Over the course of one season, Alphas has gone from, “that show that’s not Heroes on SyFy,” to an actually good show with a rich mythology, a game cast, and devoted fans. Tonight, the first season finale airs, with Season Two about to kick off production soon. To find out more we chatted with Warren Christie, who plays new Alphas team member Cameron Hicks on the show about whether he edits his own Wikipedia page, who would win in a fight on the cast, and, oh yeah, the game-changing season finale.
MTV Geek: You’ve done a lot of work on a lot of different shows, one-offs, a lot of cancelled runs, etc… But what’s it like – not to be glib – knowing that you’re on a show that’s actually going to get a second season?
Warren Christie: [Laughs] It’s nice, and it’s nice to find out so early. A lot of times things come down to the wire. I have a lot of fun doing the show, but I think we’ve set ourselves up with a good first season for a really exciting second season. I like playing the character, I like the people I work with, and the storylines are pretty great.
Geek: For you, what goes into the character of Cameron Hicks?
WC: He’s had an interesting arc. When we first meet him, he’s a loner, he’s very much had a rough go of things. He’s divorced, he’s estranged from his son, all these things are going. And then we get to see him open up… I think he’s always craved being part of a group, but he’s had such problems in the past that I don’t think it’s been an easy thing for him to dive into. Now he’s within the team and accepted. His teammates are starting to trust him, and vice versa.
Geek: A little bit of a side note, I was taking a look through your Wikipedia page, and it said, quote, “He has the ability to embody diverse characters, as is evident in the variety of roles he has taken on and mastered.” First of all, did you write your own Wikipedia entry?
WC: [Laughs] I couldn’t possibly write something about myself. I wish I could turn a phrase that nice.
Geek: More seriously… Is that something you’ve tried to do? Master as many different characters as you can? And how is Hicks different from what you’ve done before, if that’s true?
WC: Yeah, I think any actor hopes to have variety and range in what they do. Everybody has a certain range, so you take on roles to expand that the best you can… See things a little differently and whatnot. What I’ve enjoyed about Cameron from the beginning is that he’s not a hero, he doesn’t want to be. He didn’t just jump into this group, want to be a part of it, and say, “Let’s go get the bad guy.” There’s a lot of grey areas, a lot of questions in our show. Good and bad isn’t so cut and dry. I think because of the way he’s brought in in episode one, there’s a fun challenge in being the eye of the viewers, bringing them into this world. I’ve enjoyed playing him… There’s a physical side to the role, shooting guns, and the big kid in my loves doing that. But he’s a complex guy… It’s been a nice balance of the two.
Geek: That’s actually a nice segue to talk about last week’s episode, where you were all trapped in Binghamton. There were a bunch of things going on, but for you, it seems like it was about the rest of the team learning to trust Hicks.
WC: It’s an interesting way to put it. As it was going along, I think all the eyes were turning towards Hicks, he seems the obvious guy. Understandably. He is newish to the group, so it was an easy thing for him to be zeroed in on. But I think as the dust settled a little bit we did have this realization that this is a team. What I really liked is that episode by episode, falling into place and they started to work together as a team. Each person has a specific ability that, maybe on their own isn’t that spectacular. But together, you piece them together and work off each other. So I think it was a nice way to put it together last week, and see them come together. There’s this moment when Fake Rosen turns on him, and he’s really hurt, and lashes out physically, because this team has become so important to him, and become such a part of his life. So yeah, I think that’s a nice way to put it in the end, that they’ve all learned to rely on each other.
Geek: You touched on this a little bit, but lets talk about the fight scene in that episode… That was pretty hardcore, what was it like to film that for you guys?
WC: That was a lot of fun, hats off to our stunt performers, because they don’t just do the stunts, the choreograph them… And then try to teach them to Malik and I. [Laughs] I don’t know how easy that is for them. The fun thing about it is that they have these two distinct powers, the strength versus the agility, the power versus the speed. Because of that we were able to find a really interesting fight sequence that highlighted both of our skills.
