Sleepy Hollow's Nick Hawley is a man of mystery. A collector of strange artifacts, the ruggedly handsome scoundrel showed up in Season 2 of Fox’s supernatural drama to acquire more objects and make a quick buck.
However, his priorities slowly shifted after encountering the ghoulish Pied Piper, a life force-sucking succubus and a vengeful spirit. Lately, Hawley has aided Ichabod, Abbie and Jenny on various missions, as well as provided powerful weapons to combat Moloch and his demonic minions. Still, not much is known about Hawley. But that's about to change, as the character’s past returns to haunt him.
Ahead of tonight's episode, “Kali Yuga,” actor Matt Barr spoke with SPINOFF about joining Sleepy Hollow, the growth of Hawley, and his character's feelings for Jenny.
Spinoff: There was a lot of buzz surrounding your first appearance in “Root of All Evil.” What grabbed you about Nick Hawley and Sleepy Hollow?
Matt Barr: One of my favorite movies, and probably favorite characters ever in film, was Indiana Jones. He made me want to be in the entertainment business. Hawley has a lot of similarities with Indiana. He was a character of my dreams; I always wanted to be a treasure hunter. I had also worked with the Sleepy Hollow producers before. They were such great people and great collaborators, so I wanted to be a part of that.
Initially, the producers kept it top-secret whether Hawley was friend or foe. How much did they tell you?
I really knew nothing. I was in the dark, which is kind of fun because I get to experience each episode like the audience watching it. I didn't get to inform certain decisions that way and got to go along for the ride.
Was it fun playing up that ambiguity?
Yeah, because you can either act it or live it. You don't have to act if you don't know anything. It's an accidental gift. Maybe it comes across a little more authentic.
How did Hawley's history with Jenny add another layer to the character?
The interesting part of every character is the human side. It allowed us to see some of Hawley's vulnerability. It wove in that mystery as to why he is here and why he's so guarded and protected. It's so interesting because Hawley and Jenny are so similar, in my opinion, and they recognize that in each other. That was always scary to Hawley. This girl really had his number. It probably bonded them and made them closer, but it scared Hawley. And he always had that tendency to run away.
Hawley might have gotten his first taste of the supernatural with the Pied Piper, but how did his encounter with the succubus really change his view of things?
The near-death succubus was the straw that broke the camel's back for Hawley. He realized, "I can't disillusion myself any further. No more excuses. This is real. This is happening. The apocalypse is at my front door. I have to be all-in." He jumps in with both free in terms of the Scooby Gang. He realizes he needs them as much as they need him.
What were your thoughts on the Hawley and Ichabod bromance?
It's my favorite dynamic of that character. They are such different guys. You have this refined, British, almost aristocrat. Then you have this cowboy. It's day and night, yet, at the same time, they are perfectly matched. They would be best friends in another life. To watch the slow burn, not only of the competition of intelligence between the two, but to see them warm up to each other over time, was really enjoyable. Tom Mison is such a talented actor. He makes it all easy.
There still seems to be a spark and some jealousy between Hawley and Jenny. Will they be hooking up?
Deep down, I think they realize they have feelings for each other. Hawley is afraid to trust his heart. He has a history we'll learn more about in this coming episode. He got hurt real bad as a child. He's afraid to invest in something deeper. Jenny, because she's a smart woman, absolutely recognizes that. She's hesitant to get back in bed with Hawley. In the next episode, we see them take a bit of a leap in one direction or the other.
Tonight's episode, “Kali Yuga,” is very Hawley-centric. What was your reaction when you received the script?
I love that they gave Hawley a big sandbox to play in. We haven't seen much of Hawley's backstory, so it was fun for me to learn about it, and I think viewers will enjoy it too. We'll see what makes this guy tick and why he is the way he is. It's action-packed and an adventuresome episode. It was fun for the whole team.
Who is Carmilla Pines, and what is her relation to Hawley?
She is basically Hawley's adopted aunt. She took Hawley in after his parents died and raised him. In a lot of ways, Hawley is the product of this woman's creation. She was a thief and an antiquity dealer. She dealt on the black market. Hawley learned everything he knows from this woman. There's been a disconnect for years because of something that happened in the past. One day she shows up in Sleepy Hollow. It turns Hawley upside down.
Hawley needs a book in Ichabod's possession. Why does he steal it instead of simply asking for it?
This is a real dark period of Hawley's life. He wants to keep it separate. He doesn't want to bring in his, dare I say it now, his new friends. The reason Hawley steals the book, and why he is keeping this whole situation from them, is he doesn't want to get them hurt.
Knowing what he does, how does Hawley handle Carmilla's ties to the supernatural?
Growing up, the supernatural universe was all talk. There were never any hands-on experiences. Reconnecting 10 years later, they've both had these strange experiences individually. The good news is Hawley is more well-equipped than he was before. You learn in this episode why Carmilla has gotten involved in this whole supernatural world.
Where does Hawley fit into the rest of the season?
As the stakes are raised, Hawley is presented with a choice on whether to invest deeper with this team or run away like he always does. We'll see once again that perpetual conflict he always deals with. Is he a loner? Doe he run away or does he stay and fight? Or does he have babies?
If this was your final episode, would you be satisfied with how Hawley's story ends?
Yes. However Hawley's story ends, it feels appropriate to me. Things don't end. Hawley is still around and out there. Sleepy Hollow isn't going anywhere. If my instincts are right, there are a lot of demons out there that still need to be hunted.
Sleep Hollow airs tonight at 9 ET/PT on Fox.