In THE EVENT, airing Mondays on NBC at 9 PM, a variety of people, from the U.S. President (Blair Underwood) to ordinary-seeming young man Sean Walker (Jason Ritter), are coping with the revelation that there are Others among us.
It’s not entirely clear whether these human-looking Others are extraterrestrials or not, but they have some pretty impressive abilities and a whole range of attitudes towards the human race. A group of Others, headed up by leader Sophia (Laura Innes), have been kept at an Alaskan base for sixty-plus years, but all of that is changing now.
Meanwhile, some Others have been living undercover in the larger world, including FBI Agent Special Agent Simon Lee, played by Ian Anthony Dale. Minnesota native Dale, a TV genre veteran whose credits include series regular gigs on DAYBREAK and SURFACE and guest stints on DOLLHOUSE, CHARMED and ANGEL, discusses what it’s like playing someone who talks softly and carries a big secret.
ASSIGNMENT X: Did you know when you started out that Simon was an alien, or whatever the Others are?
IAN ANTHONY DALE: I knew that he was one of the Others, so yes, I’ve had that information for a very long time.
AX: Does the fact that Simon is an Other affect how you play him at all?
DALE: That’s an interesting question. There was some confusion [when the series began production] as to whether these Others were capable of human emotions, the human condition, and I decided that Simon, having been on Earth for the past sixty-six years, living amongst the humans, would have adopted and become very human-like in the way he feels. That’s something we explored in Episode Six with his relationship past with the love of his life, Violet.
AX: She’s the character who shows up in the present as an older woman …
DALE: Yeah. Being with Violet, being with this human, kind of opened up a whole new world of emotional life for him, and so yeah, I decided to play him very real.
AX: Simon got himself out of being tagged as an Other through a very complicated way of finessing the situation, framing a fellow agent. How did that work again?
DALE: We lifted a print of his off of his car door and put it on the vial that was used to put the stuff that led to several dots [indicating the whereabouts of certain Others] on the computer screens. We were able to frame him – he was taken away and I was scot-free. So far I’ve been able to stay free of being found out, but that may not last for very much longer.
AX: Do you feel at all impressed with Simon’s ability to be a super spy?
DALE: It’s a lot of fun to play this character. Any time you get to play a character that’s so capable, it’s just so much fun. I’m just excited to see what they have in store for me and hopefully they’ll continue to give me great challenges.
AX: You do a lot of action as Simon. Obviously, you have a stunt double, but how much do they let you do, how much do you want to do?
DALE: I do everything that they let me do. I would love to do everything, but I probably do ninety-nine percent of my own things. In fact, in Episode Thirteen, I’ve got quite a bit of action, a lot of guns, a lot of explosions – it’s going to be a lot of fun.
AX: Had you done gun training prior to THE EVENT?
DALE: I did a series several years ago called DAYBREAK – it was on ABC, it starred Taye Diggs – and we went out with our technical advisor, Chick Daniel, who is one of the originators of S.W.A.T., and he trained us in weaponry and how to look authentic handling weapons.
AX: Do you like playing law enforcement professionals?
DALE: I like people who have an element of power and control, but what’s nice about this character and what we were able to explore in Episode Six is that even though he is in power with authority and control, he has the ability to lose control and be vulnerable and I get the best of both worlds.
AX: Not asking for spoilers as to what it is, but does Simon know what Others leader Sophia has got going on?
DALE: Yes. He knows what Sophia’s got going on. Whatever she knows, you could pretty much assume that Simon knows as well.
AX: Do you have any other projects coming up?
DALE: I shot a short film with [director] Kevin Tancharoen a while back. It was Kevin’s vision of what MORTAL KOMBAT would look like if it was made into a new feature. And based on the attention that that one drew, Warner Bros. [greenlighted] ten [online] short films [MORTAL KOMBAT: LEGACY], each film focusing on a different character from the MORTAL KOMBAT franchise, and it’ll be their origin story. Kevin and Warner Bros. asked me to reprise my role as Scorpion and I speak Japanese for the entire short. It was a really fun, exciting challenge.
AX: Do you speak Japanese now?
DALE: I’ve been taking lessons on and off for the past couple years, but this will be the most intensive challenge learning the language that I will have.
AX: Anything else we should know about the return of THE EVENT?
DALE: You know, if you enjoy what we had for you in the first half of the season, please tune in to the second half, because it’s only going to get better.
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