Sean Teale – The Gifted
By: Lisa Steinberg
Q) We just met a new mutant named Esme. Will she be an asset or hinderance to the cause?
A) It’s yet to be seen. I don’t think I can give that away. With someone who has telepathic abilities, it is pretty hard to control whether or not it effects people in the group or the scenario itself because people can read thoughts. Eclipse has a fundamental mistrust of telepaths, which you’ll see tested over the next few episodes. But at the moment she’s only been an asset. That still remains to be seen. Telepathy is always going to be a hot topic that divides people. People don’t want others poking in their brains when they have something to hide. Whether it is an asset or detrimental, it will effect the people in our story and it will effect the group in certain ways and individuals differently.
Q) Will Eclipse and Lorna’s differences over tactics to protect the mutants grow going forward?
A) I think the problem is no one in this argument is wrong. They are both fighting for the same thing, but want to go about it in different ways. Their ideology is the fundamental thing that they differ on. Actually, it’s something that is tearing at him. Neither of them think they are wrong and technically neither of them are wrong. What they will try to do and what they do try to do (for people who love each other and are trying to raise a child together) find middle ground. Lorna (Emma Dumont) has gone through some trauma since the convoy attack. Ever since we broke her out she’s had this distance and resentment that has grown inside of her. It’s been there before and it’s always been there to some degree in the bipolar episodes that she sometimes goes through. Really, Eclipse is starting to worry that Lorna is slipping a different way and Lorna is starting to worry that Eclipse is unrealistic in his goals. Personally, I think that Eclipse is right in trying not to harm people and save people without making things worse because he has experience in all of this madness because of the cartel. More killing doesn’t mean less killing. It means more. He’s very aware of being too militant and harmful, but Lorna doesn’t see it that way because she has her own vested interest. She has her own experiences of what they have put them through and the world that she might have to live in. Their ideologies will clash, but their goals are the same, which unifies them still even in that fracture.
Q) Since Polaris has been rescued it seems that her and Marcos have been at odds or not on the same page. Marcos seems like a lone wolf against The Collective in doing what is right for his family. Will they find something to unify them for their child?
A) They have something that unifies them – their end goal. They adversity to overcome. They’re a family and they have a child to raise in this world. They are a family. They love each other very much, which creates an amount of unification anyway. You’ll start to see towards the end of the series that Eclipse is already (without meaning to and inadvertently) had leadership qualities. He’s brave in the face of adversity. He also has a heart and doesn’t think not showing compassion is manly. The three of them run the station and care about a group of people that they protect them and the task at hand, which is very important to him. Although his behavior has led him to help the cartel, what he’s doing is saving other people because he had to go that far. He had to go deeper into the quicksand to get Lorna out. There is no other people that would have had that information. There is no one else he could have gone to than the cartel and because of that he got to save his child. He got to save his girlfriend, who he wants to be his partner and the mother of his baby. So, really it’s always been for the greater good. What you will start to see now is when Thunderbird and Polaris start to have outside exterior weights added to them and new issues that come out of the field. They start to struggle with their own personal battles and Eclipse is very much wiling to step and be the leader that they need and the brother to Thunderbird (Blair Redford) and the other half to Lorna that she needs. He has that within him in spades so because of that it’s what he does. Unification has never been a problem. They have always had a unified front regardless of the fact she’s bitter about the cartel stuff because she understands that he truthfully had to do that in order to save her. So, although it is a horrible thing and he should have told her they are unified again in their fracture, which is why it is such a joy to play and hopefully a joy to watch.
Q) The more Marcos works with Carmen though the more his morality comes into question. How do you think the rest of the underground would feel about learning of what he’s done in the past and maybe what he is willing to do for Carmen going forward?
A) He’s been open about his past in the first place. He’s always upfront. They operate on a basis of trust. And there are mutants in the HQ that can sense and are smart enough to know when someone has done something wrong. There was that scene where Sage (Hayley Lovitt) knows Blink (Jamie Chung) hasn’t always been entirely honest about a few things, but I’m not entirely sure it made it in. It will come back though towards the end of the series. This building, this group of people, this network runs on that trust and the love they have for each other and their desire to do good. So, actually a lot of people know of his past. I think you see Thunderbird talking to Eclipse about Carmen (Michelle Veintimilla) saying, “Really? This is the person you have to go back to?” Eclipse has always been very honest about it. So, I don’t think you have to worry about that whatsoever. What is dangerous is that he enjoyed what he was doing. It’s what happens when you put the beast back in the free world – when you put a predator out in the plains again. The lines are going to get muddled. He’s been fighting so hard to get away from this world and that’s actually why Polaris and the underground are his world. At the time he was a thirteen year old boy who got taken advantage of who was living in a cardboard box because his parents kicked him out for being a mutant. So, the cartel picks him up and offers him a life he can’t refuse. That’s what his upbringing was, but eventually he grew tired of it and couldn’t do it anymore because it was amoral, unethical and wrong. Ever since his behavior has spoken to the opposite direction and he has reformed in some way. This cause, this underground and these people give him that desire to stay true to them and the cause. Eventually with the drug shipments he starts to see the flicker of danger. He’s been fighting really hard not to let it boil over and sneak its way back in his life anyway. There is a moment of weakness there that just shows can you run away from your past or is it always sin there to some degree.
