Chatting with ‘Dominion’ Star Anthony Stewart Head

Anthony Stewart Head Dominion Interview
Alan Dale as General Riesen and Anthony Stewart Head as Senator David Whele (Photo by: Gavin Bond/Syfy)

No matter what series Anthony Stewart Head stars in, I’ll always think of him as Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. While we said good-bye to Buffy and the Scooby Gang years ago, Head has continued to tackle roles in interesting projects, including shows of the sci-fi genre. His latest is Syfy’s Dominion, a supernatural drama based on the 2010 film Legion and set in a post–apocalyptic future. Dominion finds angels choosing up sides in a war in which the future of mankind is at stake. Head plays David Whele, a senator in one of the last human refuges on Earth (Vega – formerly Las Vegas) who is power-hungry and willing to do whatever it takes to make sure his family runs the city.

At the 2014 San Diego Comic Con, Head talked about his character’s motivations and what’s in store for fans of the Syfy series.

Dominion airs on Syfy on Thursday nights at 9pm ET/PT.

Anthony Stewart Head Dominion Interview

How is it to interact with fans on Twitter?

Anthony Stewart Head: “It’s cool. Ultimately, it’s actually not a new innovation. I mean, all TV companies are trying to get their actors to participate, and now you’d be insane not to because it’s an instant hook in with people watching the show and people enjoying the show. You get a visceral vibe of actually being part of the viewing audience. It’s great. And they’re lovely about the show. They really get into it. It’s a great show for twists and turns and stuff that you’re really not expecting. It’s lovely when you get like a, ‘Oh my God!’ when something just happens. The social media aspect I think is huge and it is relatively new. I mean, now you’d be crazy not to get involved.”

Where will your character be going?

Anthony Stewart Head: “Straight to hell, actually. No, to be honest, I don’t like black and white good/bad characters. I like to feel that everybody, even if they end up with an agenda, started reasonably in the same place. Whatever happens to them, whatever makes them through they are through life changes them, but it doesn’t mean that they’re bad or good. There are some pretty horrendous people out in the world and I guess they didn’t start off that way. I don’t know, but David Whele has his moments. The thing I love about the writing is that they’ve given him moments where we can see into who the man is. The end of this season is pretty seismic for David. A lot happens between now and the end.”

Will it go into more of David’s backstory?

Anthony Stewart Head: “Not in this season just because what is playing out is out of his control. There’s nothing he can do with what’s going on. It’s changing for him.”

Do you know where your storyline is heading?

Anthony Stewart Head: “I guess…it is scripted. His storyline is scripted. I must admit, I’ve said to a couple of people when I did the pilot, I thought it was going to be fairly predictable. It was going to be Romeo and Juliet, it was going to be Dallas in the future and I was J.R. and kind of worked out where [it would go]. And none of that happened. Ultimately, everything started shifting in episode 2. When we were doing the pilot, we talked about who David was. It turns out that he was a TV evangelist which is great fun to play and great fun to research. And as I say, I try and make, when I’m working on something, I try and make them human and not just, ‘Oh, that’s what he’s going to do.’ So they work with me on that and there were things that I’d add and talk about, ‘What about if…?’ which got included. It’s all there. The writer’s room is great writers.”

Which is stronger for him: the House of Whele or Vega?

Anthony Stewart Head: “I don’t know about that. I guess probably House of Whele but that’s, as I say, stuff that he holds dear and close to him gets compromised the last few episodes. And it started on [the July 24th episode].”

Did you have any secrets you know about your character that the audience doesn’t?

Anthony Stewart Head: “No, David is very much, he is what he seems to be. The introduction of him being a TV evangelist came later, just because when we talked about it in the pilot, he was a politician. I think they wanted it to go deeper than that. Somebody who’s become a politician but ultimately was very good at reading people and kind of manipulating people, taking their faith and using that to his benefits.”

Is there a preacher you’re modeling David after?

Anthony Stewart Head: “No, I looked at a few and there are some very interesting people out there, but I also looked at, when I was preparing for the pilot, I looked at a few politicians. There’s some fascinating stuff, absolutely fascinating. What is bizarre is watching it, I remind myself of somebody. I don’t know who quite. I’ll finally get it. I don’t think it’s Donald Rumsfeld, but…”

How did you figure out your accent?

Anthony Stewart Head: “I’ve done a few American accents. I kind of wanted something which wasn’t too discernible. There was originally, I’m trying to think where I was supposed to be from because in the pilot, there’s a scene that will probably end up in the DVD that ended up being trimmed because there’s a scene with Riesen at the beginning where I say where I was from. Yeah, he’s a mixture of American breeds. I worked hard on it. And much as it upsets people that I’m doing an American accent, on Twitter in the first couple of episodes, people saying, ‘Why would you ask Anthony Head to do an American accent?’ Because it’s a character. I’m an actor.”

Fans take it personally.

Anthony Stewart Head: “They do. ‘Why would you ask him, he’s got such a lovely accent?’ But it gives me as an actor, it gives me a huge number of new choices that I can make. The fact that I don’t feel that I know myself when I watch myself, it’s fantastic. It also gives you nuances from your own accent, for instance, nobody complained when I played German in Warehouse 13. Go figure.”

-By Carrie Chavez

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