[Warning: SPOILERS! DO NOT READ until after you have seen the first season finale of Slasher.]
WE MEAN IT,
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.
Poor, poor Cam. While you process that extra-stabby finale, how about a nice post-show interview with Steve Byers?
I had no preconceived notion whether Cam might or might not be the killer, but then when he was, it was an OF COURSE HE IS moment, because, really, boys next door are always too good to be true. Am I right? I talked to Byers earlier this week about his killer role and what’s next, and I’m happy to report that he’s not at all scary.
Byers came into Slasher without knowing outright what he was getting into, but after he was cast, creator Aaron Martin pulled him aside and told him the news, and he was thrilled. “At the first meeting, I didn’t know he was the killer. I was led to believe what a lot of people were believing the first few episodes. As soon as we made the deal, he called me up right afterward and [told me]. It was really exciting for me to get into the head of somebody like that, who was really twisted.”
While the series shot out of order and more like a film than eight individual episodes, Byers says they were careful about who knew The Executioner’s identity. “It was a pretty tight circle of people who knew. They were trying to keep it tight,” he says. “They were really cognizant about not letting [pages of the script] go off. The scene where Cam kills his dad, they were trying really hard to make sure that the lovely background people didn’t know exactly what was going on.”
Byers was actually in The Executioner garb for some of the kills, except where he might harm himself or one of his lovely co-stars, and says his favorite scene was the one when Alison interviews The Executioner. “When we got to shoot the scene in the silo, that was the first time Cam got to speak as The Executioner, and it was really important to me to have him have a personality and not be a guy in a mask,” he says. “I wanted him to have a specific voice and cadence. I liked the idea of Cam being able to let loose behind the mask.”
“There was great guy named Steve Gagne and he would come in [when it was dangerous]. When Brenda dies, that’s me up until the brick is thrown into the water and then he stepped in. Safety was paramount. In the silo, it was actually a stunt double for Mayko [Nguyen] and I had a rubber knife.”
One of the things that lingered for me after the finale was how Cam knew what he knew about the town’s secrets when so many pre-dated him. Byers says he and Martin talked about that. “It was loosely discussed. At a certain point, it became a little willful suspension. A couple of minutes before a shoot, I’d walk up and ask something [like that],” he says.
“Usually it was chalked up to him having access to people’s personal information [as a police officer]. We felt that he was a guy who would collect information, and having all these things in his head kept him a good place. When Sarah comes to town and all the secrets become relevant again, they burst his bubble.”
Byers says one of the things Cam didn’t know was Vaughn’s true nature. “I felt like Cam thought he knew so many things, but that one got by him,” he admits. “He would have been able to use that information much earlier on. It would have changed who he killed and when he killed them. You can only be so good of a murderer.”
In the finale, once the reveal has occurred, we see a less stable side of Cam, and Byers says that was intentional. “Aaron and I had many discussions about Cam and what made him tick, and inevitably what made him snap,” he says. “Personally I was very excited for the moments when Cam finally could let loose.”
He’s particularly fond of the scene in Cam’s house after June’s murder, when he and Sarah get a little heated guessing who The Executioner might be. “My favorite scenes were the ones where you got to see a bit of a twisted Cam. The scene at the table when they’re discussing the killer and she says it could be my dad and I said, ‘It could be you,'” he recalls. “I really loved the way the dynamic worked and you could see the tired, tragic fight in him, It was fun to do.”
When it came time to shoot the final confrontation between Cam and Sarah, and then Dylan, they were all a little punchy from working nights, and it was a sticky, sublime day. “The last scene, the fight scene in the house, was such a long, big day. That was one of our locations where we had it a number of times,” he explains. “You’re covered in artificial blood. It’s so sticky. A long time ago I did a remake of Carrie and I felt so bad for Angela Bettis. They had a stool for her. She was covered in blood head to toe, over the course of four to five days. I would never want to be in that situation.”
“You never know how a scene like that is going to be. We were at the end of a bunch of night shoots, and then when you get down to it, it was a grueling couple of nights. We all get along really well [but] you get to a point where you’re happy that it’s done. I think that scene turned out really well.”
Byers is at work now on Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle. “We’re shooting the second season. I’m back and forth on that. I am supporting character on that. They’re shooting 12 days per episode vs. the typical five,” he points out. “Amazon has put a lot of time and money into it. It’s a very different kind of project. The concept is kind of high. It’s ironic that I’ve managed to play a serial killer and I’m playing a Nazi on this show. I’ve now played the worst people in the world.”
Byers has also completed a role in The Apostle Peter: Redemption, a feature film that was shot in Ontario, subbing for Jerusalem. It’s being shopped for distribution. “They’re at Cannes right now. That was a fantastic experience,” he says. “Working with John Rhys-Davies, who’s been a role model of mine for years, was just fantastic. He’s so down-to-earth.”
If Slasher gets a second season pick up — and it can’t hurt that the show’s now on Netflix — Byers says he’ll be back in a heartbeat. “I loved working with everybody,” he explains. “We all became great friends.”
We’ll keep you posted when we hear about a renewal!
Photos courtesy of Chiller