Q: How did you become involved with AVENGER?
A: I had been in England for a month or so and Poland before that, so I've been away a long time. I had just arrived back in New York, and I was told there's a job for me. So I read the script - I always read the script because I wouldn't want to do a turkey - and liked it. Plus the chance to go to South Africa was wonderful.
Q: What is your opinion of the role of Devereaux?
A: It's always interesting to play a villain, because the villain allows you a great many more colors than playing the good guy. When you play the good guy, you have to always be good. I personally happen to believe that the Central Intelligence Agency is villainous, and this movie gave me the opportunity to portray what I believe some of the psychology and the thinking is that goes on behind certain decisions. I think it's really important to always try to inform. Of course, it also has to be entertaining. You have the opportunity in any piece of entertainment to, in some degree, inform people about the way we are in this world and what we might do to change it. I try to present a real person that an audience member can look at and say, "That's why he does what he does."
Q: Talk a little more about your character's relationship with Dexter.
A: I have no relationship with him. He is what is called a rogue element. He is in the way. If his objective is to take out my asset, he can have my asset with my blessing as soon as I've pulled my sting. If he gets in the way before my sting is operated, I will take him out.
Q: What has been the most rewarding aspect of working on AVENGER?
A: One of the actors on AVENGER is David Hayman. I had met him once before in England. He runs an organization that raises money in Scotland and England for children in Africa who are victims of AIDS. He wants to establish a foundation called the Avenger Foundation that will raise money both among this crew and this company that will give back to the people of South Africa. I know the cast and crew of The Constant Gardener did the same thing.
Q: What makes a thriller good?
A: Being able to hold the audience "on the dangle," as they say in this film. Keeping the tension rubber-band tight. Misdirection. Not knowing what comes next. Never letting the audience get ahead of you. If the audience thinks that the hero is basically going to triumph regardless of what happens, then the thriller part tends to go in the toilet.
Q: How do you define drama?
A: I don't know how to define it, but I know what it is when I see it. I suppose that it means there's something at stake. People are struggling to find a solution and an answer, and they go through a transformation as part of their journey. In the end, they come out better informed about who they are and what needs to be done.
The biggest theater in Greece was right next to what was then Johns Hopkins of Greece, so that when you went to the hospital in Greece, after you were cured, you then went to the theater to be purged of the feelings that created the sickness. The authorities in Greece used the theater as sort of a safety valve to blow off the emotions and pent up passions of people frustrated with the politics. People could go to the theater and experience vicariously large thematic issues within the drama, which purged them of those feelings that would otherwise have caused them maybe to revolt against the state. Whether that's the purpose of what we do remains to be seen.