Brandon Jay McLaren Chats ‘Slasher’

Slasher continues its thrilling run on Chiller in the US, and makes its debut next week on Super Channel in Canada, so now is the perfect time to break out a few more of our on-set interviews. Brandon Jay McLaren chatted with me about his character, Dylan — the husband of Katie McGrath’s Sarah — and how he plays into the bigger story.

Dylan is the husband of the main character in this story, Sarah. What else are you able to share about your role?

Yeah, her and I are married. I’m a journalist. In the beginning, I’m very much encouraging her to come back [to Waterbury] and face her demons because these murders have haunted her her whole life, and she doesn’t really know much about her past. She wants to come back to her town and exorcise these demons, so [Dylan’s] very supportive of that.

We come back and the murders start happening again. It’s almost like a copycat situation. The story gets huge, and [since] I’m journalist and run the town paper, it turns into a conflict of interest because these murders are taking my career to another level. I’m getting all this exposure now because I’m covering the stories happening in my town. They’re also tearing the town apart, and my wife is affected by them, so it’s interesting.

Is Dylan originally from Waterbury as well?

No. They met in the city and he’s coming back with her to move into the same house where the first murders occurred, where her parents were murdered.

That’s kind of neat angle to take, coming into the story as a husband and journalist, moving to a new place and discovering that there’s a story to be told.

Yeah, a huge story, this huge opportunity. A Nancy Grace-type figure comes up from the US and she wants to cover the story, so [Dylan starts] to do TV. He’s really a great character. I signed on [to Slasher] because the characters were really cool.

You were also on another horror series, Harper’s Island. How quickly did you start seeing comparisons to that come up?

For me it was right away. I think you’d have to see it to know. For me it was instantaneous. I read the script I said, “Oh, this is very similar.”

I get a sense that every character is fair game on Slasher, and on top of that, you’re block shooting (i.e. shooting scenes from all eight episodes at once during a given week). How does knowing where your character ultimately ends up affect the filming experience for you versus filming episodically?

The thing what’s different about this is that we’re shooting all the episodes simultaneously. Usually you go episode by episode. You shoot one episode in seven days. We’re shooting all eight. On any given day, we’ll have a scene from Episode 2 and Episode 8.

It’s no different because you usually know your character arc, or you at least have an idea. Harper’s Island was a different situation because we really didn’t know who was getting killed until the next episode. We’re coming into [Slasher] with all the episodes written. Everybody knows where they stand coming in to it.

You just wrapped the third season of Graceland. What would you say is the appeal in coming in and doing a limited series like Slasher?

First of all, Aaron Martin contacted me about the show. I’ve loved him since The Best Years and Being Erica. I’ve worked with him, I like doing his projects, I always have a good time, so that was one big reason. Two, the character’s so different from what I play on Graceland. It’s such a departure from what I do. As an actor, you always want to do different things. Any time you get the opportunity to play something so different, you’ve got to take it.

What is Dylan’s relationship like with the other people in Waterbury? Is he seen as an outsider? Is he welcomed?

He’s not completely trusted. He is seen as a bit of an outsider, and maybe a bit of an opportunist because of the circumstances. He comes into the town, and all of a sudden these murders start to happen, and he has to do his job. I guess it could appear from the outside that he’s in some way profiting from these murders, in a personal sense. There’s a lot of distrust and he doesn’t really form alliances with anybody in town.

This isn’t the first time that a journalist comes into play in a horror or mystery series. Broadchurch and the Scream films immediately come to mind. For the journalist to be married to the person seen as the reason for these killings, that’s an interesting angle.

That adds a whole another layer of being the husband of the character who’s at the center of the murders. It’s not the reason for the murders, but some people think it’s his wife. She comes back and all of sudden they start again. People have animosity towards her. They’re like, “Get out of here. Since you came back, everything went bad again. Last time you were here, as a kid, things were bad so maybe this has something to do with you.” There are a lot of great layers.

For your Graceland fans that may be hesitant to watch a horror series, what would you say to encourage them to watch Slasher?

It’s a murder mystery but at the core of it, Slasher‘s really a great story about somebody trying to reconcile with their past, fighting their demons, and overcoming things that are debilitating to them. I think that’s why I really like the story, because there are actually great characters in this, and then there’s a larger story to be told.

It’s going to be fun, and it’s going to be gruesome for people who like old-school horror. It’s a wild ride, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Photo Courtesy of Chiller

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