Mr. Clean: Q & A with Haven's Adam Copeland

By , Contributor

Michael Tompkins/Syfy

Haven's Dwight "The Cleaner" Hendrickson (Adam Copeland)

Since taking over as Haven’s interim police chief following the untimely death of his adoptive father, Nathan Wuornos has discovered that his dad had a certain way of doing things. This included employing the services of Dwight Hendrickson a.k.a. The Cleaner, an electrician and construction worker who “cleans up” after incidents caused by the town’s Troubled. An ex-Army Ranger, he has some prior experience in this, having been struck down by a supernatural affliction in Afghanistan.

Introduced in the second season Haven episode “Sparks and Recreation,” Dwight is played by retired Canadian professional wrestler Adam Copeland, better known as “Edge” during his years with WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). Having left wrestling due to a neck injury, Copeland is now focused on honing his acting chops and has also guest starred in an episode of Syfy’s Sanctuary.

The actor reprises his role on Haven in three more episodes this season, including this week’s “Lockdown.” Prior to making his debut on the show, Copeland spoke with the press about playing Dwight as well as his wrestling career and other acting work. The following are a few highlights from that Q&A. Enjoy!

What was your most memorable moment from all the Haven episodes that you've taped?

I think initially walking onto the set for the first time, just because it was sort of nerve-wracking. It [acting] is still a relatively new experience for me and I kind of feel like the new kid at school. I never put any misconceptions out there that I’m this talented thespian or anything like that. Everyone knew this is new to me and they really helped me along, so I have to say that was initially the experience that stood out for me.

In the last episode I shot, I did a fight scene with Eric Balfour, who plays Duke Crocker, and that’s when I felt like I was back in the wheelhouse again. I felt really comfortable and at ease right away. So that was fun, too, just bringing it back to a little bit of a physical aspect for the character.

How would you describe the relationship between Dwight and Nathan (Lucas Bryant) and how does it evolve in relation to Nathan's father?

It’s pretty interesting. What was cool about it is that Lucas and I found out that we actually grew up 20 minutes from each other. So we hit it off pretty quick, which I think made our onscreen relationship hopefully seem like it was kind of a natural extension of that.

In the first couple of episodes most of my character’s interaction is with Nathan, so it was good to be able to connect with Lucas on a personal level beyond the work. You come to learn that Dwight kind of plays the same role for Nathan that he played for Nathan's dad. Nathan and Dwight form a bit of a partnership over time, while Dwight and Duke have a little butting heads rivalry type of thing going on. My character also starts to work with Vince [Richard Donat], so there are some different things going on with him, which is cool.

Being that Haven is actually based on one of Stephen King's short stories, do you have a favorite novel of his or one of his films?

I've pretty much read everything of his and it’s got to be one that everyone says, The Stand. I also enjoyed The Shining and Dolores Claiborne; I really liked the Dolores Claiborne movie, too, which was shot in the same area as Haven. In fact, one of the things I especially enjoyed about that movie was the scenery, so it was kind of neat for me to film up in Nova Scotia on a project with the same type of mood to it.

What would you say is the most important thing that you learned from the time you spent on Haven?

I guess the difference between the WWE and this [acting] is that I had to pull back the reins compared to what I used to do. With wrestling, the movements, mannerisms, everything had to be bigger so that it could translate to someone who, for example, was sitting in the very back row of the Georgia Dome.

With a camera, it’s right there in front of you and it picks up any little eye bulge, eyebrow twitch or other things of that nature. So, again, I had to learn to pull back the reins a bit on that. In the beginning of my wrestling career I was very shy and it was tough to get past that hurdle. So I found this somewhat easier than having to force things out.

Have you found peace in retirement [from wrestling]? Was it difficult to walk away from your final appearance as an active wrestler and go back home to North Carolina? Were you able to turn that switch from wrestler to Adam Copeland?

I've never really found it hard to turn that switch. I've always tried to separate the two. I never wanted to be that guy who had to walk around being Edge 24/7. So it was kind of easy, honestly, and doing Haven helped with that, too. This is the first week I've really been home since I retired, so I haven't actually felt retired, if you know what I mean. It was one of those things where working on WWE was like going 120 miles an hour, while on Haven it was going like 60. Now I can enjoy home, which I haven’t been able to for a while, and get stuff done that I’ve wanted to get done around here. In the meantime, if things pop up work-wise, great.

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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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