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Eric Balfour (Haven)

Eric Balfour: The Interview (Haven)

Eric Balfour plays Duke Crocker. Duke Crocker is a charming yet mysterious jack-of-all-trades. Though Duke outwardly appears to be a free spirit who lives an unobtrusive life on his boat, it becomes apparent that his mellow demeanor may conceal a much darker agenda.

SHAKEFIRE (SF): 
So can you talk a bit about kind of how things just are going to change, all the dynamics of everybody, considering that Audrey isn't Audrey in the beginning, and right now isn't even there?
ERIC BALFOUR (EB): 
Yes. You know, it was a really sort of fascinating time when we found out what was going to be happening this season, not only from a character standpoint but also, you know, simply logistically with Emily, you know, having just had her baby and we were, you know, basically going to spend the first about six weeks without her here in Nova Scotia filming with us. So it was going to be a challenge. At the same time, it was really exciting. And what it did do was create a lot of new dynamics between, you know the characters, and how things would shape. And I actually think, you know people say everything happens for a reason, and I think we were really lucky because what this did do was force us to get out of our comfort zone. It forced us to think outside the box. And what we end up with is something really exciting. The show has a whole new energy this season and a whole new sense of playfulness. And there's new characters that we introduce. The biggest change is, you know, initially seeing how Lucas Bryant's character Nathan is going to have to change his role in how we deal with the troubles. And also how my character Duke, is going to have to relate to Nathan, and how he is going to have to help him in a way that he, as we know, has always been reluctant to do. So especially in the first handful of episodes, things are completely different. And it - I really am excited about it. I really think that the audience is going to love this season because it's obviously - we try very hard to stay true to what is great about the show, but it's just always exciting when a show has to reinvent itself to a certain degree. I think the way that we see the cable landscape today, you can't sit on your laurels. The days of, you know, the sort of old paradigm of the procedural television show that basically is the same show episode to episode, week to week, season to season, just audiences are too dynamic today. They are too intelligent and they're too sophisticated to not want to see characters and television shows grow. And I am so proud of how much we have managed to do that this season.
SF: 
Okay great. And can you quickly talk a bit about working with the new characters that are on the show, the new actors?
EB: 
Absolutely. We have two new characters primarily this season, in Emma Lahana who plays Jennifer, and Chris Camargo who plays my brother Wade. They were both an absolute breath of fresh air. They're incredible actors. Personally you know, with Emma's character, Jennifer, it creates a whole new dynamic for Duke. It's going to reveal a side of him that we've never completely seen. And I loved having her on the set. I love working with her, she is a really playful actress. She brings a lot to the table. And both of them, I actually have to say, "We were really blessed to have two people that we really enjoy having on set." You know it's such an important part of any work environment really. You know, you want to like the people that you're working with. And they were so much fun, and they were so easy going, and they were so ready to become part of the family. And we just loved having them. And then obviously this season we have sort of a special, you know, guest star in Colin Ferguson. And Colin's just an awesome guy. He's a complete professional, he's smart and funny, and it was great. You know obviously there's a lot of excitement because he's sort of part of the Syfy family and he's, you know, been a part of a highly successful Syfy show. And so it's always fun to cross pollinate the worlds. And we've just been having a blast. It's been the funnest season of new characters. And they really fit in well. And it's just exciting. And I know that the fans of the show are going to love Emma's character. They are going to absolutely love her and love what she brings to the show. It's great.
SF: 
You know, one of the things that it sounds like, as far as you know, Dukes brother Wade is that they're kind of extremes. They're both totally different people. And so I would think their relationship is going to be very stormy during the course of the season.
EB: 
You would be absolutely correct. You know it - I mean purely the idea of family for, you know, for the character of Duke is tumultuous. And so to actually, you know, bring one of those people into his life in such direct proximity was really challenging for, you know, the character. And then to have them be such opposites. And you're going to - the audience is going to learn, you know pretty quickly, you know how and why they are so different. But it really made for a lot of fun, a lot of conflict. And you know I think for the fans of Duke, this season is going to be, I hope and I think, one of their favorites. Because Duke goes through so much this season. I mean we've obviously seen him go through a lot and struggle with his abilities and with his place in this world, but now there's a whole new emotional context to what he's going through. And so yes, I think it's just going to be awesome.
SF: 
What new developments for Duke are you most excited about this year?
EB: 
"What new developments am I most excited for?" I think - oh God, how do you answer that without giving anything away? You know I think what I'm most excited about for Duke this season is, you know through - he is going to be pushed harder than ever towards a decision. And he is going to be forced to choose sides in a battle that are almost Shakespearean in nature. I mean they are - they're impossible. They're impossible choices to make. And so watching that journey has been really exciting this season.
SF: 
What is maybe the biggest or most surprising change we can expect in Duke's character from the beginning of the season to the end of the season?
EB: 
Well I mean the most - there are two really huge changes that Duke is going to make this season. And unfortunately, I can't actually say what they are. It would be giving away too much. But I will tell you that it's going to leave fans either really happy or really frustrated. You know, Duke is going to have to completely redefine himself in many ways. And that rebooting of sorts, or redefining of his entire life, is really going to affect who he is. And actually thinking about it, I don't know that it's going to - it'll change who he is. I think we know who Duke is now. I think we understand who Duke is in his heart. But it is going to change his place in this world and his choices in his life. So that really to me, is going to be what fans are going to be most excited about.
SF: 
Over the past three seasons viewers have been kind of confused as to whether Duke is a good guy or a bad guy. He seems to have a very dichotomous nature. Is that something that we're going to continue to see in the new season, or has Duke finally decided to be the good guy?
EB: 
That's a very difficult question to answer. Duke is in some ways - it's why I love playing the character, because he is completely human and he is fallible. And in that human quality, it's very difficult to simply say, "He is good," or "He is bad," or "He has, you know, decided to be good." He is the most - in some ways, the most honest character on the show. And that's not to say that he doesn't, you know, ever lie or isn't ever deceitful. And he certainly can be. But what I mean by that is he's the most honest as a being, as a character, because it's never that simple for him, you know? And he's not written to be sort of a caricature of the earnest hero. He's just more dynamic than that. And so his choices are always veiled with, you know, his own at times selfish desires, with his what I believe is his inherent nature to do the right thing. So I think in some ways his desire to be more earnest may be there, but because of the challenges that he faces this season, it becomes that much harder.
Peter Oberth
Interview by Peter Oberth
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