This Sunday, AMC’s polarizing mystery The Killing will attempt to pull off something few shoes do—a reset. After a near-death experience—the show was briefly canceled after its second season—creator Veena Sud has brought back her two protagonists, Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder—for a brand new case. That meant restocking its cast with all-new actors, one of which is British newcomer Max Fowler, making his American television debut. We recently caught up with Fowler, who this summer will act alongside Nicolas Cage in the thriller Tokarev, to get details on the secretive third season, his character, and what it’s like working on one of TV’s most talked-about shows.
Can you talk about your background?
Well I come from a very creative family. My sister is an actor slash writer and my brother is a writer slash director slash actor as well. They’re still working into it but they’re primarily in film. And we’ve always grown up as being huge film buffs. I was really shy when I was growing up, but when I got to the age of about ten I remember watching a movie and thinking like, I would love to do what they do. When I got older, I went up for this open audition for Skins. I went up with a bunch of kids and I got down to the last few for a character called Freddies. That just boded really well for me because I think there were like twelve-thousand kids or something like that who auditioned.
Were you familiar with The Killing before you auditioned?
Yeah, I was definitely really into The Killing. The original Danish series was huge. When I auditioned for it, I hadn’t seen the Danish or the American one but they were very apparent—everyone I knew had seen it. My parents were obsessed with it. And then when I got the part I wanted to watch the first two seasons, but I knew my character had nothing to do with them. Part of me didn’t want to watch it because I’d get more nervous if I was more familiar with the show and the actors.
Was there any particular cast member you looked forward to working with?
Well, only Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman—the two detectives—are the same cast as the first two, and all the rest a brand new cast. When I found out that I’d be working with Peter Saarsgard, I was just like, “Oh my God.” It’s unbelievable. I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time. He’s been incredible ever since I can remember. The idea that I was gonna be in the same project as him was incredible. At the read throughs I got pretty excited.
Did you know anything about your character’s arc for the season before shooting?
I just sort of knew who he was. I knew his character from his breakdown but I didn’t know which way it was gonna go. It was very exciting to get to Canada and meet everyone and inquire a little bit more about what was gonna happen. But the great thing about The Killing is they keep things very close to their chest and the actors just have to wait for the episodes to come out. Which is exciting.
So you find things out on a script by script basis?
Yeah. Completely, none of us know what’s gonna happen. It’s really good. It’s funny because all the actors I was working with were waiting to see what happens next as well.
It might also make a difference that you’re on a cable show with a shorter run than most American shows.
Yeah. I’ve only worked on The Killing so far, and I feel like I’d need to do a fair number of more American jobs to really notice if there was any difference. I reckon working in L.A will be quite a difference.
What’s your relationship with the showrunner, Veena Sud?
Veena is the go-to lady iff you’re ever confused, want to clarify something, or even have an idea. She’s so wonderful at discussing things with you. She’s been a complete joy to work with. And she’s so great because she really knows all her characters inside out. She’ll clear things up and she’s also very willing to take actor’s choices on. She’s the boss.
Can you reveal anything about your character and your character’s involvement with the story?
I can’t reveal anything plot-wise. But I can tell you about my character. In this season they follow some street kids, and Twitch is one of them. He’s a prostitute and goes to the extreme. His whole ambition in life is to go to LA and become a model-slash actor. He’s extremely confident and I’d kind of describe him as in love with himself. He sort of has an indestructible ego. In the first couple of episodes I think it will be easy to sum Twitch up as a bit of a douche, and not the nicest character. But then as it goes on, you just realize how vulnerable all these street kids really are. Twitch has always only had himself to rely on, he’s grown up in numerous foster homes and he’s never had a concept of parents. Everything he’s done is really a defense mechanism for dealing with the harsh realities of his life.
Do you think people who haven’t seen the first two seasons of The Killing can watch the new season?
Oh, completely. They’ve done it really well so if you haven’t seen it, you’ll really enjoy it. But for those who have seen the first two, they’ll be rewarded. Which I think is a testament to Veena and her writing abilities. To please both audiences like that isn’t an easy thing to do. I just think the difference is that the people who’ve seen the first two will appreciate the history between the two detectives and sort of know them as characters. But the rest of it is all new so you don’t have to have seen it. I have a feeling this one is going to be fairly darker, as well. It’s a really dark season. Not gonna be a family thing to watch. Not family fun.
Photo by Frank Ockenfels.