Philip Glenister returns as Rev. Anderson in Outcast season two (Picture: Fox)
As the second season of Robert Kirkman’s Outcast gears for release, we spoke to actor Philip Glenister about what lies ahead in the supernatural drama.
The Voice UK live final interrupted by a stage invader as Jamie Miller is eliminated
Philip Glenister, 54, made his name starring in UK dramas like 2000’s Clocking Off and playing DCI Gene Hunt in Life On Mars and spin-off Ashes To Ashes.
He’s since made a jump stateside to play Reverend Anderson in The Walking Dead creator’s new horror show, Outcast. After a critically well-received first season, we spoke to the actor about the USA and whether he’s been gunning for a role on the zombie drama.
So what can you tell us about Outcast season two? What direction is the Reverend taking?
Philip Glenister: We pretty much kick off where we left off, the following day. From my point of view, I think I’ve killed Sidney, burnt him down in his trailer but it turns out that he’s not dead, he’s still driving around town and being very smug. The question is, was there anybody else in the trailer? And have I committed some terrible deed, which I think I have. But I won’t reveal that, that comes later.
The biggest thing in terms of the whole arc of the story, is this whole threat, or this, whatever it might be, possession, virus that’s spreading through the town. What we come to realise as characters and as an audience is this is much, much bigger threat than we actually thought or conceived it could be. This could be spread well beyond our town, it could be around the country, it could be around the world, who knows what is going on. So that’s the biggest arc.
Both the best and worst thing about the first season was the lack of answers – is that going to change in season two?
There are some answers. There are some things you begin to unravel, if you like. Obviously we can’t give everything away. I don’t even know what happens. Apparently the writers have an ending in store at some point, whether they get round to doing it, I don’t know. I can’t really say, but certain things become unraveled and we learn more about the characters. We basically find that some of these people that were coming out of the darkness, this is really the bigger picture now, that anybody could be possessed. Anybody. So that creates a situation of paranoia, fear, mistrust, if you like, amongst everybody.
One of the big things we learn is Sidney is not necessarily the sum of his parts, and he’s not necessarily working on his own, which is quite a big curveball. And that Amber, who is Kyle’s daughter, she possesses the same powers as he does which is on one hand a good thing but for Kyle, it also means she’s vulnerable to threats from the outside as well.
Patrick Fugit plays Kyle Barnes in Outcast (Picture: Fox)
It must be an interesting dynamic because it’s based on a comic which is relatively new (released in June 2014).
I think we’ve steamed ahead of the comics actually in terms of storytelling. So they may have to follow us now.
I don’t think it was planned like that. I think we were working at such a pace, obviously with 10 episodes in a season… that’s what I heard anyway. I think that’s right. I think (executive producer} Chris Black said we were slightly ahead of the comics now, so we’ll have to wait and see.
What attracted you to the role initially? It seems like a big departure from what you’ve previously done.
Well that was one of the things; it’s a departure, it’s something a bit different. I hadn’t worked in the States before. I just thought it would be a bit of an adventure. Undiscovered territory. I’m not getting any younger, you know. So there aren’t a huge amount of parts knocking around, certainly good parts. And this was something I just thought was a challenge, to play a southern American evangelical preacher. Thought it’d be a bit different…
Philip Glenister played opposite John Simm in Life On Mars (Picture: BBC)
You mentioned lack of good parts, do you think there’s more opportunities in these genre shows?
I think in terms of the way television is going, with Netflix and streaming and Amazon etc, there’s certainly many more opportunities because a lot of these shows are not driven by advertising. So there’s a lot more creative and artistic freedom in many respects. You can be a bit braver, bit bolder, bit darker, whatever. Whereas if you’re in a network show, whether it’s over here or in the States, you’re governed by advertising. You’re sort of limited with certain creative boundaries.
It’s one of those things that came up and I just thought I’d give it a go. It was my wife who really encouraged me and said, “look, if it works out, great. If it doesn’t, you gave it a go and come back.” I don’t want to cut ties with here and working here at all, I’m able to do both. Quite honestly, I wouldn’t want to just have a profile which is just American-based. I definitely want to keep working on British shows for sure.
Were you familiar with Robert Kirkman and his work on The Walking Dead before taking this on?
Well, I knew of The Walking Dead. It’s not a genre I actually choose to follow I have to say. It’s not really my bag I suppose. But I knew Andy [Andrew] Lincoln a little bit – we used to play golf together. He’s been extraordinary successful with it. I mean, The Walking Dead’s on its seventh season now or something, and Kirkman has obviously a bit of a cult following going on. So I thought, yeah… he’s an interesting guy as well.
What’s great about Robert is he very much leaves you to get on with it. He’s not precious about [it], because he knows his skill set is in the comics. That’s his side of the coin, and he sort of says, “look guys, you’re the movie-makers, you know how a camera works, you go do it.” So in terms of giving our showrunners and writers and everybody that freedom, he’s pretty hands-off, which is a good thing.
Patrick Fugit, creator Robert Kirkman, showrunner Chris Black and Philip Glenister (Picture: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO)
Have you not tried to squeeze a Walking Dead role out of him?
It’s never even occurred to me actually. I’ll get a spin-off show. It’ll basically be my character who decrees the church and says “I’m not interested anymore, I’m going to become a golf pro in the Bahamas.”
With Andrew Lincoln?
With Andrew Lincoln, yes.
There’s been talks of a Life On Mars movie – is that a thing? Are there any updates on it?
No, no updates. I think one of the writers got hijacked about it as well. It’s one of those things, I got asked about it. It wouldn’t come back as a TV series unless they remade it with other people, so you think of that format, and the only other real way, if there was any mileage in it, would be to do a movie version of it perhaps.
Is it something you’d still be interested in?
Well it’s a question of never say never. If they could work a script around it that would work… but maybe that’s not possible. Maybe we have done coverage of it all, or maybe there’s something to do with interim years. Who knows. I just sort of like floating these things around for a laugh.
You can catch Outcast season two on Fox April 3 at 10.15pm.