CBS’ new summer drama American Gothic premiered on June 22, 2016 and airs on Wednesday nights at 10pm ET/PT. Virginia Madsen stars as Madeline Hawthorne, the matriarch of a wealthy, dysfunctional family who may have a killer – or even two – in their midst. Antony Starr (Garrett Hawthorne) and Justin Chatwin (Cam Hawthorne) star as brothers who are each battling their own inner demons. Teamed up together at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con, Starr and Chatwin actually acted like siblings, attempting to one-up each other while answering questions.
I asked the onscreen brothers if they wanted to be told who the killer was from the start, and Chatwin says he definitely didn’t want to know. “When I first did Shameless I had that issue where I wanted to know where the characters are going so I can build the arc,” explained Chatwin. “And at the end of the day, I would get every script and I really enjoyed the process of just being a fan and being moment by moment and not knowing where it’s going because to me that’s more real life. I don’t know where this conversation’s going to go and I don’t know where I’m going next. So, I think I would craft an idea and it wouldn’t be as fancy.”
Starr had a different approach to his character. “I needed to know everything about the character. I had a very different trajectory. I was coming back after 14 years and clearly Suspect Number One so I needed to know everything that happened in the 14 years, everything that led up to that, and whether or not I did it,” explained Starr. “Everything the character knows, I needed to know. I went to Corinne [Brinkerhoff] with that and she was accommodating, which was good. I didn’t want to know anything more than that.”
“He wrote a bible,” added Chatwin. “He came in with a bible on his character.”
“It wasn’t a bible. It was a very long document that probably annoyed the writers,” said Starr, laughing.
“It was the Old Testament,” joked Chatwin.
“It was a little fire and brimstone,” replied Starr, laughing. “It was basically just a breakdown of, I guess, specifically the 14 years absence. But, it went a little Freudian in certain areas. There were not many adjustments being made as a result of my bible being presented. They didn’t give a f**k. They got my bible, threw it on the fire, and stayed warm all winter.”
Watch the Justin Chatwin and Antony Starr interview:
American Gothic Plot: American Gothic centers on a prominent Boston family reeling in the wake of the chilling discovery that someone in their midst is linked to an infamous string of murders. As shocking secrets from the past and present are revealed, their mounting suspicion and paranoia that one of them is a killer threatens to tear the family apart.