Friday, April 15, 2016

TVSO INTERVIEW: Miles Doleac from The CW's Containment talks his new movie, The Hollow

Miles Doleac
Veteran actor Miles Doleac (American Horror Story) is currently playing two very different roles – firstly, he’s the writer, director and co-star of a new murder mystery called The Hollow, which will be released later this year; he’ll also be seen as Captain Scott on the new CW series Containment, which kicks off April 19.

TVSO: Firstly Miles...Congrats on The Hollow – we just saw that it was recently picked up for distribution by Uncork’d? Was that something you shot a while ago?

DOLEAC: Thank you. We shot it last summer. I was incredibly fortunate to have a terrific, impassioned group of people working on it, on both sides of the camera.

TVSO: And how long did it take you to write it?

DOLEAC: Three quarters of the script came very fast. Probably in less than month. I had several different ideas about the ending and it took me a while to settle on the right one. I set the script aside for a few months and just let those ideas percolate. When I came back to the script with fresh eyes, not only had the ending become clear, but I was able to add some layers to the characters that I hadn’t thought about before.  When I sat back down to work on it again, I finished it in about a week. It was quite a different process from the script for my first feature, The Historian, where I was noodling away at the thing for a year, tweaking and polishing, in the case of some scenes, right up until the day we shot them. With The Hollow, it was more like jazz. It flew out of me in a couple bursts of inspiration and, when I got up from the computer that second time, it was, more or less, the script we shot.

Miles Doleac
The Hollow (2016)
TVSO: It’s a murder mystery just the cult classic television series, Twin Peaks?

DOLEAC: I suppose it does have a certain Twin Peaks vibe to it in places, along with a smattering of other catalysts from film or literature  that has moved me over the years, from Tennessee Williams to William Faulkner to Cormac McCarthy and, of course, my own experiences growing up in the deepest part of the Deep South.

TVSO: And you act in it too, right? 


TVSO: How hard is it to then go to something that you didn’t write, like Containment? Do you prefer being the boss and coming up with your own dialogue?

CW series Containment,
DOLEAC: Well, as the writer, you have a certain freedom on set, which is great. If something’s not working, you can change it on the fly. If an actor has an idea that’s better than what’s on the page, you can try it. I always tell my actors, “hey, if you can come up with something better than what’s written, try it and let’s see if I agree.” I really enjoy that freedom to play and giving my actors the freedom to explore. I also understand completely, however, when a writer wants his or her words performed as written. The writer puts a great deal of time, thought and energy into creating what’s on the pages of a shooting script. That effort deserves to be honored. Containment is very well-written, but it was also an incredibly collaborative set, which is really the best of all possible worlds. The words the writers gave me always seemed organic and true to my character, so there was never an issue for me about whether or not it was working. I might have suggested a tiny tweak here or there, having to do more with the character’s speech patterns and syntax than anything substantive and everyone was totally game. But, the show boasts a fantastic writing team, so there was never a question about the quality or effectiveness of the material.

TVSO: How different are the characters in The Hollow and Containment?

CW series Containment,
DOLEAC: Well, both Captain Scott in Containment and Ray in The Hollow come from a military background; both experienced live combat and that informed the way I approached them. They’re both law enforcement officers, to one extent or another. They both have a certain machismo, a bluster, an arrogance about them that they use as a kind of defense mechanism, because both also have a soft underbelly that they don’t like others to see. But Scott, to me, is much more steady and grounded, or he has learned to steady himself, in a way that Ray has not. Scott has a clear moral compass—whether or not one agrees with it is another story—while Ray does not.

TVSO: Did the producers of Containment hire you because they’d seen you in something else or did you win them over by audition?

DOLEAC: I got the role the old-fashioned way, after a series of auditions.
Miles Doleac
The Hollow (2016)

TVSO: What about the story-line – it’s a The Day After-style epidemic series, correct? And where does your character factor in?

DOLEAC: Yes, a mysterious virus with a 100% mortality rate breaks out in Atlanta, forcing authorities to quarantine a large portion of the city. Everything implodes from there. If I had to compare it to something that’s out there, it would be like Homeland, Walking Dead and 24 thrown into a blender, but with its own unique voice and perspective. It’s so timely, so ripped-from-the headlines. We were shooting when news outlets started covering the outbreak of the Zika virus in South America. I thought, “wow, that’s pretty close to home.”  Lee Scott is the National Guard captain placed in charge of security outside the quarantine zone. He immediately comes to loggerheads with the Atlanta PD liaison, Lex Carnahan (played by the wonderful and generous David Gyasi) about how he’s doing the job. Both men have good intentions, but, in the face of an escalating crisis, they have very different ideas on how best to manage the situation.

TVSO: How many episodes has the network guaranteed? Are you hopeful it’ll be a success?

DOLEAC: Season One will be 13 episodes. I have a very good feeling about it. I think it’ll resonate with audiences. It was one of the most pleasant work experiences I’ve had in my time in the industry. Everyone involved with the show from top to bottom, starting, of course, with Julie Plec, is class and creativity personified. The cast is excellent and the scripts have something for everyone: action, blood, mayhem, humor, political wrangling, poignant human drama and rich, complicated characters. I’d be surprised if it doesn’t strike a nerve.