Brendan Sexton III plays Stan Larsen’s friend Belko Royce in The Killing. In an exclusive interview with AMCtv.com, the actor talks about getting roughed up by Joel Kinnaman, shooting the Bennet Ahmed assault scene, and who the biggest goofball on the set is.
Q: Did you base Belko on anyone specific?
A: I didn’t based him on anybody and I don’t have a muse for Belko, but because of the way the last episode of the first season ended, everyone started calling me Travis Belko in honor of Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver. Everyone was kind of half hoping that I’d shave my head — I think Joel [Kinnaman] was hoping I’d shave my head. It all started with Joel.
Q: You get a little roughed up during the interrogation scene (in Episode 10, “I’ll Let You Know When I Get There”). Was that fun to act out?
A: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. Joel likes to throw his weight around when he can, so I got pretty banged up during one of the takes. I just laughed about it afterward.
Q: How did you get banged up?
A: Joel roughed me up and threw me into the chair and I didn’t land correctly. There was a stunt coordinator and I’m grateful he was there, but we wanted to do our own thing. We wanted to choreograph it ourselves. I have enough trust in Joel and he has enough trust in me that he won’t hurt me.
Q: Who would be the fiercer interrogator in real life: Mireille Enos or Joel Kinnaman?
A: Actually, I wouldn’t be able to look at Mireille. She’s quieter. She leaves you guessing, whereas Joel would put it out on the table too quickly. Mireille would just become more stealthy. She wouldn’t even ask you a question, you’d just break on your own.
Q: What was it like filming the scene (in Episode 9, “Undertow”) where Belko and Stan assault Bennet Ahmed? Did you work with a fight choreographer to prepare?
A: Absolutely there was a fight choreographer… It was record-breaking cold the night we shot it, and I believe there was a low fog hovering off the ground. It was just an intense night and we did scores and scores of takes. It was incredibly draining for all three actors.
Q: Whose idea was it for Belko to start pounding the rock? Was that improvised?
A: That piece actually was directed. Only a handful of people knew about it — Veena, the director [Agnieska Holland] and myself. Nobody else knew, so when we did the first take, all the producers and writers were watching the scene on video on the monitors and they all held their breath and gasped. They had no idea what was happening. All of a sudden the kid who’s laughing and cracking jokes on set is punching a rock furiously.
Q: So you’re kind of a joker on set?
A: Yeah. I mean I do whatever I need to do to get into character. Sometimes it’s being incredibly quiet and sometimes it’s being loose and goofy. There’s quite a few goofballs on set. I would say I’m one of he bigger goofballs. I love to laugh and dance. That’s kind of my nature, though I end up always playing these angry depressing characters.
Q: Who are some of the other goofballs on set?
A: Joel was definitely a goofball. Probably the biggest one was Jamie Anne Allman, and then Joel’s running in close second. And Eric Ladin of course has biting dry humor. I believe half the things he says, even though I know better.
Q: Have you been noticed on the street by fans of the show? What do they say to you?
A: While the season was still airing, people were more just sharing their admiration for the show. But now that the first season is over, people have come up to me and offered me bribes to tell them who did it, saying they have to know.
Q: You’ve mostly worked on movies in the past. How has working on The Killing been different?
A: The pace. Essentially what we’re doing is making a feature film every three weeks. And not just any feature film, but with a handheld cam, trying to catch what you can catch. It’s a very ambitious project with big, sweeping beautiful camera moves, so as an actor you have to be prepared and be on point.
Q: You have the same last name as Brent Sexton, who plays Stan. Any relation at all?
A: No relationship, but there were scenes where Brent, Brandon [Jay McLaren] and Brendan were all in the same scene together and it got really confusing for people. So I insisted people call me Belko.Read More