‘The Messengers’ – Shantel VanSanten and Craig Frank Interview

Shantel VanSanten and Craig Frank The Messengers Interview
Shantel VanSanten and Craig Frank in ‘The Messengers’ (Photo by Ursula Coyote © 2014 The CW Network, LLC)

After joking that they didn’t have chemistry shooting the pilot – and that they still don’t have chemistry to this day – The Messengers stars Shantel VanSanten and Craig Frank teamed up to talk about the new The CW series premiering on April 17, 2015. The CW’s provided this brief synopsis of the sci-fi show which will air on Friday nights at 9pm ET/PT: “In the New Mexico desert, scientist Vera Buckley (VanSanten) watches in fascination as a mysterious object plummets to Earth and explodes, sending out a shock wave that briefly stops her heart. But Vera isn’t the only one affected: she’s instantly connected to four other strangers, who also collapse, only to miraculously come back to life hours later. These strangers will soon discover they have one thing in common; destiny has been thrust upon their shoulders.  And as the Angels of the Apocalypse, with an impressive array of supernatural gifts, they must now work together to rewrite prophecy and prevent the Beginning of the End.”

Sitting down to chat at the 2015 WonderCon in Anaheim, VanSanten revealed that initially she had no idea what the relationship would be between her character, Vera, and Craig Frank’s character, Alan. “When we were shooting the pilot, we’d already started shooting and they still didn’t have an Alan. And I kept telling them, ‘Who’s Alan? Who is he going to be?’ And they kept changing their relationship whether it was they used to be lovers, co-workers, they’re in a relationship,” explained VanSanten. And I feel like I love where our characters are, that we have this kind of banter where we work together. As scientists researching, you do get really close. You spend hours and hours together, but working on a project that you have full faith in and so much belief in.”

“When I got cast, I went in. I got a call at 4:30 – on St. Patrick’s Day, by the way – to go in and be someplace at 5, and I was way on the other side of town and I wasn’t going to make. Originally I said no,” said Frank. “I was like, ‘No, I’m not going in.’ And then I was like, ‘Fine, whatever. I’ll go.’ So I get in my car, drive across town, I audition, and then to find out, ‘Oh, you’re going to have to leave tomorrow.'”

Frank had a dilemma because he was already committed to taking a trip to Miami for his parent’s 40th anniversary. So, as he explained during our interview, getting cast as Alan in The Messengers involved a quick trip to Miami, a flight back to Albuquerque, and a meeting with VanSanten and the director, all on no sleep, followed by a shoot the next day. “We had never met; we had never talked. She didn’t know who was being cast, and I had no idea who was in it. I show up and this is when I met her. She starts babbling all this science stuff and I’m like, ‘Hey, listen lady. I just showed up because they told me to be here. I don’t know anything.’ She just gave me a science lesson,” said Frank, laughing.

VanSanten says that was because she already felt like she was in the role. “I’d been there and I’d been shooting, and I’d been anticipating that missing piece for me in the pilot. So much of the pilot is us and our job, and Vera is so passionate about what she does and being a scientist and the project that they’re working on. So, that missing piece I was so excited to find out. I love the banter and I love the chemistry, and I think that it adds a little bit of lightness in between, especially what’s to come. But it also allows you a little bit of an aspect into her personal life, whereas normally she has her guard up very much so.”

“I think we got along very, very quickly,” added Frank. “And then, of course, we went through some stuff.”

Discussing what drew her to the character of Vera, VanSanten explained that it was the fact no one knows about Vera’s personal life which is something viewers find out in the pilot. “I understood why she went into science. I understood why she’s so passionate and doesn’t take no for an answer. If someone you loved is kidnapped and you never got any answers for years and years, it makes sense to me why she went into science, why there is no not figuring this out. It’s interesting to have such a big story and to be a messenger, to have an impending apocalypse, but also to have a personal life.”

– More The Messengers interviews: Joel Courtney and Jon Fletcher interview / JD Pardo and Anna Diop / Diogo Morgado / Sofia Black D’Elia

Watch the video for more of Shantel VanSanten and Craig Frank’s interview:

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