Cas Anvar Navigates Between The Strain And The Expanse
I spoke to this talented actor before Comic Con. Here is a partial transcript from my podcast interview.
Tony Tellado: We should talk The Strain first because it’s going to be coming up first on our calendar. As we last saw it there was an attack but use use you live. This is their fourth and final season. So how does where do we meet him when the season starts. It’s hard to do without giving any spoilers because at the end of season…
Cas Anvar: After the cataclysm of the end of season 3 it’s very hard to recover from that it’s very hard to kind of pretend that never happened.
Tony Tellado: I know. So season four is basically everyman dealing with moving forward and just trying to retract and respond and cope with the consequences of season 3.
Cas Anvar: So we’re going to start basically that mojo is let’s just it a bit of a surprise. It’s probably not going to be what you expect.
Tony Tellado: How would you categorize his relationship with Eichorst ?
Cas Anvar: Sanjay has an amazing amount of respect mingled with fear worse because he is the quintessential survival and opportunist. All he cares about is that he comes out on the winning side. He needs to be on the winning team. He doesn’t have a lot of morals or ethics that kind of restrain or restrict him. He only cares about him and his own and making sure that he ends up on the winning team as it were. He sees Eichorst as this immense Being of Power and because of course you know go through the trouble of masking his appearance. Yeah he just looks like an amazingly powerful human being you know a very dapper well-dressed put together man with incredible strength and power. His immortality is that’s very appealing to someone whose whose goal is survival. Yeah. And so I think he sees himself as too I forced how I coerced is to the master. Wow. I think Sanjay tries to make himself into a little bit of an Eichorst Mini-Me.
Tony Tellado: And what’s it like. I mean I’m I’ve been at the roundtables for The Strain really from the beginning from the first season so I been encountered Richard Samuel a few times and he’s great.
Cas Anvar: I became very close friends with him actually, we really bonded. Yeah. You know because I mean you could you never know who you’re going to get when you’re dealing with an actor who’s playing a role like that. Sure. Never know if he like the character is he, just a great actor is he ? It turns out Richard is the opposite. Richard is one of the warmest most generous kind caring amazing actors and he comes from the theater like me. And so I love working with theater actors because it’s such a it’s a subculture of the industry. Theater actors they you know they have a vocabulary and language because when you’re in the theater you grew up in a theater it’s a it’s a rough this kind of pay your dues. Yeah. And you bond through that toil. It’s like any group of people that go through arduous tasks together. But then you create you have your own shorthand in your own vocabulary and when you meet fellow members of that tribe there is like an instant recognition.
Tony Tellado: Very cool. Did they know shooting this fourth season that it was their last one they were doing ?
Cas Anvar: Yes they did. So that’s what makes it so spectacular. Season Four will be unlike any of the other seasons. Oh cool. It is clearly the creators said OK we’ve got one more season to go. Let’s bring all of our story elements together. Let us give everyone the story that they deserve. Let’s let’s fulfill every threat that we have put in motion and let’s not be afraid to push the envelope and go as far as we can.
Tony Tellado: I’m looking forward to it. It was it’s always it’s I always catch it just as I get back from Comic-Con and I start bingeing on the ones I missed. It’s going to be great. You know I know you’re on The Expanse of course so does this experience kind of seeing the cast react to their final season kind of preparing you as to what it’s going to be like when The Expanse wraps up which hopefully won’t be for a long time.
Cas Anvar: Yeah hopefully it won’t be for a long time. A lot of material. Yeah. I know. We were just talking the last night we had dinner together and you’re talking about like what a dream job it is. You know an actor works his whole life to be able to work on a project which has such incredible writers producers and an amazingly talented cast. Production values up to was you like you don’t get there’s not another show on TV that looks like The ExpanseTony Tellado it’s completely and it’s only when it comes to production value. Yeah. You know like one of the things that makes this show unique is how real it is now socially relevant it is despite being 300 years in the future. So we’re hoping that we’re going to be able to play out the entire story because the novel they think they’re about nine novels written and then a couple of novellas and the novelists have created huge epic space opera which has a beginning middle and an end. Our creators are incredibly excited to be able to give it we give them the chance to realize that on television and they’re working their asses off to deliver the best television of this genre that’s ever been done. I think if people allow it in the networks and the people don’t kind of panic and lose faith we have the potential of delivering a series unlike any other science fiction series that is on TV right now it’s it’s amazing.
Tony Tellado: The scope and the cast. You all are fantastic. And you know having talked to the show runners at Comic Cons even at the SyFy Christmas party a few years ago I was just impressed with them as people.
Cas Anvar: Well first like they are they’re very very worldly educated knowledgeable very very talented people. Opinions on everything. Yeah and I love that and they’re constantly looking at the world and and saying you know what. That’s exactly what’s going on in The Expanse right now. They’re only about making our show socially relevant. So it’s not just cotton candy and pure entertainment. It’s it’s really something that speaks to people on multiple levels not just pure entertainment.
Tony Tellado: Yeah. Oh absolutely. You know with Alex Kamal I think I kind of want to know what your thoughts on…You know there is he kept he keeps running that stimulation to be better because what happened bothered him beyond it more that bothered him get it. It marked him. It’s hard. Well OK.
Cas Anvar: Alex comes with a lot of baggage. Everyone who was on the Canterbury comes with baggage. The things that make Alex who he is. Make that kind of loss that he suffered that he feels was his responsibility. Incredibly impactful. That is something that he’ll never really forget.
