Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Syfy Q&A: Eric Balfour from Haven

We were lucky enough to have been invited to a press call interview with Eric Balfour, to discuss Havem. Syfy has sent us a full transcript of the conversation - it's long but there are some gems in there

Woman:                 Hi everyone, thanks for waiting, and welcome to the Haven Season 4 pre-Premier conference call with Eric Balfour. As you guys know, Eric plays Duke Crocker who was last seen jumping into the barn after Audrey. So let's get right to it. And operator, please start taking questions.

Operator:               Thank you. Our first question comes from the line of Jamie Ruby with SciFi Vision. Please go ahead.

Jamie Ruby:          So can you talk a bit about kind of how things just are going to change, all the dynamics of everybody, considering that Audrey isn't Audrey in the beginning, and right now isn't even there?

Eric Balfour:         Yes. You know, it was a really sort of fascinating time when we found out what was going to be happening this season, not only from a character standpoint but also, you know, simply logistically with Emily, you know, having just had her baby and we were, you know, basically going to spend the first about six weeks without her here in Nova Scotia filming with us.

                              So it was going to be a challenge. At the same time, it was really exciting. And what it did do was create a lot of new dynamics between, you know the characters, and how things would shape.

                              And I actually think, you know people say everything happens for a reason, and I think we were really lucky because what this did do was force us to get out of our comfort zone. It forced us to think outside the box. And what we end up with is something really exciting. The show has a whole new energy this season and a whole new sense of playfulness. And there's new characters that we introduce.

                              The biggest change is, you know, initially seeing how Lucas Bryant's character Nathan is going to have to change his role in how we deal with the troubles. And also how my character Duke, is going to have to relate to Nathan, and how he is going to have to help him in a way that he, as we know, has always been reluctant to do.

                              So especially in the first handful of episodes, things are completely different. And it - I really am excited about it. I really think that the audience is going to love this season because it's obviously - we try very hard to stay true to what is great about the show, but it's just always exciting when a show has to reinvent itself to a certain degree.

                              I think the way that we see the cable landscape today, you can't sit on your laurels. The days of, you know, the sort of old paradigm of the procedural television show that basically is the same show episode to episode, week to week, season to season, just audiences are too dynamic today.

                              They are too intelligent and they're too sophisticated to not want to see characters and television shows grow. And I am so proud of how much we have managed to do that this season.

Jamie Ruby:          Okay great. And can you quickly talk a bit about working with the new characters that are on the show, the new actors?

Eric Balfour:         Absolutely. We have two new characters primarily this season, in Emma Lahana who plays Jennifer, and Chris Camargo who plays my brother Wade. They were both an absolute breath of fresh air. They're incredible actors.

                              Personally you know, with Emma's character, Jennifer, it creates a whole new dynamic for Duke. It's going to reveal a side of him that we've never completely seen. And I loved having her on the set. I love working with her, she is a really playful actress. She brings a lot to the table.

                              And both of them, I actually have to say, "We were really blessed to have two people that we really enjoy having on set." You know it's such an important part of any work environment really. You know, you want to like the people that you're working with. And they were so much fun, and they were so easy going, and they were so ready to become part of the family. And we just loved having them.

                              And then obviously this season we have sort of a special, you know, guest star in Colin Ferguson. And Colin's just an awesome guy. He's a complete professional, he's smart and funny, and it was great.

                              You know obviously there's a lot of excitement because he's sort of part of the Syfy family and he's, you know, been a part of a highly successful Syfy show. And so it's always fun to cross pollinate the worlds. And we've just been having a blast. It's been the funnest season of new characters. And they really fit in well. And it's just exciting.

                              And I know that the fans of the show are going to love Emma's character. They are going to absolutely love her and love what she brings to the show. It's great.

Jamie Ruby:          Great. Well I really enjoyed the premiere so far, so thanks a lot.

Eric Balfour:         Awesome. I'm so glad to hear that.

Jamie Ruby:          Great, thanks.

Operator:               And our next question comes from the line of Heather McLatchy from tvgoodness.com. Please go ahead.

