Xander Berkeley as dead Trevor Lyle in Bernard Rose’s ‘Candyman’- Courtesy of Tristar Pictures.
SS: That’s such a profound statement. While I’m not an actor, I imagine it’s easier to play dumb but to play sharper or more gifted than you may be in real life is tough.
XB: Yeah, you can’t fake that. You have to slow down yourself, my natural physicality and animation have to be slowed down when I have to be on film. Everything slows down. And when you have to play a “slower” character, not bright if you will, you have to make gestures and maybe your mouth slows more. Just little things that helps convey that slowness.
As oppose to this character who has an education that I didn’t, not to mention more and then some. I grew around that, so I was excited to let that show as well. A thinking actor usually gets to play those kinds of characters.
SS: It’s funny you say that. I’ve always felt that acting is so much more than what comes out of your mouth. While not an actor myself, body language and facial movements if you will, really sell the moment as much or more than the words. Some actors, either actually working or struggling, don’t seem to understand that.
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So it’s interesting that you say you wanted to play Lyle, a character where the audience can project onto whatever they want to. Personally, I always felt Lyle was a bit of a narcissist. While it seems that he and Helen were happy before the events of Candyman take place, he seems to jump to the teeny-bopper student very quickly. Like he was itching to be free and I feel like having the new girl be young and seemingly clueless was intentional. He didn’t pick another intellectual equal like Helen. Sure, she was being viewed as a murderer, but it seemed like Lyle was almost looking for a way out of the relationship.
XB: Well Helen became consumed by what started as her thesis. There was a point were it seemed like she was obsessed and Lyle started to distance himself from it. This is kind of his MO and Director Rose would often talk about this. Lyle was used to this. He’s on stage (teaching) and throwing his sex appeal out there. This is how he originally hooked up with Ellen because she was his student. The fact that she was an intellectual equal is seemingly coincidental.
SS: Yeah I can see that. If a man, or woman really, has a lot of natural charm and has a job like teaching, it’s easy to see him having a lot of women be attracted to that type of personality.
XB: It certainly makes life a little easier haha.
Wow, the second time around and he’s still one class act. Not only is Xander Berkeley a seasoned actor with multiple upon multiple roles in television and film, the man is intelligent and giving of his valuble time. I, for one, am grateful the man found the time to have a conversation with 1428 Elm. In fact, he’s so nice, I’ve even had a phone conversation about acting tips with Berkeley. Simply put, this guy is awesome.
And stick around Fright Fans, because this is just the beginning. Coming up in Part III of our Actor Spotlight with Xander Berkeley, we move into more Candyman stuff and other projects. This all leads to a solo feature about Berkeley’s Walking Dead character, Gregory. So don’t go anywhere, because things are just heating up.
Also, keep with 1428 for all things The Walking Dead, Ash vs. Evil Dead, and everything else in horror. On top of that, we have many other interviews in the works. You don’t want to miss those as well. Stay scary Sin Diego.
Check out a tribute to Mr. Xander Berkeley below, courtesy of Purelove: