On Halloween 2010, “The Walking Dead” debuted on AMC and quickly became a television juggernaut. And over the last six seasons, Robert Kirkman’s slow-moving zombies have flooded into millions of living rooms and allowed horror to return to TV in a big way. Now, with “Outcast,” Kirkman and artist/co-creator Paul Azaceta have found a home for their Skybound comic book about demonic possession at Cinemax. Executive produced by Kirkman and starring Patrick Fugit (“Gone Girl,” “Almost Famous”), “Outcast” tells the story of Kyle Barnes, a man surrounded by demonic possession since youth who’s made it his mission to discover what’s causing these possessions in those he loves, and why he’s been given certain abnormal abilities.
Kirkman, Fugit and executive producer Chris Black sat down with Jonah Weiland in the world famous CBR Tiki Room at New York Comic Con to discuss all things “Outcast,” including how faithful the show will be to the comic, expanding the universe of the source material, what it’s like crafting Kyle Barnes, balancing the conflicting sides of the character and bringing Paul Azaceta’s visuals to life in the series.
On how closley the TV version of “Outcast” will stick to the story being told in the comics:
Robert Kirkman: We’re definitely going to be, you know, straying from time to time and adding new elements and doing that kind of thing. But, listen, you watch “Walking Dead” Season Four, Five, Six — they’re actually very close to the comic, but there’s new elements added. We keep things exciting, and “Outcast” is very much going to be like that. But, one of the cool things about what we’re doing with “Outcast” is that, you know, a comic book — 22-page story — is only going to fill about 18 minutes of content in a television show. So we’re actually expanding the cast, adding new characters and adding storylines to what we have in the comic book series. So the comics will be adapted, not exactly, but, you know, very closely. But then there will be new things added like Reg E. Cathey is playing … Chief Giles … who is a very minor character in the comic, which is — while sometimes I can’t even remember his name — but he’s a big character in the show.
On expanding the universe of the comic for the series:
Chris Black: First of all, it’s like the reason we’re doing this — the reason we’re making this into a TV show, and the reason Cinemax bought it, is because of the comic. So, I mean, it is the starting point. It’s the template. It’s the — it’s what we go to, in terms of who these characters are, and what their long series arcs are, what the mythology of the show is. You know, it always comes back to that. I mean, we’re not just going to do, you know, Issue #1 as the pilot and then like, “Okay, we’re off!” You know, “Thanks, Robert!” … But, like Robert says, you know, you — because of just the nature of the comic, you don’t have enough material. And, to some extent, it’s even more than that, in that you have to — a television show is a different kind of thing. You know, you have to create something separate and unique from what the comic is … Robert created this world and he filled it with these people and he sort of set all of these things into motion, and then it’s like, “Okay, guys, here’s — here’s your world to play in.” And then it’s sort of — you discover stuff that maybe Robert didn’t necessarily plan.
On developing the character of Kyle Barnes:
Patrick Fugit: So, when I got the first scenes and I went in for the first audition — and as I’ve heard from [Robert Kirkman and Chris Black] — there was a tendency to sort of steer toward the darker side of the scenes. And I’ve never — you know, it’s never interesting to me to play darkness for darkness’ sake or humor for humor’s sake. I always like when there’s a duality everything, like when somebody is a good person or a hopeful person, but they’re being, you know, contained by circumstance and darkness and that sort of thing. And I think that the first — the first audition, I came in with what I was comfortable with and we worked on it then. And then we started doing scenes with the other characters — Reverend Anderson and Allison, Kyle’s wife. And, a lot of that started bringing up — just because of the way that like Phil [Glenister] played Reverend Anderson … and we saw a few different actors before we cast Kate Lyn [Sheil], and just what those actors brought to it made me as Kyle feel a lot of different things about darkness and hope, like dark and light and that sort of thing. And it made me realize that there’s a lot of light that Kyle has to give to the world and also wants back from the world. But it’s a hard thing for him because he feels like he’s dangerous. He feels like whatever possession has been around him growing up is going — is something that he causes. It may be something permanent, so he has to keep the people that he loves away from him, but that’s like his source of brightness in his life. And that’s like a very frustrating duality.
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