Coming Of Age: Interview With Haven's Lucas Bryant

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Syfy's Haven

Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant) in Haven

When Nathan Wuornos became a police officer in Haven, he was well aware that some of his investigations would be unusual in nature. Just how unusual, though, depends on whether or not you were born and raised in the small coastal Maine town. Some of its residents are among “The Troubled,” and have supernatural abilities that tend to manifest themselves in extremely strange and dangerous ways. Nathan himself is one of The Troubled and suffers from idiopathic neuropathy, a condition that prevents him from physically feeling anything.

Throughout Haven’s first season, Nathan and his new partner, former FBI Agent Audrey Parker, risked their lives countless times to help these poor unfortunate souls. In the season one finale “Spiral,” Max Hansen, returns to town, having served jail time for the 1983 killing of the Colorado Kid. His subsequent death, by Chief of Police Garland Wuornos, also a Troubled, leads Nathan to discover that Max was, in fact, his biological father.  Chief Wuornos sent Hansen to prison for murdering a family and then adopted Nathan and raised him as his own. Although it was a very confusing time for our hero, it was quite an exhilarating one acting-wise for Lucas Bryant, who plays Nathan.

“When I first read the script for the season one finale I was pretty shocked and surprised as well as excited,” says Bryant. “The information about Nathan’s real and adoptive fathers was something that the writers had kept from me, on purpose, I imagine, and also because I didn’t want to know things that I didn’t need to know. I knew they were putting some big stuff in that particular episode, but I had no idea exactly what.

“So that was all wonderful, and it was the type of episode that Emily Rose [Audrey Parker] and I really wanted to make in the first place. It had a lot to do with the characters and their stories as well as the history of the town, and the bigger questions of what’s going on there. Of course we had an investigation of a Trouble, but a lot of this episode dealt with issues that impacted the characters’ overall storylines, so we were both very excited to be doing that.

“On top of that, it [“Spiral”] was kind of an emotional thing for the show’s cast and crew because at the time we didn’t know if we’d be coming back for a second season. I remember thinking, ‘We damn well better come back because you can’t just leave things like this,’ and it was such a trip shooting that first season. So ‘Spiral’ was a beautiful thing. We had a great director, Fred Gerber, and probably the highlight for me from last year was shooting the finale. It was pretty cool.”

During the climax of “Spiral,” Nathan and Audrey find the missing Chief Wuornos (Nicholas Campbell) sitting on the beach. He offers to kill himself for what he has done, and despite Nathan’s pleas for him not to do so, the chief turns into rock and disintegrates. As Nathan and Audrey are trying to deal with that, a woman (Kathleen Munroe) arrives claiming to be FBI Agent Audrey Parker.

“When we shot those last scenes it was a gorgeous hot day, and like I said we were a bit emotional about not being sure when we would see each other again,” recalls Bryant. “And then working with Nick Campbell is just so amazing. You only have to look at him and listen to him to be affected. I can’t say enough about the guy. Nick is such a fantastic person and an incredible actor. I’m honored to have spent time with him and getting to see him really chew on such meaty dialogue that day was an experience for both me and Emily.

“Also, in that scene on the beach with me, Emily and Nick, the ground is rumbling and cracks are coming towards Nathan and Audrey. Naturally all those effects were added after the fact and that’s always a challenge to try to marry the reality of the situation with the imaginary and picture what it will look like in the end. I think it turned out quite well and I’m very proud of that scene and the episode as a whole.”

Haven’s second season opener “The Tale of Two Audreys” picks up right where the first season left off, with Nathan and Audrey being confronted by a second Audrey Parker. While trying to figure out who this woman is, they must also deal with an outbreak in town of the ten plagues of “Exodus.” Getting back into his character’s mindset for season two took a bit of doing for Bryant.

“We found out, I believe in October [2010] that we were renewed for a second season, and obviously I was very relieved and thankful to know that,” he says. “So I had a lot of time to think about coming back, but then that first day on-set I remember thinking, ‘My God, I don’t know if I’ll be able to step right back into this [role]. Maybe I’ve forgotten how to play him.’ Well, I jumped right into the scene in episode one of season two where Nathan goes the church to ask Reverend Driscoll [Stephen McHattie] about the plagues. It sounds sort of cliché, but in just speaking those words and stepping into Nathan’s clothes and that space, it all came back to me. Right after that first take I felt like, ‘Oh yeah, there he [Nathan] is. This is going to be alright.’”

 

The actor chuckles when asked about shooting the scene in which frogs begin falling from the sky on Nathan and Audrey. “There were 25 or 30 crewmembers with buckets of dead and/or rubber frogs and Emily and I standing by Nathan’s truck. They got to chuck the frogs at us and they were all trying to get the frogs into the truck before we managed to close the doors. So I think everyone really enjoyed shooting that scene, and later on the guys in post-production pumped it up and added thousands of more frogs, which you saw on the screen.

