This January Canadian actor Burkely Duffield will be starring in Freeform’s new Sci-Fi/Mystery series Beyond. Burkley’s previous TV/film credits include House of Anubis, Rags, Jinxed, Supernatural, Minority Report and The Tomorrow People. His other upcoming projects are Live Like Line and The Arrangement.
Freeform’s Beyond tells the story of young man, Holden (Burkely Duffield), who remarkably wakes up from a coma after 12 years and discovers that he has abilities and memories he can’t explain. After being attacked by a stranger, Holden must try and uncover what happened to him while he was in a coma.
Beyond premieres Monday, January 2 at 9pm/8c on Freeform! Following the series premiere, all 10 episodes of season 1 will be available on the Freeform app. Read our interview with Burkely below to find out more about him and Holden!
It’s very exciting to be the star of a new hit TV show so first of all, congratulations! You were just 14 when you worked on your first film. What was it about acting that intrigued you and made you want to step into this world?
Thank you very much! I feel unbelievably fortunate to be a part of it! Even before I started in the industry, I was always drawn to drama classes and performing, so when I realized that something I loved could actually be a career path, I knew it would be a perfect fit!
What was it about the script and Holden specifically, that really pulled you to this role?
The script was fantastic from the get-go, which is because of our extremely talented creator and head writer Adam Nussdorf who birthed this project. It is an unbelievable series of events that happen in a very believable setting, and Holden is reacting and learning about what happened to him. I really loved this sense of discovery that fuelled Holden as a character, and every day it was so much fun being able to act as this character and see him grow up in front of the audience’s eyes.
Do you think you and Holden are similar in any way?
(laughs) Holden is a very complex character, but I do relate to him in certain ways. He is thrust into a world he doesn’t recognize, and in my youth, I can totally relate to his journey to find out who he is, and where he is going to fit in.
Holden has no clue what’s going on with himself and is as shocked to see his new found powers as the people around him. If you were to choose a single power to possess, which would it be and why?
If I could have any superpower, I think I would want to borrow X-men Wolverine’s health regenerative ability! Break a bone, scrape my hand, or twist my ankle? No problem, I’d be good to go and never have to worry! (laughs)
A major thing to remember is that Holden is told to trust no one although we see him trying to rebuild his relationships with his family again. Should Holden not be trusting the ones closest to him?
Holden is thrown back into the world where he is trying to readjust to his life and of course wants to trust his family he knew and loved as a child. But seeing as he has been gone for 12 years, a lot can change in that time so I would advise Holden to be very careful who he turns to.
Do you think it will be difficult for Holden to fit back into a place where he belongs with his family? Will he need a lot of time to adjust?
I think it definitely is going to take Holden a while to adapt to his new surroundings. He needs to figure out who he is as a person, reconnect with everyone he knew, and try and get his life back on track.
Can you give us a hint as to why the men are chasing Holden (in the pilot) and seem to know about his powers? What could they want from him?
Well as we have shown in our teaser trailers, Holden has been given these telekinetic abilities that allow him to manipulate the world around him. I can’t give anything away, but perhaps these men chasing Holden see his abilities as something they want to harness for themselves.
The world kept revolving while Holden was in a coma, things change, and now that he’s awake he has to adapt to a whole new life. How do you think he’s going to cope? Will we continue to see him trying to get a handle on the day to day life?
You will very often see Holden struggling to get a handle on his new life throughout the show. There are so many elements of living he needs to discover, whether it be physically, emotionally, or interconnectivity with people around him, so you absolutely will see Holden encounter, and very often stumble, his way through those circumstances.
To the viewers, Luke (Holden’s brother) seems hugely accomplished, and his parents are as proud as anyone can be. Do you think it makes Holden jealous at all to hear about his younger brother going off to college when he has missed out so much on life?
Holden and Luke have a very interesting relationship as soon as Holden wakes from his coma. Luke still sees Holden as physically the older brother he is, but at the same time, Luke is kind of Holden’s “older brother” when it comes to actually living and experiencing the world. So there could be aspects of jealousy seeing what his younger brother has accomplished while Holden has missed out on all those opportunities.
It doesn’t take long for Holden to take an interest in Willa. Will we see more of these two together?
Willa is a mysterious character that finally offers Holden answers to his past and possibly his future, and he is very intrigued by what this girl may know! I guess the audience will just have to wait and see if she is there to help him, or is another danger in Holden’s life.
It has to be fun filming a supernatural or Sci-Fi show. What has been your best memory while on set?
Every day is an excellent day on our show and usually filled with some kind of cool Sci-Fi element! Some of my favorite memories have to be exploring those elements while we shoot. Whether it be shooting on a green screen, or stunt work, or using cool practical effects, it is really amazing watching this genre come to life on our sets!
What do you personally think makes this show so different?
I think this show is going to stand out because of its strong roots in reality. It’s not another superhero show; it’s a show about a boy and his family overcoming the tragedy of losing their son for 12 years, only to miraculously get him back in their lives. Then on top of that, Holden finds he has these abilities that only complicate his life further and bring all these other people into his life. So I think if you begin to watch Beyond, you will quickly see how different it truly is!
The pilot ends in a very intense way. Is there any comfort you can give to the fans on Holden and his family being alright? What can you tease your fans about the rest of the season and what’s to come?
I’m VERY excited for fans to watch the rest of the season especially if they enjoyed the pilot. It’s truly a very intense roller coaster ride for Holden and his family, and I can’t guarantee that anyone is safe! (laughs)
Are you currently working on any projects that you can tell us about?
Currently, as we get closer to reaching our air date, I am enjoying another fun aspect of my job which is what I’m doing right now, promoting the show! Our entire cast, crew, and myself included have worked so hard this past year on this awesome show, so I am so excited to finally be able to share our excitement through interviews and other press and get the word out about Beyond!
We call ourselves Talk Nerdy With Us, and we are all nerds of the first degree! Is there anything that you ‘nerd out’ about? Will you share?
(laughs) Well, I love that! I think I “nerd out” a lot when it comes to computer games. I have my gaming computer setup at home, with my gaming mouse and headset and will be online for hours on end without even realizing! So I’d say that might qualify me as a bit of an “enthusiast”!