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Moonlight: Set visit and cast interviews

8 April 2008   |   Written by Kristin Sample

Yesterday I went to Warner Bros. studios in Burbank to visit the set of CBS’s Moonlight. I must admit… with the exception of the pilot, I actually haven’t watched the show. But after talking with the cast members, seeing the set, and hearing about the four episodes that will air starting April 25th, I think I might be a fan of Moonlight.

And I know for sure there are some Moonlight fans here at TV Squad. You are going to love what I have in store for you after the jump. Read on and find out about my day at Stage 9 and Stage 14 of Warner Bros. and my interviews with Jason Dohring, Eric Winter, Sophia Myles, and *swoon* Alex O’Loughlin.

Beware. There are some spoilers…

Before I start recounting the events of yesterday in earnest, let me get one thing out of the way. The show has not been renewed as of yet. Moonlight does have four episodes ready that were ordered in late 2007. Like I said before the jump, these episodes will air on Friday nights at 9 PM starting April 25th. Check back with TV Squad for news updates and reviews of those episodes.

Set Pictures:

We saw all the sets of Moonlight but I only got pictures of a few stages because the lights weren’t turned on in Mick’s apartment or BuzzWire. Below are some pictures of Josef’s office (in the rebuilding stages — remember it was blown up before the hiatus).

This first one is the picture that will hang on the ceiling of Josef’s office.

I also saw Beth’s beachfront apartment. I was informed that Moonlight, a show that does a lot of on-location filming, was just at the beach this week shooting scenes. This is the livingroom from outside the stage and there are two more smaller pics of Beth’s apartment down in the Tidbits section.

First Episode Teasers

In the episode airing April 25th, Mick regains his vampire powers. The interesting part about his turning back into a vampire is the way it happens. I actually found out exactly how Mick turns from a “human” to a vampire but I was sworn to secrecy. I can say that it doesn’t happen the way you’re expecting (i.e. it’s not because the salve wears off).

Moreover, Mick is enjoying being human. There is a montage with him sleeping on a couch, awaking to sunlight, and drinking some orange juice. He’s really enjoying being with Beth as well.

Jason Dohring was excited about the first episode, “I’m not bullshitting. You guys are going to love the next episode.” He also mentioned the beautiful score for the episode, saying how moving it was. Finally, he was excited that Josef “goes vampire” on April 25th and gets to kick butt with Mick. Dohring was so enthusiastic to don the vampire make-up that he got ready four hours early and walked around out on the street to enjoy the reactions of passers-by.

And there’s a new character joining the Moonlight gang; Eric Winter will play Assistant District Attorney Ben Talbot. Winter said of his character’s first appearance: “He makes a statement right away.”

What They Were Filming Yesterday

On the set yesterday, they were shooting flashback scenes set in the 1940s in Mick’s old neighborhood. In the episode, Mick gets a case that brings him to the place where he grew up. We will get to see Mick before he was turned into a vampire and learn about his time in the army. We will also meet Mick’s best friend Ray and his wife Lilah. Mick will be in a heavy combat scene with Ray.

Interview with Jason Dohring (Josef)

I asked Jason Dohring what it was like to go from playing a teen on Veronica Mars to playing a centuries-old vampire on Moonlight. He said his approach to the characters was so different. On VM, his character had such a limited experience to draw from. But on Moonlight, Josef doesn’t get to experience any new situations having lived so many lifetimes.

Dohring hopes that we find out more about Josef’s and Coraline’s past in these upcoming episodes. He’s intrigued by the different bloodlines. He wonders who’s more powerful (Josef or Coraline).

While Dohring wouldn’t change anything about Josef’s hedonistic character, he says that if he was a real vampire, he would follow Mick’s path. Dohring would “find a way to do something good with it.”

Someone asked who Jason looks to for inspiration in the field of acting. He answered, Marlon Brando. He thinks anyone interested in acting should just take one scene and watch it like twenty times. He says Brando “did cool stuff in every bit of film” and moved with grace.

Interview with Alex O’Loughlin (Mick St. John)

Alex started by saying that he’s a big fan of the vampire genre: “I’ve always been enamored with the shameless sensuality in the genre, unlike any other genre.” He said he’s fascinated by vampires’ heightened sensitivity and compared them to cats. O’Loughlin also divulged that he’s been captivated by the stars and the concept of infinity since he was a young boy. So, Mick’s immortality was intriguing to him.

Someone asked if Beth and Mick will get together, O’Loughlin warned that it’s a different story if that were to happen. They’ll no longer have the tension. They will no longer have the Romeo and Juliet feel or the story about unrequited love, as he put it. Alex assures us that if the two did get together, it would still be interesting. But, for now, he really likes the tension between Mick and Beth.

