Interview: Shawn Hatosy

From the interview archives.

Shawn Hatosy found himself a cult following as Office Sammy Bryant on the critically acclaimed Southland and since then he has continued to catch the attention of critics and fans alike. VULKAN picked his brain about what we an expect from the crafty Pope as Animal Kingdom picks up the story of the Cody family in Season 2 and what kind of toll the character takes on him during filming. 

You play Pope, who, suffice to say is a little unstable. Will we start to dig deeper into how Pope turned into such an unpredictable and sinister person?  

Pope is a result of Smurf’s toxicity. She knows him, his mental deficiencies, his triggers… and she’s used him for her benefit and the benefit of the Cody family business. He’s her most loyal soldier which has consequently created a monster.  Season 2, Pope is putting an end to all of that and forging ahead on his own.

Do you feel at this point in the series that he is more misunderstood than anything?
No, because he’s done regrettable things. He’s smart enough to know the difference between right and wrong, but he’s put the family first. His actions are noble, even loyal when it comes to the Cody family. Outside of that, in a normal society, how will he function? Is there hope for him? These are some of the answers we search for in season 2.

Does it take any sort of emotional toll on yourself to play a character that seems to be the complete polar opposite of your own core personality? Do you ever finish a scene and step back, take a deep breath and kind of just say, “Woah, that was crazy.” 

You come out of it feeling drained and exhausted and you wonder why. Then you remember you just dragged yourself through the darkest tunnels of your emotional history catalog. I knew early on Pope was going to go to some weird places and I embrace that, no matter how vulnerable or… naked I have to be. 

Pope takes a lot of risk. What’s the biggest risk you feel you’ve taken in your personal life and how did it pan out?
Definitely moving to New York when I was 19 to try to be an actor. It’s scary leaving everything you know behind. In acting, making big risky choices is what leads to the best performances. They don’t always land, but you really can’t know until you try. 

What’s your favorite part about working with the Animal Kingdom cast?
Our cast dynamic is lovely. It’s unique to work so closely with artists who represent different generations. We all have a perspective on the business, we all made our bones in different eras and I love getting the dirt from Finn about his experience with Tom Hardy on Peaky Blinders and then turning to Ellen B and asking her about Barry Levinson on Diner.

What kind of role do you feel you haven’t had an opportunity to explore in your career so far that you would like to?
An Astronaut. Specifically in Damien Chazelle’s next movie. It’s f*cking amazing. Does he read this?

What’s the weirdest thing a fan has asked or said to you?
I was working in Charleston SC and a cop came up to me and gave me a set of brass knuckles because Southland was his favorite show and Sammy Bryant should knock Ben McKenzie’s character out for being such a punk. I still have them and Ben better watch his back. 

I heard that you are such a sandwich fanatic that you’d like one named after yourself one day. What would be on your signature sandwich? What would you want served on the side?
I don’t think you can name your own sandwich. It’s like being Knighted, it’s an honor you earn. And quite honestly, I feel like people are sticking avocado on everything and thinking that will solve their sandwich mediocrity. It’s bs. I don’t care what’s on my sandwich but no avocado, no thank you. I’m OPEN to suggestions. On the side, I want raw chocolate chip cookie dough. I don’t care if it kills me; it’s delicious.

What current shows are you personally watching when you’re not working?
Big Little Lies was outstanding. I love Fargo. Bloodline. I’m a very loyal Game of Thrones fan.

Will Southland be coming back?
Sadly, no. The actors and producers are into it but we haven’t found anyone that wants to make it which is of course a shame. That show never could find the audience it needed to survive outside the bubble. Our core audience was incredible and so passionate and they literally kept us alive for 5 seasons. They brought us back from the dead. So, never give up hope I guess…

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