Interview: Actors Leah Gibson and Joshua Sasse go ‘Rogue’
DirecTV’s first originally produced dramatic series, Rogue, is set to premiere on Wednesday, April 3, on the AUDIENCE Network. It’s a gritty crime thriller about an undercover female detective, Grace Travis (Thandie Newton), whose son is mysteriously killed by someone within the Laszlo crime organization she is investigating.
The tragedy pushes Grace even deeper undercover as the series pushes the edge of the television envelope with explicit language, violence and sex scenes.
Two of the new show’s stars, Leah Gibson and Joshua Sasse, recently spoke to NERDVANA about their unconventional roles as the mobster husband and wife team, Alec & Cathy Laszlo.
I understand you both have Canadian roots and “Rogue” is shot in Canada as well, correct?
Leah: Yes it’s shot in Vancouver and I’ve worked there for the last few years in film and TV, and I was one of the few ‘token locals’ that were hired for the show.
Joshua: My grandparents originally came from Vancouver and my Grandfather tells stories about skiing to school and stuff.
How much of the series is shot in Canada? Do you ever go to Oakland, where the series story is based, or is that all shot with a second-unit?
Joshua: The second-unit did all the skylines and an incredible amount of work down there, but all of the acting was done in Vancouver.
It seems like Alec and Cathy have an almost sadistic chemistry in the series and almost every time you appear together Alec is getting slapped by Cathy for some reason. What can you tell us about the relationship between your characters?
Leah: Their relationship is very, very passionate and they live a very extreme and somewhat unusual lifestyle for a family. She’s a character who finds herself in a unique family situation joining the Laszlo family and it’s not something she was born into, but it’s something that she made certain choices along the way to find herself living in this family situation.
She is completely defined by her relationship with her husband, who she lives for, and she accepts her responsibilities within that scheme. With the family business being what it is, I find it interesting that as a mother and a loving wife she can turn a blind eye so willingly to the nature of the family business.
Her heart is with the family and her heart is with her husband and she knows how to maneuver within that world and communicate with her husband without even speaking and to respond to him inside that world.
I got the impression that Cathy is the one who wears the pants in the Alec Laszlo family.
Leah: She really understands the family dynamic and her heart is so with Alec that she really feels everything he feels, even when he’s not able to express it. She has very strong maternal instincts and reads him really well and stays one step ahead of everything, anticipating what he needs and mans him up, encourages him and supports him in ways that make him feel strong.
Joshua: The whole dynamic of the relationship is obviously based on Alec’s job and he is a very, very loyal guy. He can’t go against his father and he finds it so difficult because the loyalty in him is so prevalent that he constantly wants to try to please him, and so he has that inner turmoil.
His wife shows him what to do and tells him to be a man and stand up for himself and that’s how she pushes him to the edge and controls the relationship in that regard. The slapping between them that you mentioned is just during those intimate moments where she tells her husband to meet his potential and gives him the boost he needs to what he needs to do.
Speaking of intimacy, there are a lot of explicit sex scenes in this series. How comfortable were you with shooting these sequences and how do you think they serve the story.
Joshua: I can say they do serve the story and they were put there for a reason. We were intent on making sure that any of the sex scenes we did were telling the story.
They are just as hard as any other scene you do and you put just as much work into them, but being naked for eight hours in front of sixty people while you do your job can be intimidating. But that’s what you have to get over and once you get past that inhibition and you all have respect for each other then it’s not that hard at all and you treat it just like anything else.
Leah: I think that each of us knew when we started that we would be stepping on board with something very different as far as television goes. So when the material for our sex scene came about there was much discussion about the details and specifics.
To me, the choices that we made in playing it the way we did were grounded in wanting to be truthful to the characters and the emotional state that they were in. I feel our scene is a very powerful and an integral storytelling piece for the show and I’ve always seen it that way from the beginning.
It seems as though Alec and Cathy are setting themselves up for some serious trouble as the season progresses. Do you both survive through the whole season?
Leah: All I can say is that there are many surprises and no one is safe.
Alec has some pretty demented scenes in the series and his character is a little crazy. Is he just being driven by trying to keep Cathy happy?
Joshua: I think Alec would definitely watch characters like in Good Fellas and Scarface and when you see the characters in those films do the things they do you don’t instantly think these are demented people, you just think these are people in extraordinary circumstances.
Leah: In regard to the tone of the show, one of the overarching themes of the whole series is that truth has its consequences and actions have their consequences and every action has a reaction. Nothing is as cut & dry or black & white as it may appear to be. It’s an interesting exploration of human nature and human character.
This is DirecTV’s first original series. How does it feel to be a part if this important event in DirecTV’s history?
Leah: It’s been really exciting from the very start. It’s a new endeavor for DirecTV in that it is their first scripted show and they’ve been very much behind it from the very beginning. They’ve been very involved and we’re excited to be a part of it. It’s also exciting to be a part of such wonderful writing by the series creator, Matthew Parkhill, and to be able to express it without limitation or boundaries with this medium. It’s been great.
Photos © 2013 DirecTV, LLC.