Reflections #223: Chad Faust

The last time I spoke with Chad Faust, he was sitting on a beach in Vancouver as the fourth season of "The 4400" was commencing. Since then, his character, Kyle Baldwin, fell in love, became estranged from his father, got an imaginary friend who tells him to do things, got thrown around a lot, and then lost his love. It's been a busy season, and Faust went through all his character beats amazingly well, selling to audiences a major transition in his character's story as well as his doomed romance with Isabelle.

Faust also headlined the new Rosario Dawson film "Descent," which saw a limited release but is hitting DVD shelves this December.

I talked with Faust about the potential for a fifth season of "The 4400" and what lies next for the actor.

Robert Taylor: How's life?

Chad Faust: It's going well. I'm back in Los Angeles. After you are done with a project there is always a feeling of lack of purpose, and a feeling of "What's next?" but I'm keeping busy with writing and I'm up for some great projects.

RT: Do you guys know whether "The 4400" has been renewed or not yet?

CF: No, we don't know anything.

RT: I really want it to be. That last episode would have worked as a series finale, but I want more.

CF: Yeah. But I haven't heard anything.

RT: Have you seen the finale yet?

CF: No, I haven't. I don't have cable, so I missed most of the season.

I usually watch everything when it comes out, but this year has been so busy, so I'm going to have to catch up on DVD.

RT: What did you think about your character's arc throughout the course of the season?

CF: I really can see it from a perspective of having been there and done that. My character went from a place of being very concerned with himself and his own trouble to opening up to a world and being concerned with more global concerns.

He's really grown from a boy to a man this year, and went for having a contribution to the world that was positive, even if he did miss the mark a little bit.

RT: What did you think about Kyle's relationship with his father deteriorating over the course of the season verses his relationship with Jordan Collier blossoming?

CF: It's been an ongoing thing on the show, what with the triangles of father figures, and now it's Kyle's time. Jordan represents the future and Tom represents the family and the past.   One of my favorite parts of this season was that Kyle was torn between people he wanted to believe in and to love.

The great thing about his dad is that his dad would always take him back. Jordan wouldn't be so forgiving, and that was interesting.

RT: Let's talk about your romance with Isabelle, who got killed off in the finale. She was the major focal point of the series, all the way back to the first miniseries. How do you think her death altered the show?

CF: Our show seems to be pretty audacious about killing off main characters. Sometimes I think it can really work, but I still mourn the loss of Lily and Richard. Those characters were an integral part of the show.

If it's the end of the show, that's the perfect place to go. But I'm not sure why they let go of that character. Kyle had to have something beyond all the struggling. He needed a shiny object, whether it was Jordan or a woman, it was something always letting him down. And this is a point where he had a opportunity to have something--not normal--but something everyday people can experience. And, of course, it was going to be undercut by the 4400 phenomenon that is the curse of his life, and he is always going to be the victim of disappointment, and this is no exception here.

RT: Last time we talked, you said you were having trouble wrapping your head around the "new" Kyle and his direction for this season. How did you manage to get into him as a character?

CF: There was one moment where it all clicked. We were doing a scene between Shawn and Kyle early in the season, and it was the scene where he found out Kyle took Promicin. It was a moment where I turned out to look at the city. I'm not sure if they showed it, but I could see the entire city from there, and I was telling him how I wanted to be part of that change and what was happening in that world, and for me, it clicked.

I want to be part of what's happening in the world right now. That's part of the reason why I'm in Hollywood. It's the cultural pulse of America and right now America is very influential in the world. I like to be a part of what is going on, and Kyle realizes he needed to be a part of the revolution, and that was the first time Kyle's view on the world and my view on the world really clicked.

RT: Did you have any problems or difficulties with the character during the rest of the season and how you needed to "get into his skin"?

CF: I think the hardest thing was his relationship with Cassie (his visions) because it was kind of a mind$#!^ to get over. I think it was simple to play because Kyle was as perplexed and confused by the situation as I was.

I was confused by how to play that, and then I realized he would be confused about that too, so I embraced that.

The arc to that, first disbelieving completely, then playing it on blind faith, and then playing down the validity of what she was saying was hard to do.

RT: Last time you said you weren't sure whether you would come back for season 5. Are you? And if so, will it be as a regular?

