Actor Name: Eric Nelsen
David Kenyon is kind of the leader of this group of polygamous boys and also happens to be extremely dangerous and murders people. He basically has a cult and I play the leader of it. They go into a church and murder the entire congregation. They have been brainwashed by my father and another character. It takes place in the mountains of Tennessee and we have been living in the woods for 10 years.
Eric Nelsen Interview
Q: Could you describe your character and his crimes?
A: My character's name is David Kenyon, who is pretty twisted. He is kind of the leader of this group of polygamous boys and also happens to be extremely dangerous and murders people. He basically has a cult and I play the leader of it. They go into a church and murder the entire congregation. They have been brainwashed by my father and another character. It takes place in the mountains of Tennessee and we have been living in the woods for 10 years. I am ratty, dirty, grungy. All we know is the life my father has put into place for us. I wind up realizing it has all been a scam for him and I end up murdering him and shove twigs in his eyes. He has betrayed what we have lived by our entire lives. I turn against him and claim a group of boys of my own.
Q: Why do you think Reddington has targeted your character?
A: Because they have been a big threat to their society and state in which they live. Because there have been murders happening that are unexplainable and they have built up a trust where they live, even the government officials are on their side. It is scary. Red needs to shut it down.
Q: How did you prepare to portray this villain?
A: I watched a lot of videos on preachers and people who have power over a group. Their followers will do whatever they say. Just pulled up on YouTube because there is a point where my character goes insane and has this whole monologue to his dead father. The audience doesn't know his father is dead and I have this whole monologue and am hearing him speak. There is that moment when it goes from switching between being the leader in control to sociopathic insanity, and so I looked into that as well. As an actor I like to have the back-story and maybe he is a little schizophrenic. I did a little research on that as well; the bipolar shifting of moods from anger and hearing voices to calm and collected. That was very fun as an actor. I had to put in a little behind the scenes work of my own.
Q: Do you think anyone will ever be able to outsmart Reddington?
A: He always seems to be a step ahead. It would be interesting to see if that happens. I would not put that past someone. There are some very scary sick people out there. I would almost love to see that happen just to see that twist. I would not say it could not happen because I think it could. You can't rule anything out.
Q: What is it that appeals so much about playing a villain?
A: You just get to sink your teeth into it. There is so much evil and play opposite of who you are. That is the challenging and rewarding part of it. We like to be able to just go there. In our minds and bodies and when you get someone evil you are truly playing the opposite of who you are. I feel a lot of times in comedic parts, there are always elements of yourself in those characters. And I feel the disturbing and darker parts you are really pulling from a place of imagination and wonder and pulling from things you see in the world and that makes it a little more exciting.
Q: What is it like working with The Blacklist cast?
A: Insane -- in a good way. They are so awesome! Great people, just true professionals. It is a tight ship; everyone is really on it. You just know when you are with seasoned actors, there is a different vibe and everyone is meshing together and everyone is on top of their game. You try to soak in every moment you can. And most of my work was with Megan Boone who was just a sweetheart. Her character on the show is one way and in a minute it is focus time and she transforms and it was so cool to see that.
Q: What was your experience like on set?
A: I love that their set is in New York City. It is very close to where I stay in New York, at my mom's, so it was convenient. They had to recreate an outside commune. It was a set with two parts, an outside with dirt everywhere and a big fire where kids are sitting around and making food and a giant loft. Two completely different, intricate sets attached together. I have to give it up to the stagehands who created those sets because it was out of the world and then you remember you are in Manhattan.
Q: Will we see David Kenyon again?
A: I used to work on a soap opera for a long time. On that set, I would have said there is always a chance to come back from the dead, but on this unfortunately at the very end I get shot in the middle of the forehead. And he has a moment of "Oh my God, you are right -- what have I been doing? I need to get out of this." And one of my followers hears that and calls me a coward and shoots me. You think he is going to finally break free of this jail he has lived in and one of the people he has been dictating can't believe he hears these words and shoots me. I think it will be a powerful moment. Unfortunately I don't think they could resurrect someone from a head wound. Daytime you would be surprised, primetime not so much.
Q: Anything you want to add?
A: David Platt, our director, it was an honor to work with him, and that he is one of the best in New York City, as far as directing goes and he's been doing it a long time and I hope to work with him again.