Published: Wednesday, 08 October 2014 | Written by SciFi Vision
By Jamie Ruby
This season on Haven, things are going to be a lot different for Duke, played by Eric Balfour. Duke now has a myriad of other people’s Troubles stuffed inside him that he needs to be able to let out or die.
Balfour recently talked to the media about his character and the new season.
Balfour talked to SciFi Vision about how having multiple Troubles inside him will affect Duke. “there’s a lot going on with this new manifestation of what is happening to Duke. It’s going to be very hard for him emotionally, physically. I think, you know, honestly I don't know that his role is going to change.
“What makes Duke really special, at least for me, is Duke is who he is. You know? He doesn’t compromise who he is no matter what. So, I don't know that he’s going to change. Obviously the character, in a really great way, has evolved over the course of the series quite a bit. And the writers have done an amazing job of that.
“But I think the biggest difference will be Duke coming to terms with the idea that he is now part of the problem in some ways.”
The actor also talked to the site about the possibility of the show bring back up the fact that Duke has a daughter that he can’t see, and if he would make a good father. “You know, I don't know is the honest answer. It’s something we definitely talked about it. Something we definitely ask the writers about and try to, you know, there’s so much to address and to try to fit in per season. But it’s definitely something that we had been pushing for and we hope for. Obviously there’s the logistics of how that would work because of the nature of the troubles surrounding his daughter.
“But I hope we get to see that because I think it would be amazing. And to answer your question, interestingly enough, I do think Duke would make a good father. I think what makes Duke special is that he wears his heart on his sleeve in some ways as guardian and, you know, cavalier as he can be, his nature has always come through. And I think if he were handed this child to take care of, I don't think he could compartmentalize his feelings for a baby and for his own blood. And I think it would be amazing to watch that.
“So, yes. I hope it happens. But there hasn’t been any definitive answer as of yet. But we still have time.”
Syfy Conference Call Haven Eric Balfour
September 10, 2014 3:00 p.m. ET
SCIFI VISION:Hi, Eric. It’s great to talk to you again.
ERIC BALFOUR: Hi, Jamie. How are you?
SCIFI VISION:I'm doing great. You?
ERIC BALFOUR: I'm doing good. Nice to hear your voice again.
SCIFI VISION:You too. So, Duke kind of has everybody else’s troubles inside of him now. Can you talk a bit about how his role’s going to change this year, because now he’s going to be, you know, hurting people inadvertently, I'm guessing, for a lot of the season?
ERIC BALFOUR: Yes. So, there’s a lot going on with this new manifestation of what is happening to Duke. It’s going to be very hard for him emotionally, physically. I think, you know, honestly I don't know that his role is going to change.
What makes Duke really special, at least for me, is Duke is who he is. You know? He doesn’t compromise who he is no matter what. So, I don't know that he’s going to change. Obviously the character, in a really great way, has evolved over the course of the series quite a bit. And the writers have done an amazing job of that.
But I think the biggest difference will be Duke coming to terms with the idea that he is now part of the problem in some ways.
SCIFI VISION:All right. Well, thank you so much.
QUESTION: My question is not super fun, but there was a little lack of clarity when Emily and Lucas did the last call about the number of episodes in season five. They said that Syfy ordered 26. But then kept referring to it as if it was two separate seasons. So, after the first 13 air, will that be season five to mid-season break, and then the rest of season five comes after, or will season six be the second batch of 13 episodes?
ERIC BALFOUR: I will give you two answers to that question. One is I actually have no idea technically. So, everything I'm about to tell you is completely my opinion. I preface it with that.
Here’s the deal. In order to make the show the way we wanted to make it, we needed to shoot more episodes because it amortizes the cost. Now this is a production question and this is only my understanding of it. I'm just an actor on the show and so I don’t make decisions and I’m not part of these conversations. But having been doing this for, you know, I don't know, a few years now, I have some understanding of it.
But, you know, the cost of shooting 26 episodes versus 13 is much less. So, I think they may still be figuring it out. You know, the way that we’ve, at least been treating it on set as the actors, we’ve been viewing it as two parts. Now, was it the end of calling it 13 episodes of season five. And then a year later or six months later or three months later, we actually don't know. And they call that second flock of 13 episodes season five B, or they call it season six.
