“Revolution” isn’t back until next month, but we had an opportunity to interview David Lyons last week.
Lyons plays Sebastian “Bass” Monroe, the leader of the so-called Monroe Republic. He also costars in the new romantic movie Safe Haven, based on the Nicholas Sparks novel starring Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel.
During his rounds of Safe Haven, we were able to speak with Lyons by phone and talk about his new movie, his hit TV show, and the short-lived superhero series, “The Cape” as well as his unseen show, “Day One.”
CraveOnline: Since you are not Josh Duhamel, should we assume that you don’t get the girl in Safe Haven?
David Lyons: [Laughs] Yes. You should assume that. I think anyone who’s standing next to Josh Duhamel should assume that.
CraveOnline: Is that a fun part to play in the love triangle though?
David Lyons: It is. It’s always fun to play the fifth wheel, the one that’s not as wanted as others, but it was great. And given that I was playing that triangle with those two, who are just the most lovely people kicking around, it was great. It was fantastic.
CraveOnline: What does it mean to you to have a romance coming out on Valentine’s Day?
David Lyons: Unfortunately, if I was to take a valentine to this movie on Valentine’s Day, I don’t think it would bode well for me. But, I think it’s a great time for it and this film is a great film for valentines. It is the perfect film for Valentine’s Day. They were always intending to bring it out around this time and I’m very glad that they did because it suits the emotional landscape very, very well.
CraveOnline: What are some of those great Nicholas Sparks themes that Safe Haven deals with?
David Lyons: Well, it’s about the redemptive and restorative aspect of love. That’s a common theme through all of Nicolas’s work and such a beautiful theme. It is about two people learning to love, or learning to love and trust.
I think that both have had a past in which they’ve been hurt, like we all have. They kind of learn to open up to each other. I think in terms of what scenes there are that demonstrate that, you’ve got to go and see the film I guess. The essence of it is about a woman learning to love again, despite the fact that she’s had a pretty dark past.
CraveOnline: When did you shoot Safe Haven in relation to “Revolution?”
David Lyons: I had shot the pilot of “Revolution” and we were waiting to start filming, so I shot the first episode of “Revolution” and we had a three month hiatus. I shot it in that time and then we were actually shooting in Southport, N.C. and “Revolution” works in Wilmington, N.C. It’s about 40 minutes away. It was a very serendipitous scenario.
CraveOnline: So what’s coming up for Monroe?
David Lyons: Monroe, where we left off with him in episode 10 at the end of the first half of the season, his last sinew of sanity was snapped when Miles told him that he is no longer family and he doesn’t care for him. I think that that was the last vestige of hope that he had for redemption in a lot of ways, even though he’s still trying, still trying desperately. I think in the next half of the season, you’ll start to see the descent of him as he tries to come to grips with the fact that he’s all alone at the top of the hill.
CraveOnline: When Monroe is the leader, but his second in command is someone as powerful as Neville, is that going to be a problem for him too?
David Lyons: It is. I think the problem with a dictator of that sort is that he sees threats from all angles. He sees it from Neville, he sees it from other people that we haven’t been introduced to yet and other people that we have been introduced to.
So that is always at cross purposes to him and that does not bode well for his mental stability either. It seems like the pressure is starting to really mount on him as he’s trying desperately to maintain his own sanity but also control of the republic which he presides over, and what was formerly the United States of America; which he wants to conquer.
CraveOnline: Are there going to be some good face offs between you and Giancarlo Esposito?
David Lyons: Look, Captain Neville has managed to become the irritant to not only my character. To a lesser extent my character, but also numerous other characters. He’s really gotten in the face of a few of them so we will see him facing off on a lot of levels, but you’ll get to start to really see the dynamism of Giancarlo and also the role of Captain Neville.
CraveOnline: How involved are you going to be in the action coming up?
David Lyons: It’s off and on. We often see Monroe sitting on his throne back in Philadelphia, but he will get out into the field and I like it when he does. I like it when he actually gets out and starts to really swing the sword and stuff, starts to do his own work for himself because I think that does add a real dynamic range to the character, so we will see a bit of that, but not without consequences.
CraveOnline: Are you in any of the helicopter scenes coming up?
David Lyons: You will see me in a helicopter at some stage. I can’t really say too much I’m afraid.
CraveOnline: That’s okay, I went too far.
David Lyons: Yeah.
CraveOnline: It seemed like Rachel was starting to stand up to you. Will that get even more tense or will Monroe regain the power in that dynamic?
David Lyons: Well, look, at the end of the last episode we saw Miles and Charlie and Nora and Aaron escape with Rachel and Danny. So everyone has left the compound at this stage, but that does not mean that they have left Monroe’s world. So they will come back into that world quite often and quickly. I will leave that power struggle with Rachel and Monroe for those who watch it unfold. I can’t give too much of that away. I know that I’m being very guarded with it but unfortunately that’s my M.O.
