There haven't been many sure things in this past network TV season,
Revolution has been a good bet for NBC. The
post-apocalyptic thriller looks at a not-so-distant future Earth in
which all technology has stopped working. It was created by
the powerful team of Eric Kripke (Supernatural), Jon Favreau
(Iron Man) and J.J. Abrams (Star Trek).
Though the series is very much an ensemble piece, the main character
is probably Miles, a jaded former Marine who is sort of drafted into
a leadership role amongst the survivors. Miles is played by
Billy Burke, a long-time character actor who is no stranger to
iconic roles: playing Kristen Stewart's father in the Twilight
movies, a homicidal lawyer on the TV show The Closer, a
special agent with a personal history in Rizzoli & Isles and
an addicted baddie on 24.
A few days before the first season
finale of Revolution, Burke spoke with us and some other
websites about the show and his career.
It looks like
in the next episode that thereís a good chance theyíre going to try
to turn power on regardless of whatís going to happen. Is the issue
of the lights being on and off going to continue to be what the
showís about? Or is it going to move next season more into being
about the revolution and going against Monroe and his people?
To answer your
question as honestly as I can, I have zero idea whatís going to
happen after this episode. (laughs) Iíve not seen one line of
one script for next season, so I donít have a clue what weíre going
to be going into. All I can say about the end of this season is that
it all comes down to [the fact that] everything weíve been fighting
for comes into question.
Okay great. I
guess my second question then you canít answer either. .
What do you
find the most challenging?
I'm not sure that
I find anything particularly challenging. Iíve had more fun doing
this than Iíve had doing anything in a number of years actually.
Itís just been a joy every day. Itís hard work. I mean we work an
average of 14, 15, 16 hour days. Itís a very physical show and Iím
getting shit beat out of me all the time whether the character is or
not. Me, the actor is going through a lot of physical stress. But I
donít find it particularly challenging at all. I like the way it
works. We donít know much more ahead of time whatís going to happen
than the audience does. So itís a good system for me. We kind of
make it up as we go.
Randall [Colm Feore]ís been a bit of an enigma this season. What can you tell us?
Will we be finding out anything about his intentions in the finale,
what he wants?
The short answer
is yes. (laughs) I canít go into detail about it but yes,
youíll find out Randallís MO in this last episode.
lost two main characters this season. Should we be prepared for any
deaths in the finale?
Well I donít know
that. The nature of the show is this, weíre all in precarious
situations and all in the same precarious situation collectively
together. The nature of the show is people are going to die in this
scenario, the world being the way it is and the battles that weíre
fighting. So I canít speak to particular characters one or the other
if theyíre going to be around or not. As the show goes on and moves
into the second season, itís my guess Ė and I donít know this for
sure Ė that weíll see new people and we might be saying goodbye to
some others, yes.
looking forward to seeing in the finale Ė and I donít know if it
happens Ė is a confrontation, one on one between Miles and Monroe
[David Lyons]. I
know you canít talk about it, but maybe you can say yes or no that
there is one. Can you talk about theoretically if Miles would
actually be able to kill Monroe if the opportunity presented itself?
Or would their friendship still get in the way?
Well to answer
the first part of your question itís pretty safe to say that I donít
think that weíre going to end this season without some final
showdown between those two characters. To answer the second part,
weíve seen that conflict go on for so long. The nature of these two
guys is that, yes, theyíre both fighting different sorts of pathos
within themselves. Each one thinks that theyíre doing the thing for
the common good and for the overall right. Thatís the struggle that
we deal with. The brotherhood between them seems to be so strong
that itís kind of overcome a lot of those moments. But I donít know
how long that will continue.
about Miles thatís been really obvious this season is that his
relationship with Charlie [Tracy Spiridakos] has really softened him and changed who he
is. But heís also watched her get harder.
Can you talk
about his fears for her and if his changes are going to stick with
Thatís been the
fun dance to play with throughout this entire first season. We
didnít know it was coming any more than anybody else did. But as the
scripts kept coming in, we kept making the show, what I realized is
is that yes, there was a do-si-do going on. He was taking on her
characteristics and she was taking on his. Naturally his fears for
her becoming everything about him that he wouldnít want anybody to
be, those are boiling to the surface.
interesting thing about this character I think is that heís kind of
50% reliable and 50% unreliable. Heís the guy who has been pushed
into a leadership role but would rather be the guy sitting in the
back row making smart-ass comments to his friends. The internal
struggle with him, is that the sort of line youíre walking as an
actor with this guy? He really seems to be a natural leader but a
truly reluctant leader at the same time.
Yes those are the
fun things to play with. The question that does arise quite
frequently while weíre producing these episodes is whatís going to
be too far? What is going to actually be redeemable in the end and
does it need to be redeemable? For me because I still am not even
clear on what the whole term anti-hero even means. Weíre making that
up for this character as we go. When we first met him at the
beginning of the season, he wanted nothing to do with this fight. So
youíre absolutely right, heíd rather not have the responsibility on
his shoulders. But as we all know you get pulled back into things in
life that you just kind of have to deal with. Thatís been his
When you get
home every night and you turn on the lights and they come on do you
breathe a little sigh of relief?