They haven’t really told us. It’s a little bit of an unknown at this point. But, you know, as far as we’re concerned, we’re kind of treating them as two seasons. When they decide to air that second 13 episodes, they haven’t told us. I can tell you know, I know from an actor’s standpoint, you know, when you shoot a season, there are contractual differences between seasons, one season and shooting a second season.
So, if you just order more episodes technically in one season, you know, it saves everybody from the studio and network side money, you know, because there are things that obviously put – people contract that change after, you know, one season into the next season. So, if you call it all one season, you know, you can get away with things that, and, you know, we all love doing the show so we all, I think, just acquiesce to what was in the best interest of making the show. Did that answer the question?
QUESTION: Yes. OK. Well, I can see it’s still up in the air. But thanks for sharing what you know.
ERIC BALFOUR: Yes. I think it’s still up in the air. I think, you know, they could – they could definitely air 13 episodes now and then save the next 13 episodes for next year at the same time and call it, you know, second season, you know, another season. They could call it five B. They may decide. Who knows? They may decide to, you know, air it a month or two or three months later. I honestly – I don't know that they know. And I don't know that they’ve told anyone in the production at the studio. But I wouldn’t – you have to ask the producers really about that.
QUESTION: I was wondering how has Duke’s relationship with Nathan and Dwight change with the arrival of Mara?
ERIC BALFOUR: Well, the arrival of Mara is going to put a lot of pressure on Duke and Nathan and Dwight’s relationships. Duke and Mara are going to have a lot of business with each other this season. And not all of it good. And it’s going to be really hard for Duke. It’s been really fun.
One of my favorite things about shooting this season has been working with Emily as she plays this character Mara. The dynamics between Duke, who is – I think we’ve learned at this point – I don't think it’s a secret, Duke inherently is a good man at his core. And I don’t think that’s ever going to change.
But the introduction of Mara, certain forces and there’s some really compromising for this. And then, you know, for me, it’s just been so much fun watching Emily create this new dynamic of the character that she plays. I love the scenes with Duke and Mara. I think the audience is going to love them. They are filled with sexual tension and animosity and camaraderie and anger and confusion and nuance of – it’s absolutely been my favorite part of shooting this season.
QUESTION: So, everything you want in a TV show all rolled up into one.
ERIC BALFOUR: That’s what we’re doing here, man. That’s – that’s our – that’s it. We’re everything you want in a TV show all rolled up into one. That should be the new tag line of the show.
QUESTION: I hope I get royalty.
ERIC BALFOUR: Done. I say it right now.
QUESTION: I wanted to ask you about your look this season. It’s certainly changed. Was that a personal decision or was that for the character?
ERIC BALFOUR: No. It’s for the character. It was actually, you know, one of the executive producers, Lloyd Segan, he came to me before we ever started shooting the season. And, you know, we had an initial conversation going into this season. And he said, you know, how do you feel about changing up Duke’s look and you know, doing something different?
And, to be honest, at first, I was very self-evasive. I had spent so much time and energy towards growing my hair. But he was absolutely right. It was a great idea. You know, Duke, as a character, has evolved. And so, it felt like the right time to allow his character and character’s look to evolve as well. It created some challenges at the beginning. There was, you know, I had one opinion about what Duke should look like. Other people had their opinions. But, you know, the beauty of what we do is that it’s a collaboration. And I think that at the end of the day, we all came to something that we’re happy with. And I think everyone’s going to be surprised about how it all goes down. It’s been fun. You know, it’s always fun. Change is good.
QUESTION: I wanted to ask for you, what does it mean for you to come back and shoot such a long stretch of the season while you’ve also got a business that you’re building on the side. So, for you, coming into this season, kind of what did you hope for and expect with Duke? And are you in every episode for all of the 26 or will you sort of disappear for segments of time?
ERIC BALFOUR: My initial thought, when we were presented with the 26 episodes was oh ...And you know what? In a good way and in a terrified way. I mean I’ve said this a couple of times. The fact that the producers were able to pull this off is really a testament to how creative and driven they are. And it’s an amazing feat, to convince any network to shoot 26 episodes of a show that is normally 13 episode. That’s impressive.
