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Marriage isn’t easy, and it’s definitely not easy when you’re married to a double agent. That’s what Kavan Smith’s character Tom, Grace’s husband, has to come to terms with in Rogue. Our Rogue insider caught up with Smith to find out more about Tom and Grace’s relationship and how Smith dealt with all the crazy fight scenes this season.
Ira Parker: How would you describe your character?
Kavan Smith: Well, Tom has a very personal note to me because I was raised by my father, and my mother chose not to live with us when we were young. So the idea of playing a father who is trying to hold his family together really resonated. I wanted to make sure that he wasn’t too white bread, and that he wouldn’t keep taking Grace’s crap. I just kept seeing strength in the character. Usually in the movies, it’s the guy who goes rogue, goes out and gets the family into trouble. And it’s the wife who plays the stoic character who stays home and tries to hold the family together. But with Tom, there was something about him that seems so honest to me. He has his moments where he gets to fight back, but first and foremost, I think he really loves his family. I love playing this guy.
IP: You have a very emotional scene with Grace at the end of 103. How do you prepare for a scene like that?
KS: Tom has a few emotional and monumental scenes this season. Sometimes I’ve prepared them a certain way and then realized that the director, for whatever reason, has entirely different ideas about the scene. So I just sort of realized early on that the best thing to do is to come as prepared as I could and just be ready to go for a ride with whatever happens. And that particular scene, both Thandie and I saw it as being more tender with some heated moments. Tender went right out the window, and it became a very raw and visceral and real fight. And as we were doing it, things started happening that were very natural and instinctive, and she was hitting me and I kind of tossed her at one point. And in the back on my mind, I’m thinking, “I just threw the lead actress ten feet.”
IP: Ha ha.
KS: I probably shouldn’t do that. She’d punch me in the face, all un-rehearsed, but when I went home after that scene I was humming pleasantly in a good way for about three days. It’s one of the few times that I’ve been able to just go on a subconscious journey with a scene and with an actress who is so fearless. I know that we upset a few people in the neighborhood with some of the profanity.
IP: Yeah, we can never go back to that house again.
KS: Ha ha. But it was, for me as an actor, a monumental scene in my career. It was one of the ones that will always stand out for me. And if the show is well received, and if there is a second season, and if Tom gets to be a part of it, I hope there is more of that kind of stuff cause it was a huge rush.
IP: Why do you think Grace fell in love with Tom?
KS: Well, talking it over with Matthew and Thandie, I likened Tom to be more like her when they met. There was some kind of wild attraction, a little bit of Bonnie and Clyde and a little Sid and Nancy in them when they were young. She had this wild, crazy side too and I think that pulled him out of maybe where ever he came from. I just think that there was something in him that always thought eventually her wild side would slow down. And when Tom finally did slow down and gave up his aspirations to be a rock-and-roll star, he always assumed that Grace’s wild side would slow down as well. But when she went into police service, it didn’t really go that way. Tom slowed down and wanted to have a more pedantic way of going about his life and I think that the kids really anchored him, but Grace kept going in a different direction. And I think that, as in most relationships, what draws you to a person is ultimately what pushes you away to a certain degree, but hopefully at some point even draws them back together again.
IP: If Sam hadn’t died, do you think their marriage would have worked?
KS: That’s a good question. I don’t know. Instinctively I’d say maybe not. Unless dramatic things happen, I think sometimes apathy pulls a relationship apart. In my own personal life, I’m a married man and in our relationship we don’t take each other for granted because we’ve gone through some calamitous things. And I have this feeling that if Sam hadn’t died, they would have just faded a little bit. I hope for the sake of the two characters that’s not the case.
IP: Your character gets pretty imitate with Shelley, played by Rachel Shelley, the producer’s wife. How was that experience? Was it awkward at all?
KS: Ha ha. Yeah, it was awkward. It’s still awkward. I joked with Matthew in the beginning and I was trying to make light of it. Ha ha. With Thandie, because she’s not the producer’s wife or the director’s wife or anything, there is a bit more of an abandon. You can just sort of throw hazard and just go for it. But with Matthew’s wife it’s a little different. I mean, it wasn’t weird or anything. We’re both professionals. It was a great experience. She’s a really nice lady. I think we did the characters justice, but it was always kind of in the back of my mind. Occasionally, we’d be sitting there in between takes, and she’s like, “you know my cell phone is broken. Can I borrow your cell phone to call my husband who happens to be your boss?”
IP: Ha ha. Got back to your trailer and found it egged, huh?
KS: Yeah, ha ha, exactly. Exactly.
IP: What kind of songs do you think we’d find on Tom’s playlist?
KS: Well Tom is an ex-guitarist so I think there would be a lot of guitar heavy things and old blues guys, like John Lee Hooker. You know, some Smokestack Lightning, and some harmonica stuff on there, probably sees himself as a true musician.
IP: Tom talks about being a failed musician. Any long lost dreams in Kavan’s past?
KS: Interestingly enough, there’s not. I tell my family this from time-to-time. I feel like I’m one of the richest dudes I know because I do what I want, I have a lovely family and kids. If I hadn’t become an actor, I liked racing cars, but I wasn’t particularly good at it and it’s an expensive hobby. I did it when I was a kid. When I was a kid both my father and my uncle were into racing, but you have to commit your life to it and I didn’t want to do that.
I also enjoyed fighting a lot when I was a kid. I did martial arts for a long time, but I didn’t like being punched in the face very much. And the other thing I like to do is cook. There is one thing, I don’t know why I didn’t think of this, one of the things I’m most passionate about is writing. I loved to read when I was a kid. I pretty much locked myself in a room for about 25 years and read books and I have tried several times to sit down and write novels. I’m not as good a writer as I was hoping I’d be, or I just haven’t found my voice yet. But one of these days I will sit down again, when I have time. Typical man, I can’t multi-task, I can’t do my job and try and be a writer at the same time.
IP: I’ll be looking for that novel.
KS: Ha ha. Great.
IP: Favorite scene of the season?
KS: The scene with Thandie for sure and I’ve had some great scenes with Sarah Jeffery, who plays Evie. But me and Thandie, we connected right off the bat. We felt this bit of trust and kinship with each other and just went for things. The sex scene that we did was really out there and outlandish but it drew us together. And there were lots of others, but that fight scene in the backyard was something really special for me. Some of the written dialogue just went out the window, because it was such a giant monologue for my character. We were screaming louder and louder and faster and faster and we just started losing it, like it was real. It was a real fight. But Thandie and I saw Matthew the next morning and he asks, “How did it go?” “Well”, I said, “it ended up a little different.” And I could see this look of panic over his face. But so far everybody’s had a great reaction to it. I haven’t seen it yet, but that’s the scene people talk about the most. So I am excited to see it.
IP: Best and worst part about being on set?
KS: Best part about being on set is that it’s creative and energizing and sometimes, like that big scene with Grace, you get to remember why you got into this business in the first place. That doesn’t happen very often but that’s the best time. The worst time to be on set is right now.
IP: Are my interviewing skills that bad?
KS: Ha ha. No I mean I’ve been here for about four or five hours, haven’t done anything, and I got a few hours to wait before I have anything else to do. Waiting around is the biggest drag, I would say.
IP: The Mars Rover Curiosity has found proof that there was once water on Mars. How does that make you feel?
KS: I think it’s fascinating. I was a huge science buff for a long time. I think it’s unrealistic to assume there wasn’t there in that sort of Goldilocks area. There certainly should have been water there, but it could be a mirror of what’s to happen on our planet if we don’t treat it well.