SDCC 2015 – Damien’s stars & creator give first look at ‘The Omen’ inspired tv series

damien bradley james
Bradley James as the AntiChrist. A really cute and charming AntiChrist.

Bradley James as the Anti-Christ. A really cute and charming Anti-Christ.

Bradley James is back! King Arthur returned to San Diego Comic Con, only these days he’s got a very different – while still very epic – role. James will be coming back to our screens in 2016, with the new A&E series Damien, as Damien Thorn discovers he’s the Anti-Christ.

Heavy.

The SDCC press room gave us the chance to hear James, showrunner Glenn Mazzara (formerly of The Walking Dead), and cast members Scott Wilson (another TWD alum), and the luminous Barbara Hershey talk about what we can expect from the creepy new show, based on the movie series The Omen!

Damien is a sequel to the 1976 film – and that is the starting point of the series. Mazzara let us know they’re ignoring the second and third films in the trilogy (good idea), and using the events of the original film to give us our back story.

In season one, Damien is coming to grips with his life and trying to figure out just what “you’re the anti-Christ” means. “We’ve spent a lot of time creating the character, and the story that unfolds has to stay true to the character,” says Mazzara, as opposed to being locked into the original mythology. The show is “a piece that plays as a thriller and as horror,” but remains about Damien’s journey.

Mazzara explains that much of the story building is an organic process as he works with actors and asks for their input and insight on how they think their character would respond; some of the stories grow out of some of those conversations. When asked to pick a favorite character or relationship, he’s unable to, but stressed that Hershey and James’ characters felt so natural together, and their interactions so satisfying. He adds that the scenes between those two actors bring about the most revelations in the story.

As for James, he isn’t feeling pressure, he’s feeling inspiration. “Reading the script evoked a lot of things in my imagination.” And how do they plan to make Damien sympathetic? “What’s important is to make that character’s perspective understandable so you care for him. He has a great deal of humanity even though he may have a lot of evil inside,” explained Mazzara.

“Who doesn’t?” quipped James.

Expect some fun Easter Eggs through out season one, hearkening back to The Omen – which means it’s time to find a copy of the horror classic and brush up on your Lee Remick/Gregory Peck goodness!

We also got a chance to chat with SDCC first timer Barbara Hershey, and con veteran Scott Wilson on their Damien characters and experiences filming the show.

Hershey describes her character as the most powerful woman in the world. “She was behind things that happened in the original movie. She was always in the shadows, guiding and protecting and trying to shape things what was happening. She’s been with him his whole life without him knowing it.”

And now? She’s stepping out of the shadows. A fan of the original movie, Hershey loves that her character could easily have been a man. Her first question to Mazzara?

“Is she human?”

Yes.

“Is she evil?”

Oh it’s much more complicated than that.

“He’s written an amazing character. Fascinating and different. She’s not just one thing.”

Wilson and Hershey are very much enjoying their work on Damien – together and with the rest of the cast. “When the writing is good, acting is just licking icing off the cake,” enthused Barbara

Who else is happy to see Scott Wilson back on television?

Who else is happy to see Scott Wilson back on television?

And Wilson’s character is definitely not Hershel, late and lamented of The Walking Dead!  He’s a very bad man – sort of the power behind the most powerful woman. In some instances they work together, but not always. There’s a conflict there and that conflict may be what to do with Damien. Wilson is having a fantastic time; he loves the cast (he and Hershey had high praise for James), and the scripts and is delighted to be working with Mazarra again.

Did the actors do any research into their roles?

“You mean other than my bad ass life?” Wilson deadpanned. We can see why he loves James so much.

Check out the newly released trailer for the series, and stay tuned for more updates on Damien when it premieres on A&E next year!

Photo credit: Matt Wheeler

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