And so that’s exciting, you know. But, yes. It was very scary. I am wholeheartedly invested in this – in this thing that I'm building, this clothing company, Electric & Rose. And it’s my baby. It’s my dream that I’ve had for so many years. And so I knew it was going to be a challenge. But the producers were overwhelmingly supportive in figuring out how to give me the time I needed to take care of that and nurture that.
And I will be in all 26 episodes. There was no discussion of not doing any episode. It was just a matter of, you know, a few days here, a few days there. It meant a lot of travel and a lot of plane rides. And I'm very grateful to United American for keeping me comfortable. But, you know, it worked out great. We all are just a few weeks away from launching the clothing line. We hit stores in the middle of October. And we’ll be in Equinox Gyms all over the country and YogaWorks and Fred Segals in Los Angeles.
And I'm just so excited about it. It really is my dream come true. So, I'm so grateful, not only that the producers gave me the time I needed, you know, needed to get things done, but the simple fact that, you know, doing this show for the last four years, five years, has given me the financial ability to build this thing. I mean, I don't know if I’d gotten to say to the producers, or the studio directly, but this show has done this, a great part of what I'm doing. And I will forever be grateful for that.
QUESTION: We got to enjoy last year the bromance kind of between Duke and Nathan. So, can you tell us a little bit about what would you expect to stay the same or change this year with that?
ERIC BALFOUR: Well, every season expects that way. That’s just a given. Every season, this world that these characters live in gets harder and more intense and they become more invested in each other. So that, in and of itself, is going to put strain on Duke and Nathan’s relationship. But, you know, if you ask me or probably even Shawn Piller, one of the truly great romances of this show is the love story that exists between Duke and Nathan.
And it’s not, you know, a romantic love story obviously, but these guys are like brothers. And they’ve been up and down. And this season is only going to push the dynamic of that relationship further and push it to its limits. And, I mean, I actually and realized I love Lucas like a brother. He is one of the most sincere, kind, gentle people I’ve ever known. I love his family. And so, that now, has transcended, I think, into the (scene) that we’ve seen on the show because it’s very difficult for me not to have that there because I feel so deeply.
QUESTION: So, I wanted to know if you could give a trouble to Lilac or Tarver from These Broken Stars, what troubles would you give them?
ERIC BALFOUR: Woah, good question. Well, if what you’re referring to is the books that I am helping develop into a television series with Warren Littlefield called These Broken Stars. And the two main characters, Lilac and Tarver, are amazingly written characters.
Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman are just incredible writers and incredible novelists. So, gosh, that’s a tough question because I love these characters. But I think I would probably give a trouble to Tarver because, if you read the book, Lilac has plenty of her own demons and curses, if you will, to deal with. But I would probably give a trouble to Tarver because he’s such an amazingly strong, young man. It would be fascinating to see him deal with the trouble. And I think I would probably give him – I would probably give him Nathan’s trouble where he couldn’t feel anything. That would be really intense to see how he would interact with Lilac with that kind of trouble.
That’s such a cool question. I love your question. That was awesome.
QUESTION: I wanted to find out, in your life, in what ways have you seen yourself perhaps were to grow and develop as an actor since you began working on Haven? And have you discovered any new acting challenges with the Duke role this season, would you say?
ERIC BALFOUR: Very good question. Absolutely. You know, like any part or anything that you do that you love, the more you do it, the better you get at it. I guess, I would make a comparison to boxing and fighting, you know. There’s so much muscle memory that comes with that.
And so, as an actor, the ability to push and use those muscles on a daily basis, you know, so much of being an actor in the business is waiting, waiting to get a job, waiting to go to set, waiting to go to an audition, waiting, you know, for the next role. And so the gift of getting to act everyday in so many months out of the year, it makes you very loose as an actor. And that’s probably the best tool that I’ve been given from being on the series as long as – the ability to just feel very pleased, very comfortable and very loose as an actor because there isn’t that sort of pressure of having been on the set in a few months, I haven’t been acting in a few weeks or a few, you know, whatever. So I would say, that has been the biggest growth for me as an actor and playing the character and being on the show this long.