Tony Tellado: You’ll need help heal you maybe get over all heal from it but it’s not something that he will forget.
Cas Anvar: I know I know people in my family who have had experiences similar to that where where things happened when they were very young and they still remember you know 20 30 40 years later and it affects how the they live affects how they act. And so his rerunning the simulation is his attempt to try and regain some control in a situation that he was completely out of control. Yeah. Because that’s what he needs in order to stay sane. He needs to feel that he has control. He needs to feel that that will never happen again.
Tony Tellado: I’m glad you came with those insights. I totally see that with him now. You know he almost has like a Captain Kirk-Cas Anvarlike desire so that the Rasi doesn’t get damaged that’s his ship now and he really does not want anybody doing anything that is wrong.
Cas Anvar: Absolutely. He is a very emotional personal investment in that ship for for numerous reasons but the most important being it gave him his identity. Yeah. I mean you know he didn’t really know who he was until he sat in that chair and it just fit him like a glove. And I mean you see that when at the end of season two at the end of Episode 4 of season 1. And they’re flying out of the Donager after having suffered massive losses and watching a ship blow up behind them with hundreds of Martians that are going to their graves in order to make sure that these guys get away. And if he is so overwhelmed with the feeling that he has of it just being right in the seat of the Rosi then he starts laughing uncontrollably while he washes away from the monitor. And it’s not because he’s an unsympathetic guy who has no regard for what’s going on behind him. It’s just something has finally clicked after you know decades of living of being lost. Finally he’s home.
Tony Tellado: Yeah definitely. You know I think what’s coming up for season three is got to be the proto matter whose got to play a big part. And you know that proto matter obviously thinks because it was able to evade. So it’s like whoa. Now there’s a whole new ballgame now with that.
Cas Anvar: There’s definitely plenty of them argue plays a big role in Aberdeen gate which is so. Yeah. But what’s amazing about these books is you think you know where it’s going and you have no clue that the creators of the books they really crafted a very surprising and fresh science fiction space opera. They really take traditional science fiction they kind of turn it on its ear. Oh absolutely.
Tony Tellado: I’m seeing something very very compelling and very surprising. I think people are going to get a huge kick it’s a really exciting season like the action they’ve been warning us action is and get ready. Give me a lot of action in this and you guys better get suited up and get in shape. Well I’ll tell you to something I love and it’s been kind of my mantra all year is to diversity on this series it’s just wonderful to see. And I mean Dominique’s have Dominican in real life which is great because I’m Latino so it’s nice to see you but it’s just you know and even just like the belters and the earth there is a class system and unfortunately that’s very much the way things are you know. So it’s we’re going to take all our bad habits out into space when we eventually go there you know.
Cas Anvar: Exactly. You know all are cockroaches and other bed bugs and we’re going to just bring them to Mars. Yep them bring everywhere we go we’re going to bring our bring our bat nonsense with us. Yeah.
Tony Tellado: You know you’re right. You’re right. As much as I love Star Trek and I think The Expanse might be closer to home you know. Yeah.
Cas Anvar: I think it’s a very realistic way. I mean I’m I’m a very hopeful person. I think that eventually we have the opportunity of growing and evolving beyond our limitations but it requires leadership and requires the kind of people that are capable of of inciting change like like like Nelson Mandela those people change entire countries and get those people. Those people were able were able to empower and motivate hundreds of thousands millions of people to behave well by the sheer force of their will and their actions as example of their actions. You have somebody who creates a peaceful protest that successfully manages to expose expose the Brits from India. Yeah you know that’s a powerful gesture by one man and the Western world hasn’t had that yet.
Tony Tellado: The Expanse is such a awesome show and I love the misfits. You and Wes, something that’s so cool. Wes and Alex were being called the odd couple the couple. I love it. No I mean the whole Rosi crew and then you know Holden is such a moral center it’s like hey we have to do this. You know we can’t let it go. And you know he really was a guy that was didn’t want to be a leader by any you know step of the way and then was thrust into it because of the situation. And he realizes there’s something bigger than himself and that’s such a great storyline.
Cas Anvar: It it’s an amazing and one thing that’s really interesting about that story is in the books the first book of life in wake see the Canterbury takes a distress call and goes to investigate all the disasters that’s happening in the books. The person who tells the Canterbury to go to investigate the distress call is in hold it. It’s the Captain. OK. And so what ends up happening is that you know the ship gets destroyed and then running for their lives. But it’s all just random it’s just all bad coincidence. What they did in the TV show and I thought it was brilliant. The creators the novelists and the writers in the writer’s room decided let’s make that decision Holden’s decision and they made Holden go and file reports the distress call so that they had to go and it was Holden’s fault that they went to investigate the distress call which then caused the destruction of the Canterbury possibly his friends. So Holden now bears the burden of that guilt. You’re the man who never wanted to make a decision in his life. A man who did not want to be XO,the man who never wanted to be an authority he likely to be the number three or the number four. You just got to the coast through life without making any decisions. The one time in his life he makes a decision of conscience and it completely just throws a wrench into the whole universe. Everything falls apart and the shit hits the fan. One decision I thought it was a brilliant choice because one was a great way to catapult a guy on a story of redemption. Have his first choice that he ever makes lead to the death of his entire crew and send in the remaining survivors on a run for their lives for the next few years. Brilliant move.
CAS ANVAR PODCAST
Special Thanks To The SyFy Channel.