SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers in the season finale of “From,” which premiered April 24 on Epix.
Harold Perrineau doesn’t necessarily consider himself a fan of the horror genre. “First of all, horror is scary!” the actor says with a laugh. “The other thing is, they often have images of bad people doing bad things to other bad people, and I feel like I have enough bad things in my brain that I don’t always want to go there.”
And yet the actor finds himself at the center of “From,” the terrifying Epix series that was renewed for a second season Sunday morning, ahead of its Season 1 finale. Perrineau says he is “overjoyed,” adding, “I am looking forward to heading back to work with our fantastic cast and crew, and would like to thank Michael Wright, Epix and our passionate fans for their support.”
Possibly the scariest show currently on TV, “From” has earned raves from no less than Stephen King, who tweeted that the first episode was “scary as hell.” The show centers on a small town that appears idyllic – until you realize that no one can ever leave. Flesh-eating creatures come out from the forest every night to tempt the townspeople, who are dealing with some serious non-supernatural horrors as well.
In his first lead role in a series, the “Lost” and “Romeo and Juliet” alum plays Boyd Stevens, the sheriff of the town. Having lost his wife and being estranged from his son, Stevens does his best to keep law and order while also searching for a way out. With Sunday’s season finale having just aired on Epix, Perrineau was able to talk freely about the predicament his character finds himself in and what he knows about the future.
“From” is executive produced by Joe and Anthony Russo and was created by John Griffin, and counts among its creative team several “Lost” alums, including EP/director Jack Bender and EP Jeff Pinker. But I understand that didn’t give you an advantage in landing the role?
No, it was my friend Seth Yankelwitz who first mentioned it to my wife. He was casting the pilot and said he thought the role would be good for me, but I also heard they didn’t want anyone from “Lost” — they didn’t want to draw comparisons. But he really felt the character was right for me, and talked to them and we agreed to have a meeting. After that meeting, we all felt like it made sense.
So being on “Lost” actually kind of worked against you?
One hundred percent. Because they were trying not to have the comparisons, which were naturally going to come. And they have, but it’s OK because while there are many similarities, we are really completely our own thing.
There goes my theory that they were giving you this to make up to you how badly they treated Michael on the show.
Don’t I wish that’s the way the world works.
I mention this because I recently saw an interview where you said a lot of people hated Michael. But my opinion has always been that he got a raw deal.
You and me both. So many people were like, “I hate that guy, I hate his stupid face!” I think it was because, first of all, I did kill Libby and Ana Lucia. Then I turned in Jack and Sawyer. But also, they had his child!
I never understood it. I felt like everyone on that island did things just as bad or worse?
I don’t think Michael did anything bad. You see his story, you see his ex took their kid away. Then the guy raising him suddenly decided he couldn’t do it. He had to get his kid back. But again, water under the bridge.
When “From” came to you, did you have any concerns about how it would play out, especially after “Lost” was accused of not having an endgame? Did you ask if there would be answers?
I did. Look, we have all been traumatized a little bit by “Lost.” The people who were in it, the fans, the creators – there’s was a bit of talk about, “You didn’t answer the questions!” So when I was talking to them for “From,” I was like, “Are we going to go through this again?” And they were like, “No. We have a story to tell. We’re going to do it in 10 episode bursts. And this is the first season, this is what you’ll find out in the next season, and here’s how it’s going to go.” It was more than they ever gave us with “Lost.” So they have a real plan. And it’s shorter seasons, so you can tell the story and answer questions more quickly.
Also, Jack Bender is great at storytelling. He’s not just directing, he’s always reading and listening, and will say, “This doesn’t track. Let’s get back on track.” He sent so many scripts back and went, “You’ve got to rewrite this because we’re trying to tell the story like this. This is not the story.” So I really trust both Jack and Jeff a lot.
Going into the show, how much did you know? For example, we don’t learn until Episode 8 how Boyd’s wife Abby died – that she had a mental break, and was killing townspeople believing they were in a nightmare. He had to shoot her to stop her from shooting their son.
In that case, I asked up front what happened, because I needed to know. Because if his wife accidentally died or was killed by monsters, it’s one thing. But this is a different weight, it’s really heavy and cumbersome. I felt like it changed the way he walked; he walked heavier after that. As an actor, I had to find the sadness to carry all the time.
When I learned what happened, I was gutted, but it also made sense. How did they tell you, and what was your reaction?
Exactly what yours was. They actually tried to change it when we were shooting, to make it that she was going to shoot a different townsperson. And I was like, “No.” Because he just saw her shoot, like, six people and he didn’t do anything. But it was his son — it was the only thing he would respond to that quickly. And then he spent the rest of his life thinking, “God, if I only had two more seconds, I could have made a different choice.” And that’s the tragedy.
The last shot of the season finds Boyd encased in what appears to be a concrete tower or cylinder of some sort. I’m incredibly claustrophobic, and can’t imagine anything worse.
I’m with you, it’s scary. I don’t know what it is, but it’s like he’s buried alive. I don’t know what that thing is, but it’s terrible.
Have they told you what it is?
Just what you see; I go into the faraway tree and this is where I’ve landed, I’m walled in at every turn. I don’t know what happens after that. I hope I don’t start off [Season 2] still walled in.
Do you know what we can expect from a second season?
The only thing that they’ve said to me is that the monsters in Season 1 are just the beginning. That the horrors are worse. And if there’s something worse than these flesh-devouring, leave-your-face-on-but-eat-your-insides monsters, it’s going to be a creepy couple of years.
This interview has been edited and condensed.