Heather McLatchy:     Hi Eric, thanks so much for talking to us today. I watched the premiere and just really, really liked all the mixed dynamics that you mentioned.

                              And I hope I'm not spoiling anything for folks who haven’t seen it yet, but I wanted to ask about the one true love idea that Duke kind of challenges Nathan on what Nathan thinks that is. Is Duke challenging him from a self-serving perspective of maybe it's him and not Nathan? Or is he at that point more about protecting his friend because his friend has this different agenda now?

Eric Balfour:         Well the greatest dynamic of this show and whether this was, you know, serendipitous or just geniously plotted out by the writers, and I wouldn't put it past them because we really do have fantastic writers, but the - this triangle that exists between Duke and Nathan and Audrey is pretty magical. You know, lots of shows try to create love triangles, try to create you know, these things between characters, but ours sort of happened in some ways organically and it was very sincere.

                              And so at the beginning of this season, you know the question of destiny and true love really become a huge factor in the show. And so when you ask, you know when - "What does Duke mean when he, you know he starts to, you know question what Nathan is saying," and this is something that's really going to reveal itself over the course of the season, there are many levels and dynamics to what you're asking and what Duke is saying.

                              You know, it's such an interesting thing, because I think in some ways one of the greatest love stories of this show is actually between Nathan and Duke. And although, you know, it's not a romantic, you know, relationship and not a romantic love, it's a - it's almost like a brotherhood and a familial relationship in some ways.

                              There is this question that I think, you know, we all ask ourselves about Duke is, you know, if he even could have a relationship with Audrey, could he handle it? Would he really want it? Is he meant to be in a relationship?

                              You know, there are people in this world who, they're meant to be alone. They're meant to, you know, to be on their own. But that's something that I think Duke struggles with.

                              And so I think there's an element to it where, you know, as much as he may not want to admit it, Duke truly does care about Nathan and wants him to be okay and to be happy. But that may come at a price.

                              So I think what you're asking is all true in some ways. There are many different levels to this question and it's going to really - you're going to see it revealed over the course of the season and right up until the finale. I mean it's such a dynamic season.

Heather McLatchy:     Okay.

Eric Balfour:         I'm so proud of what we've done this year because...

Heather McLatchy:     Well I loved the, like you said, "The dynamic between Nathan and Duke," and especially the way that they reunite, you wouldn't have expected that even middle of last season. So I thought that was really compelling, that it showed the bond that they have because of everything that had transpired.

                              And I liked with Jennifer, that it was almost Shakespearean the way she'd go, "Well what does that mean," and then Duke would tell her. So is that going to continue a little bit, to kind of maybe help educate new fans about things that happened that, if we've been watching the show a while, this makes complete sense to us, but if we're like Jennifer and we're new to Haven, we might not understand, you know, why X or Y is happening?

Eric Balfour:         Yes, I mean I think there's - you know there's always the trick of television in wanting to be able to include new audiences every season. And yes, you know, somebody who's never seen Seasons 1 through 3 could jump into the show in Season 4 and get caught up pretty quickly and be able to enjoy the series right along with the people who have been watching since Season 1.

                              That being said, you know, we're always trying to reward our loyal fan base and audience with the intricacies of what's occurring. There's always going to be a level of having to educate new fans and new viewers from season to season, and even from episode to episode. And you know, there are times when it happens smoother than others.

                              And you know, you'll - you could walk on our set almost any day and see the actors battling, going "Do we really have to say, this? Come on, they must - if they don't know this, how could - you know, they have to know what's going on here." But it's, you know part of the dance of, you know, allowing people to enjoy and embrace the show who are new.

Heather McLatchy:     Well thank you very much. I'm so glad that you all are back and I'm looking forward to the season.

Eric Balfour:         Thank you guys. You know we are - we're really grateful to all of you. You know this show does not have the massive marketing machine that other shows do, and our success is based wholly on the fans and the journalists and the people who are excited about it and talk about it and tweet about it. And this season more than any we really need that support from the fans, from the bloggers, from the journalists, because we just don't have that luxury of the machine in some ways.

                              Cable as it is designed today, you know, it's in some ways a niche market and there's not the giant, you know, profit margins that there may have been years ago to do those things. So it's really a certain level of Darwinism that exists, you know, for a show to succeed. You know you need the help of the fans to get out there and promote the show and talk about the show. And we're very lucky that our fans and audience have done that.

Operator:               And our next question comes from the line of Tony Tellado from Sci-Fi Talk. Please go ahead.

Tony Tellado:        Hey, how you doing? It's good to talk to you again. Last time we saw each other was on the red carpet at another great Haven party in Comic-Con.

Eric Balfour:         Yes Sir, yes Sir.

Tony Tellado:        You know, one of the things that it sounds like, as far as you know, Dukes brother Wade is that they're kind of extremes. They're both totally different people. And so I would think their relationship is going to be very stormy during the course of the season.

Eric Balfour:         You would be absolutely correct. You know it - I mean purely the idea of family for, you know, for the character of Duke is tumultuous. And so to actually, you know, bring one of those people into his life in such direct proximity was really challenging for, you know, the character. And then to have them be such opposites. And you're going to - the audience is going to learn, you know pretty quickly, you know how and why they are so different. But it really made for a lot of fun, a lot of conflict.

                              And you know I think for the fans of Duke, this season is going to be, I hope and I think, one of their favorites. Because Duke goes through so much this season. I mean we've obviously seen him go through a lot and struggle with his abilities and with his place in this world, but now there's a whole new emotional context to what he's going through. And so yes, I think it's just going to be awesome.

Tony Tellado:        Yes, it's great that he's going to be on a journey. You know, the Haven Season 3 DVDs, can you kind of talk about the bloopers. I've seen a little bit online, they seem pretty funny.

Eric Balfour:         I actually haven’t seen them. Nobody's given me a copy of the Season 3 DVD. So I actually don't know what's on it. It scares me a little when you say that because God only knows. We're all pretty silly and we probably - we're probably more candid than we should be at times. So I can only now imagine and impatiently fear what is on that DVD.

                              But I hear - you know the DVD's have gotten better every single year like...

Tony Tellado:        Yes.

Eric Balfour:         ...I know Season 1 didn't have a whole lot of extras, and now it just seems like the - you know with the graphic novel and the comic and all the extras on the DVDs, they're really becoming exciting.

Tony Tellado:        Yes, sounds great. I didn't - you didn't mess up too bad, they only one scene where you just forgot a line and it was actually Lucas who was messing up more than you so far in the clips I saw.

Eric Balfour:         Good.

Operator:               And our next question comes from the line of Julie Hernandez Seaton with Genre Entertainment. Please go ahead.

Julie Hernandez Seaton:         Hi, so what new developments for Duke are you most excited about this year?

Eric Balfour:         "What new developments am I most excited for?" I think - oh God, how do you answer that without giving anything away? You know I think what I'm most excited about for Duke this season is, you know through - he is going to be pushed harder than ever towards a decision. And he is going to be forced to choose sides in a battle that are almost Shakespearean in nature.

                              I mean they are - they're impossible. They're impossible choices to make. And so watching that journey has been really exciting this season.

Julie Hernandez Seaton:         Okay great, thank you.

Operator:               And our next question comes from the line of Diana Price with Examiner.com. Please go ahead.

Diana Price:           Hi Eric, thanks for talking to us today. I kind of wanted to follow-up and just ask a little bit about, what is maybe the biggest or most surprising change we can expect in Duke's character from the beginning of the season to the end of the season?

Eric Balfour:         Well I mean the most - there are two really huge changes that Duke is going to make this season. And unfortunately, I can't actually say what they are. It would be giving away too much.

                              But I will tell you that it's going to leave fans either really happy or really frustrated. You know, Duke is going to have to completely redefine himself in many ways. And that rebooting of sorts, or redefining of his entire life, is really going to affect who he is.