I donít think
about it that much when Iím home. But we do think about it quite a
bit on set. We talk about it a lot. Itís a big part of everyday
conversation all the what-ifs. I suppose if I had to think about it
when I came home (laughs) if I couldnít open the refrigerator
and find something cold in there Iíd be pretty pissed off.
What do you
think about the move to Austin? Are you all looking forward to it?
Is it going to be a little jarring or bring a lot of possibilities?
looking forward to it. Austin, itís one of the coolest cities that
we have here in the United States of America, I got to say. That
being said we will all miss Wilmington. North Carolina was really
good to us. We loved everybody there. I couldnít have imagined at
the time a better place to be making this show. So although we are
all looking forward to Austin weíre going to miss where we were last
season too. But Austinís got a lot of great stuff to offer. I was
just down there a couple days ago as a matter of fact.
Was there any
particular reason behind the change or was it just financial stuff?
Yes, it was all
administrative stuff that Iím sure weíll never know very much about.
(laughs) But the other thing about this show is that it is
not only nationwide, but itís a global event. I think it enriches
the show the more territories we visit and the more landscapes we
Youíve done a
lot of stuff even before
stuff like that. You have a really, really vast career. Would you
say this is one of the highlights of your career or are you still
looking for that big highlight?
absolutely say that this is. Iíve been having a great time making
this show. When I think back to my childhood and looking ahead to
what I wanted to do, there was never really any question with what I
wanted to do. Then I look at this gig. I canít see it getting any
better than this in terms of stuff to do and fun to be had. This is
a pretty rich role and good thing to be doing as your job every day.
On paper in
the beginning it looked like it could go either way. I mean it came
from Eric Kripke, who did
which I adore. And once you all got into doing it it was obvious it
was going to be a hit.
Well I appreciate
you saying that. I donít know if anythingís obvious in network
television these days. (laughs) But as far as what it looks
like, as you say on paper I would agree with you. I mean if this
isnít an entertaining show then Iím not sure what is.
some other people we were all kind of in agreement that the second
half of this season really seems to have taken on a different kind
of energy and a different feel. I was wondering if that was the same
with you as an actor and if that was an intentional change or just
something without the intent being there?
Yes, we as actors
talked about it during the little break that we took, the hiatus
that we took. Then as we came back and started to see the scripts
roll in we donít know if that was intentional from the get go or if
it was just lucky happenstance. But we are all in complete agreement
with that. We feel like it almost became a heightened version of the
show it already was. Weíre all looking forward to that climbing the
ladder even more for next season.
How much of
Miles did you know about when you took on the role? And has that
changed a lot since the season has been going on?
I knew what
happened in the pilot because thatís what they gave me to read.
(laughs) Then Kripke and [Jon] Favreau, who I sat down with
initially to talk about it with, gave me an overview of the show.
But not necessarily an overview of the path that any of the
characters were going to take, including mine. So Iíve been watching
this go as you the viewers have.
Miles is such
a great character. Weíve seen him change and transform so much even
just in this first season. Whatís been the give and take between you
and the writers in creating this character?
what you really appreciate as an actor Ė if you can be trusted. I
felt that from the very first moment that I sat down with Kripke to
talk about it. I felt like they were going to trust me to do what I
was going to do with the material given. That being said Iím so
thankful to him and the rest of the writers for really giving a shit
about not only my character, but all these characters and the
precarious lines that they walk. My character in particular has
taken a path around himself to get to where he is now. Thatís always
the greatest stuff to play with. Yes the sword fighting is fun and
weíve been having a ball with everything, but especially for
television I canít think of anything that would be more enriching to
You spent some
24. I see some similarities between Miles and Jack Bauer. Kiefer
Sutherland has said that Jack Bauer was the kind of character who
just could never be happy. Do you see Miles sort of in that same
vein? Do you think that ultimately he can be happy or is he just
going always sort of be fighting or crusading for something?
something that he doesnít even think about or strive for, in my
mind. Lights at the ends of tunnels donít even come into this psyche
at all. I think first and foremost, like everybody in this world
that weíre living in, he just wants to survive. Beyond that if he
can do something to help the common good I think all his choices are
based on: yeah Iím going to have to do some shitty things, but in
the end is it going to help the common good? I think thatís all he
So you donít
think heís going to be happy ultimately?
answer: I think it can be his kind of happy, which is in tiny little
You touched on
my question but you didnít exactly answer it. What technology do you
think youíd miss the most if you were in the world of Revolution?
Well after being
Ė as you can imagine Ė asked this question several times, what I
always keep coming back to is I grew up a musician. I still play
music. And mostly I listen to music. So the absence of recorded
music would be my biggest. I mean beyond refrigerated food,
(laughs) recorded music, that would be the big one.
Did you talk
with any Marines or former Marines to help get into the characterís
mindset for the role?
I would love to
say that I did, but no I did not. (laughs) We got this gig
and the next morning we were shooting. Then on set weíre working 16
hour days, so thereís not a lot of time for any kind of
Sure, sure, I
understand. Now this is a little off topic, but I just saw the
season premiere of
and they mentioned your character from The Closer. I was
wondering will you be coming back and resurrecting that role again
on the new show?
