A Chat with “Harper’s Island” Victim #8

See, I told you this week’s victim interview would be posted in a timely fashion.

If you’ve been watching “Harper’s Island” all along, then this was probably the least surprising death of the series to date. It’s not that you necessarily saw it coming this week, per se; it’s simply that, due to an event in an earlier episode, you sensed that the character had been living on borrowed time, anyway. And while I don’t want to say that I’d actually been rooting for that time to run out, I have to admit that this was an interview I’d been looking forward to, due to the other credits found within this person’s IMDb listing…one of which will be returning to the airwaves next month.

Oh, but I’ve said too much. Let’s move onward before I give away anything else…

Bullz-Eye: Hey, it’s my close personal Facebook friend, Chris!

Chris Gauthier: (Laughs) Hey, how’re you doing, buddy?

BE: I’m good, man. I was very excited when I saw you were going to be on “Harper’s Island,” because as soon as I spotted you, I was, like, “Hey, it’s ‘Eureka’ Dude!”

CG: Ha! Yeah, that’s right: Vincent. Thank you!

BE: Absolutely. My wife and I are huge fans of the show.

CG: Oh, that’s great! Thank you very much!

BE: So for the first time, I might actually get a good answer for this question: did the producers of “Harper’s Island” actually know you and seek you out, or was it just a standard audition process?

CG: Just the traditional casting process, yeah. I went out for a couple of rounds of auditioning, and all of us had originally read for the part of Booth…well, a lot of us had, anyway, and I think they were casting the groomsmen from that.

BE: So what were your thoughts when you first heard about this show, given that it’s a different kind of series model?

CG: I loved it. For me, I’m a horror-genre fan, so this was right up my alley. It was ideal for me.

BE: I was going to ask you if you were a horror guy or not.

CG: Oh, yeah. Totally. A lot of horror and sci-fi shows shoot up in Vancouver, but it also just happens to be one of my favorite genres as well. So I’m a very fortunate guy!

BE: So how much of the character of Malcolm existed before you came onboard? In particular, I was curious about the whole microbrew aspect. It just seems like a very specific detail about the character.

CG: I’d guess it was probably an idea in the producer’s head. As you may or may not know, we weren’t told a lot of our characters’ backgrounds, so when we got the first script, they did say that I had this Sacred Turtle microbrewery, but little did I knew it would lead to my seeking money for it in Episode 4. So all of it came as a surprise as the weeks went by. There were a few things, like that we were college buddies, but nothing poignant.

BE: A couple of the other cast members had mentioned that their sides had nothing to do with their eventual character.

CG: Yeah, because that was for the pilot-presentation thing that we did. Some of it was on the internet, I believe…?

BE: Right, I saw it when CBS sent out a preview DVD.

CG: But that was a totally separate shoot, once we got into filming the actual series.

BE: So how did you find out about your impending demise? Was it a tap on the shoulder, or a phone call?

CG: It was really sad. It was a phone call. Some people had gotten told face to face. I know Sean (Rogerson) was told face to face; I was there right after, which was a really sad day. And I think we assumed it was going to be done that way. For me, in Episode 6, I had a couple of days off before going in to shoot Episode 7, or before we got the script for Episode 7, and Karim had phoned me and basically said, “Are you sitting down…?” (Laughs) And I think I said something like, “Give it to me straight, Doc.” I mean, we were all aware of this as an inevitability, so I think you were waiting for it every episode. So when it finally did come, it was kind of heartbreaking, but at the same time, you were very well prepared from Episodes 4, 5, and 6. So 7 was my time, and I knew it was imminent with the stuff that had gone on in Episode 4.

BE: I was going to say that, once Sean got his, I’m sure you figured it was only a matter of time.

CG: Yeah, for sure. I’m actually surprised that I lasted as long as I did after that. (Laughs)

BE: I’m not going to lie to you: I was, too. (Laughs) I thought you might’ve been next in line after Sean, though I guess that would’ve been a little too easy.

CG: I did read some blogs and saw that people were, like, “He’s gotta be next to go! He’s got to be!”

BE: Sean said that you and he really built a friendship over the course of your work on the show.

CG: Yeah, it was really good. I mean, in and beyond doing his death scene, Sean was and is just a really charismatic, really caring guy, and it made that scene that he and I did that much easier to do. And there was a real kinship there, too.

BE: He and I talked about that. In fact, when we talked, he was planning to watch the next episode with you.

CG: And he did. We watched Episode 5 together.

BE: Excellent. Yeah, he said that the fact that you had that bond made the farewell scene less difficult than it otherwise would’ve been.

CG: Yeah, and we had been talking about his demise because, of course, he knew at the end of Episode 3, in preparation, so it didn’t come as a shock to him when he got the script, so we got the chance to kind of mull over that scene and talk about it. I particularly was upset that he was going, y’know. It seemed as thought we had only just gotten started, and we wanted to cram in as much good times as possible. It was a really fun experience.