                              And actually thinking about it, I don't know that it's going to - it'll change who he is. I think we know who Duke is now. I think we understand who Duke is in his heart. But it is going to change his place in this world and his choices in his life. So that really to me, is going to be what fans are going to be most excited about.

Diana Price:           Great. Yes, that sounds like it should be very interesting. Now we're all going to have to try to figure out what you're talking about. But and I also...

Eric Balfour:         Yes, I'm sorry I can't be more specific.

Diana Price:           We totally understand. The other thing, I was going to ask a little bit about the love triangle. And in listening to some of the discussion, it did kind of occur to me - because this is not a conventional love triangle. I mean there's elements of romance to it, but there's also sort of a family element too, almost a family relationship.

                              And the fact that Audrey hasn't chosen one or the other, do you think that maybe the fact that you have this kind of romantic tension but family bond with all three members - I mean just family between Duke and Nathan, do you think maybe that might be kind of a definition of the one true love; that it's much deeper than one or the other, it's something that encompasses all kinds of love?

Eric Balfour:         Absolutely. That's a - that's actually a beautiful way of putting it.

                              Yes, you know there is the idea of the greatest good. You know, what is the greatest good? And that's a question that all three of our, you know heroes or main characters, or whatever you want to call them, are going to have to answer. And they're constantly battling their own desires with that of, you know this family, as it were.

                              So yes, you know it's so not simple. And I think that's what makes the show fascinating and what makes it compelling. So yes, I agree.

Diana Price:           All right, thank you so much once again Eric.

Eric Balfour:         My pleasure.

Operator:               And as a reminder Ladies and Gentlemen, to register any questions you can press 1 4 on your telephone.

                              And our next question comes from the line of Robin Burks with fangirlconfessions.com. Please go ahead.

Robin Burks:         Hi Eric, thanks for talking to us today.

Eric Balfour:         Of course.

Robin Burks:         Over the past three seasons viewers have been kind of confused as to whether Duke is a good guy or a bad guy. He seems to have a very dichotomous nature. Is that something that we're going to continue to see in the new season, or has Duke finally decided to be the good guy?

Eric Balfour:         That's a very difficult question to answer. Duke is in some ways - it's why I love playing the character, because he is completely human and he is fallible. And in that human quality, it's very difficult to simply say, "He is good," or "He is bad," or "He has, you know, decided to be good."

                              He is the most - in some ways, the most honest character on the show. And that's not to say that he doesn't, you know, ever lie or isn't ever deceitful. And he certainly can be. But what I mean by that is he's the most honest as a being, as a character, because it's never that simple for him, you know?

                              And he's not written to be sort of a caricature of the earnest hero. He's just more dynamic than that. And so his choices are always veiled with, you know, his own at times selfish desires, with his what I believe is his inherent nature to do the right thing.

                              So I think in some ways his desire to be more earnest may be there, but because of the challenges that he faces this season, it becomes that much harder.

Robin Burks:         As an actor, how do you kind of walk that gray line so that fans are always trying to guess what Duke's motives are?

Eric Balfour:         In all honesty, it's something that's always, you know talked about. I ask a lot of questions of the writers. I challenge the writers a lot of times, to allow me to infuse things that I think are inherent about the character.

                              And you know I think that the - for me as an actor, there are times when you want to simply play the emotion that is in front of you, and then you deal with the consequences of whatever the next, you know piece of - page that is written is in front of you - that's put in front of you. But as the show has grown and become more complex, you really do have to sort of, in some ways map out where you're going and what you're going to do with these things.

                              So I always try to just weigh all of the different facets of his emotions and try to be very vigilant about keeping them in my mind. Because his emotions are never simple. They are never, you know sort of singular in thought.

Robin Burks:         Thank you.

Eric Balfour:         My pleasure.

Operator:               And our next question is a follow-up from the line of Jamie Ruby with SciFi Vision. Please go ahead.

Jamie Ruby:          Hello again. So when we talked to Lucas the other day, he was telling us about this episode where you all play kind of wild versions of yourself. Can you talk a bit about that?