It was long. [Laughs] Every once in a while, stunts don’t go perfectly, you get a little bruise here, a little bruise there. But we had a lot of fun doing it, and I think that it came together pretty well in the end.
Geek: This may be more of a question for the stunt performers, but I’m guessing you don’t actually have the same powers that Hicks does in real life, so how do you approach a fight scene with superpowers, from a physical stand-point?
WC: It depends on the day and the sequence, obviously. But TV moves very quickly, so it’s not like we have days upon days to rehearse, which is a luxury we’re not afforded. You go in, do as much as you can, and again, our stunt team is great about creating these things, and we want to try as much as we can… You break it down into pieces, you try to learn each piece, and try not to hurt the guy across from you – or yourself. [Laughs]
Geek: Now, I write about comics for MTV Geek, as well as TV, and I’d say approximately fifty percent of all comic book conversations come down to, “Who would win in a fight?” Spider-Man or Batman, Superman or the Hulk… This fight kind of seemed to be one of those, but with your two characters – is that the kind of thing that comes up on set?
WC: Oh sure, that comes up every once in a while. You want to puff out your chest and show off your powers a little bit, your abilities, and what would happen. You talk about it… I mean, when we ended that fight I was in a bit of a precarious situation, he was about to smash a giant piece of cement on my head, so who knows if I would have swung out of the way of that. But everybody is a little bit protective of their abilities, and want to think theirs in the best. You want to talk about it a little bit, but luckily we’ll never have to use them on each other, so I guess we’ll never know.
Geek: Okay, let’s talk about the season finale… What’s coming up with the show, and what’s going to happen with Hicks?
WC: Obviously without giving too much away, I think our writers have done an incredible job of creating this world and mythology of Alphas, Red Flag, and Binghamton. This season finale is incredibly well written, I think, because its going to take this world we’ve been creating all season and break it wide open… And set it up for Season Two, which thankfully we know we’re going to have the pay-off for. It’s really about taking this world and turning it on its end. There’s some incredible fight sequences in this next episode, we’re going to run into a few Alphas who have really interesting abilities, that are going to be an interesting counter-point to our own… I don’t want to give too much away, but I’m really excited about it, it’s phenomenal. David [Strathairn] gives an unbelievable performance – it’s on his shoulders a little bit. He really knocks it out of the park.
Geek: Any indication where you guys might go in Season Two?
WC: Season Two? No, we heard about a week ago about that, which was the hope. At the end of the season finale, it shakes everything up and gives us so many different ways to go, so many different storylines to get into, that I’m excited to see what it is. When the news came through I tried to send an e-mail to Zak Penn right away and asked if it was too early to make Season Two demands – he said it was. I’m gonna give it another week or so before I start throwing my ideas into the mix. [Laughs]
Geek: I was curious about that, are there places you want to take Hicks in Season Two?
WC: The beauty of him is that he’s come so far in Season One, but we’re only scratching the surface – he just learned about his abilities in Season One. So as we go along, he’ll keep growing, changing, and learning – which means bigger stunts, more growth… I’m interested to see where he’s going. On a personal level with his storyline I’d like to see his son come into the mix. I think it’s a bit part of who he is, we didn’t touch on it too much in Season One. But I’d like to see that storyline emerge, see Hicks, the man, the Father.
Geek: Last question, and I’m guessing you get this literally every interview, but I have to ask it anyway. If you could have any Alpha power—
WC: Can I guess what it is?
Geek: Go ahead.
WC: I heard the beginning of that, but yeah, that’s what I was gonna guess. [Laughs] I have two answers. I’m a huge sports fan, so from that angle, I’d take Hicks’ ability and go play pro sports – and not just one. All of them. But more realistically, in real life I’d take Nina’s power. It’s very rare to have people listen to what you say… And do it. It would be nice to have people do what I say for a change. That would be nice. [Laughs]
Alphas season finale airs tonight - Monday, September 26th at 10pm ET/9pm CT on Syfy.