CF: I'm not certain I want to come back and do a whole season. I want to move onto something different. I came to L.A. to do film and that has always been my passion. I like living in a state of chapters of my life instead of ongoing. But it's good television. I love it. I love the people. And it's a really inventive and innovative group of people.

I think I'd want to come back in some capacity. But I think I'd want to keep myself available for the next chapter of my life.

RT: If your character does have to exit the show, do you want him to be killed off? Just go to college and live happily ever after?

CF: I think it would be a good thing for the show for Kyle to die, because it would set up a great vigilante storyline for Tom. But if I had it my way I'd just recur and come back every once and awhile when the show calls for it, which I think what me and the producers have agreed on.

RT: What were your favorite parts of shooting this season? I know you must have some funny stories.

CF: The theme of this season was that nobody could keep a straight face, especially between Joel and I. We know each other so well, and somebody says something that is funny or a fumble happens and we just burst into laughter. It became a real theme this season. Joel and I had to end up saying we needed to cut it out or it would hurt our work. I think we got so comfortable with the characters and each other that we just needed to exist and be there with each other because the show is so intense, and we were undercutting it with humor.

RT: How do you think this season compared to the other seasons, since every single season is its own entity. Last season was like an "X-Men" comic and this one really got into the religious aspect of the show.

CF: Every season is so different for me. The other seasons are so different, but this season had a really global perspective that touched on politics and religion. Everything was happening on a macro level, whereas in the past everything was more intimate.

RT: "Descent" hit theaters and is coming out on DVD soon, how was the reaction? I looked for it but couldn't find it in theaters around me.

CF: It was in New York and L.A. and now it's in Boston and Portland. They are definitely being cautious with it, and I'm not sure if the people distributing it really believe in the film. It's a very specific film, almost more of an experiment. It has a story, but it's more of an experiment in what people can experience in the theater. It's such a journey.

The New York Times said it made "Irreversible" look tame, and "Irreversible" screwed with me for weeks.

RT: That was such a $#&#ed up movie.

CF: Our film is violent, but it's a sexual violence. It has an NC-17 rating, and I'm not sure America is ready to see something this intimate. It might do better in Europe.

It's interesting how you can get a film with 300 people who die in it and get a R-rating whereas there are issues with sexuality and you get NC-17. That blows my mind. I don't understand that kind of censorship.

So it's definitely going against the tides. I'm very proud of it, and I think there is something there people can get from it. People will see it on DVD, it's now a world where DVD isn't a graveyard for films anymore.

RT: Tell us about your work in it?

CF: It was unlike anything I had ever done before. The film has a very specific style to it, and I was really proud of it. It was very audacious in what we set out to say, and we could have very easily given into the pressure to not pull so many punches. But we told the story we wanted to tell.

This could have been Rosario's "Monster." I felt like the film could have been that, but it didn't get the push and wasn't out there enough.

RT: Tell me about how your script-work is going.

CF: It's going very well. I just finished two scripts; one that I wrote over the past four months and one that I've been working on for six years. I need to do more work on one of them, but one of them is set up to be made.

The world of producing is so different, and it basically comes down to finding the money. It's always been about playing the role to me, and now it's about the money, which is a huge hurtle.

RT: Do you have any actors lined up yet?

CF: No, we haven't gotten to that point yet. That is one of the last things that usually happens. Unless I know somebody that has to play the part, that is one of the last things.

RT: Is it going to be a mainstream or independent feature?

CF: One of the films will be very much in the vein of "Knocked Up" or "Superbad," which is very mainstream, and the other film I have written is a more like a dark psychologically thriller, like "The Outsiders" or all those Coppola films from the '80s. I'm not afraid to go mainstream for my films. I've just lost interest in independent films, and they don't speak to me anymore. Maybe it will come back, but right now I'm into things being acceptable to audiences. Not people pleasing, but telling a story that people want to see. I want to be a part of what is happening in the world today.

RT: How is it being in L.A. again?

CF: It's an extreme shift. It's a tricky little town, and not my favorite place on Earth. I'd love to live in Europe or something. I meet these new people all the time who just blow my mind, because they come here to do what they love. It's not so much where I am as what I am doing that contributes to my happiness.

RT: Anything else coming up?

CF: I'm in a place of potentiality, looking for the next thing. I'm focused on my writing and getting back out and looking for the next acting job.

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