On Sunday, February 20th, EPIX premieres its highly anticipated new series FROM. Created by John Griffith and featuring two executive producers from the series LOST, FROM is already generating a lot of buzz.
Starring in the series is veteran actor Harold Perrineau in his first leading television role. Of course, Harold is no stranger to fans of film and television having an impressive resume of work. On the small screen, he’s starred in series such as Oz, LOST, Blade, Sons of Anarchy, The Rookie and most recently, finished a nice run on the hit TNT series Claws.
On the big screen, you’ve seen him in films such as Romeo & Juliet, The Best Man, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, Zero Dark Thirty and Sabotage.
We recently sat down with Harold to talk about his new series From, setting the example as the lead on set and what fans can look forward to with the new series.
Pop Culture Principle – When you were approached about this project, what was it that made you decide to sign on?
Harold Perrineau – Well, one of the obvious reasons is that I get to play the lead in the series. 😊 When they were telling me about who this guy is and that he’s a troubled guy, but he’s the guy that is going to help this community, that is something that resonated with me. I like playing characters whose motives are good, but how they get to things is questionable sometimes. I think lots of people have really good motives, but sometimes how they get there is questionable.
For me, that’s always kind of intrigued me and gives me a chance to really dig in there and see if I can find ways to manipulate my emotions to come up with stuff to do. Also, I was told that Jack Bender would be directing the show and I was ready to go! I’ve known Jack for a long time, and I really trust him. They also had Jeff Pinker, and it was just off to the races with people I really trust.
Harold Perrineau – I think that is still yet to be seen. The people who have reached out to me via social media would have reached out to me anyway. They are friends or people who have seen stuff that I’ve been in and everyone who has seen the trailer has been really hyped about it. I am really curious to see how big a reach that trailer actually had. We put it out, the studio put it out and the cast put out the trailer. I’m really looking forward to seeing how many people come out and check out the show. I don’t know so far, but as I said earlier, the people that are responding to me now are people who might normally respond to me anyway. I’m curious to know what the reach is beyond that.
Pop Culture Principle – For our readers, can you give us a quick synopsis of the plot for FROM?
Harold Perrineau – So, FROM is about a group of people who come to a town not by their own volition. They get stuck in this town and have to survive because they are being hunted by things in the forest that surrounds them. That’s the show in a nutshell.
Pop Culture Principle – Your character Boyd Stevens is the sheriff of the town. Was he involved with law enforcement before he came to town, or did he assume that position once he got there?
Harold Perrineau – Hmm, what can I say without giving anything away? Let’s just say that he’s had some experiences and being the sheriff of this town is right up his alley. 😊
Pop Culture Principle – Can you think of one thing you yourself have in common with your character Boyd Stevens and one big difference between the two of you?
Harold Perrineau – The one thing that I have in common with Boyd that I had in common with Michael on LOST and in common with Damon Pope on Sons of Anarchy is that I’m a parent and Boyd is a parent. I didn’t know until I was a parent, but there is this kind of unconditional love that kicks in and you will do anything to make sure this child is safe and taken care of and that I can always really resonate with in a deep way. I feel that way about my kids and my nieces and nephews, so Boyd and I share that deeply. How do we get those things done? I might be more willing to talk with you about it and Boyd might not. 😊
Pop Culture Principle – In the trailer, it’s mentioned that everyone in this town was brought there for a reason. As the season progresses, will we learn more as to why each person was brought to this town?
Harold Perrineau – Well, we don’t know that yet. I still don’t know. 😊 The same thing happened to everybody when they get to the town, and they have all showed up from different parts of the country. They’ve all showed up to this one place and then suddenly they are in the town. It’s really freaky and the fans are going to love figuring it out.
Pop Culture Principle – Being the lead of this series, do you feel any extra pressure when it comes to the success of this series?
Harold Perrineau – That’s an interesting question. I will tell you why I was really interested in being the lead of this show. I’ve been in a lot of shows and not necessarily the lead and I’ve been in a lot of shows and lots of other people have been the leads. For some reason, I’m not saying all, but I’ve been in enough shows without naming any names and the leads wind up seaming like there is so much pressure that it kind of makes them act in a way that is not appealing to me as a lead and you think it’s because they are under a lot of pressure.
So, I was kind of curious about that pressure and the truth is, no, I don’t feel any more pressure than I’ve always felt, so it doesn’t change my behavior. I just don’t act like a jerk. Maybe some people are more sensitive or something. Look, I feel the same pressure that I always feel and that is to do the work, get the work done right, to do it in the most fun way that I can, but to really pay service to the story being told. John Griffith wrote this series that is really great, and I want to be of service to that and myself as an artist. So, I only ever feel that pressure and as the lead, that’s what I felt as well and I feel like we all came together and made this show really, really good. So, it doesn’t seem like anything more on my back then there ever is on my back and that is to try and do the best work that I can do, and we then let the cards fall where they may.
