THE TWILIGHT ZONE: Ethan Embry Breaks Down the Twisted 'The Who Of You' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE TWILIGHT ZONE: Ethan Embry Breaks Down the Twisted ‘The Who Of You’

June 26, 2020 by  

Ethan Embry Twilight Zone

“The Who Of You” — Pictured: Ethan Embry as Harry of the CBS All Access series THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Photo Cr: Dean Buscher/CBS 2020 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for “The Who Of You” episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE season 2 episode.]

For “The Who of You”‘s Harry (Ethan Embry), his time in THE TWILIGHT ZONE…was arguably a good thing?

In the hour, Harry, a struggling actor, opted to rob a bank to solve his money problems. However, in the attempt, he inadvertently swapped bodies with the bank teller—and he quickly realized he could utilize the ability to escape. While his body was held in custody, cop Peter (Daniel Sunjata) caught up with what was going on, and used the temporary inhabitants to get a better insight into where Harry’s mind was.

But, unfortunately, for Peter, Harry had one last trick up his sleeve: He swapped bodies with the cop and was able to get away. The swap boosted his personal life (Harry’s girlfriend had been having an affair with Peter, and wanted to finally be together) and led to a thriving acting career for Harry-as-Peter.

“Normally the episodes leave you with this sort of glimpse of the doom that [the character is] condemned to endure forever. But this one, I do think that the subject of the episode comes out pretty great,” Embry notes. “The only thing that can screw it up is his own ego—and he probably hasn’t learned a damn thing. The guy’s just an a–hole. That was what we were laughing about throughout the whole [production process], that he comes out so much better than he started. The Twilight Zone was a gift for this guy.”

“All he had to do is screw over a bunch of people over the people,” he continues. “I’m sure all of the people that he came across are completely traumatized. And he killed somebody! He’s a freakin’ murderer.”

Though Embry originated Harry, most of his time in the episode was playing other character Harry encountered in his quest for freedom.

“When I read the script and you see that’s what’s occurring, my first [thought was]: ‘How are they going to do this?'” he admits. “It’s television, so you’re trying to shoot 55 pages, and you’re trying to do it in less than two weeks. You don’t have the luxury that a movie would have, or the budget. [Director] Peter [Atencio]’s idea, the way he decided to convey it, was wild. It was crazy. I’ve never done anything like this before.”

To prep for the body swap, the Embry had one-on-one time with his quasi-costars. “We had the luxury of a small rehearsal process before we would shoot the scenes,” he recalls. “The two actors that swap would do the scene and then do each other’s role. And what we would then do is try to take the instincts that [the other person had] on that scene. Not an imitation or not a copy. But I would just look at like what motivated that person in that scene and sort of take those and apply it. It was very strange.”

“The way Peter had us do this was completely new [to me]; it was a lot of fun” he continues. “And you could tell that all of the other actors had never done anything like it before either.”

Embry points to his time as Billy Porter’s Keith, a psychic, as the most challenging character to try and get right.

“Billy was doing other stuff, and we didn’t have a lot of the same rehearsal we had [with the other actors],” he says. “And I wanted to figure out the things that made Billy Billy without making a mockery of anything. He has these qualities that he wears so well, that are a part of him. That is part of that was probably what made it so hard.”

Though it wasn’t intentional, “The Who of You” bore some resemblance to Embry’s 2002 episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, “Time Lapse,” where—spoiler alert—his character’s body was overtaken by a police officer who was trying to stop an assassination.

But despite the latest TWILIGHT ZONE show paying homage to the ones that came before it, “I think it was just an absolute happy coincidence, because it never came up,” Embry says with a laugh. “It never came up that I had done the [other] one. I hadn’t made the connection at all.”

THE TWILIGHT ZONE, Season 2, Now Streaming, CBS All Access


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