As far as the challenges of this season, this season is going to be really intense for Duke and really heavy for Duke. So the biggest challenge has been in maintaining what is so great about Duke. And it is his irreverence and his humor and his ability to laugh in the face of danger. So finding the balance between the intensity of what’s going on this season for Duke and maintaining his nature, has been a challenge.
So, t’s one of my favorite things about the character. And you wouldn’t want to lose it. So, finding that balance has certainly been the biggest challenge. Great question.
QUESTION: You’ve got the Backcountry that’s being released for TIFF.
ERIC BALFOUR: Yes.
QUESTION: So, tell us a little bit about that and your Canadian connection. You seem to be working a lot with Canadians these days.
ERIC BALFOUR: Well, as far as the Canadian connection, everybody’s working with a lot of Canadians these days because they’re doing a lot right when it comes to business of making film and television. And I hope that, you know, especially as a native Californian, I hope that we start to follow suit. And we are. We’re starting to make strides in the right direction as far as our tax credits and, you know, making this space friendly for film makers again.
But as far as Backcountry specifically, Adam MacDonald, sent me the script and have this really clear vision of this very cool new launch thriller, horror film that was very much mixing genres and not obvious. He didn’t see it coming for all of the things that it is. And they had a very small budget. And I got to watch the film recently and I thought they did an amazing job. And it was a really fun opportunity to me to get to play such a different kind of character than I’ve been playing.
Initially, the character was not written as Ira. It was an idea that I’ve been thinking about for a while. And I pitched the idea to Adam. And one of the attributes of any great director is to be nullible and to be open and collaborative. And he very much was. And when I pitched in the asset and pitched in the sort of tweaks to the character and the reason why, because I don't want to completely give away because I want everyone to go see the movie. He was open and really excited about it.
And so, I love working with Missy. She’s just rad and so cool and down-to-earth and awesome. And Jeff was amazing. I had a blast at the other two guys. It was quick and it was rough and it was cold. And I’m very proud of when anyone gets a film made. You know, it’s a really hard feat these days to get a film made. And the fact that it turned out good - it’s like playing roulette, you know, in Vegas. It’s one in a million. So I commend them and am super proud of them. Unfortunately, my work here was between Haven and launching Electric & Rose, just didn’t allow me to make it, but I’m there with them in spirit and still proud of them.
QUESTION: There seems to be two camps about the tradition of Audrey or Mara. Some feel that the Audrey Parker personality is the core or heart of the show. And you know, press materials for Haven still always refer to Emily as well by that name. But the other camp feels that even if Audrey becomes just another past persona of Mara’s and Mara’s becomes the main role Emily plays from here out, that that would be fine because the community of characters as well as the location of Haven are actually the core of the show. Do you fall in one camp or another in that debate? And do you think Duke could address equally well to either outcome?
ERIC BALFOUR: I would probably fall in the camp that the community of characters and the location in this world is the core of the show. So, regardless of which incarnation of this character that Emily plays, the show works. And it’s a testament to Emily as an actor that she is able to bring light to all of these versions of the character, of this being.
I think for Duke, you know, Duke has a swagger to him that is really fun for me to play. He has a confidence that is probably – is definitely beyond my own in real life. And so I think, you know, whether Duke would ever admit it, I think he has the ability to roll with the punches. And so, like I said earlier, my scenes with Mara this season have been some of my favorite moments of the entire series. But I think people are going to be very surprised when they see how this all works out.
The writers have done an amazing job of crafting something really special and really unexpected. And it’s going to knock everyone’s socks off.
QUESTION: Will we see any closure on the Duke-Jennifer side of things this season?
ERIC BALFOUR: We absolutely will. The Jennifer character has a very, very large role in Duke’s storyline this season. It’s a huge motivation for him that it has pretty incredible outcomes, and it’s a huge part of the entire arc of Duke’s character this season.
QUESTION: Oh, that’s so nice to hear because I really felt like that she was a big part of the arc last season. And you both just did this wonderful work together.
ERIC BALFOUR: Oh, thank you so much. Yes, I loved working with Emma. I loved the dynamic between our characters. And she is just honestly, she’s one of the coolest people you could ever meet or hang out with. And she is such a pleasure to have on the set.
QUESTION: You must have a real affinity with the maritimes having spent the last four seasons filming Haven in Nova Scotia. What inspires you both in Nova Scotia’s terrain and the small communities?
