As the Fox thriller series ALCATRAZ has progressed, we’ve learned a little bit about the mysterious Warden Edwin James (Jonny Coyne) as flashbacks have revealed some of the strange things he’s been up to in the 1960s – many of which could be indirectly or directly responsible for the inmates disappearing and now suddenly reappearing in present day San Francisco.
It’s in these flashbacks where many questions have come up such as “What’s behind the mysterious door, what’s the Warden doing with the inmates blood and how does he fit into all of this?”
ASSIGNMENT X caught up with the British actor Coyne earlier today before the ALCATRAZ finale airs, and he gave us the exclusive lowdown on what to expect during the finale and where the series should go from here if it’s renewed for a second season.
ASSIGNMENT X: How has the response been to the finale?
JONNY COYNE: I think the response has been fantastic. I’m very excited about it all. It’s going very well.
AX: What have been the biggest surprises working on a series like this? Did you know you were going to have a bigger part as the series went along?
COYNE: When I got to the third episode, I realized they had a few things up their sleeve they hadn’t told me, which was very exciting for me of course. They were seeing the response the character was having and gave him the chance to grow. It was always in their mind that the Warden would be a much more significant character, but not necessarily in terms of screen time.
AX: Can you talk a little bit about the finale?
COYNE: I think it’s been well documented that there’s a potential car chase. Because it was shot in San Francisco, and once the producers had seen the kind of that Rebecca Madsen was going drive, which is a green Ford Mustang Fastback just like Steve McQueen’s in BULLITT, so they decided to do an homage to the car chase in BULLTIT and re-created it.
We also know what’s going to be behind the door. The keys we’ve been documenting the last thirteen weeks, we will open those doors and find out what’s behind them. I think it’s pretty spectacular actually and it’s a really interesting turn in the story. I encourage all viewers to get a good look at the details – it’s in the details that will have them running to their computers to Google the details and what they’re referring to. Once they do, they will get very, very excited.
AX: Will we get answers as to what the Warden is up to?
COYNE: You won’t be cheated. The truth of the matter is, we’re not going to cheat the audience out of some sort of conclusion to this part of the story. We’re not going to say “this is everything” and “now we’re going to do a story of the week.” We’re going to leave you with more questions. You will be fulfilled. You will find out about the blood, what’s behind the door – you will get an idea of what’s going on and why they’re doing this. We won’t tell you exactly, but you’ll get a substantial amount as towhat’s going on.
AX: Is it a dark secret behind the door?
COYNE: It could be. The Warden has always been talked about as being the bad guy, but once you get through the door, you can interpret it whatever way you like once you get there. What he might be doing, is it for world good, who knows? I can’t promise that’s exactly the case, because he is dark figure. It’s not going to be as obvious as that.
AX: What happened to the gold hidden in the other door?
COYNE: It will have a play in the story – how the gold is utilized. That’s important. It’s mentioned in Episode 12 how it could conceivably be used. I think you get some answers in Episode 12, and obviously Episode 13.
AX: Any hints you can give as to why the warden is taking the blood of the inmates and then putting it back in with some sort of silver concentrate included – will we get a pay-off to it?
COYNE: We’re not going to cheat the audience out of anything. We are going to give them pay-offs, but we’re not going to leave it at that – we’re going to open it to other questions. They will be fulfilled. They will be satisfied what we give them and they will want more. That’s fair game, because we want to make this a long series here and keep the audience going, so you don’t give all the answers straight away.
AX: Do you think that the Warden might be a member of the 63’s?
COYNE: I don’t know for certain. It may be something they’re talking about. I can’t say much more than that. At some point the Warden may come back, but I don’t think that’s giving anything particular away. How that will manifest itself and when, it’s an other thing altogether. When he does come back, if he does come back, I think the stakes will go up much higher.
AX: If there is a Season 2, have the producers said, “hey, you’ll have a bigger role?”