BE: How hard is it to play paranoia? I would think it’d be a tightrope walk, so as to avoid going too far over the top.

CG: Well, I was less of a red herring than a lot of the cast, so you’re right, I was curtailed a bit in terms of…your instincts are to be very reactionary, so there was a lot of pulling back for me and the directors.

BE: I felt bad for that poor girl, coming to your room in Episode 7, only to be sent away.

CG: (Laughs) Oh, I know! There’s also a side story to that. She and I did have a subplot where she and I had sort of a bond going, and that was sort of the lead-up to that point. She was going to come to my room, and I had to shut her down. So the stakes would’ve been a little bit higher if they’d kept that sub-story in there, in terms of me turning her away.

BE: So how did you enjoy being part of the wedding party and participating in the bachelor-party aspects of the show?

CG: It was so much fun! It was a great group of people, so it was easy, and you looked forward to going into work. You were part of a team and part of a bond that hasn’t really been done on television before, I don’t think, with this format. So we were all experiencing something fairly brand new, you know?

BE: But do you know who ended up with the blow-up doll?

CG: No, and you know what? She was missing, too, so I think she should be added to the victims list if she doesn’t get found. (Laughs)

BE: Sean was convinced that Booth had her.

CG: Oh, he would. (Cackles)

BE: So you might be off this show, but “Eureka” is getting ready to come back next month.

CG: Uh-huh. The second half of the third season. They’re calling it Season 3.5, I think.

BE: Yep, and they’re slipping the first half of Season 3 onto DVD just in time to get people ready. How do you enjoy working on the show? It’s such a creative series.

CG: It’s so much fun. And as we go further, Joe (Morton) has directed an episode, Colin (Ferguson) directed an episode. I’m more of a periphery staple on that show, which I just really enjoy. Vincent is sort of the nexus point for the socialization on the show, and it’s a blast. It is a very creative show, and obviously the possibilities are limitless. It’s just a blast to work on, and you greatly anticipate getting a new script.

BE: How did you enjoy getting to play the Toyman on “Smallville”?

CG: That was really cool. When I auditioned for him, they had him down as something…not Winslow Schott. It was, like, Malcolm Frott. I’m just using Malcolm as a convenient name, it wasn’t actually Malcolm, but the point was that they used a name so that people wouldn’t know it was the Toyman, so they wouldn’t go back and research it. So it was really cool to come back and find out that I was getting to play a villain!

BE: Are you enough of a comic book fan that you would’ve recognized the Toyman’s name if they had used it?

CG: I probably would’ve done some research on it. I’m not that much of a comic book fan. I do like cult shows and things like that, though, so I would’ve done my research, and I probably would’ve found out. And I think there would’ve been a lot of other people who would’ve, too.

BE: Yeah, you’re all over the cult shows: “Dead Like Me,” “Stargate: Atlantis,” “Kyle XY,” and “Reaper,” just to name a few. Do you have a favorite from that bunch of one-off appearances?

CG: I think one of my favorites to date is probably “Supernatural.” I got to play a really cool character, a paranoid sort of fellow who turns out to be right. I don’t know if you saw the episode, but it was very cool to play that, and to be right. I love playing that type of character, sort of a conspiracy theorist, impassioned and a little bit naïve and vulnerable. It’s a very fun thing to get to play.

BE: And, lastly, what’s your favorite anecdote from the set of “Harper’s Island”?

CG: Well, there was one thing: when we were talking about what we would do for people who were going off the show. We were all discussing this in the first episode, sitting around to shoot some of the boat scenes, and Elaine said that, when we find out who’s dying, we should set them in the corner and all point and laugh at them. (Laughs) That was really funny. But there were many…there was a lot of fun stuff and tomfoolery, as you can imagine. The fun we were having on screen, like on the boat and all that, we were actually having that fun for real. It was great.

BE: Everyone says that Richard Burgi was a hoot.

CG: Richard Burgi was hilarious. Absolutely hilarious. And Jim Beaver as well. He’s a great man. A great, great man. Somebody to look up to.

BE: And will you be continuing to watch the show in the coming weeks?

CG: I will, for sure. I think it’s great…and I have to see how it goes!

BE: Okay, Chris, thanks a lot, and see you on Facebook.

CG: (Laughs) You, too, Will. Take care!

* Missed our interview with Victim #1? Go check it out!
* Missed our interview with Victims #2 and #3? Go check it out!
* Missed our interview with Victim #4? Go check it out!
* Missed our interview with Victim #5? Go check it out!
* Missed our interview with Victim #6? Go check it out!
* Missed our interview with Victim #7? Go check it out!

  

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