“Immediately upon reading this script I thought it was a pretty ambitious and [visual/special] effects-heavy episode. Each of those plagues was a big deal in and of themselves, but it all worked out, and that’s sort of been the template for this season. It seems like the show is bigger, better, faster and more is happening. I know that the first season finale was an exciting episode for a lot of people and I was curious, as well as nervous, to see if the first episode of this [second] season paid off to viewers’ expectations and lived up to their hopes. It seems to have done just that, which is really exciting and rewarding.”

With his adoptive father gone, Nathan is elected Haven’s interim chief of police, and while no stranger to the job, it comes with all sorts of strings attached, including The Troubled.  Nathan is more than up to the task at hand, but he must further prove this to himself.

“It’s sort of a coming of age thing for my character this year,” says Bryant. “First of all, having decided whether or not he wants to and then stepping into his father’s shoes, Nathan starts to learn a lot about why his dad did things the way he, and I guess, comes to see him in a new light. As a result, Nathan has had to inhabit new parts of himself.

“That’s how I’ve approached his journey this season; Nathan is becoming his own man. I think that’s a question that a lot of men ask themselves when they lose their father - how am I going to now be the man in this world? That’s a big part of his trip this year, and then there’s the ongoing effect that Audrey has had on him as far as helping him open up and find his voice and bringing him out of his shell. So it’s sort of the continuation of the blossoming of Nathan Wuornos if you will, but then, sadly and thankfully, there are all kinds of speed bumps along the way. It’s not an easy transition or transformation for him.”

 

Are there any new acting challenges Bryant has found with his character so far in Haven’s second season? “In episode two [“Fear & Loathing”] Nathan lost his curse for a while,” he notes. “I knew that was coming up and I see why it was necessary in that script, but I would have loved to have had a longer exploration of that. If we could have done that for a couple of episodes that would have been right up my alley, but, sadly, I’m learning it’s not all about me all the time,” jokes the actor.  “So I understood why it was important for that greater good.

“Later on this season my character is affected by other peoples’ Troubles, one of which, in particular, was really fun to play and quite a challenge to pull off. This person’s Trouble affects everyone who comes in contact with him or her, so we all had to do a similar thing and then worry about what it was going to look like. We enjoyed working that out as a group and then, as I said, getting to play it was a blast. One of the things I like about Haven is that as weird, dark and strange as it gets, it also maintains a sort of quirky, sometimes slightly comedic sensibility, so that was a challenge as well as a pleasure to pull off with such a straight-laced guy like Nathan.”

In Haven’s first season Nathan discovered that Audrey’s touch is the only one that he is able to feel. This could have something to do with the fact that she is not affected by others’ Troubles. The bond between the two further grows this season. Nathan’s friendship with the town’s jack-of-all-trades Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour) also experiences some changes this year.

“With Nathan and Audrey it’s a real deepening of what we came to expect from season one, which is him realizing that she is now, more so than ever, the only person that he can count on and trust, even though he doesn’t really know who she is,” explains Bryant. “So their relationship continues to grow along those lines of best friends. Perhaps there’s more interest at times from Nathan, although he doesn’t let any of that be known. However, midway through this season and especially with the episodes we’re shooting now [late July], that relationship is tested and my character is forced to confront his true feelings for Audrey. I can’t say what those feelings are, but you might be able to guess.

“As far as Duke, well, once again I don’t want to ruin it, but over the course of the series there feels like there’s been maybe a bit of a thawing in the ice of the relationship between him and Nathan. I wouldn’t say that they’re buddies now by any means, but they do come together more than I necessarily anticipated in the beginning of season one. Duke proves himself quite useful to Nathan, and I think you saw in the first two episodes this year some of the depths of their relationship and how much they care about each other. However, later on in the second season there are some choices made by both Duke and Nathan that put them at odds again, and not just necessarily long time détente odds, but big dangerous ones.

 

“Whenever it comes down to characters and their relationships with each other, that’s the stuff we actors love doing the most. I’d love to have an episode where we’re locked in a room talking about our feelings for one another, or not talking about our feelings. A great deal of the story of these relationships comes out in the madness that our characters have to go through this season, and I just read a roughish draft of the season two finale and, like last year, it’s big, really big.”

As Bryant already hinted at, Nathan has a rocky road ahead of him this season on Haven, and the actor is only more than happy to travel that path with him. “The show’s writers have given me some incredible stuff to play this year and some dangerous stuff, too,” he says. “As a piece of the larger whole I’m very happy with where Nathan’s story arc is going, especially as we near the end of the season. Once again, it leaves me hoping and wishing that we get a third season so I can see what the hell happens and take that further.”

Check out SyFy's Haven on Friday's at 10/9c

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A native of Massachusetts, Steve Eramo has been a Sci-Fi fan since childhood, having been brought up on such TV shows as Star Trek and Space: 1999. He is also an Anglophile and lover of British TV. A writer for 35 years – 17 of those as a fulltime freelancer – Steve has had over 2,500 feature-length…

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