INTERVIEW: Ian Verdun Talks ‘Siren’ & ‘Death of a Telemarketer’!

© Ryan West

Photo Credit: Ryan West

If you’ve seen Siren, chances are you’ve seen Ian Verdun portray Xander McClure: Bristol Cove fisherman-turned-cop and the loyal friend that’s always getting various characters out of fishy situations.

We recently got the chance to ask Ian questions regarding Siren, his role in an upcoming film, Death of a Telemarketer, and also how he is coping during these times of isolation.

Throughout each season of Siren, we’ve seen Xander’s involvement and relationship change between the mermaids. From wanting to kill Levi in season one, then accidentally killing Donna. But I think what’s so interesting about Xander is he isn’t 100% Team Mermaid like Ben and Maddie for instance. How do you see his relationship with the mermaids/men have changed throughout the seasons and where do you see it going?

For Xander, the arrival of the mermaids has always been a traumatic experience, from back when they accidentally caught Donna in the pilot. These are the creatures that killed his father, that sunk his boat, who he rightfully views as dangerous to the people he loves. I think his view of them has just become more nuanced as he’s realized how capable they are of exhibiting complex emotions and motivations. But I think it will always be a bit of an uneasy alliance. Too much has happened to him.

One relationship in Siren that I’ve always been really interested in learning more about has been Xander and Maddie. We know they have a long history together, both as friends and romantically I believe. Because of this bond, the pair are always there for each other. I know a Xander/Maddie pairing isn’t going to happen in the future, but is there a story behind them from the past that you, Fola, and the writers have come up with so you as actors have that as reference?

Believe it or not, the writers keep us in as much suspense as everybody else! We literally know nothing about what’s going to happen until we get the script, which is usually a couple days before we shoot it. So we haven’t been brainstorming in the writers room to see where things go. But I love Xander and Maddie’s bond as well! They just accept each other so fully, no questions asked, and I hope we can explore their dynamic a bit more as time moves forward! Plus I love getting to work with Fola, we don’t get too many scenes together, but when we do it’s always a lot of fun.

Another relationship I absolutely adored in Siren was the one between Xander and Nicole. With her whereabouts currently unknown, I’m not sure if there anything you can tease about a possible reappearance by her throughout this season. But if not, my question is: what do you think made these two characters fit so well? Yes, Nicole originally kept her true reason for coming to Bristol Cove secret, but I think there was something truly there between them in the end.

Well, I have no idea if or when she’s coming back, but as far as I know she’s alive still, so you never know! As for why they got along? I think for Xander, she’s the first person he was able to open up to after so much trauma. He really allowed himself to be vulnerable with her and I think that’s why he was so betrayed when he found out what she was really up to. But after that, I think there was just a mutual acceptance and respect, but they were still hiding so much from each other. It was a really interesting, and probably pretty unhealthy dynamic.

Photo Credit: Ryan West

We’ve recently seen Xander take on a new role in joining the police force! What role do you see him playing for Bristol Cove? Someone similar like Dale Bishop perhaps?

I would love to see him come into his own as a full-blown cop! It was so much fun doing all the training but to see him in the field, balancing what he knows about the town secret and his own personal ambitions sounds like something that’s so ripe for storytelling. What I love about Xander is how much he straddles the two worlds. He’s come around to the mermaids, but his heart and mind is still very much in the human world. He’s hyper aware of how much collateral damage the mermaids cause, so to see him struggle to balance all of his obligations would be a lot of fun.

You’ve partaken in a lot of stunts and action packed scenes throughout the seasons of Siren. From the mermaid showdown in season 1 to the fire on the North Star in season 2. Is there a scene/moment similar in store for Xander in Season 3?

Episode 6 of this season was a lot of work this season. It rained the whole day and we had some major fight scenes to do. I literally spent the entire day diving face first into the mud and it was incredibly cold that day. To make matters worse I had pulled a muscle in my back working out before we shot, so I was in a lot of pain. I was popping Advil between takes like they were candy. It all worked out though, the scenes came out beautifully!

I heard you just wrapped a new film, Death of a Telemarketer! Anything you can tease in regards to the film’s synopsis and maybe your role in it?

I have a small role, but I can say I play a cop. It was a very cop year for me, lol. It’s a dark indie comedy, where a telemarketer gets more than what he bargained for when he kinda gets caught swindling people. It’s got a really great cast, and it’s my first movie, so I’m pretty excited to see how it turns out!

I know the world is going through a lot right now with this current pandemic, and I hope you’re staying happy and healthy. Any advice you can give for folks that might be a bit overwhelmed by everything? Or is there anything you’re doing in this current situation that’s taking your mind off of everything?

For me, the thing that gives me a sense of control is to create, to put everything I’m feeling into some kind of artistic outlet. The act of writing, drawing, singing; it’s cathartic, I really recommend it. There are so many unknowns right now and it’s making for a general sense of global anxiety, but some of the most beautiful pieces of art come out of tumultuous times. I know the world is feeling pretty ugly right now, but it’s the perfect time to make something beautiful. Something inspirational. We all could use a little bit of that these days.

Siren airs Thursdays at 10/9c on Freeform.