Eric Balfour:         Yes. It was - it's a - it was a really fun episode. You know, because of Audrey and Duke's sort of place in this world and the abilities they have, it affects them differently than maybe the other characters. So for Duke, you know, he's sort of a - he's forced to sort of juggle a lot of balls in that episode.

                              And you know, so one of them - you know, one of my favorite things about Duke is getting to see him, you know, be the dancing bear in a way, or be the court jester almost. So that episode was just a really great opportunity to play on some of that stuff. So it was a lot of fun.

Jamie Ruby:          Okay great. Then I have a silly question. I don't know why, but @unknownfangirl wants to know if you're wearing socks. And she says you'll know what that means.

Eric Balfour:         Am I wearing socks? Right now?

Jamie Ruby:          Yes, I guess.

Eric Balfour:         I am not wearing socks as a matter of fact.

Jamie Ruby:          Okay, good to know. Thank you.

Eric Balfour:         My pleasure.

Operator:               And our next question is a follow-up question from the line of Tony Tellado from Sci-Fi Talk. Please go ahead.

Tony Tellado:        Hey, hello again. You know what you were talking about Duke today, and what's interesting is I kind of look at him as a survivor who always thinks on his feet pretty quickly. And he will kind of do things around the law a little bit, to survive and to kind of get what he needs. You know, as the guy who plays him, you know, am I kind of close to what he is, do you think?

Eric Balfour:         Is your description kind of close or am I kind of close?

Tony Tellado:        Yes. No, I know you were kind of close, but is my description?

Eric Balfour:         No, your description is right on. I mean the beauty of Nathan and Duke as characters and the way that they work together, is you know, Nathan is very earnest and bound by his inherent trust of the law, and Duke is completely the opposite. Duke is - you know Duke is a magician, you know? He's a tap dancer. And so it's always fun, you know, getting to be the voice of unreason.

Tony Tellado:        Yes. And I think it was very clear to me right at the beginning of Haven, the time the three of you were on screen there was a chemistry there that shows would kill for. If they could bottle it and sell it, they'd all be rich because it's so rare to have that connection like early on. And the bond the characters have and the actors have, to get both and both of them working is, I think for television not as commonplace as people think.

Eric Balfour:         No, you're completely right. And there's part of that question or that statement that I can't answer. You know, that is, it is. Chemistry is a magical thing. On the other hand, you know, we are really blessed to be here four years later.

                              And somebody was just mentioning, one of our guest stars was actually commenting on it just a couple days ago saying how, "It's so weird, I've been on so many sets and I've never walked on one where you guys get along so well."

                              "You know by Season 4 there's always, you know, the two characters or the two actors who hate each other and won't even talk to each other, and the ones who used to date, and now you know, don't look at each other. And you guys all get along so well." And we really do.

                              And I actually - my response was, "I think we are even closer and tighter now than when we started." You know the trials and tribulations of shooting this show on the schedule that we do and the amount of energy that it takes, and stamina, and toll it takes on our - you know, on us physically and emotionally, it's really challenging. And what we've all managed to do is to learn to lean on each other.

                              And we all have our own families and our own relationships, but honestly I can't tell you how much I love Lucas and Emily, and how proud of them I are - I am. And just to see how they've grown, and how we've all grown together, it's pretty amazing.

                              I mean it was kind of funny, on the weekend, there's a little café in the town where we shoot and I walked out of where I live to walk over to the little café to get some food and there was Emily and her husband Dairek and Lucas and our - one of our other guest, you know stars, Emma Lahana, and they were all having brunch. And I walked over and I actually kind of got jealous that I hadn't been invited.

                              And I kind of sulked away, and then realized, you know after they explained. They were like "We all just showed up, and I showed up and we're getting - and we figured you'd show up too." And I was like, "Oh, so I wasn't not-invited?" They were like, "No, of course you weren't not-invited." I'm like, "Okay, then I don't feel so bad."

                              But yes we - it's true, I mean I - you know, these people are in some ways all I have up here. And it's not easy all the time. So I'm really grateful that we get to lean on each other. And I think that you're right, it has come across on screen.

