Sam Underwood Talks THE FOLLOWING, Joining the Cast, His Character’s Motivations, Season 2, and More

     January 27, 2014


From show creator Kevin Williamson, the hit psychological thriller The Following is returning to Fox for its second season.  This time around, when Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) finds himself in the middle of a horrific new murder spree, the FBI calls on Ryan and Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore) to speak with the lone survivor, Lily (Connie Nielsen), in order to help them solve the case.  Ryan is reluctant to re-engage with the FBI, but finds a valuable ally in his niece, Max (Jessica Stroup), an NYPD cop working in the Intel Division, who helps prove his suspicion that Joe Carroll’s (James Purefoy) reign of terror is far from over.

During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, one of the newest additions to the cast, actor Sam Underwood, talked about how he came to be a part of the show, when he found out exactly what his role would be, playing such duality, character motivations, and what it was like to do that insanely creepy scene in the Season 2 premiere.  Check out what he had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.

the-following-season-2-sam-underwood-3How did this come about?  Had you watched the first season, or did you have to catch up a bit?

SAM UNDERWOOD:  I was very aware of the show.  It had such an explosive, very provocative quality about it, when it first came out.  Being on network TV, as well, was really shocking.  I’ve been a fan of Kevin Williamson for a long time, and Kevin Bacon and my fellow countryman James Purefoy, so  I was very aware of the show.  When Season 2 came about and there was a new role being cast, it was something I leapt at to read for.

Did they tell you much of anything about the role, or roles, you would be playing?

UNDERWOOD:  No, not at all.  I was given very, very few points, when I was auditioning for the role, about what my character was.  All I knew was that I was given three scenes that had very different characteristics within them, so it was fascinating to try to put that all into one body.  And then, I found out that I was actually playing identical twins, which was exciting and intriguing.  I didn’t quite catch on, straight away, which was great.  Kevin Williamson is great at keeping secrets, and twists and turns. 

When did you finally find out that you’d be playing twins?

UNDERWOOD:  At my screen test.  I had auditioned a couple of times beforehand.  Before I started to read for Kevin, he told me.  I was like, “That’s just a cherry on the cake.”  It was already fascinating to play someone that I was assuming was either a split personality or just a complete psychopath that has different characteristics about them.  Twins have very unique relationships, so I was blown away by the possibility of playing them.  So, I’m very lucky. 

I would describe Luke as seriously fucked up, but how would you describe him?

UNDERWOOD: I think for Luke’s trajectory within the season and what he’s after, he’s a leader.  He’s not a follower.  He’s got a narcissistic quality about him.  That’s one of the reasons why he’s so good at what he does, and that’s why he’s able to do the sick, twisted things that he and the rest of them do.  It’s all about number one for him.  That’s how I would approach that.  It’s hard when you’re doing all of these very villainous things.  You don’t think of yourself as a villain.  You have to think of yourself as a hero, and I think Luke absolutely thinks of himself as a hero. 

the-following-season-2-sam-underwood-2If Luke is someone who only cares about number one, is he annoyed by the fact that he even has a twin?

UNDERWOOD:  No.  The special relationship between twins is that, if there’s anyone else in the world that’s going to get or be the confidant that you need, it’s an identical twin.  People have that with their siblings, all the time, but twins understand each other in a different way.  It’s wonderful because there are distinct qualities in Luke’s brother that Luke is affected by.  He’s not just out there on his own.  He needs Mark.  He doesn’t always know it, and that’s what’s exciting to find out, throughout the season.  Is there brotherly tension?  Is there a real need for each other?  It’s exciting.

How similar and different are they?

UNDERWOOD:  They’re extremely different.  Even the mission for what they’re after, throughout the season, is different.  They’re both doing it for different reasons.  Luke is an action guy.  Luke is a guy who likes to do now and think later, and Mark likes to think about it and plan out the logistics.  Luke is a bit of a narcissist.  He loves attention.  He loves his image.  That’s a very, very important quality for him.  He thinks about how he looks and how he’s seen, and he wants to be seen.  Mark isn’t so much worried about that.  He’s much more quiet and he has a more bookish quality about him, but he has his own power, which is really interesting.  It’s a different power than Luke.  He doesn’t need to work at being noticed.

the-following-season-2-sam-underwood-1It seems as though these twins’ actions are specific enough to maybe be rooted in their past.  Will viewers learn that history?

UNDERWOOD:  You will definitely find out, over the course of the season, where these two boys came from and the potential reasons for why they do those kinds of things.  It doesn’t seem like something off the top of their head.  But, Luke making someone stand in the corner of the room is a punishment.  That’s a power play.  Luke is all about power.  He will exude that power and make that person stand in the corner because he owns the room.  For him, that’s really exciting.

What does Luke think of Joe Carroll?

UNDERWOOD:  If you asked Luke, given what Joe Carroll has done, if he’d do it different, I’m sue he would say, “Yeah, I would have done it better and I wouldn’t have gotten caught.”  I don’t want to give too much away, but I think there would be a certain type of tension between the two.  It wouldn’t be a meeting of minds, so to speak, because Luke is too much into himself for that. 

What was it like to film that scene in the Season 2 premiere, with the girl’s dead body?

UNDERWOOD:  It was a lot of fun, but it was very creepy.  I was very lucky to have a good scene partner in Haley [Higgins], the actress who played Heather.  There had to be a lot of trust there.  We improvised a lot of different things, and what ended up in the episode was many different segments of an idea.  I had an absolute blast.  Once you let go of the bad things they’re doing, and you realize that these are the things they do and you enjoy it, as Luke would, it’s great fun.  It’s like Patrick Bateman in American Psycho.  Some of the things he does make you go, “What?!”  You would hopefully never do that.  It revealed a lot about them and where they are now, and you’ll see where they go, over the course of the season. 

The Following airs on Monday nights on Fox.

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