Interview: The Cape’s David Lyons

Actor David Lyons

I have to be honest, I wasn’t too familiar with the work of David Lyons before NBC‘s The Cape. I saw the commercials and being the comic fanboy that I am, I tuned in to watch. Usually with these kinds of shows I don’t expect too much but I actually liked the show and it’s got a permament spot in my Tivo.

The Australian actor has been seen in ER and Eat Pray Love and now as Vince Faraday he’s a butt-kicking, masked super-hero.

I talked to David in a conference call about his work on the show, playing a super-hero and, yes, wearing the cape.

The Cape airs Mondays at 9/8c

What attracted you to this type of material in the first place? Are you a Sci-Fi or comic book fan at all?

David Lyons: I wasn’t a Sci-Fi comic book fan, and what attracted me to it was knowing that it was a Sci-Fi comic book genre, at the heart of it was a very, very real family bond. And so the way I approached the script was the same way I approached the character — was not in terms of being a superhero. It was in terms of being a family man that’s torn away from everything that he loves and he’s using this last vestige of hope in order to get it all back.

So it’s kind of been a really interesting and steep learning curve for me in terms of the genre of the world and the mythology of these worlds, but one which has been incredibly enjoyable and quite a huge eye-opener and quite a thrill.

What is it like for you to anchor a TV show? Are you feeling any sort of pressure at all on a personal level?

David Lyons: I think that, you know, you feel pressure regardless of what role you play. Just in terms of the fact that when you work on something and – like anyone whether it be a painter or a cook or – when you prepare something for other people to view, there is trepidation involved.

But the – what we’ve been doing is just focusing really on the characters themselves getting into the storyline so that that concept of leading a show, whatever, is not at the forefront of my mind and I can’t afford to let it be. It does start getting in the way of the work, and at the very end of everything, the work is what you’re there for.

Can you talk about some of the discussions that you had with Tom that led to changes within Vince that set you as an actor?

David Lyons: Yes, absolutely. I mean, Tom’s been very open to all suggestions that we’ve been making and with all the characters, and it’s been a – very much a unified creative space.

In terms of, like, what is written in terms of scripts, there hasn’t been too many changes that I have made. There’ve been a couple of character points that have come up in terms of the reasons why Vince veers from the path of finding his family. That was something as an actor I was finding difficult to play. When your – when the obsession with the family is so strong, how does he leave that behind and work his way into other areas of the Cape storyline. And that’s something that he’s been very receptive to and we’ve kind of been working with.

But as a rule, Tom’s Vince Faraday that he wrote is the same one that I’ve playing now. It hasn’t changed from the script. I guess as he sees the rushes — you call them dailies — coming in, he will start changing all the roles in order to fit the nuance of different characters in order to fit their strengths and work out weaknesses and so on. So it’s been an ongoing process.

I came in with an idea of who Vince Faraday is, but as the scripts come, you start to get – I get more of an insight into what he’s capable of and to the way he views his own role and so on. So it’s kind of been a learning experience about who Vince Faraday is on both the side of the writer and the actor.

How easy or hard is it to maneuver in the actual costume of the Cape for you as an actor?

David Lyons: It’s not easy. It’s – to be honest, I mean, I don’t think any superhero custom, other than, say, Superman – well, I guess Spiderman has a bit of maneuverability as well. But in terms of just the way it’s constructed and so on, it’s a little bit more like the shining armor of a night as opposed to the Lycra flexibility of a Superman costume.

Which is based on – the mythology of the world is that he uses a breastplate — an old Samurai breastplate — their leather pants, their big boots, and on top of that, it’s a mask and a cape. So in terms of, like, maneuverability, everything that you see the way he moves is the way he actually moves. I’m not putting anything on. There’s no posturing. It’s – and the fight scenes are all done in that – with all those things in mind as well. So it is difficult, but it’s something that the character, Vince Faraday, is learning to maneuver in as much as the actor, David Lyons, is.

So I’m curious to know is there anything that you’re surprised to learn about your character as you continue to film more episodes?

David Lyons: Yes, I guess there are a few things. There are a lot of moments that really stretch Vince Faraday as a character and learning how he responds to those moments is – has been really interesting. Learning how much he’s able to enjoy the scenario as well as fear the scenario or be obsessive within the scenario.

So like with any character, it still has to open up different levels, and with the writer of Tom Wheeler and the creative team, it’s – you start to see, you know, different shades. Like with every character in the show, you’re starting to really see a lot of light and shade.

So, you know, it’s an exploratory process, and it’s one which each day yields a different aspect of the character.

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