Interview | Taking Measure Of <i>V</i>

In the war against the Visitors, there is perhaps no greater asset than Kyle Hobbes. A highly trained mercenary who typically works for the highest bidder, Hobbes has made an exception to his rules in siding with the Fifth Column, a secret group of resistance fighters working to prevent the invading alien forces from annihilating mankind. But Hobbes is a man who's already flexible loyalties are put to the test when the Visitors threaten an unidentified woman from his past: sacrifice her life, or join the cause.

It's not an easy predicament, certainly not for Hobbes himself, but also for Charles Measure, the New Zealand actor who plays the cool-tempered gunman on ABC's V. Measure joined the sci-fi series midway through season one, but when the second season premieres tonight (January 4), he'll be enjoying his first episode as a series regular.

The actor spoke with Spinoff Online and other journalists on the Vancouver set of V during production on tonight's season premiere, discussing his character's evolution and his hopes for season two.

Spinoff Online: Congratulations on the series regular upgrade! At what point did you realize you were going to be a regular for season two?

Charles Measure: Very early on into season one, you had to suspect it. The resistance needed someone who could help them fight a war. I'd heard various things from day one and throughout season one, but I didn't hear confirmation until the last few weeks of shooting season one.

Other than contractually, does it make a difference in your life having "regular" in your title as opposed to [being] a supporting cast member?

Yeah. When you're playing supporting characters, you come in and bring new information or you're there to get in the way of something. Whereas this time around, I get my own storyline, which is fantastic.

So what will that storyline be?

At the end of season one, we saw Hobbes doing some kind of clandestine deal with Marcus. He was saying, "Come and work for the V's, or else." Hobbes goes, "Well, I'm going to head for the hills and you'll never find me." And he goes, "Well maybe we can't get to you, but we can get to this person." He pulls out this photo, which has some impact on Hobbes. So that's the story we're going to pursue for the moment.

Will we meet that person?

Hmm… [Long pause] Well, anyway. [Laughs] I'll tell you what I know, which is not a great deal -- we get stories one by one, and in this first episode, we're beginning to tell that story.

Who this season would you like to spend more time with?

Who this season would I like to spend more time with? I like the stuff with Elizabeth Mitchell. That's always a lot of fun. She's pretty cool! She's cool and she's fun to hang out with — she's a very funny lady — and in front of the cameras, she makes some choices that other people wouldn't make. She's a very interesting actor to work with. I wouldn't mind spending some time with [Morena Baccarin] or [Laura Vandervoort] either, but I don't see that happening anywhere in the near future.

Hobbes started off as a very reluctant member of this resistance group. He's a guy who typically works on his own terms and this isn't exactly the type of assignment he usually takes, since it's essentially pro bono. How do you feel the character has evolved from where we first saw him to where he's at right now?

There are a couple of things that have happened. In the beginning, he didn't know or care about these people. He was very suspicious of [the Visitors] being kind of a credible threat. Now, he knows they're a very credible threat, so from a purely survival standpoint, Hobbes is kind of thinking: "Well, where's the percentage in siding with the team who could potentially wipe out all of humanity?" Now he knows that they're a very credible threat, and he probably has to throw his hat into the ring to see them off.

The other thing is that he's been spending time with these resistance people, and at some level, he likes them. At some level, he's loyal to them. He's in a state of conflict between those two things and the leverage that Marcus holds over him, and also his own nature to look out for himself, survive, make a shitload of money and head for the hills, you know? So that's all going on.

What appeals to you about playing that kind of character?

It's fantastic, because I truly do not know what's going to happen to him. Usually you'll watch an episode of TV and you can tell from a mile away what's going to happen to your character, but with this guy, I can't. I'd like to think that he's going to side with the resistance and do the right thing, but anything could happen.

Why would you want him to do that? [Laughter] Would you want to play the heroic character as opposed to somebody who's a little bit sneakier?

I mean… on most of the shows you do, they're about cops and robbers and lawyers, or doctors and nurses or whatever. A character can be a little bit sneaky and look out for themselves on those shows, and we go, "Oh, he's a survivor. He's interesting." Well, this is a show about the entire human race against an enemy that is so powerful and so evil that we can't quite comprehend it yet. There's no interesting gray area there, you know? If he's a bit sneaky and sides with the aliens to make money, that's not very interesting or appealing to an audience, I think.

Also, I've been doing this for 15 odd years, and most of my career, I've been playing bad guys. It would be nice to get the girl and run off into the sunset for a nice change! [Laughs] I don't know that Hobbes is a real picnic on the beach guy frolicking in the sand with his M-16 or something, but anything could happen.

Going into season two, Hobbes is carrying a big secret with him: "I've got a deal going on with the V's." While that might not be something that would bother him before, is it something that's causing kind of a headache for him right now?

Yeah, yeah. It was the weirdest thing; I think the last scene that I did in season one was with Joel Gretsch. He gave his amazing performance, this amazing sermon in church. I walked into that scene — both as an actor and as a character — I walked into that last scene right after I'd just come from a scene where I'm selling out all of humanity. There's also this other person, this mystery person — this photo — that Hobbes cares about very much. So, that's going on in my head as well. I go in and I see this guy, this priest, who should be my enemy but he's actually become somewhat my friend, giving this very important speech to get people behind the resistance.

I go in and sit next to a woman who [works for] the FBI — she should be my mortal enemy, but at some level, she's become my friend as well, and Hobbes is also probably attracted to her at some level. She's just come off of the alien ship alive, and she should be dead. I'd never expected to see her again, but she's alive. I'm thrilled about that!

And I'm sitting there in God's house, having just betrayed all of humanity. There is just so much going on here. I turned to Elizabeth and I said, "What do I play here?" [Laughs] It just shows as a character how many pressures there were on this guy, and as an actor, what do you play? There's so much going on. I just don't know which way it's going to go.

How quickly are you just going to be falling into bed with people? [Laughter] We think the show needs more sex!

I truly couldn't argue with that at all. [Laughs] It was funny. Elizabeth and I would have these scenes and sort of add in these little things, moments of flirtation and what not, and most of them didn't get into the show. They kind of cut around that. I don't know what's going to happen, but I would love for Hobbes to fall into bed with just about any female character on the show!

I'd love for Hobbes' heart to come out in some way. I think that would be great.

Do you feel a different comfort level coming out of the start of the second season than you did coming into the first season in the middle of things? Do you feel like you're now established and with the team?

Oh, yeah. In terms of the cast and crew? Yeah, yeah, very much. We were just down in San Diego at Comic-Con and we had a great time…

Did you really? Comic-Con is overwhelming, isn't it?

It's funny. I spoke to some other actors who were down there, not from this show, who were [bored by] Comic-Con. I come from New Zealand where we're not incredibly passionate people. We don't get turned on by anything other than rugby. I had 15 years of TV in New Zealand where the biggest response you'd get is, "Oh, he's off Street Legal." Out here, everybody is like, "Oh my god, you're on V!" It's just fantastic to have that kind of energy, that kind of passion, you know? So I loved Comic-Con. It was great.

We're heading towards this big battle in season two. Are we going to see more plotting and planning, or in the first episode will we get right into some sort of battle?

There's a bit of both. Season one was all about the cold war. Everything that's going on is covert and by the side. But in the first episode, there are some overt interactions.

Are you getting involved with some of that?

Yeah, some. [Laughs] Hobbes is always involved in that kind of thing.

V begins its second season tonight (January 4) at 9/8 PM central, only on ABC.

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