Stuart Townsend previews BETRAYAL: “Episodes 6 and 7 are intense!”
For the past few weeks, the clandestine romance of Sara and Jack has remained hidden on ABC’s Sunday night drama BETRAYAL. Tonight (10/9c), that could all change. To discuss what comes next, and how these lovers can survive the possible reveal of their activities, I spent time with Stuart Townsend talking about the many sides of Jack, and why now is the best time to get caught up!
The shows gets more intense with every episode – you wonder if it can keep that up, and it has been. Talk a little bit about the intensity and what we’ll see as this ramps up in the next two weeks.
The next two weeks are big, big episodes. In a way, the first two episodes are kind of set up. In three, it starts to get going. Obviously, Jack and Sara have had this illicit affair and it’s really only a matter of time before it gets revealed that they’re having an affair or that they decide that they’re going to let the cat out of the bag themselves, or somebody’s going to find out, or going to rat on them, it could be a bunch of different things. One of the tension points right now is “are they going to get found out?” and obviously, Drew finds those photos and that’s a major moment where they may get found out but they may not. The next few episodes, it’s great. It goes through all of those kind of questions, and in a really fun way, and it’s not what you’re going to expect, for sure.
Yes, the show is about an affair, and it’s about varying shades of betrayal, but it’s such a thriller, too – you never know what’s coming; you think you do, but you don’t. It’s keeping people on the edge of their seats. I wondered if that was something that maybe drew you to the show – how much did you know what it was going to be when you signed on?
The show is way more than I thought it was going to be, and that’s great [laughs]. I did like the original script. I liked the set up, and the characters. I liked, I think that it had the seed of what we’re seeing now, in that there was this affair, but there was also a murder; the murder of Lou, so it already had the beginnings of that thriller element. You see Sara is in ambulance from the very first moment. We didn’t know where we were going to go with it. But I knew that there was setups that had hopefully some interesting ways to explore those setups. It couldn’t have been better, to be honest. It’s much more than I thought it was going ot be. What I love is that it is this combination of this thriller, it’s got some legal stuff, it’s got the romance, and then all the tension of will they be found out or not, and who killed whom? [laughs] It veers between – it’s got a little mystery to it. A little bit for everybody!
I read an interview you gave where you said that Jack was a bit of a pathological liar. You get to play a little bit of a different character every time that we see him – not just playing this one note guy who is stuck in this situation.
Yeah, it is great; I really do have a lot of relationships in this show. I have my boss, my wife, the kids, the affair, the prosecutor that is my foe. He’s a little bit of a different Jack in each one. I think the Jack that’s definitely more one of the truer Jacks is when he’s with Sara. I think that’s when he’s unburdened and alive, and who he wants to be. I think he is who he wants to be when he’s with Sara. When he’s solving problems for the Karsten family, you know, he’s done that. I think he’s a little tired of that; you can see that. There’s more of the heavier Jack when he’s fixing things. It’s little things.
For the affair to be revealed, and to find out what happens after – is Jack and Sara a relationship that will make it after the reveal? Yes, they have families, yes they’re both married, but can they survive?
I think that’s a question that really gets explored throughout the whole season. And it gets answered continually in a way. Yes, I think they really are in love. I think it’s more than just an affair. They’ve taken a lot of risk in doing what they’re doing. They know that there are consequences. It’s not like they’re stupid and they don’t know. They have a kid, they know all these things. The question of whether it’s going to continue is a big one, and it really gets ecxplored and in a great way. It’s rather simple – yes, they continue and it’s a happy ending, and it’s all great [laugh]. He’s attached to this family; there are murders. There are things in the closet; there are past histories that the audience doesn’t know about yet, and all of those things are going to affect their relationship. At the same time, I do think they really are in love, so you’re going to see this relationship really weather some storms.
I enjoy the chemistry that you have with Hannah [Ware] – was that something instantaneous?
I literally, we met on set [laughs]. It was all very last minute! Nobody knew if it was going to work or not. We’re actors. Part of our job is to really fall in love. My job as an actor is to make that as believable as possible. At the end of the day, it’s more to do with the writing being good authentic love story writing, and us committing to that. Hannah’s a very committed actress, and when I’m in those situations, I want to make the audience believe as much as possible that we’re in love. The response has been good. I think people are saying a lot about chemistry, and I think it’s the writing, too. The writing allows us to really connect with each other as actors.
Why do you think now is a good time to get involved in BETRAYAL?
Firstly, they should probably watch a bunch of the online episodes before they jump in. They’d miss a lot of stuff [laughs]. Six and seven are going to be intense. I don’t think you want to jump into that water straight away [laughs]. I felt even before the show, I felt the first two episodes, you’re going to have to stick to it to lay the groundwork. I think the writers took all of these plot points and infused them with a lot of tension. Like you said, it’s a romance, it’s a thriller, it’s everything. I think, for an audience now getting in – watch some past episodes. There are great actors in this. It’s an intense drama. It’s authentic. I think the writers have made authentic choices. And if they don’t, the actors will say “I’m really into this character, I don’t think he would do that.” I think all of us together, as a creative group – it’s a family drama, it can be a little soapy. A lot of people will say “what distinguishes this show” and I don’t know if it’s about distinguishing the show – I just think it’s a really solid drama. I think as an audience member jumping in, you can relate to these guys. The situations are intense. I don’t want to be in them! I’m glad I’m just acting them!
BETRAYAL airs Sunday nights at 10/9c on ABC. For more on the show, head to ABC.com.