ERIC BALFOUR: Wow, inherently, I have an affinity for Nova Scotia because I am a lover of the ocean. I am a surfer. And Nova Scotia is one of the most beautiful ocean communities I’ve ever been to anywhere in the world. And I’ve been in a lot of places in the world and surfed a lot of waves. And Nova Scotia has an almost a mysticism about it. It truly is dive country.
And, you know, I probably would never have gotten the opportunity to go and experience this place without the show. And I'm just grateful because, you know, I think that we all have sort trajectories in places we want to go in the world and visit. And I don't know that Nova Scotia would have been on my list inherently. But I'm so glad that I’ve gotten to experience it because it’s been magical.
SCIFI VISION:I got a couple of fan questions I’m picking from now. And the one, I think the overwhelming I’ve gotten from everybody, is they want to know if, in the show, they’re ever going to go back to the fact that Duke has a daughter, that I guess, he can right now not see. But are they ever going to address that? And also, do you think he would make a good father?
ERIC BALFOUR: You know, I don't know is the honest answer. It’s something we definitely talked about it. Something we definitely ask the writers about and try to, you know, there’s so much to address and to try to fit in per season. But it’s definitely something that we had been pushing for and we hope for. Obviously there’s the logistics of how that would work because of the nature of the troubles surrounding his daughter.
But I hope we get to see that because I think it would be amazing. And to answer your question, interestingly enough, I do think Duke would make a good father. I think what makes Duke special is that he wears his heart on his sleeve in some ways as guardian and, you know, cavalier as he can be, his nature has always come through. And I think if he were handed this child to take care of, I don't think he could compartmentalize his feelings for a baby and for his own blood. And I think it would be amazing to watch that.
So, yes. I hope it happens. But there hasn’t been any definitive answer as of yet. But we still have time.
SCIFI VISION:OK, good. Thanks a lot.
QUESTION: Emily [Rose] mentioned that part of the blocking for doing these episodes so quick because of the series order that there were more two-person scenes and smaller more intimate scenes. Did you like working that way this season to spend more one on one time than scenes with characters versus doing broader, big scenes?
ERIC BALFOUR: Absolutely. Hundred percent. You know, the bigger the scene, the more people, the harder to execute, the more broken up and sort of choppy it becomes and the ability to shoot the scene. And if you and just one other actor is really good for business. You know, it’s more intimate. It’s – you have more time. It’s been – it’s been – it’s been my favorite part about shooting the series this season is the style in which we’ve shot. And yes, I’ve loved it. It’s been great.
QUESTION: You mentioned surfing. What can you tell us at this early stage about your film Tao of Surfing which I understand is currently in post-production?
ERIC BALFOUR: Actually the Tao of Surfing is not completed yet. We still have scenes to shoot for.
I think there’s been between my schedule and Lou Diamond Phillips’ schedule, it’s just been a matter of timing the opportunity to complete the film. So I know it is listed on IMBD as in – as in post-production. But I think that’s a sort of a function of – there’s only so many categories listed there. But still, I hope we get to complete it. I love the script. I love the book. An amazing story. It’s just a matter of, you know, hopefully when we wrap up this season of Haven, we can get back to it and get it completed because it’s a very cool piece.
QUESTION: We talked to Emily and Lucas and always just shot 13 episodes and you shot 26. How is that like, you know, for you personally from production standpoint? They said that what was interesting was usually when they come back for the new season, you know, they have to hit the ground running. It takes a little while to get warmed up. But this time, because they went into the second half, they were pretty much still in the Haven mode for...?
ERIC BALFOUR: Yes. You know, there are challenges and there are benefits here. You know, being away from your family and home for double the amount of time is challenging. At the same time, it has in some ways, allowed for a little more of a lenient schedule. We have a little more time off. There’s a little – that are paced in some ways. But all in all, it’s been great. You know, yes, you stay in rhythm. It’s awesome.
QUESTION: I want to tell you, this Haven has been probably one of the most original television series I’ve seen in a long time. It was so hard to predict. And that’s what I love about it. And the casting, they got it right with all you guys. Let’s just say it’d be fun watching the new season.
ERIC BALFOUR: Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.
