Q: Tell us about the story and how you became involved with AVENGER.
A: Sam's character, Cal Dexter, has been hired to find a ruthless, awful, despicable former general. Meanwhile a certain government agency has been using this former general for its own goals and aims. I play a CIA agent whose chief responsibility at the moment is making sure that this person wanted for war crimes, Zilic, is stable and protected and that no one finds him so that we can use him to carry out our plan. So it's this sort of cat-and-mouse game that goes on. I thought it sounded like a terrific story. Also, I was told that Robert Markowitz was directing, and I worked with him about 22 years ago. So that was another interesting aspect of it, as well.
Q: Tell us about Frank McBride.
A: Frank McBride works for the CIA and has probably been involved in various clandestine operations throughout Africa. The operation that takes place in this story is all about using this character Zilic in the way one would try to attract sharks, by throwing chum in the water. We want to send him with some weapons-grade plutonium and offer it to a group of people to see who the players are in the black market.
Q: How does your character interact with Dexter?
A: McBride understands that Dexter has his own agenda and is going to get in the way. So that's problematic for him. But at the same time, he recognizes and appreciates that Dexter's actually a very decent person in terms of what he's been through in his life and how he's served the country. So his interest in finding Zilic and bringing Zilic to justice represents the wishes of many people who were affected by that particular war and other wars where people like Zilic get away and get new identities, never to be heard from again. So I think that McBride is conflicted. On the one hand, he actually has orders to terminate Dexter, but, for McBride, that's a very tough thing to do.
Q: Do you think McBride has more heart than a character like Devereaux?
A: I don't know if it's that McBride has more heart than Devereaux or that he just hasn't been with the agency as long and hasn't reached a point where he's as cynical or ruthless. They're just two very different people.
Q: In movies like this, audiences like to root for the good guy and boo the bad guy. Is there a clear good guy and bad guy in AVENGER?
A: Well certainly there are good guys and bad guys in this story. And there are characters who fall in between. You can't say that there's any gray area with a character like Zilic. He is what he is, and he has no remorse about what he's done.
Q: Explain your working relationship with Bazzel Baz, the technical advisor.
A: I would talk to Baz, our technical advisor, about the script and about McBride and the situations that McBride was in and whether it all tracked for him. After he'd watched rehearsal or a couple of takes, we would talk about whether it seemed realistic and go over a few technical questions. There are some scenes in a communications post, so there were some technical questions about how I would do things, since that's the place where I would be doing most of the work.
Q: How has it been filming in South Africa?
A: It's been incredible to be here. One of the amazing things about this job is you never know where the work's going to take you.
Q: TNT is the network that knows drama. Where do you think the most drama comes from in AVENGER?
A: I think the most dramatic element of this movie is the race against time. McBride needs to initiate a program called Peregrine using Zilic. Meanwhile Dexter is trying to get to Zilic. So I think the drama, the tension and the storytelling come from these two characters converging.
Q: What makes a good thriller?
A: A thriller is only good if you don't know what's around the corner. We've all seen movies where we know what's going to happen next, and it's supposed to be a thriller. So with a good thriller, you're on the edge of your seat, and the tension is always kept very taut and never lets up. It always just keeps you right there.
Q: What do you want audiences watching AVENGER to experience?
A: It's going to be an interesting journey, because it's not the sort of movie you can just sit back and let the story be told. It takes a lot of turns.