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Things Are Heating Up For Kevin Carroll
By Zon D'Amour
Published April 19, 2017

Courtesy Photo

The veteran stage actor has found his groove as one of the stars from the critically acclaimed HBO series, “The Leftovers”. In an exclusive interview with the L.A. Sentinel, Carroll shares his desires for the series finale to turn into a season 4.

LAS: It’s seems as if many people have recently become fans of the show but HBO has already announced that this is the finale season. Do you think everything gets resolved in this season or is the show left open ended so that a digital platform like Netflix or Hulu, for example could continue production?

Kevin Carroll: When dealing with artistic endeavors, the best and worst thing about them all is that they have to come to an end at some point. But in a show like this, when the writing is so layered and the people working on the show are so committed to the process, and the way HBO supported the show, it felt like so many things were going right and I believe the story could easily sustain a few more seasons with these characters because the writers are very interesting in the way they put these characters on the page. But there’s a very delicate dance of trying not to wear out your welcome from a creative standpoint. From an artistic standpoint of doing the work, it’s second to none. It’s mournful to know that it’s the last season but it’s rewarding to have done it and it’s exciting to see what people will take away from it and what conversations it’ll spark. I hate to see this go.

From a character standpoint, I’ve enjoyed the journey of this guy so much. At the heart of it all, his journey is one of those that people have been very curious about in terms of what makes the characters tick and trying to answer questions about his journey, that makes it really great from a fan standpoint. I was recently in the airport and this guy went off on me and initially I had no idea what he was talking about but then I realized he was really passionate about the show and he was trying to figure out why my character would do certain things. And he didn’t want to take it up with HBO, he wanted to take it up me. (Laughs)

LAS: For people who don’t understand the premise of the show, can you explain what the show represents because there seems to be a lot of religious undertones.

KC: When Tom Perrotta wrote the book, “The Leftovers”, he was inspired by the rapture; it was a creative look at what would happen if a rapture like event happened to all of us no matter your religion. And from there you start to ask questions about the fundamental creation of not only life itself but religions in particular. At the heart of any organized religion is one or two people that had to agree upon the doctrine and the confines of the religion and they agreed to represent it in a particular way. So if a rapture like event were to happen, one thing is clear–some people would lose faith and other people would start their own religion in reaction to the rapture and who’s to say that their code of ethics wouldn’t be viable?

(L-R) “The Leftovers” cast: Regina King, Jovan Adepo, Jasmin Savoy Brown and Kevin Carroll. (Courtesy Photo)

LAS: With this show being your first time as a series regular, do you believe that you would have been ready for these types of opportunities earlier in your career?

KC: There are so many ingredients that go into the answer of that question but simply I will start by saying any of the movie or television roles that I was considered for early on wasn’t necessarily about me or if I was ready. They simply weren’t layered or complex roles, no matter who played them, so it would be hard to compare to this opportunity. I didn’t see a lot of young African Americans in their 20s winning awards, so we have to keep with the notion of considering the content that we have to work with – like you can’t bake a cake without flour. Years ago, Viola Davis and I were in a play together and she is and was as incredible in that play as she’s been in anything else I’ve seen her in since. The fact that she’s just now winning an Oscar [at age 51] is less to do about her ability and more about her opportunities. So it’s really a question of when and where you run into material that you’re able to use your experience to bring it to life and you have a writer who’s voice will compliment your abilities; all of those things have to come together and some of that is being lucky and being in the right place at the right time.

I’ve spent much more time in the theatre and much less time being a candidate for those kinds of award winning scripts. It’s a very complicated answer for me but I believe it’s very hard to get into this [business] for an award. I think you have to get into this for whatever motivates you to be the best artist you can be and if awards come out of that passion for the work, then you roll with the punches and if awards don’t come but you’ve worked equally as hard and you’ve stayed true to yourself then you kind of get the reward of having done that.

LAS: What should viewers expect from your character within this season and what are some upcoming projects that you’re working on?

KC: I’m really not finished with the experience of playing John Murphy on any level. [Author] Tom Perrotta is an incredibly galvanizing thinker in the way he put together the book. The first season of “The Leftovers” strictly followed the book and then HBO came back and offered them a little more time to re-imagine and keep thinking beyond the book and that’s how we ended up with season two and three. For all of the people who follow the show, in great “Leftovers” fashion, they’ll be some twists and turns and more things to figure out about John Murphy by the end of season 3.

One day I hope to direct, I’m trying to put a writing team together. I had such a great “Paid In Full” audience that I think there are more stories to be told that are reflective of human conditions to keep us thinking about the consequences of falling off the tracks. I’d like to dedicate some more energy to those projects that speak to our youth and their choices. I had an opportunity to work with John Singleton and his new series “Snowfall”. It’s a worthwhile look into where and how cocaine got introduced into Los Angeles.

I’m also doing a few episodes of Shonda Rhimes’ series, “The Catch” and it’s been a completely different energy than “The Leftovers”. I’m always looking forward to the next project twhere you get a little bit of what you need and a great character to work on.

Watch Kevin Carroll on “The Leftovers” Sundays at 9pm on HBO. Follow Kevin on social media: @KevinTCarroll

Categories: Entertainment | Exclusive (Entertainment) | TV
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