How Patrick Fugit Was Possessed by Robert Kirkman's 'Outcast'
When we first met Outcast," he more than lives up to the title, playing a man whose entire life has been defined by the demonic possession of his mother, leading him to lead a pariah-like existence in the small town increasingly plagued by bodily invasions from another realm.
The brainchild of "The Walking Dead" creator Robert Kirkman -- and like that project, based on the Kirkman-penned Image Comics that debuted in 2014 -- "Outcast's" horrific charms quickly found their demonic way into Fugit's head, and the actor reveals the joys of finding bright spots in the darkness, getting bloodied up and repossessing the possession genre.
On getting possessed by Kirkman's writing:
Patrick Fugit: "I had watched and somewhat enjoyed 'The Walking Dead,' but it was the scenes that they sent. They were scenes that were written just for the [casting] session, because they weren't releasing the first script yet, so the scenes were a lot about Kyle's struggle, Kyle's sort of darkness.
"But then there was also this great scene ... a scene between him and his wife before they had a daughter, before anything dark or tumultuous happened with their relationship, and it was a very bright, very sweet scene that really communicated like a totally different side and like an inner brightness in Kyle that was really nice to explore. Particularly, when it was shrouded by darkness in the second scene, which is more him talking to the reverend and recounting what happened between him and his mother when he was young, and the possession.
"So it was like these two contrasting scenes, and I felt like if the brightness could be carried through and just be surrounded in that shell of turmoil and darkness, it would be cool and interesting. So it was a nice duality that I like about the character. That was kind of what initially got me in there."
On all the blood he wears in "Outcast":
"Man, I get a lot of blood in the season that we shot! It's cool. Blood's like a thing when you're on set. As soon as you put it on the actor's face, because then they have to match it later in the day. If you come back like two days later to shoot the second part of that scene, or if we're like having a fight in this hotel room and my face gets bloody, we shoot that all today, but then like in three days we'll be filming where I walk outside or something like that, so the blood has to be exactly the same.
"So productions tend to, like, pussyfoot around blood. They're like, 'If we just do like two drops, then we'll match it no matter what.' I was like, 'No – cover my face in blood! I want spit and blood, and I want scars,' and like that sort of thing. So it was fun."
On entering the world of comic-book adaptations:
"Robert [Kirkman] is like a comic rock star. When we go to anything that has to do with comics, he's the dude. So I feel there's a huge responsibility. It's always been, anything that has to do with comics, or is like an adaptation of a comic, is always sort of as like an unwritten rule, just broached with like a respect, because the audience that you are making that film for cares a lot about the source material. So I felt it was important to get it right, and to really reach for the tone and stuff that Robert and Paul [Azaceta, the artist] have created with the comic.
"I think there were five or six issues out before I went into really do the screen testing for the show. What was impressive was Robert's writing of the first episode was good enough that it communicated everything that I had gotten from the comic. So he's obviously very conscious, and so is Chris Black, about making sure that all those tones and themes parallel each other from the show to the comic.
"Obviously, we get to explore a lot more in the show, and there's more texture and depth because we have a greater number of tools and we have a lot more time to tell the stories."
On the camaraderie he's found, on-screen and off-, with his partner-in-exorcism, Philip Glenister (pictured, right), who plays Rev. Anderson:
"Well, he's a great actor -- I mean, he's, like, trained. He's a legitimate actor. Yeah, from very early on, he's very loose and he's very humorous. He's a joker -- he's a bit of a clown, but he's playing this pretty serious role.
"We have a lot of scenes inside really uncomfortable situations ... where we really got to bond. Kyle and the Reverend have a lot of tension that builds through the scene. They have very different perspectives of what they're dealing with. Once they start to find the groundwork of all this stuff that's happening with this small town with the possessions and that sort of thing, both of their views and beliefs are kind of challenged and start to crumble. What they find after that isn't necessarily the same thing.
"So they're on kind of different personal journeys, and that creates a lot of awesome tension for the scenes that we got to do. Doing them with a total titan like Philip is amazing. I just have to try to keep up with him."
On what appealed to him about the possession genre:
"Nothing. When I read the first thing, it was like, it's about possessions. I was like, 'All right ...' And then I read the first episode and I was like, "Oh – okay!" It was interesting for me, after I read it, because Robert was doing something that I feel like he's been good at with 'The Walking Dead,' and is also just getting better at, which is taking what we already know about possession genre and that sort of thing, and using that to sort of shift the perspective, shift the rules around. How these things interact with humans, what it means.
"Then, some really cool stuff that I can't spoil, but cool stuff towards once we get into the season and really rolling, there are moral choices that surround what these things are and what Kyle can do with and to them, and what happens to the person when he does that. That's when Reverend and Kyle have a lot of tension as to what the plan should be.
"So I think it is a possession genre, but it's a different perspective now with what Robert's created. Similar to what he does with everything. It's like he takes something that has trappings or tropes that we're all familiar with, but then those are sort of set up to misdirect us in a way, which is really cool."
"Outcast" premieres tonight (June 3) at 10 p.m. ET/PT.