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Exclusive Interview with Actor Adrian Hough

Photo Credit: Matt Tinney
Photo Credit: Matt Tinney

Between guest starring in two upcoming television shows and his role as an actor in video games, Adrian Hough has his hands full. The first show he’ll guest star in is Aftermath– a Syfy series about the world ending. Hough plays the leader of a religious group that Brianna Copeland (Taylor Hickson) finds her way to in future episodes. Travelers, a Netflix original about the future and what it takes to save it, is the second show Hough will make an appearance in, describing himself as an off the grid, hippie farmer. In his free time, he plays a character in The Gallery- Episode 1: Call of the Starseed, which just won an award at The Proto Awards.

Three completely different roles. One amazingly talented actor. Hough is equally excited about all three opportunities.

Can you tell me a little bit about Travelers and the character you play in it?

The series is about going back and fixing things in the past. My character is someone who pops up for one episode as someone that they didn’t realize they have to fix, but end up having to fix. He appears to be an aging hippie, farmer, and off the grid. That’s really all I can say without spoiling the episode!

I know it premieres on a Canadian television station, but is it a Netflix original?

Travelers is a show based in Canada and will be on Netflix in the states. As you’ve probably noticed, we have two different premiere dates. In Canada, on the 17th, which is coming up for me! And then for you guys, on the 23rd of December!

Is it different shooting something for Netflix than it is shooting something for a network like SyFy?

I think it really depends on the crew you’re working with. That makes the difference. When you’re an actor, and you’re on set, you’ve got your character, your lines, your wardrobe, and all the people who tell you what to do and where to stand. Every show is different. It’s all based on the character you’re playing. Both of those companies are great to work for! I’m not sure if I can differentiate between the two!

Oh, okay! I wasn’t sure if shooting a Netflix original was more like shooting a web series, where it’s much more condensed.

Netflix is more of a streamer, so they’re taking a full, normal television show, and streaming it. I think that most shooting that’s happening now is quite condensed, but certainly not web series condensed. Those are short, and quicker, and have less technical stuff to move around. But both of these shows have fairly intense visual effects and special effects going on, so they’re quite similar I guess, in that way.

And I’m celebrating today, because I’m also an actor in video games, and there’s a game that just came out in this past year. A virtual reality game. In which I am the first actor who’s ever been motion captured inside the video game, and it just won Best Narrative at The Proto Awards in Los Angeles yesterday!

Oh, wow. Congratulations! What’s the game!?

CloudHead Games built the game, and it’s called The Gallery. There’s four episodes, and this is Episode 1- Call of the Starseed. The next one is coming out in a few months.

Are you in that one, too?

I am in it! They built the part up in a larger way. They liked the character so much, so the next episode, they’re building him up and giving him flashbacks. It’s an incredible experience. I’ve never done VR before, or even played VR. It’s mostly out on the HTC VIVE right now, and it’s just going to change the way people experience entertainment and stories.

I’ll have to check that out!

Yes! Okay, now back to your questions! (laughs)

(laughs) Jumping to Aftermath! Can you talk about this character you’re playing?

Yes! He’s called the Reverend BrotherTaylor Hickson’s character finds herself amongst our commune for a couple of episodes. I am the kindly leader of this group of religious believers. That’s the surface of it. Of course, it’s the end of days, and we’re responding to the end of days differently than the rest of the world.

Can you tease how Brianna gets in with you guys?

She meets somebody who knows us. I don’t want to give away too much, but she meets them through a third party! In her travels, she meets someone who is associated with us.

I got to talk to Taylor Hickson a little bit ago, and she couldn’t say enough good things about the cast, so what was it like working with her?

Oh, she’s terrible!! (laughs) No! All of my interactions were basically with Taylor and Mitchell Kummen in these two episodes. She’s a wonderful kid. Super talented- great, wild, fun, energetic. We have a lot of fun on set. I didn’t actually meet her in person until we shot the first scene, and I almost did it deliberately, so she would respond to my character, as opposed to responding to me, as Adrian. And I think it worked. I think her response was good.

(laughs) That’s a nice actor move! You’ve been doing this awhile, huh!?

(laughs) Yeah, yeah. I want to tell you other things about the show, but I can’t!

Out of the two shows, Travelers and Aftermath, can you tell me which character was your favorite to play?

What I enjoy as an actor, is playing the differences between these characters. Over the decades that I’ve been an actor, the things that give me the joy and the buzz is that today I’m a German executive, and then the next day, I’m flying off to another city to be the guy on Travelers! So, for me, the buzz is from playing the differences, the complexities between the characters, more than having a favorite. 

They’re all my favorite for different reasons. Today, I get to be evil, but tomorrow, I get to be really kind and nice, and then the next day, I’m a farmer (laughs). That’s where my buzz is from!

Do you have a favorite role that you portray- a bad guy versus a good guy?

I like roles in which I can find emotional complexities. Harvey Kietel once said, “there’s an internal landscape of the human heart.” It’s fun playing someone who’s a bad guy because I like to find what their hopes and dreams are. That’s where this person’s righteousness is. I don’t know if that’s the good guy versus the bad guy, but the complications that each character’s actions have- the interpretations of them. Nobody thinks of themselves as being bad.

A lot of your work has been in the SciFi genre, is there something that draws you to that specific genre?

What I love about SciFi is that you can tell any kind of story with it- you can get very political, you can touch on a lot of worldly issues. You can look at issues from an abstract point of view, but also very real. It also has this sense of adventure. It’s like, here we are, looking up at the stars, wondering what it would be like to be up there. It’s a beautiful thing. Wherever our sense of adventure and imagination comes from- that’s the wonderful thing about SciFi for me.

What’s your favorite thing to nerd out about?

Well, the thing I’m nerding out about now is virtual reality, and augmented reality. I’ll look down to the beach near my house, and one day, about a month ago, a group of people were walking down the beach suddenly, and they were all looking at their phones, playing Pokémon Go! 

The thing that I nerd out about is how we’re interacting with each other. I’m talking on a device right now that can fit in the palm of my hand, and yet, it is more powerful of a computer than a computer I had twenty years ago. But also, the virtual reality thing is really compelling right now. As an actor, technology is getting so good that they can place actors inside these realities. So when you’re playing a video game with long and complicated stories, people can respond powerfully to these characters now. That’s what I nerd out about!

Well, I have to ask now, do you play Pokémon Go!?

(laughs) No! I’m pretty sure it would be my life.

 

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