Interview: Tyler Labine Talks REAPER Season 2
As part of the build up to The CW’s premiere of “Reaper” season 2 tonight at 8pm, I had the exciting chance to talk with one of the show’s stars, Tyler Labine who plays Sock, Sam’s (Bret Harrison) sidekick buddy. Tyler gave me the run down on where his character was going this season, what he thought on the rumors of the Devil (Ray Wise) being Sam’s dad, what was going on with his recent string of sex-themed movies, and more. This was definitely one of the funnest interviews I’ve had the chance to do, so don’t miss it or the “Reaper” season 2 premiere tonight at 8pm on The CW!
Hollywood Hills (HWH): Season 2 of “Reaper” brings a new fresh slate for Sock. What can we expect and where’s he going this year?
Tyler Labine: I end up developing a fairly romantic relationship with my step-sister, which is a little weird. She’s recently in from Japan and, yeah, I get the hots for her and have no shame in trying to go deeper, if you know what I mean. I run into quite a few moral dilemmas and even Sock can’t get past that maybe he’s doing something a little wrong. He goes through a whole phase of self-exploration and tries a couple of things, including up to chemical castration (!!) to try and stop lusting for his sister.
HWH: Last season Sock was much more “unchained” when it came to romance. Do you think Sock is better “chained” or “unchained”?
Labine: Unchained. You can’t chain the beast. He’s a little too wild. I’m not going to say whether or not it works out, but I found it very interesting to play and I hope people find it interesting to watch.
HWH: In a recent interview Ray Wise (who plays the Devil) commenting pretty strongly that he was, in fact, Sam’s father. What’s your impression of that situation?
Labine: Without divulging too much, there’s definitely a lot of evidence and current in the show where they start behaving as though they’re father and soon. It’s always sort of iffy whether that’s the truth or not. But Sam tries to start taking advantage of the possibility that the Devil is his father. Whether that’s fact, I think, is still yet to be decided.
HWH: How far into season 2 production of “Reaper” have you gone?
Labine: We’re finished. Finished up mid-January.
HWH: I read that The CW had ordered up 13 episodes for the season. Is that correct?
Labine: Yeah, that’s true. We shot 13. It was all part of a plan. They wanted to air all 13 episodes of season 2 back-to-back so we don’t have any repeats in between.
HWH: At what point do you hope to hear the word on a season 3 of “Reaper”?
Labine: I think we should have a pretty strong impression of what’s going to happen after a couple of episodes. If not, then they’re still pretty cryptic about it and we would probably know by the end of April or early May. We’ll probably find out later then you guys do. We’re the last to know. Like last year, I didn’t even know we were picked up for season 2 until one of our dolly grips called and said, “hey man, I heard we’re coming back for season 2!”
HWH: Sock’s character provides a lot of Reaper’s comedic relief. You’ve got a great character there and your enthusiasm for the role really comes across. How much of his actions and lines are your own interpretation? How much freedom do you have?
Labine: That’s a really great thing that I established early on when we shot the pilot. That’s my background, I’m an improv actor, that’s where my roots are. I knew that Kevin [Smith] likes to keep things pretty close to the script, but when we started shooting he got loose, especially with me, and we started collaborating and he gave me the freedom to pretty much try anything I wanted. For me that’s like a dream. I’ll take the ball and run with it until you tell me to stop.
I couldn’t gauge how the producers and writers were feeling about it. Then I got a phone call from a couple of people saying my character tested super high and basically “you get to keep doing whatever you’re doing.” They told us and the directors to basically let me do whatever I wanted to a degree, obviously. It’s been really super cool, letting me improv the hell out of it. It’s been a really cool, collaborative effort. So yeah, I get to inject quite a bit of my particular brand of humor.
HWH: What’s been your favorite vessel so far in the entire series?
Labine: Definitely the baseball in the finale of last season when we had to do the whole noose and running down the street. Just all the power and getting to chuck that baseball. I’m a baseball player from way back, so I thought that was super cool.
HWH: Here’s a creative thinking question for you. If you were Devil for the day, what vessel would you send Sam?
Labine: Ohhh, hehe. Alright, if I was a cool Devil, it’d probably be like a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, some super cool vehicle that we’d mow down the demon. If I was prick, like the Devil really is, then I’d probably send some obscure, random thing like an exploding cigar.
HWH: You mentioned Kevin Smith earlier and having worked with him on the pilot. Has there been any discussion on Smith coming back?
Labine: No. He stayed on as a consultant. After the pilot they had so many great directors lined up and Kevin was busy with “Zack & Miri Make A Porno” which I was also in, by the way. I know he wanted to, but things just didn’t end up coming back around.
HWH: Speaking of “Zack & Miri”, I was looking over your IMDb resume and noticed an interesting trend in your recent movies. You’ve got “Zack & Miri Make A Porno”, “Ctrl Alt Del” which is about sex with computers, and now “A Good Old Fashioned Orgy.” That’s quite a theme there.
Labine: I know. Who knew? I’ve become a sex symbol. I’m out there fighting the good fight for all the husky guys in the world. It’s funny though, everyone makes a comment on that and it is pretty undeniable. I guess in recent years I’ve had a weird exhibitionist streak going on here. I don’t know, maybe I’m just more drawn to the perverted side of film. But it’s not really a conscience choice.
HWH: Any other new projects coming up where we can look out for you?
Labine: Well, “Good Old Fashioned Orgy” and I just recently got attached to this new movie called “Lumpy.” Chris Evans and I are attached to it right now and they’re still searching for a couple of other people. They were talking to Dakota Fanning for awhile for this sort of weird Lolita, there’s another weird sexual one, relationship with me and this sixteen year old girl. It’s not totally put together there yet, but it’s a really cool indie film that we’re filming in Michigan with a very talented writer and director. I’m really excited and am looking forward to working with Chris Evans. That’ll be fun.
HWH: Tyler, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me today. “Reaper” is a great series and we all wish you and the show a long, long run.
Labine: Thank you.
Reaper season 2 premieres Tuesday, March 3rd at 8pm on The CW.Did You Enjoy this Post? Subscribe to Hollywood Hills on Facebook, Twitter, & Email