Pop Culture Principle – Lance Henriksen said that as the lead of a series, he felt it was his job to set the tone on set and for the cast and crew so that everyone felt comfortable and then everyone would do their best work. Would you agree?
Harold Perrineau – I would agree with that as well. I feel that if I would start acting crazy, then that would let other people act crazy. I am there doing my work and I am really open to the work and open to trying things. I am really interested in the collaborative experience. This show doesn’t happen just because of me, so I am interested in working with the cameraman, the other actors, the director, and the props department. For me, that’s all really interesting because it’s a community of us bringing this show to life. If my behavior sets the tone, then that’s cool. I am all about getting the work done and getting it done in the coolest and best fashion that I can. If that is the tone we set, they yes, I am in.
Pop Culture Principle – We know that there are some terrifying creatures in the forest that are terrorizing the town. Will we learn more about who or what they are as the season progresses?
Harold Perrineau – You’ll just find out why they are so scary. There’s an interesting aspect about it that will scare you. There is something about someone or some thing that is hunting you and they are real easy about it. Something about that is truly scary and you will see a bit of that. It’s all I can really say without giving anything away.
Pop Culture Principle – Stephen King recently sent out a tweet praising the pilot for FROM. Did you see the tweet and what did you think about him praising the show?
Harold Perrineau – Man, that made me feel really good and it made me feel really validated that what I had seen in the show is validated by someone like Stephen King. I mean, dope is the only word I can use!
Pop Culture Principle – What do you think separates this show from others that are in the same genre?
Harold Perrineau – I think what separates this show and that I hope will continue to separate it is while it is in the horror genre, the reason it’s scary is because it is about the people, and I think that is the part of horror that makes it the scariest. You can see someone with an axe, and you can see the blood and guts, but the part that is the scariest is when you think that could be you and what would you do in that situation. Once you ask that question and start thinking like that, that is when it’s really scare, and I think that is what separates us. You really find out about these people, and you invest in these people and then you are double scared because now it’s you or your friend or your brother and now it’s really scary. So hopefully that is the thing that will make us different than all the other shows is that we continue to invest in those stories.
Pop Culture Principle – What can fans look forward to as the first season of the series progresses?
Harold Perrineau – There isn’t a lot that I can say, but first, it’s a horror show so it’s scary. So, for those of you looking for horror, this show is scary. There is going to be a lot of fear, heartbreak and there will be a lot of funny. You wouldn’t think in this type of situation there would be humor but, there are some funny aspects to the show. You are going to go through quite the range of emotions when you are watching this first season. By the end, you are going to want to know what happened because it keeps getting deeper and deeper.
Pop Culture Principle – Why do you think viewers love shows like FROM and horror shows in general?
Harold Perrineau – I have been asking myself that question for a long time. My daughter is real fan of horror and I feel like in my lifetime, my background and growing up, I have seen a lot of bad stuff, so I don’t want to go to the movies and see bad people doing bad things. I’m not a psychologist, but I guess it’s a safe way to look at horror and wonder what you would do in a situation like that. It’s the safety of being at home or in a theater while your heart is racing and pumping. I don’t get it, but a lot of people do!
Pop Culture Principle – The series has a connection to LOST with you of course and two of the executive producers having worked on the series. The show recently celebrated its 17th anniversary. Are you surprised that the show is still as popular today and as an actor, what does it feel like being part of such an iconic show?
Harold Perrineau – It makes me feel really fortunate. There are a lot of really talented people out in the world and sometimes you just don’t get the break. So, it makes me feel really fortunate that I got the shot, and it also makes me feel really proud that I went in and did the work and collaborated with all those wonderful people. I was part of something that had an effect on our culture and world. So, for me as an artist, I am glad to have affected some kind of change, even if just a little bit. I hate to make it sound so big, but this is the world that I live in and in my art, I’m glad that I affect some kind of change.
It was really great to be a part of LOST and the bigger scope of it. Michael is one of those characters that people don’t like but will defend him until the end of time. I was glad to be part of the show and add my voice to it. So, hopefully we get to do something similar to that with FROM. Jack Bender who was an executive producer and director on LOST and Jeff Pinker who was a writer and executive producer on LOST, they know how to do these things. You can trust them with this kind of material. They won’t ever sell it short and that they will always play it as real as possible and as beautifully as possible. You can just trust them, and I really trust them both. If they bring their A game and I bring my A game, we really have something going on.
A huge thank you to Harold Perrineau for talking with us! You can watch the series premiere of FROM on Sunday, February 20th only on EPIX!
**All photos courtesy of EPIX**