Many have commended Alex for his willingness to do his own stunts. He says that he loves the fight choreography. On the subject of fighting, I asked whether he thought Mick St. John or Angel would win in a fight (remember that Vs. post of Isabelle’s). “Mick would win. I can’t help the facts,” he quipped.

Someone also posed a hypothetical question: If you were a vampire in real life, who’s path would you follow? Josef’s or Mick’s? He said he would follow Josef’s then be immensely guilty and follow Mick’s.

Interview with Eric Winter (Asst. D.A. Ben Talbot)

Winter brings a new element of tension to the show with ADA Ben Talbot. He describes his character as “driven by his work.” Talbot wants to solve the crimes that plague the city. He has an immediate fondness for Beth Turner, but Winter himself doesn’t know the true motivation behind Talbot’s interest in Beth’s character.

There is a possible love triangle brewing as well. Talbot, who is attracted to Beth, is haunted by his need to expose Mick. From his very first scene, you’ll see a tension between Mick and Ben. Ben wants to be top dog and desperately wants to know Mick’s secret.

Someone asked if Ben was a vampire, Winter laughed, “Not that I know of.” He clearly thinks getting to play a vampire would be great. “It’s just a cool genre,” he said. Then he joked, “I think they’re real. No, just kidding.”

You probably know Eric Winter from his work on Brothers and Sisters. I asked if he’d be returning to that show and he answered, “I assume you’ll probably see me again.” But his concern is scheduling. Winter mentioned that the writers have had a hell of a time trying to write him on and off the show to accommodate for other projects (i.e. Viva Laughlin and Moonlight). He seems confident that his character will return to Brothers and Sisters if only for closure.

Winter also has a movie coming out this year called The Ugly Truth with Katherine Heigl and Gerald Butler.

Interview with Sophia Myles (Beth Turner)

On whether or not she liked the vampire genre, Sophia said frankly, “Not really if I’m honest.” She then stated her preference for sci-fi over anything vamp. Furthermore, she says she doesn’t see the fascination with drinking blood and can’t understand why anyone would think it’s sexy. So, why do Moonlight? Sophia explained that she was intrigued by theme of immortality, especially as it pertains to Beth and Mick.

A relationship between the two characters, however, would be so difficult. They can’t have children. She would age and he wouldn’t. “I don’t see how there is a kind of happy future,” she said. So, will Beth get turned into a vampire so the two can be together? Sophia thinks it’s an option Beth would consider. (Sorry about the picture. I don’t know why they had her stand by that light. She’s on the BuzzWire stage, though.)

Tidbits

* We won’t find out anything else about Coraline and her family (at least nothing too soon).
* Everyone I met (cast members, behind the scenes folk, publicists) was overjoyed by the fan reaction to this show. “It was unbelievable,” Jason Dohring exclaimed. Sophia Myles agreed, “It’s blown my mind, the success of it all.” Myles also said she was touched at the fans’ willingness to donate blood to the American Red Cross to show their support for the show.
* Fans of Sophia Myles should know that she’s donning a short bob now after months of extensions ruining her hair. She explained that for the four episodes they are working on now, she is wearing a 3/4 wig.
* Alex and Jason will be in the Moonlight booth at ComicCon in New York.
* Sophia Myles disclosed that the best way to get Alex O’Loughlin to laugh is to, “talk about poo.”
* Mick is afraid of people and their capabilities. Eric is both infatuated with and afraid of sharks. Sophia is afraid of deep water and humans. Looks like a love triangle could be creeping into the story whether the writers like it or not, eh?
* By the way, Jason Dohring said his biggest fear was burning alive. And all this talk got me wondering what my biggest fear was. I’m pretty scared of sharks (I have to agree with Eric there). I think drowning or suffocating (i.e. being buried alive) really freaks me out the most though.
* When asked who she’d love to work with, Sophia Myles answered Christian Bale and Tim Burton.
* Eric Winter didn’t originally want to become an actor. In fact, he has a degree from UCLA (a double major in psychology and biology).
* Winter laughed that he has two premieres on April 25th: Moonlight on CBS and the new Harold and Kumar movie for Sony and Lakeshore.
* Alex is Jason’s favorite person to work with on the show.
* Jason Dohring has been acting since he was eight-years-old. He got into the biz because he has both a set of twin sisters and twin brothers who were working in commercials.

Overall, I had a great time. I hope this was informative for all you Moonlighters out there. Don’t forget to tune in on April 25th!