Last week I got to sit down and chat with the very talented Leah Gibson and Joshua Sasse who play the mafia power couple of Alec and Cathy Laszlo in the new TV show Rogue. The show premieres on DIRECTV’s Audience Network Wednesday, April 3 at 9PM and is an interesting mix of mafia drama and thriller.
The show focuses on Grace (Thandie Newton) a morally and emotionally-conflicted undercover detective, who while deep undercover in the Laszlo family her seven year-old son is killed in a mysterious drive by shooting. Later we find out the same killer is also out to kill the head of the Laszlo Family as well. This sparks an unlikely partnership as the detective and the mafia boss join forces as they try to find who killed Grace’s son, before he completes his plan.
It was great chatting with these two about their roles on the show. If you have a chance I suggest checking the first episode out when it premiers.
How are you both enjoying Philadelphia so far?
Leah: It’s fantastic so far.
Joshua: It’s a beautiful, it’s like a Georgian, English town its stunning. It’s nice to have a town with some individual character.
So, what is it about Rogue that drew you to the show?
Joshua: Shows like this don’t come around a lot. They are incredibly thin to the ground, especially with writing this high quality. So when something like this gets thrown into the showbiz world, we all hear about it very quickly. From the minute I picked up the script I was hooked.
There is something about that underworld in America is something that no one would want to miss out on. You look at Goodfellas, Scarface or Boardwalk Empire they are incredibly popular and as an actor you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity like that.
I was filming a film in the Czech Republic at the time and I thought I was going to miss the boat and I came back and they still hadn’t cast my character. I auditioned for it and managed to get it.
Leah: When the script came my way, it was something Tandy Newton was already attached to so I knew it was going to be a quality project. I had curiosities about it being a TV show that Tandy was doing, because she has done some brilliant films. After reading the pilot it was very apparent to me that this show was different.
The writing was very intriguing and when it’s a good read, you know from ink on paper, you know its something good. There are just these very unique portrayals of these individuals in heightened circumstances.
You’re both play pretty dark characters in Rogue how did you get into the mind of those characters?
Joshua: Well the writing gave us an awful lot of help. We were also able to talk to the shows creator Matthew Parker who was on set every day and he adopted a very collaborative relationship with all of us. So we were able to build those characters and grow with him.
So other than our individual model for each of our characters, Matthew had a very good idea of where they were coming from.
Leah: To me the show was very character driven and they are defined by the relationships between one another. My understanding of Cathy came to life when, Joshua and I were working together in the audition process, all of a sudden I really understood her and her place in the grand scheme of things in the Laszlo family.
Joshua: One of the big things I drew upon for my character was his volatility, which was key to the show. I watched an interview that Charles Manson had, and he just suddenly flipped his character, came out of nowhere, it looked like it even surprised him and he had these complete two sides of him. That fascinated me, so I really tried to delve into Alec and find out what his triggers were.
Leah: I like to draw on strong female archetypes, Cathy is such a strong woman and she is nasty and hard at times. But to me its grounded in a female instinct, kind of protective like a grizzly bear protecting her family.
Is it difficult to shake off that intensity once the cameras stop rolling?
Joshua: We were just discussing the other day how difficult that is to shake these characters off.
Leah: To shed the skin right, because these characters are all very well defined. For me I am not Cathy Laszlo, I know nothing about Cathy Laszlo’s life other than trying to compassionately understand this woman. The heighted emotional stakes of everything and the dark places the show does go throughout the nine part series is tense.
Joshua: It takes its toll on you. I bought an old 1950 Dodge when I got to Vancouver and I would go on trips and climb mountains, most of the adventures I had was from the car breaking down. With a show that is so hard and gritty when the cameras stop you just want to have fun.
Leah: You bond really quickly too and you can shake it off together. I did Zen things like yoga, just trying to come back to myself. To be Cathy on set everyday you really want to decompress, so I was doing two yoga classes a day and being domestic.
So finally I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up the sex scenes in Rogue, which are pretty graphic..
Leah: You know we had a female director for ours, which I was appreciative of.
How was it choreographing that?
Josh: With a scene like that you are taking a lot of time to make sure you are getting it right, because its important. You want to address the scene like any other, because you are telling a story. It’s just not a sex scene for sex sake.
We spent a lot of time discussing the reason it was happening and what we were trying to achieve at the end. Otherwise it’s just an empty bit of porn.
Leah: Oh gosh, that word…. Leave.
Leah: We discussed the scene for two weeks. It was my audition scene essentially; I went through a handful of auditions and my final test was a chemistry read, between Joshua and I. That was to test the husband wife bond sort of thing and we literally work shopped that scene right off the page for my audition.
It’s a very strong very powerful scene and I think we honored the intention of the scene. It’s not a scene about sex, but just very high emotional stakes and power play.