DIRECTV's new limited original series, Rogue, premiered last night. The first of just nine episodes introduced audiences to several captivating characters. We should say captivating and beautiful characters (we'll get to that in a minute). Thandie Newton (Crash) is Grace, an undercover cop. Thin and frail, Grace is made of steel and she goes blow-for-blow with the men, an assortment of gangsters and fellow cops, who surround her. When her son is murdered (ah, actually, that's not a spoiler), Grace goes on an unsanctioned mission to find his killer. Topping her list of suspects are the members of the Laszlo crime syndicate. Jimmy Laszlo (wonderfully played by Marton Csokas whose haggard, battle weary gangster is ugly-beautiful ) heads the syndicate. In a twist, Grace and Jimmy are pushed together to find a mole in the syndicate. Jimmy's oldest son Alec (Joshua Sasse, whose sharp, elegant features and chiseled body would make Michelangelo swoon) and Alec's wife, Cathy (Leah Gibson as a smokey eyed tigress) are eager to take over the family business.
Sasse and Gibson spoke with us about their new series and its Shakespearean characters (there's definite Lord and Lady Macbeth vibe to Alec and Cathy, while Jimmy channels King Lear).
The two acknowledge they're playing larger than life, dark characters. On screen, Sasse's Alec is all swagger and barely controlled rage. Gibson's Cathy is filled with sensual heat which she unleashes as it suits her. (Her husband isn't the only one that falls prey to her manipulation and allure.) Gibson teases her co-star, saying, "Actually Joshua got cast because he's a real gangster."
Sasse laughs at the playful dig and tells us, "You do bring a lot of yourself to any character you play, and you want to bring as much to the character as you can. I find it much more interesting to play an anti-hero than a hero. If a show's going to throw an audience into disarray about what is good and what is bad, and make people question what's good and evil, which this show definitely does, you have to do it from a place of strength. You've got to love your character; you've got to believe everything your character believes. An audience won't believe it if the actor doesn't."
"You've got to find the humanity of the character; that's always what should be honored first," Gibson says. "It's a real joy for me to play Cathy, because she's completely unlike anyone that I know in real life. The show very much revolves the characters and none of them are quite who you think they are at first. Each one is surprising in an unexpected way. We were on the edge of our seats reading the scripts, wondering what they were going to do next.[DirecTV is] really pushing the boundaries with this series."
Sasse adds, "This show is certainly breaking new ground. We've been doing some really cutting edge stuff and the things that people are going to see in season one haven't been seen on TV before. Every aspect of the show is done to the absolute limit. The violence, the sex, the drama, everything was taken as far as we could possible go. We were amazed at what we were able to do. We were doing things that we had never seen on TV before. In cinema, you see some of this, but on TV? Never.
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"DirecTV gave us an incredible amount of freedom when we were filming," he says. "What usually happens is that you're being told, 'No, you can't do this. No, you can't do that. There's a certain target audience that we have to play to.' DirecTV was interested in giving us the freedom to tell the truth. We certainly felt that on the set. I think the audience will feel it too. DirecTV is setting a new standard for a long time to come, I think."
While he won't reveal upcoming plot twists, Sasse does have one tidbit for viewers: "Look forward to not ever knowing what's coming up next."
Want even more Rogue? Check out the extended preview below or visit the DirecTV website.