COYNE: I think it’s been made clear the character will be made more significant. Not necessarily in screen time. We’re limited in what we can do. We have other characters whose stories need to be told. We also have the villain of the week stories that need to be told. Little by little, my story will unfold. Whether that will mean more screen time, I think there will be more episodes where I will be given more screen time like this season and others where I’ll just have a three-minute scene. That’s the nature of this kind of work. You get to play hard some times and some times you get to sit back and watch other people play hard.
AX: Do you think the Warden is really interested in rehabilitating the inmates?
COYNE: I think for sure, he’s capable of being a professional and a rehabilitator. He is capable of it.
AX: We’ve been waiting for a brawl between the Warden and Hauser [Sam Neill]– are you looking forward to something like that?
COYNE: I’ve cherished the idea of being able to work with Sam Neill. The chance to work with him in scenes. I haven’t had one yet, but that might be a bit of a spoiler alert. I would love the day I can work with Sam and have a scene with him. Hauser is a pretty dark character himself. That’s the thing about this story, you can never take people at face value necessarily. Hauser, is essentially an FBI agent doing good, but he has a really dark and cruel side to his nature. The big young Hauser who falls in love Parminder Nagra’s character, he’s not the same guy he is as he gets older and more dangerous.
AX: Have you seen a shift in the tone show as the series lost its original showrunner early on?
COYNE: Fox felt the show wasn’t quite what they wanted it to be and it had to be changed and remodeled. I think the original showrunner, Liz Sarnoff decided “this is not necessarily where I want to go with this story” and stepped down it was entirely her prerogative and we’ll support her in that. The new showrunners have jumped in and are taking it down the road where everybody is much more comfortable with it. We had seen how the story has changed. It just changed. It was a different kind of story. We had to go along with that and enjoy the ride.
AX: Hypothetically, what would you like to see happen in Season 2, if there is a Season 2?
COYNE: I think once you see what’s behind the door, you can see easily where the story can go. That’s a good little route to take for a season and see how it develops from there. Once you see what’s behind the door, you can go “ahh, this can be very, very exciting.”
AX: You’re also in the period feature film THE GANGSTER SQUAD?
COYNE: I have a couple of scenes which were great fun to do and one scene with Sean Penn himself.
AX: You’re getting all these period movies …
COYNE: I just have one of those faces that people feel belongs in another time.
AX: Any final words about ALCATRAZ?
COYNE: Get everybody out there watching it and hopefully we get a Season 2 and go from there. We’ve been up against THE VOICE and the finale of THE BACHELOR and the top comedy show in the world with TWO AND HALF MEN. Naturally it comes to an end, and now we have DANCING WITH THE STARS. They’re huge shows that demand attention on the day which kind of squeezes us tremendously. I hope Fox will understand we have a huge following, plus our DVR numbers are spectacular.
(additional reporting by Peter Brown)
Related Link: TV Review: ALCATRAZ – SEASON 1 – “Garrett Stillman
AGREE? DISAGREE? LET US KNOW HOW YOU FEEL – COMMENT BELOW!
Related Link: TV Review: ALCATRAZ – SEASON 1 – “Webb Porter”
Related Link: TV Review: ALCATRAZ – SEASON 1 – “Clarence Montgomery”
Related Link: Exclusive Interview with ALCATRAZ executive producer Jennifer Johnson
Related Link: TV Review: ALCATRAZ – SEASON 1 – “Sonny Burnett”
Related Link: TV Review: ALCATRAZ – Season 1 – “The Ames Bros.”
Related Link:TV Review: ALCATRAZ – SEASON 1 – “Johnny McKee”
Related Link:TV Review: ALCATRAZ – SEASON 1 – “Paxton Petty”
Related Link: TV Review – ALCATRAZ – Season 1 – “Guy Hastings”
Related Link: TV Review – ALCATRAZ – Season 1 – Cal Sweeney
Related Link: Exclusive Interview with ALCATRAZ star Parminder Nagra
Related Link: TV Review – ALCATRAZ – Season 1 – “Kit Nelson”
Related Link: TV Review – ALCATRAZ – Season 1 – “Pilot”/”Earnest Cobb” – Season Premiere
Article Source: Assignment X
Article: Exclusive Interview with ALCATRAZ star Jonny Coyne on the Season 1 finale and beyond