THE FOLLOWING Bosses on a Ryan Hardy-Centric Season 3, Michael Ealy’s New Big Bad, and More | Give Me My Remote

THE FOLLOWING Bosses on a Ryan Hardy-Centric Season 3, Michael Ealy’s New Big Bad, and More

February 9, 2015 by  

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We’re just three weeks away from the two-hour season premiere of THE FOLLOWING, and things are set to be a bit different when the show returns.

First of all, the Joe Carroll chapter of the series is over. While Carroll made it out alive (and James Purefoy’s Carroll will appear on the show)  — thanks to an alternate ending not making the final cut —  the focus of the show will shift more fully to Kevin Bacon’s Ryan Hardy. (And Ryan will have to contend with a new baddie this season.)

There’s also been a behind-the-scenes transition in showrunners, as THE FOLLOWING creator Kevin Williamson has handed over showrunner duties to a trio of show vets: writers/executive producers Brett Mahoney and Alexi Hawley, as well as director/executive producer Marcos Siega. (Williamson has been focused on CBS’ STALKER.)

I spoke with Mahoney and Hawley about the transition to showrunning THE FOLLOWING, “moving the center of the show,” why fans of THE FOLLOWING newbie Michael Ealy will be excited by the season, and more…

It’s fairly rare for a show to have a team of three showrunners. How have you made the dynamic work as you navigate season 3?
Alexi Hawley: Marcos [Siega] in New York is really overseeing the production of the show in a way that we can’t from [Los Angeles]. Having a show film in a place that is different from where you write, there are issues that are so much easier with him there. We’re the storytellers that share what the episode will be, and he’s the guy who really oversees how it gets brought to the screen. It’s been really great. Marcos is such a good guy; he’s a genuine guy, he’s an egoless guy. We’re all trying to make the best show possible.

Last summer at Comic-Con, there was another showrunner, Jennifer Johnson, in charge, and there were some teases given out about what was in store. When you guys took over, how much of that planned story did you change?
Brett Mahoney: More or less everything.

So, what can you say about what’s now in store for THE FOLLOWING season 3?
AH: This season is a very crucial season — what is life after Joe Carroll? He plays a big part of this season, but at the same time, this season is about moving past him. It’s about introducing new villains. It’s about moving the center of the show a little bit to Ryan Hardy.

Kevin Bacon is an incredible actor, he’s a get for a television show. And so, to really center the show more around him, and to give him and the other people on the police side/FBI side some of the fun…[for the previous seasons] it’s been 24[-esque] on the FBI side, and a soap opera of a serial killer on the villain side. We really wanted to make that more of a mesh. Give storylines that are emotional on the FBI side. Not that they didn’t exist before — [Ryan] dated the ex-wife of a serial killer. It existed, but it felt like we wanted to cement that.
BM: I think we were both interested in telling a Ryan Hardy-centric story. And making that as dimensional as possible.

ALMOST HUMAN’s Michael Ealy has joined the show as a major villain. What can you share about his character?
AH: We were really lucky to get him. We were thrilled when he was available and willing to do the show. He plays a chameleon of a character. He’s very different than Joe Carroll, but also very interesting. He has different identities, and is positioned in a way that’s surprising, and allows [Ealy], as an actor, to do different things, but also show different faces to the audience in a way that Joe — who was a larger-than-life character — wasn’t hardwired to do.
BM: But I think for people who know Michael Ealy — and I knew Michael Ealy and all his work — I was with him during his first days of shooting, and this is a Michael Ealy they’ve never seen before. He went to places I didn’t know he could go to. And literally, watching him on film is a little scary.

Can you share what his character’s name is? That was something that was kept quiet when the casting was first announced…
AH: He has lots of names.
BM: The name we call him, because he has to have a name in the script, his name is Theo.
AH: He is a guy who spent a long time crafting lives that he go live in. He can be different people in different lives, and it allows him to be anything he wants to be. And he’s also a genius at creating identities where a lot of the FBI work around him [is centered] on who really is this guy? That’s a big part of the mystery of the season
BM: When we created the character, we knew it would be a character that an actor would love to play, because you get to be so many things.

Is Theo a one-season big bad? Or is the plan to keep him around a little bit longer like Joe?
AH: It’s tough. He’s so great that part of you is like, oh, we should keep him on forever! But if you’re telling stories that are focused around Ryan Hardy…at this point, we’ll see how it goes.
BM: We’re going to let the story kind of decide that.

The past few seasons, the show has famously done alternate endings — two years ago, Claire died in the alt-ending, and this past year’s alternate ending had Joe dying. Are you anticipating doing the same this season?
AH: We don’t have an alternate ending in our head; we have an ending, but we don’t have an alternate.
BM: And I’m not so sure those alternate endings were planned alternate endings versus things that happened.

Since Joe is alive, what can you say about his role in the show?
AH: Joe Carroll is on death row. We can’t say a lot about it. He does play a big part in the season, in an unexpected way. But we’re very conscious of the Hannibal Lector of it all, and we want to avoid that, because we feel like that story has been told, and actually is being told on NBC [with HANNIBAL].

What we have is this unique relationship between him and Ryan Hardy, and what he does to Ryan. It’s really about the emotional impact [they’ve had on each other] and whether Ryan has truly moved on from him, and what [could] bring Ryan back [to see Joe].

How is Ryan holding up when the season picks up?
AH: When the season begins, it’s a year later [from the events of the finale], and he has not seen Joe at all. He’s been gone, he has a new love in his life, he is a healthy guy back at the FBI, because he really wants to help people; the obsession seems to have dissipated. But, [things] happen. And does he end up at the prison at some point? But why he’s there and why he does that is unexpected. And [our challenge] was how do we make this relationship not just quid pro quo.

Luke is dead, but Mark is still out there…and Mark was the one who killed Mike’s father. How is Mike handling everything, and how has his relationship with Max been impacted?
BM: I think we’ll see a little bit of a darker Mike, and his edges are a little bit harder. His journey this season is going to be will he stay [on that path] or go to the light? And love is in the light.
AH: It’s been a year, and everyone loved the Max/Mike relationship, and part of the discussion was, it feels unfair to an audience to advance a year, so they missed [the early stages] of a relationship. So what happens is he went away, he chose revenge over love, and now he comes back, and Max is with a guy, and they have a love triangle. But the spark between them is real, and this way we get to play the complexity of a relationship, and if they end up together again, we get to see it.

Can these characters be happy? Or will happiness lead to misery and/or death?
AH: We need people to have things they’re invested in. When Max showed up last year, it was fantastic, gave so much to [these characters]. We want Ryan to be happy. Last year he was pretending; this year, he really has moved on.

THE FOLLOWING season 3 kicks off on Monday, March 2nd at 8 PM on Fox, before moving to its regular time slot on Monday, March 9th at 9 PM.

Related:

THE FOLLOWING Season 3: ALMOST HUMAN’s Michael Ealy Lands a Series Regular Role
THE FOLLOWING at New York Comic Con: Watch the First Season 3 Footage
THE FOLLOWING: Jessica Stroup and Sam Underwood Tease ‘Really, Really Big Things’ for Max/Mike, Mark’s Desire for Revenge, and More

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Comments

2 Responses to “THE FOLLOWING Bosses on a Ryan Hardy-Centric Season 3, Michael Ealy’s New Big Bad, and More”

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