QUESTION: Last season, a lot of Duke’s arc was with the guest characters, with his brother and with Jennifer. So, going into this season, will we see more of a return to – I would think of sort of the focal three of Audrey, Nathan and Duke. Will we see more of that or will you be interacting with other folks as well?
ERIC BALFOUR: No, absolutely. They’re going to see a very, you know, obviously now Emily is playing Mara.
QUESTION: Mara, right.
ERIC BALFOUR: So, you could argue no, but yes, there is definitely a return to that threesome and group getting to interact together again. And you know, it’s one of those things that you can’t predict. The chemistry is very unquantifiable. And one of the things that I love about the show and I think it is going to be the strongest asset of the show is the chemistry between the three of us. And now especially with Adam, he’s only added more to that chemistry. So, yes. You are definitely going to see a return to that – to that group. And at least, with as far as the three actors go, the characters as you know were slightly different.
QUESTION: You’ve been really able to diversify your roles and not been typecast, from a lawyer to a drug addict to the mysterious Duke on Haven. Is there any particular genres film or TV that you would love to explore more of?
ERIC BALFOUR: Period. I would love to do some more period pieces. I'm fascinated by American history. I'm fascinated by Greek and Roman mythology, Europe in the 1800s. I would love the opportunity to work on some more period pieces. That would absolutely be in my – I desire to do the most. And hopefully somebody gives me the opportunity to do that. Anyone out there is listening.
QUESTION: The show deals with the supernatural. Do you believe in the supernatural? If so, what scares you?
ERIC BALFOUR: You know, I do believe in some form of supernatural. I do believe there is the unexplainable in our universe. And I do believe that there is magic in our universe. But to be perfectly honest, the supernatural doesn’t scare me. The dark side of humanity scares me much more than anything supernatural.
There are things happening in the world right now as we are seeing in the Middle East and in Europe. The lives of, you know, these terror groups, obviously Isis and the likes, is far more scary to me than anything else. And also, you know, obviously I'm a very outspoken about the environment and our ocean. And nothing scares me more than the way that we are treating our planet and our oceans. And when you think about what’s happening in Taiji, and in the southern oceans, I'm so grateful that there are heroes out there like the Sea Shepherd Society, what they’re – in Taiji and in the southern oceans fighting whaling, fighting the dolphin slaughter, that they are in the Galapagos and you know, trying to stop sharkfinning.
I don't think people realize often how dangerous and how close we are to the brink of disaster. If we don't protect our oceans and our oceans’ wildlife, we will no longer be able to exist. If our oceans die, we die.
QUESTION: That’s true.
ERIC BALFOUR: Nothing scares me more than that, far worse than any ghost or demon or monster.
QUESTION: When we last talked to Lucas and Emily, Lucas was just prepping to direct an episode. And the first part, has that filmed already? And if so, what was it like being directed by him? And having known that you’ve directed in the past, do you have any plans to do more directing in the future?
ERIC BALFOUR: So, Lucas has not directed his episode yet. That’s coming up very soon. I am so excited about it for him and for us. I think I actually probably said it on fairly a couple of times that I want to make his episode the best of the season because I'm so excited for him. I love directors. I love directing. I love the art of directing.
And so, I was happily envious of Lucas that he got to direct on Haven. And unfortunately, I can’t because I'm not a Canadian citizen. But I'm so excited for him and so looking forward to it. Actors make fantastic directors in my opinion. They understand the energy that it takes for an actor to do what he does. They are sympathetic to that. They have a language that they understand with actors when they are directing them.
And so, there’s nothing that I like more than working with a director who has been an actor. I'm – just off the top of my head, you know, I worked with Timothy Busfield a few years ago. And it was an amazing experience because he truly did understand what it meant to be an actor. And similarly, with Kathy Bates, once she directed Six Feet Under, it was the greatest experience for me as an actor, working an A, an actor of that caliber and to act – and to get to act for them as a director, it raised my game so much.
On a personal level, yes. I am very much looking forward to directing more. I have a series that I'm developing, which I hope to direct as it moves forward. I am developing several different features and I have a show that we’re developing to be one that I would love to be able to direct an episode of. So, directing is where I would like to take my career in the future moving forward and to obviously a huge part of what I do as an artist.