A Chat with Alphas’ Warren Christie

Alphas’ Cameron Hicks has been through the ringer this season. We’ve followed him out of his relationship with Nina and into an initially equally volatile but eventually steadying relationship with Dani Rosen only to lose her to a bomb planted by Stanton Parish. In one bright development, with Dani’s help, he has at least reconnected with his son.

“Falling” put things in motion for Hicks to realize Dani’s been playing both sides, and in last week’s “The Devil Will Drag You Under”,  she redeemed herself for that betrayal but was killed by Parish. Her death will affect the rest of the show’s second season for all of the characters, especially Hicks and Dr. Rosen. Recently we had a chance to chat with Warren Christie, who breathes life into Hicks every week, and it was a wide-ranging conversation about Alphas, Hicks, and other work that’s brought Christie into our living rooms.

We asked about the initial shift this season from Hicks being in charge alongside Bill to back in team formation after Rosen’s return, and he said he thinks that’s where Hicks is happiest. “[They’re] all much happier with Rosen back…he is the clear-cut leader [for] so many different reasons,” he says. “[Hicks] is really trying to grow up and mature and do all these different things. But I think you’re right. I think he’s a much happier guy. You know, just kind of behind the scenes a little bit, doing what he has to do. But you will see him take a much different role in the second half. Some events will happen and there [will be] a lot of changes within the characters and…some shifts [that] I think are very exciting.”

Hicks has also evolved from a loner to someone taking a chance with relationships, and that’s bitten him twice now. Christie agrees that while the potential is there for Hicks to revert, he doesn’t. “[In the first season, he was] that isolated guy who didn’t want to be…part of things…but I have always thought he… put himself in that place [where] he craved being a part of a team,” he says. “We’re talking about a guy who was a semi-pro baseball player, these are all team things. But [in] the past, he let them down and that was his big problem.”

Christie said Hicks’ struggle wasn’t just the dynamic of the team without Rosen but also the dissolution of the romantic relationship with Nina. “We see the effect of that [on both of them],” he says. “They’re not together anymore but… there’s still some care in there. [After Dani’s deception and death, Hicks] is going to take a bit of a different path. I wouldn’t say necessarily [that he’ll] become…completely isolated but his agenda’s going to change massively in a certain way.”

“Falling” also slowed things down considerably and showed more of the humanity of the Alphas’ struggle. Christie says that’s the fabric of the show. “[We] know at the end of the day that these characters [are] what keep people coming back. And, you know, it’s very important to us as actors to make sure that we have these fully realized characters and what they’re going through,” he says. Christie says the episode was remarkable for him personally because it was action-free.

“It’s the least amount of stunts I’ve done…I didn’t shoot a gun, I actually got a couple days off. But it’s some of the most rewarding stuff I’ve gotten to do because we showed such a different side to Cameron and we get to see, you know, the father he’s been, the father he wants to be, and all these different things,” he says. “[It] was beautifully written stuff. It was really nice kind of breaking away from some of the other things and…they’re very important pieces of these characters and that’s what we hope is resonating with people.”

Christie can’t say enough good things about new cast addition and fan favorite John Pyper-Ferguson as Stanton Parish. “He has been doing an incredible job…early on you couldn’t necessarily just call [Parish] the bad guy…He was just trying to make what he believed is a better world and the way it has to be,” he says. “[The] scenes between him and David [Strathairn] are always so incredible because he brings such a presence and such a weight to Parish…and the two of them together are…having such a great chess match…[Getting] to work across from him, he’s been great. The minute a word comes out of his mouth, I’m just like,’ okay, well that’s Stan Parish, nobody else can play him,’ and that’s, I think, as good a compliment as you can get.”

When we talked to Christie last year as Alphas was launching, he was loving the show and the work, and that still holds a year later. “I love going to work with the people I work with, the cast, the crew, the writers, the producers, the director. We have been very, very fortunate to have such a great group,” he says. “I think one of the most insightful nuggets I’ve taken from the character is more on the work side and strangely enough, just how important it is to surround yourself with people you really [like because] life’s too short…It’s really been an incredible couple [of] years.”

This summer, I found a marathon of True Justice, a wonderfully camp show Christie did just before Alphas, on REELZ in the U.S. It headlined Steven Seagal and co-starred Once Upon a Time’s Meghan Ory. So while we had him on the phone, I asked about that work experience. “[We] had a really, really great crew, really nice group of people [and because it was] made on a certain…budget, [we were] jam packing…as much guns and fights and all those things into [60 minutes] as much as we could.”

It’s much lighter fare than Alphas, and Christie appreciates that.”You know what you’re going to get [when you tune in]. And you can sit there and watch a marathon like you did, guilt free and…take it for what it is. But it was a fun group and…I got to do a lot of stunts and shoot a lot of guns so I was just like a big kid running around. [There’s] nothing wrong with that at the end of the day.”

Christie also teased that since Alphas wrapped in August, he’s done a guest star turn on the upcoming CW drama Arrow, but he’s sworn to secrecy about who he played. “They’re quite hush-hush on everything in general and I don’t want to be that one guy [who spoils it],” he says.” It’s a great group and …it seems like it’s going to be a really cool show. And it was [a] fun thing to do.”

Alphas airs Mondays in the U.S. on Syfy at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT and repeats at 10 pm ET/9 pm CT and midnight ET/11 pm CT and 10pm ET/7pm PT in Canada on SPACE). You can catch up on recent episodes at both networks’ websites.

Photo Courtesy of Syfy

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