Need a distinguished, educated and accomplished authority figure who also knows his way around kick-ass action? Victor Garber is your man.
A Tony-nominated Broadway standout and a longtime fixture in film and television, Garber was best known in pop culture for his thrice-Emmy-nominated turn as Sidney Bristow's double-agent daddy on "Alias" -- that is, until his stepped into The CW's expanding DC Universe last year. Garber made his debut on the popular and critically hailed freshman season of "The Flash" as Professor Martin Stein, the coolly intellectual academic who, with Ronnie Raymond, (Robbie Amell) makes up one half of the superheroic Firestorm.
Before Garber moves Stein over to the forthcoming "Flash" spinoff series "DC's Legends of Tomorrow," the actor appears in the action thriller "Big Game," an amusingly inventive throwback to the star-driven, mid-tier-budget action films of the '80s and '90s. Appearing alongside an all-star cast that includes Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Stevenson, Felicity Huffman and Jim Broadbent, Garber fills the role of the Vice President of the United States who has to oversee rescue efforts when Air Force One is blown out of the sky by terrorists, and the President (Jackson) has to evade capture on the ground in Finland.
Spinoff Online: What an interesting, fun movie -- was it as interesting and fun for you to make?
Victor Garber: Yeah, yeah. Obviously, my role was contained on set, but with some great actors. I just thought it was a great sort of family adventure film, and I was really happy when I saw it, how beautiful it looked and how well it turned out.
And the talent in that one particular room with you -- Felicity Huffman, Jim Broadbent, Ted Levine. Tell me about putting all those terrific actors in one spot together.
It was really what attracted me to do it, because I thought the character was a little twisted, and of course, there's a surprise at the end that's kind of cool, I think. Felicity Huffman I knew socially, and I always loved being around her. And Jim Broadbent I was literally in awe of. I've always been in awe of him as an actor, and I remain that way. [Laughs] He was so great to work with. All of them. We just had a lot of laughs, frankly. It was really fun.
When you play the Vice President, how do you go about getting into the mindset of a guy always in the United States' Number Two seat?
Like everything, it's always in the writing, because he could have easily been a general or something. It's really not so much the title as who he is because, obviously, the challenge is to make him a three-dimensional human being that audiences can relate to and get invested in. That's always the biggest challenge for me. It's not really about playing a type of person. It's really, who is this guy? He happens to be the Vice President. I've played a lot of people. I played Jack Bristow [on "Alias"] for years, but really what he was, was a father who had a difficult relationship with his daughter and his ex-wife, and who happened to be a spy. It's not like you can play "a spy." You have to play a man, right? It's basically the same idea.
Tell me about your director, Jalmari Helander. What was unique or eye opening about working with him?
He was incredibly congenial, but really, he pretty much left us to our own devices. He trusted the people he hired. English is not his first language, so he trusted us. If we said, "This line doesn't make sense," or, "We need to change this a little bit," he would say, "Oh, please, please, please." He was very trustworthy and very pleasant to be with. It's nice when a director trusts you, and he was completely that way.
At this stage in your career, I assume you have a certain degree of ability to pick and choose your roles. What are the challenges and opportunities that you look for these days?
Well, listen, I still have to meet on jobs. I get offered some things. Sometimes I have to audition, and sometimes I don't get the part. But what always attracts me -- it's always in the writing, because I grew up doing plays, and really good plays. The theater was my first love, and the written word is everything to me. So that's really what I look for in a script. Obviously, the people involved are a great attraction in this particular case. But it's mostly, "What do I say? What comes out of my mouth?" And can I find a connection to that?
What do you like about the state of your career these days? You're very nimble in the roles and genres you take on these days. It must be fun to have that diversity available to you.
It's fantastic. It's kind of what I always strove to do, because to me, diversity is the happiness. Because I like to do different things, to be given that opportunity just makes me very happy. This is definitely -- I'm really out there in this realm, because it's very new for me. I'm excited about that, and I have played this recurring role on "Power," this show that's on Starz. It's a great, very different character and a very different genre. And I love being able to go back and forth and do these things when they come up. It keeps me on my toes, I'll say!