Interview: Michael Eklund on complex characters, Wynonna Earp, Dirk Gently, and his first Oz Comic Con

There are actors who make their career out of being “that guy”, able to drop in and out of inhabiting a character and then moving on to the next. Sometimes they’ll snag a role that will last a few seasons and they’ll get to leave a longer lasting impression. Michael Eklund is one of those actors, with over 100 credits to his filmography bouncing back and forth from film roles to television. Some of his film roles include The Call and Mr Right and Cold Pursuit, whilst at the moment he’d be best recognised for his questionable demon Bobo Del Rey on Wynonna Earp as well as one of the Rowdy 3 from Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and a particularly nasty criminal on Altered Carbon. Making his way to Australia for his first ever visit and to be part of the Oz Comic Con Brisbane Sydney line-up, we got to have a chat with him about playing complex and sometimes villainous characters.

With this being your first experience coming to Oz Comic Con and Australia, what sort of expectations do you have coming to this convention? As I know you have done a few other conventions overseas.

Every convention is different. I don’t really come in with any expectations other than just wanting to make it an experience for any of the fans that are coming. Cause I really believe it’s all about them. It’s an opportunity for me to meet the people who are giving me an opportunity to have a career and so I get to say thank you back to them. Just as much as they’re excited to meet me, I’m excited to meet them.

Have you ever seen anybody come cosplaying as any of your characters?

Yeah, that was really fun. The first time I saw Bobo Del Rey, I play him on a show called Wynonna Earp and I saw someone as my character from Dirk Gently they came as Martin, one of the Rowdy Three. It’s just such an honour to see some of them show up dressed like you and excited to meet you in a costume that looks like yours, I think it’s so cool.

You mentioned Dirk Gently and you’re actually going to be coming out to Oz Comic Con, with Osric Chau who’s also part of the Rowdy Three. What was it like getting to work as part of that group of guys on the show?

Oh, so much fun, that show was so fun to make, I got to tell ya. I wish we were still making it. Me and my boys, I call them, we still call each other the Rowdy Three even though there’s four of us. I’m excited to see Osric again as I haven’t seen him since the show shut down.It was one of those jobs that we just went to work every day and just had a great time. It was a really laid back set and our characters were so fun to play. And they were one unit, this group of energy sucking vampires and I think we just had the best time being able to show up on set and smash stuff. It’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever done. When do you ever get to go to work and they tell you, okay, your job today is to smash things?

Going back to Wynonna Earp, what would be your favourite thing about playing the character of Bobo Del Rey?

Favourite thing about playing Bobo? That’s a great question. The character’s so complicated and layered. Producer, creator, writer, Emily Andras, the material she writes for my character, it’s always keeping me on my toes, I never know what’s going to happen next. I think the best thing is watching the character unravel from season one to the second season to the third season, which I know in Australia you still haven’t gotten season three yet on Netflix. It should be coming out soon and then we’re going into our fourth season in January. So I think that’s my favourite part is just watching this evolution. You find out more about all the characters through Bobo. He has a lot of the answers to the unanswered questions. Is he good is he bad? You don’t know. Sometimes he’s both.

For you as an actor, is that one of the  challenges of playing a character who’s so morally grey and sits in the middle?

I don’t think it’s a challenge. It’s a highlight, I think it’s fun. It’s more challenging when you don’t know what to play or where your character’s going. But, like I mentioned, there’s always so much great material for me to play and it’s just a lot of fun and Bobo’s so different with each character in the show, whether you put him in a scene with Doc (Tim Rozon) or if you put him in a scene with Melanie Scrofano who plays Wynonna or Dominique Provost-Chalkley who plays Waverly, there’s different sides come up in the character depending on who he’s in a scene with.

We know that there’s a fourth season coming for Wynonna Earp and obviously you can’t tell us anything about what’s coming up. But if you could come up with maybe a storyline or something that you would like to happen for Bobo, what would it be?

Oh boy. I can’t say much because we don’t know ourselves for season four, but what I would like, and I think with the fans are waiting for is they would like to see Bobo redeem himself. Maybe a turn to the good side for a while. I’d like to see a little bit more of Robert Svane, the old Bobo, come out within Bobo. Maybe even a split personality between him and Robert Svane. A battle between really taking control between who he is. And then you know, the whole layer of “is he being honest and truthful” or is it just more of a Bobo power play?

You’ve got quite an extensive list of films and shows that you’ve worked on. But I noticed that quite a few of them tend to be villains or antagonists. Is there something that draws you to those types of characters?

Other than that they’re the most fun characters to play. One of the things that I like to do and one of the things that challenges me and interests me is the complexity of the character, the obstacles that they have to face. In my world being an actor, I don’t go into a character judging him if he’s bad or good. Because if you’re playing a darker side of the character, they don’t consider themselves a bad guy. They wake up every day and they think they’re the good guys, they have obstacles and goals that they want to achieve just like anyone else but, in their world and their head they’re the hero of the show. So in my mind I don’t play the bad guy.

Has there ever been a particular character or role that you’ve done that has kind of stuck with you after you finished working on it?

Yeah, of course there’s always a few. I always say when the job is done, I try to take the best qualities of the character with me into the future and then I leave the bad qualities at home. But playing Michael Foster in The Call, that was a very intense one that was hard to shake afterwards cause you’re having to really invest in your deepest and darkest demons to play that role. And after they say you’re finished at the end of every night, you know it’s hard to shake that feeling of darkness. But as an actor you do and you move on and like I said, take the best qualities of the character with you. It’d be impossible to say that you’re the same after any role that you play. They all change you in some way.

Has there been a genre or type of character you’d like to play? Would you consider doing a Rom-Com?

I’m a fan of regular dramatic love stories. Of course a rom-com would be so much fun. When we did Dirk Gently it felt like that, a lot of times we just had so much fun. You’d just go to set and laugh and not take everything so seriously, because it was such an odd and imaginative TV show. I think a Rom-Com would be perfect right now in my life. I need some laughter. We all do right now in the world.

Have you got any projects coming up that people can check you out in, or that you can discuss?

Yeah, we have season four of Van Helsing coming out, in about a week or two. I played Jacob Abraham Van Helsing. I finished a movie called Welcome Back to Sudden Death, an action film, which is not a remake, but a spin off of the 90’s film Sudden Death. I did an episode of Legends of Tomorrow, that should be coming out soon and then a couple of indie films as well.

 

Michael Eklund will be appearing as part of Oz Comic Con Brisbane and Sydney.

The Sydney event will be held at Sydney Showgrounds Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 September 2019. 

For more information go to the Oz Comic Con website.

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