‘Roswell, New Mexico’ – Nathan Parsons Interview on Playing an Alien

The cast of The CW’s new sci-fi drama Roswell, New Mexico made the trek to the 2018 New York Comic Con to promote the series. The original Roswell premiered in 1999 and starred Jason Behr, Katherine Heigl, Brendan Fehr, and Shiri Appleby. The new version’s cast includes Nathan Parsons, Jeanine Mason, Lily Cowles, and Michael Vlamis.

Roswell, New Mexico is set to join The CW’s primetime lineup on January 15, 2019 at 9pm ET/PT. Discussing the series at NYCC, Nathan Parsons explained that he expects the series to play an older demographic than a lot of the network’s popular shows. Roswell, New Mexico‘s lead characters are in their late twenties and the stories they tell will reflect their life experiences.

What can you tell us about your character?

Nathan Parsons: “I play Max Evans. I am a cop, a deputy, in Chaves County where Roswell is. I’ve lived there my whole life, and I protect my brother and my sister. We’re trying to protect ourselves from the world because we are aliens and we don’t know how we got here or where we came from or the extent of our abilities. We have to keep that between us.”

How does it feel to play someone who’s an alien? What do you do extra that kind of gives it that new dimension?

Nathan Parsons: “Well, you know what’s funny about it is I think everyone, as people, we’ve all felt alien at some point in our lives. We’ve all felt like we don’t necessarily belong somewhere. So, that’s just amped up to a slightly higher level. I don’t know how you’re doing today, I don’t know how you’re feeling today – I’m not in your skin, that’s something that I think is just a very human experience. It’s almost just deepening that sort of understanding.

Otherwise, we don’t know any different. Me and Michael and Isobel, we don’t know what another way of living would be. We’ve only known this one way. It’s sort of fun to play with.”

Did you draw any inspiration from the original series?

Nathan Parsons: “I had never watched it originally and when I got cast in this, I asked Carina MacKenzie – our creator – if I should watch it. She said no because here’s the deal, we’re taking these characters from the books and we’re jumping ahead 10 years in their lives. They’re not in high school anymore. We’re adults. We’ve had life experiences. We’ve had heartbreaks. It’s not this sort of young love full of hope thing. That’s still there – there are still roots of it and we see those start to come out as Liz comes back and myself and Liz get to know each other again. There’s 10 years of life that we get to fill in. So, we’re starting fresh.”

Is there anything in particular you really love about Max?

Nathan Parsons: “Yes, his loyalty. His loyalty to his family and to the people he cares about. That’s been very important in my life and to be able to share that with Lily Cowles and Michael Vlamis who play Isobel and Michael it’s been really fun to build that relationship. I just love playing with those two. The banter and the history, it all sort of comes together.”

How do you make the adjustment from the no-holds-barred True Blood to working on a show for The CW?

Nathan Parsons: “It can be frustrating at times. Like you said, when you’re doing a show like that on HBO you don’t feel restrained in any way. Obviously, a different situation here, but I’ve worked on shows like this as well. (Laughing) You just amend your language is the main thing. Watch your mouth. Pretend you’re around your friends’ parents and you’ll be fine. That’s really the only adjustment.”

How are you involved in the series’ murder mystery?

Nathan Dean Parsons: “I can’t give too much of that away. I’m involved because it’s Liz’s sister who we’re trying to figure out what happened to. So, that being said, I care very much for Liz and everything she’s going through I take on a little bit of just because I’ve known her my entire life. I go with her on her journey to try and figure out the truth.”

Do you believe in aliens?

Nathan Parsons: “I do. I absolutely do. I have for a long time. I love the science channel; I watch it all the time. I love how the universe works and it’s unbelievable to me with the vastness of space and the vastness of the universe that we’re the only tiny little speck that has life. No way! That’s absurd.”

How is the show actually portraying aliens?

Nathan Parsons: “Well, we’re talking about alienation and aliens in several different contexts. We have the literal aliens who are sort of the obvious hammer to the face of alienation. But then we also have immigration which we talk about. We’re talking about illegal aliens, people coming across the border. Even within the community how different alien populations alienate each other. So, there’s a whole lot of different ways that we’re talking about aliens. Now the literal sci-fi ones, we haven’t really explored yet. We’ll get to that. But the idea of an alien, we play with in a lot of different levels. Hopefully, we can keep doing that.”

Is there a particular scene you’re looking forward to viewers getting to watch, without giving away any spoilers?

Nathan Parsons: “I would say one broad moment that I think a lot of people will be looking forward to is when Liz and Max are finally on the same page, which will take a little while. I won’t tell anyone when. I won’t tell anyone why or how, but I think that’s a moment that will, including for a lot of fans of the original, it will be what the newer fans have been fighting with us towards. So, I’m really excited to move towards that as we get towards the end of the season.”

How much information did that give you about Max’s backstory?

Nathan Parsons: “Quite a bit. And we use flashbacks a lot to sort of explore why things are happening the way they’re happening and how relationships started, and how people fell apart. I get a lot of feedback. The creators of the show have been really great about sitting with us and talking things out. If we have questions, they’re really good about talking to us. Now, there’s some things that even they don’t know. We aren’t sure exactly how the show ends this season; they aren’t either. They have an idea, but they don’t want to tell us something that turns out to be completely wrong because then we build that into what we’re doing.

They’re very good about communicating with us which is really, really helpful. I worked on shows where they weren’t and that’s very frustrating. So, it’s been a good experience.”

How easy is it to get into the role of Max?

Nathan Parsons: “Honestly, it wasn’t difficult to play Max at all. When we first were casting, I was reading for Michael, actually. They couldn’t find a Max, couldn’t find a Max, and then someone was just like, ‘Have Nathan do it.’ And so I had to shift my entire world view and just really settle into Max’s perspective. Suddenly it felt much more comfortable and it really just blossomed.

It was very strange how that worked. I’ve loved playing this character and I’m so excited going forward to see what else we can do. It’s been a blast.”

That’s a huge shift.

Nathan Parsons: “Oh, it was. I had to re-read the script. I had to erase everything and read it fresh with fresh eyes. I’d never had to do that before. It was super fun and super fun to explore. I find Max mirrors my life a little bit better than Michael even. Yeah, it’s just crazy how these things happen.”