Tony Tellado:        Yes, absolutely. Well I'm looking forward to what you guys can do for Season 4. I'm sure it's going to be interesting. And really glad that the past seasons of Haven are going to be on Chiller now too, which is cool.

Eric Balfour:         Yes, very cool. And I think, I'm pretty sure very soon the first three seasons are going to be available on Netflix, if I'm not mistaken.

Tony Tellado:        Yes.

Eric Balfour:         I'm not sure about the exact date, but I'm pretty sure it's on its way.

Tony Tellado:        I'll be watching.

Eric Balfour:         Excellent.

Tony Tellado:        I'll be watching again. All right, thanks Eric.

Eric Balfour:         All right.

Operator:               And our next question is a follow-up question from the line of Diana Price with Examiner.com. Please go ahead.

Diana Price:           Hi, Eric. I just wanted to follow-up, I wasn't going to go here but, we kind of know the Nathan and Duke dynamic on the show. But last week Lucas was going on and on about the hug between you guys. So is there maybe a little Lucas-Eric bromance going on? Or does that guy just have a really serious man-crush on you?

Eric Balfour:         Are you kidding me? I love that guy. There is a - there is an epic bromance going on between me and Lucas. Yes, I love him to death. He is one of the kindest, most sincere people you will ever meet. And I just - I honestly, I couldn't be happier to get to work with him every day. I'm in love with the dude.

Diana Price:           Well he really loved that hug you guys had, just to let you know. So you might want to give him a big hug when you see him again on the set.

Eric Balfour:         I will, thank you.

Diana Price:           Okay. All right, thanks so much Eric.

Operator:               And our next question is another follow-up from the line of Jamie Ruby with SciFi Vision. Please go ahead.

Jamie Ruby:          Hi again, this one's more serious. Can you talk at all about any of the interactions that you have with Audrey or not-Audrey or whatever you want to call her this season? Is there anything you can kind of tease about?

Eric Balfour:         I think one of the things that the audience is going to get to see this year, and understand, is how deep the connection and bond is between Duke and Audrey. Now that may be construed in a way that people don't understand or have a different interpretation of.

                              But if the audience is paying attention this year, you're going to see some things that really start to indicate how well Duke really does know Audrey. And that's going to have an effect on Audrey. And it's actually one of the more exciting things that's going to start to reveal itself over the course of the season.

Jamie Ruby:          Well I can't wait. Is there anything specific, like you're looking forward to fans seeing this season that you can talk about?

Eric Balfour:         I'm really excited about the fans seeing how Duke changes this season and how these new characters are going to affect Duke. It really does start to put him into a completely different dynamic with people that we've never seen him in. And that's one of the things I'm most excited about.

                              And secondly, you know you always worry when you get into Season 3, 4, 5 about, "How do you keep doing these things? How do you keep coming up with new scary monsters and new troubles?" And it's going to be pretty cool how not only do we - we really - the writers, I've got to hand it to them.

                              They came up with some really cool stuff this year. But also we're going to - there's going to be some greatest hits this year. And we're going to see how past troubles are going to affect this world today. And that's - that was actually really exciting.

Jamie Ruby:          Awesome. Is there any troubles that are new that you can tease us with?

Eric Balfour:         Nope. No, I'm not going to do it.

Jamie Ruby:          All right, good enough.

Eric Balfour:         You have to tune in every week and watch to see the new troubles.

Jamie Ruby:          Okay great, I will. Thanks a lot Eric.

Eric Balfour:         Thank you.

Operator:               And there are no further questions on the phone line at this time.

Woman:                 Okay everyone, thank you. It's perfect timing. Eric, thank you so much for the insight into Duke and what's coming up this season. And thank you to everyone for joining the call.

                              Just as a reminder, Season 4 of Haven premieres this Friday at 10:00/9:00 p.m. Central. It's going to be a great season, so thank you.

Eric Balfour:         Thanks a lot guys, we really appreciate it.

Operator:               Ladies and Gentlemen that does conclude your conference call for today. We thank you for your participation and ask that you please disconnect your line.