Tonight’s episode of Midnight, Texas is called “No More Mr. Nice Kai,” so we can only assume this is going to be a big episode for Nestor Carbonell. That means it’s time for the next entry in our Set Visit Diaries!
Nestor discusses why he wanted to play Kai, how he’s incorporated an alternative medicine practice into his performance, and what brought Kai to Midnight.
To read the previous entries in our Midnight, Texas Set Visit Diaries, click here.
How did the role of Kai land on your radar?
I was approached by Nicole [Snyder] and Eric [Charmelo] — I’d worked with them on a show years ago — they called me to say, “Would you be interested in doing an arc this season?” And I said, “Yeah, what’s the role?” Nicole goes, “It’s a healer.” I’ve never played that before, so I was immediately intrigued. ,Then I read the material and thought, “This is out there and it’s great.” What a great thing to take a complete departure from what I’ve been doing recently.
Did you do anything specific to prepare for the role?
I wanted to ground the character as much as I could with a healing aspect, so I started Reiki. I went online and scoured the Internet for information, and now I’m hooked. I’m sold. I get the notion of energy and how it can be transferred. So I’ve tried to ground my character in as much of that as I could and take a big swing. [Midnight, Texas] is a big world, and you can’t go halfway, but at the same time, you want to make it as truthful as you can so that the audience can suspend disbelief.
How have you incorporated what you’ve learned about Reiki into your performance?
I definitely follow [the scripts] but there are some movements that I’ve gotten from Reiki that I try to apply. When Kai heals people, I had to come up with a version of it that’s a little bit Reiki and a little bit of what’s written for the character. As an actor, you want to ground any material so that if you believe it, then hopefully the audience will believe it. If you don’t believe it, then good luck. I have to make it as real to me as I can, even as outrageous as [the world is that] this takes place in.
What was it about Kai that intrigued you the most?
I think the notion that I hadn’t played a healer before. To me, any job is great because you can always find stuff. I’ve played police officers and FBI agents before. If there’s a nuance or some element of the backstory, some misbehavior about the character, you find those things. But [Kai] is such a departure. Except for Richard on LOST that had [similar] elements, this guy’s a different beast. It was the notion that I could dive into something else — like Reiki healing — that is exciting. And the stakes are so outrageous. Coming off of Bates Motel — even though it was a psychological thriller and there were strange things — for the most part it was grounded in real life, whereas [Midnight, Texas] is another world where we’re really stretching the imagination.
Were there any challenges in joining a mythology-heavy series in its second season?
The good thing for me in this season is — from what I gathered — the first season is an anthology of sorts. Thematically, this season is its own self-contained story. We’re starting fresh in a sense. Even though the actors have their shorthand, it’s a fresh storyline. In that respect I didn’t feel like it was a complete moving train.
Can you say if there will be tension between Kai, the healer, and Fiji, the witch, since Kai is treading into her territory?
Could be. With everything that Nicole and Eric do, there’s great twists whether it’s story or characters. You will see peaks and valleys. It goes through a lot of the facets of each character, and certainly with Kai you’ll see all kinds of colors.
What can you share about Kai’s relationship with Patience?
Patience is the love of his life. They met 12 years ago when he was healing people on the east coast and they’ve moved now to Midnight because they knew the energy here was different. It was just easier for Kai to operate because of the energy, and the number of people he could heal. She is everything to him. I don’t think he has any other roots outside of Patience. She’s changed his world.
Any final thoughts or teases?
At the risk of sounding blasphemous, he definitely borrows from Christ.
Photos Courtesy of NBC