Q) There has already been a number of causalities in the fight against Trask. How will tensions intensify as we move towards the finale?
A) There will be multiple casualties on both sides. There will be a lot more casualties than we have had already. I think this war, this battle, this exchange – let’s call it a skirmish…These skirmishes are only intensifying in danger because one team does something to the opposite team that emboldens them and effects them to come back stronger. Suddenly it is a tit for tat and things are getting out of hand. So, one team’s bad behavior validates the other team’s use of excessive force. Then, all of a sudden, you are killing people and people are dying. I think as the series comes to an end it is a very progressive and very understandable realistic and frightening escalation of escalation of tension. I think it just gets hotter and hotter and hotter when so much is on the line. People on each side think that they are wrong, which is a really terrifying place to be because if everyone can validate their own behavior and think they are the heroes of their own story then no one is going to back down and be the bad guy. And I will say there is a lot more action coming up, a lot of really big set pieces and a lot of huge character moments based around the plot of the underground versus Trask and Sentinel Services breathing down their necks and sort of attached to Trask. So, it’s sort of piling on at the moment and bit by bit they have to chip away at it and it’s only getting harder to deal with the rapidly escalating danger that they face.
Q) Marcos seems to have some variations to his powers. Are there any others we haven’t seen yet?
A) He can fire lasers. He can actually pull lightening with the removal of darkness. I think what will happen and what the show has been trying to do (and Polaris has had it very much so and I think Blink ahs had it as well) is a progression of powers. I think these people are still trying to come to terms with what they are doing and the more at risk they are the more they have to lose and the more powerful in ways they become – since they become more unstable nd more forced overall. So, there is an absolute possibility that you’ll start to see different powers from Eclipse. He’s already got such a wide range considering that he just has hot hands. We call him “oven mitts.” [laughs] But the more powerful he becomes then the more passionate he becomes and he can break that down to a molecular level. If his powers can work in an even smaller construct then even sort of the finer fabrics of substance that he can create. If he can become powerful enough to an atomic level then he can create the world’s biggest bomb. It can be anything! It’s what I talk to Derek Hoffman about all the time, not only personal progression. Blink could literally open black holes if she got it down to a tee. So, there is a real risk that if these people could become powerful enough then they could work in such a minutia that they could become the most powerful beings on the planet. That’s the same with any mutant. There is a progression for all of us, but the progression I think you’ll see is the mixing of powers. You’ve seen Eclipse and Lorna use their powers to take down a drone, but you’ll see what happens when the kids meld their powers together. There is a real benefit to having people with these skills and that’s more of the progression you’ll see as you see these people come up with cool ways or small ways that they haven’t already shown that they can operate together to form some sort of different use.
Q) The series features such profound and poignant messages that apply to the political landscape right now. What messages do you hope viewers take away?
A) As you said there are a lot of poignant and sadly present points that the show is trying to make. Really at the end of the day you have to remember it is an action-adventure drama. We often forget when we’re looking at the subtext and the meaning of things and what this show is trying to do. You have to actually forget that to some degree that this has to be a product of entertainment. It’s people that are interesting and people that care that hopefully you can relate to and speak to you in some manner. Hopefully, they have something to say and we can reflect (mirror) somethings in our world to this life that we create on TV through this ridiculous prism. There are a lot of points to be made, but the X-Men have always been about the outsider being ostracized and persecuted for being nothing other than themselves – which is being an outsider. We’re trying to maintain that and actually being an outsider isn’t a reason for shame, but also you can still unify and come together and look after each other. Love trumps hate and that inclusion and acceptance is far more powerful than the opposite. You’ve got two families on this show – one is a family is incredibly multi-cultural and massively diverse coming from all different walks of life and definitely different continents (the mutant family) and you see them fight, love and care. It’s unifying people, hopefully. It shows that out of five millimeters of your skin that the pigment of your skin means nothing. It makes no difference what color that is. It’s that they have always fought for peoples’ rights. It also is trying to say that maybe to some degree (especially with Jace’s character, which is really interesting) is that it shouldn’t always be polarizing left and right. I think you see with Jace’s (Coby Bell) character that in his story he is absolutely right to be doing what he is doing. He’s lost his daughter and he thinks at the time he’s trying to protect. The use of excessive force is dangerous, but that’s when lines get blurred. The reason he comes into work every day – I get it. That’s the whole point – maybe if there is someone you consider to be the aggressor maybe there is something or somewhere in them that you need to take stock of as well – as opposed to just being, “I am 100% at the zero line” or “I am 100% at the hundred line,” and there is no in between. There is no fifty. And it’s that family is important.
Sean Teale stars in Marvel’s The Gifted on FOX, Mondays 9pm ET/PT