Well, we havenít
talked about it yet. Thatís nice that that characterís having a life
of his own. (laughs) But I canít foresee at least for this
next season because of the schedule that we have. I canít really see
me having time for that. But who knows?
A couple of
two-fold questions. The first is regarding Sebastian [David Lyons] and
Miles. He now knows about his son with Emma [Annie Wersching] who was Miles' fiancťe
at the time. How is this going to affect their relationship? Is this
going to be an ongoing love triangle or triangle of some sort? Will
we see any of this happen in the finale?
Love triangle Ė
who would be the third point of the triangle because Emmaís dead?
necessarily a love triangle but I guess a triangle with the son and
Is it going to
be an ongoing story arc?
I have no idea.
You donít often in any story lines, television or otherwise,
introduce a character like that. Like a son even if we havenít seen
him yet. You donít often do that if you donít intend to follow
through with it. So I would imagine going into this next season that
will come into play. But Iím only guessing cause I havenít seen any
scripts from the next season yet.
nothing in the finale?
Not to my
It seems like
weíve moved from the territories to the tower. Is the focus shifted
now completely from like the ongoing war with the territories to the
new life, that has been created because of the tower versus the
Battle of the Republics which is what we were doing before?
Well you will see
in this final episode that it all does culminate in the event thatís
about to take place in the tower. What happens is that we all find
out that what weíve been fighting for all along may not be
physically, or spiritually, what we thought we were fighting for.
What happens after that, donít know. But it all comes to a big head.
is one of the most exhilarating parts of the show. What kind of
training and fight choreography process you go through for those
choreography was created by our masterful Jeff Wolf who from the get
go made this whole thing up. How it works is we know that thereís a
fight sequence coming up. Heíll talk to the writers and produces
about what it means and what the contentís going to be. Heíll
choreograph it. Heíll video [it]. Heíll email it to me. So thereís
not a lot of prep that goes into it at all. We kind of just wing it.
Were you in
any way reluctant to commit to a potentially multiyear program so
soon after coming after the multi-year
commitment or was it just a no brainer?
pedigree that this show had with the Kripke and [executive producer
JJ] Abrams and Favreau directing the pilot, I was going to make a
choice like that Ė and this had been the first time Iíd even been
presented with a choice like that in years because I hadnít been
available to do television for so long because of the Twilight
Do you have a
lot of stunts that you do, besides just the fighting, that you can
So far itís been
mostly battle scenes. Thereís some running and jumping around and
stuff like that all of which I always want to do for myself. My poor
stunt double Eddie Davenport, lovely guy, but heís hanging around
most the time waiting for me not want to do something so...
(laughs) Yes I do the large bulk of it myself, yes.
away spoilers is there something specific in the finale that like
youíre really excited for fans to see?
The final episode
and how we all sort of get to the end of this road and now have to
think about internally why weíve been fighting for so long. Thatís
how it culminates. I think itís a great way to not only cap off this
season but bring us into the next.
Early on when
we see the flashbacks Miles and Monroe had a lot in common and they
were together working. What do you think it was specifically that
changed Miles that made him decide to go in the opposite direction?
I get a little
annoyed with actors who talk about the internal struggle of the
characters and all that crap. But from the day a lot of it was
exhaustion. He was exhausted with the day, struggle for whatís
probably going the wrong direction. Thatís why at the beginning of
the series we found him and he had walked away from the fight
because he didnít want to be in there anymore. A lot of it was his
personal... he saw Monroe going off in this direction that looked
dangerous and for lack of better term wrong. He didnít want to be a
part of that. But he knows now that heís back in the fight that heís
got to do some stuff thatís ugly, too.
Will we get
any further insight in the love triangle between Rachel [Elizabeth
Mitchell], Miles and
Nora [Daniella Alonso]?
maybe. (laughs) I hate to be vague but at this point we sort
of get it. I think viewers see the overall dynamic no matter how
oblique that might seem. But yes, youíll start to get whatís
happening Ė at least from where Miles is concerned.
Is it fair to
say that whatever their romantic relationship was it began way
before she got married to his brother or were these the same time?
Or do you have any signs of that situation?
You know what?
Iím going to be very honest with you here. We still donít know that.
The actors donít know that timeline. Itís something that we had
asked the moment that it came up and as it continued because itís
difficult to place stuff that you donít know. (laughs) But in
terms of the timeline and when it all happened, we actually donít
know. Iím determined to find out as you are though.
description that NBC put out for the finale it says Tom Neville
[Giancarlo Esposito] and
Randy Flynn bring new meaning to the dark side. Does that mean that
the two of then hook up to do something together? Or can you talk a
little bit about what that means?
necessarily mean that, no. But I think definitely those two
characters individually have their own agendas. We will see those
come to a head in the finale. But that doesnít necessarily mean that
theyíre doing that in tandem.
Okay. Can you
describe the finale in a few adjectives like cliffhanger or
explosive or without - you know, that way you donít have to say what
happens in it but we get some really good adjectives to use?
I would say
Does that work
Yes that does. Thanks.
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