Colin Ferguson is probably best known as the quirky and friendly sheriff in EUREKA on the SCI FI channel. However, he’s taking quite a new turn on tonight’s FEAR ITSELF as he stars in the episode entitled “Family Man.” The episode centers around a car accident that leaves a nice, loving husband and father getting his mind switched with that of a serial killer.
Ferguson sat down with iF Magazine to discuss what is was like working on such a different series in FEAR ITSELF and what we can expect from the upcoming new season on EUREKA.
iF MAGAZINE: How different was it working on FEAR ITSELF vs.EUREKA?
COLIN FERGUSON: I think the difference is the nature of an anthology series vs. the nature of episodic television. You hit the ground running with an anthology -- you don't know the crew, you just met the director, you don't know the character, and seven days later you've shot the whole thing and are on a plane home. There's a lot of trust and a lot of luck. With a series you build your cast and crew over time so the relationships are strong and rewarding but it's one hell of a grind.
iF: Did you and Clifton Collins Jr. take notes on each other's performances before the switch?
FERGUSON: Clifton and [Director] Ronny [Yu] are both so great. We all bemoaned the fact that we didn't get a week of rehearsal before we shot, but Clifton and Ronny, I got together to run through the paces one night and on the weekend. It's all the time we had. We wanted to do little things if we could but only if it worked organically. We ultimately decided that the tone of the killer would be similar in both bodies, but to let the differences in the bodies of the people dictate some of the changes. And there were plot points to support that that we needed to adhere to. So no, there isn't a hand motion or a vocal pattern that we adopted. There are a couple of little things that fit much more smoothly into the narrative.
iF: Did you enjoy getting to play bad for a change?
FERGUSON: I loved it.... but I know already that my mother isn't gonna like this one.
iF: Are you a fan of horror movies and if so, which one's do you like?
FERGUSON: I can't watch them. I get wicked terrified and then can't sleep. I have a stupid level of suspension of disbelief but now that I say that, I feel like I'm getting a bit better. I'll try a SAW movie next year and see where I'm at.
iF: How was it working with Ronny Yu? Did he try to convince you to do anything crazy stunt-wise while working on the episode?
FERGUSON: So I take this job thinking "Great. It'll be an easy little shoot and then I'll be done." Then we get to the stunts. I don't know what I missed when I read the episode but I'm hitting cement, getting punched in the face, Clifton and I spent a day beating the hell out of each other, and I'm in a car wreck -- so yeah, I got a bit bruised up. But how do you turn to the guy who does great action and martial arts movies and say "I'm a little sore". So you just eat it and hope he doesn't notice you're not half as strong as you're pretending to be.
I loved working with Ronny. I loved it. He's creative and smart and funny and a great energy to just have on a set let alone running it. And he totally got the gig. It has to be different, but had to fit in a television format. I know he was frustrated with the lack of prep -- comparatively TV has much less prep -- but he knew how to make the most of it and did so. I'd love to work with him when he had the big toys of a big movie. He, Clifton and I meshed right out of the gate and I'd work with either of them in a heartbeat - but then who wouldn't, so maybe that isn't saying much. I guess the real question is do either one of them want to work with me again.
iF: What should we expect in the new season of EUREKA?
FERGUSON: Big changes. One of the main cast dies, Frances Fisher comes on, the guest cast has been great, and the show finds its pattern. The opening episode is HUGE. Bryan Spicer directed it and apparently it looks great. We're only shooting episode 4, so I'll let you know. We have a Eureka dog show, a ground hog day episode, and lots of cool stuff. It's gonna be fun.
iF: Will the mythology continue to expand?
FERGUSON: The mythology might expand, but right now we're dealing with big plot changes for the cast and the ramifications them -- by that I mean the character we're losing. We have our hands full with that. But I know that there are big things planned mythology wise for the second half of the season and seeds are being planted now. So I guess the answer is yes.
iF: What types of episodes do you like to do the most on EUREKA?
FERGUSON: I like the off-episodes. The ones where all the characters go nuts. Everyone has a good time and it's a break for us from the ticking clock stuff.
iF: Do you feel the character is growing as we come into the next season?
FERGUSON: I feel like everyone is growing up and as they do the relationships change. I'm not sure if I'd describe a man in his late '30s as "growing" year by year -- maybe more "relaxing" and "accepting." But things are definitely changing. They have to.
By A. C. FERRANTE, Editor-in-Chief