Shaun Benson may play a memorable, villainous character in this week’s episode of Killjoys, but he’s anything but in person.
On Killjoys he plays, well, I don’t want to give it away. But suffice it to say that Benson’s gig—which finds him decked out in black and sporting a blonde hair reminiscent of a certain movie villain—is truly memorable. And this from a series that dropped a rapidly aging baby in our laps last Friday.
We spoke to Benson during a break in filming “Baby, Face Killer,” earlier this year and learned a bit about his character and a lot about acting.
What can you reveal about this character?
Shaun Benson: He’s a protector. So that gives him a real coldness, almost like a snake because he’s sort of like from an evolutionary line of protectors.
The last character you played that I saw was Lane on Saving Hope. Not a great guy.
SB: The transition from good guy to guy who does something wrong, for me, is a very small leap. And I think for some people, and I don’t know if they haven’t danced with the dark side as much as I have, truly, or if they’re not willing to go there, even if they have, for me it’s a paper-thin distance between me being a good person and me being a bad person. So if you put a camera on me, and again, I haven’t been a gangster or murdered people, but I spent years like delving into the darkness, and it makes it tougher to book the lead in a Hallmark movie. Because you put a camera on me and a girl says to me, ‘Hey, you look good, and I look back and I go, you look good too, it’s very loaded.’
Greg Bryk told me that those types of roles means he explores that dark side in a safe way.
SB: What’s very interesting is that when I was in my 20s I played a lot of really good guys, the lead, handsome, whatever. My face was very soft and unwrinkled, I still had some baby fat. And honestly, the roles were pretty uninteresting, not bad, and a great privilege to be able to play them, but it was always like he’s the good guy and he’s trying to solve the case or whatever. But at the time I was really busting at the seams as a young man, out partying and not being too forthright or standup. Then, in my early 30s, I just said ‘I don’t want to be that guy.’ So I can’t remember the last time I consciously told a lie. Like, people know who I am, but now I play the mean guy all the time when I’m the least, you know, that I’ve ever been in my life.
So I get what Greg’s saying because there’s a safety to it so that you can go all the way with it because it’s actually not what’s happening. You know, I can go home … and by the way, it takes its toll. I did a movie of the week for Lifetime and it was keeping women locked in a basement, and it’s all fun and I’m playing it and the director and I talked about it along the way. We talked about this like it’s a bit of a dance.
That’s been my background as an actor. When I was younger I started dancing. So how do we put the joy in the body? And Jack Nicholson even talked about it, for The Shining. Like, he treated that like a ballet and I really understand what he’s talking about. Because, if it’s about the movements in my body, then it elevates the sense of, not only art but spirit and joy, even if it’s a tragedy.
Killjoys airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on Space.
Image courtesy of Bell Media.