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Q&A – James Badge Dale (Will Travers)

In this exclusive interview, Rubicon star James Badge Dale talks about his own ability to keep secrets, growing up in a family of actors, and which cast member he thinks would make the best intelligence analyst.

Q: Since you’ve been working on the show, do you find yourself looking for a deeper meaning where you wouldn’t before?

A: I have found that I’m a little more curious. I seem to be paying attention to certain signs, things on the street, looking over my shoulder a little more. Once we stop filming, hopefully, I can return to my ignorant bliss.

Q: What about superstitions? Do you have any?

A: I’m a little bit superstitious and I think that just comes from playing hockey. I won’t avoid the number thirteen. A big one for me though is walking under a ladder. I’ve always felt like that’s tempting fate. That’s just throwing it right in their face. Check me out. I just walked under a ladder. What are you going to do about it?

Q: How are you at keeping secrets?

A; I’m a pretty private person so I’d like to say I’m a good ear and that I keep my mouth shut.

Q: And yet you chose a career that puts you out in the public.

A: Yeah. [Laughs] I’m trying to find a healthy way to deal with it. I have thought about that. Am I doing the right thing? I grew up in a family of actors. I grew up onstage. The choice for me wasn’t do I want to be an actor or not? I always felt like that’s just ingrained in you, the need to perform. The choice was do you want to do this professionally or not? If you are able to make a living at it, you lose some anonymity. I’m trying to maintain my privacy. I think I’m pretty good at it. When I walk down the street nobody knows who I am.

Q: How did your parents feel about you following in their footsteps?

A: There was definitely some hesitation. It’s not exactly a steady job but my father is very proud. It’s the family business so it works out.

Q: In what ways are you similar to your character in Rubicon?

A: I prefer the question, “How am I dissimilar to the character?” I’m going to probably think about 60 to 70 IQ points. I’ve had to draw on some experiences in my own life, and you should always do that for any character, but Will and I are fairly different. And I think that makes him enjoyable to play.

Q: Do you do crossword puzzles?

A: When I got the job, I started buying crossword puzzles. I get the Times everyday and I would sit down and do the crossword puzzle and I discovered that I share none of Will’s talent for crossword puzzles. The Monday one, which is the easiest, takes me four days. It’s just embarrassing and I quit. I’m retired from crossword puzzles.

Q: Is there anyone in the cast that you think would make a good intelligence analyst?

A: Dallas Roberts (Miles) I think could do it. Dallas has got that laser kind of focus but then will think out of the box, and his mind is always working. He can’t shut it off. So, I think he’s your guy.

Q: Do you read the Rubicon reviews? One writer said that you combine Harvey Keitel’s intensity and Matthew Morrison’s sweet good looks.

A: [Laughs] Oh listen, I met Matthew Morrison a few months ago. That dude is way better looking than I am. I mean I look like my face has been hit by a baseball bat a few times compared to him.

Q: Who do you think you look like?

A: I’ve always thought that I’m kind of a cross between a young Bill Clinton and Lyle Lovett. And I just want to say I’m proud of that. Those are two good looking guys. People have told me that actually. First they would come up and be like, “You kind of got a Lyle Lovett thing going on,” or some would say Bill Clinton. I combined them and people say, “Wait a minute. You’re absolutely right.” Give it some thought.

Click here to solve a Rubicon crossword puzzle created by The New York Times.

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