CraveOnline: No, of course, and we expect that. How much more do you have left to shoot before the end of the season?
David Lyons: I believe that we’re going to be shooting until the end of March which means we’re moving into episode 16 now. We’ve got four more to go. We’ll shoot 20 episodes this year so I think that’ll take us to the end of March.
CraveOnline: Have you pretty much stayed in the NBC family since “The Cape?”
David Lyons: Look, I have been associated with NBC, but no, not so much. NBC has been very good to me and very kind in the years past, from “ER” to “The Cape” and to this but this one, I came on board with the knowledge of the likes of J.J. Abrams, Jon Favreau and Eric Kripke were teaming up.
The fact that it was on NBC and the people that I get along so well with was actually a true blessing, but it was not so much that I was a member of the family. It was more that it was a good fit for us, this show and myself. NBC has been incredibly kind to me and very good to me so I guess I am part of the family but I’m kind of that uncle that swims in every now and again and has a couple of drinks with the family and goes off to do something else.
CraveOnline: What was your take on “The Cape” and why that didn’t make it?
David Lyons: I had a great time doing it. Working with Summer [Glau], working with Tom Wheeler, working with the guys at BermaBraun and NBC was a real delight. I had a really great time. I think to understand the complex nature as to why something does or doesn’t work is kind of beyond me.
That was now about two years ago and I guess it just didn’t find its audience. I guess we had 10 episodes and it was a time when NBC was in a state of flux as well so I think a lot of things conspired to not allow it to settle. I think it had a lot of great things going for it but there’s also a couple things that didn’t wash well or bode well with the viewing public.
CraveOnline: Did you have a sense of what those things were?
David Lyons: Well, I was hoping that it wasn’t me, but maybe it was. I don’t know. The success and failure of a show feels very much, when you’re in them, like butterfly wings. If you touch it too much or try to understand it, they’ll never fly. So with something like that, I honestly don’t know. I try not to read any of the reasons why on the internet and so on because that way madness lies, to read the reviews. I don’t know. Can you tell me why it didn’t work?
CraveOnline: I don’t know either. Maybe superhero overload?
David Lyons: [Laughs] It could be, it could be. Look, I think one of the aspects is that it’s always hard to create a superhero, and “Arrow” has done it very, very well, but it is hard to create a superhero that no one’s ever heard of.
When you’ve got a situation with DC and Marvel and so on, you’ve got these incredible etymologies of superheroes and people know and understand the virtues of the hero. Each one, whether it’s a comic hero or a comedy hero or a dark hero like a Batman or lighter hero like a Superman, or a little bit more playful like a Spider-Man.
I think with something like The Cape, you’ve got to try to figure out where this character sits in the canon of a superhero and I think that that takes time. It takes something that is hard to grow from its inception with the world watching.
CraveOnline: You were also part of “Day One” which I was following as it went from a series to a one off movie to never airing at all. Were you hopeful for that series?
David Lyons: I actually was because we had a great cast. I actually really enjoyed the pilot. I watched the pilot and thought, “This is good.” It just didn’t go. It was at a time when NBC was in a state of flux and it was given the green light and then it was halted. So it was unfortunate you didn’t get to see that because I just had a such a great time with the cast. It was fantastic working with those guys.
I thought the premise was really strong, but as I say, you never really know why something’s going to work or why it’s not going to work. Everyone in this town will have their success stories and their failures. To know why that happens is to try and catch smoke. It’s difficult.
CraveOnline: Was there a point on “Revolution” where you sensed this was working and it was going to make it?
David Lyons: Yes. Look, with the holy trifecta of Favreau, Kripke and J.J., it’s got a very good chance. That was always a very, very great positive. You’ve got Billy [Burke], Giancarlo [Esposito], Tracy [Spiridakos], all those guys filming it. They’re just fantastic actors and they’re putting in 110%, all those things.
I throughout it have played one or two scenes each episode, so I’ve not been terribly near the forefront of it, near the spearhead of it as such so it’s difficult for me to gauge as to how it’s going because I’m not on the set every day and I wouldn’t be able to feel the exuberance of the crew and the cast as they start to really explore the characters and the world. But when it started to come out and people were responding favorably, we live in Wilmington, N.C. and that town really got behind us.
I was always curious if it was just Wilmington that was watching or if it was the rest of America. As it turns out we had quite a following which is fantastic, but none of us on set ever think about that because to think about it is to start to wonder why and to start to wonder why is to start to wobble and to start to wobble is to start your falling, and none of us want to do that.
So we don’t ask the question. We do the job. We love the characters and go to work and try to do the best we can do and hope that people come on the journey with us.