, she got in touch and I thought, 'Really? Me? A Southern preacher?' But we had a long chat on Skype and my wife filmed me in the living room. They sent the tape over to Robert Kirkman, I spent a weekend in LA doing a 'chemistry test' with Patrick (Fugit) and then they asked me to do it.”

What were your first thoughts when you read the script?

"It was a mixture of fear, trepidation and excitement - I knew it was going to be a challenge. But I thought, if they've entrusted this to me, I must have done something right. So I just have to go for it and see what happens!"

Tell us a bit more about Reverend Anderson…

"He’s a bit of a maverick. As the series develops, we see he's quite a complex fellow and it's a complicated journey that he and Kyle go on."

How would you describe their relationship – father or brother?

"I feel like Burgess Meredith in Rocky, and Kyle's Rocky and suddenly he gets a bit cocky for my liking. So, a bit of both. You'll learn more from flashbacks but, basically, we didn't want Anderson to just be a paternal figure to Kyle. "

Outcast

Does Anderson have any supernatural powers?

"He thinks he does. I can't say any more than that."

Do you believe in demonic possession?

"Not at all. I'm not a religious person. I respect people who have a faith but I have more of a cynical viewpoint. I just focus on the character."

From what we've seen so far, there's quite a lot of action – characters being thrown around. What was the most rigorous thing you had to do?

"Smoke! Though I learned a way around it from Life On Mars. If I get asked to smoke on screen, I say OK, but I'll just be putting it out."

Outcast

And what about stunts? Have you got a double?

"Oh yeah, he's called Daniel Craig and he's doing alright! No, he's an American stunt guy and he's very good. He certainly did the stuff where we get flung into the wall, then we swap over and I do the last fling bit."

Anything you miss when filming in the US?

"I miss my family, obviously. But I want to be able to work on both sides of the pond. My wife's been incredibly supportive. She said, 'If you say no to this, you'll regret it. I'll back you all the way. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, it doesn't.' You only live once. Life's an adventure, so you might as well take it on and see what happens."

Do you think Outcast could be as big as The Walking Dead?

"Compared with The Walking Dead, there's an element with Outcast where, hopefully, you can believe that these are real people and this could really go on in a small town. But if we could preempt what the audience would think, we'd be laughing all the way to the bank!"

Find Outcast season 1 in On Demand > Box Sets