AMER­I­CAN PSY­CHIC

François Arnaud talks about what it’s like play­ing a charm­ing psy­chic on the fringe...

SFX - - Red Alert -

YOU WERE CAST REL­A­TIVELY LATE. HAS MAN­FRED EVOLVED FROM AU­DI­TION TO SE­RIES?

Yes, four other main cast mem­bers were cast but they didn’t have their lead. They flew me to LA to screen test. We ex­plored dif­fer­ent av­enues where Man­fred would be more or less comedic. Un­like other shows I’ve done, in this role I’m al­lowed to be very sen­si­tive and emo­tional and goofy. I get to be the doo­fus. He’s cool but not so clean-cut. Even my hair is what it wants to be, which is a first for me. Usu­ally ev­ery­one is try­ing to tame the beast with pro­duc­ers dis­agree­ing about it. Here they let it be crazy.

WHERE DO MAN­FRED’S POW­ERS COME FROM?

Man­fred comes from a long line of gyp­sies from East­ern Europe. In fic­tion, I guess, psy­chic pow­ers are passed on through blood but they of­ten skip a gen­er­a­tion so he got pow­ers from his grand­mother. His pow­ers go be­yond any­thing that he imag­ined. He didn’t have ac­cess to them be­fore but faced with sav­ing the world, they come to him.

SO, WHAT’S IT LIKE SWAL­LOW­ING A GHOST?

[Laughs] I like how far they went with it. In sub­se­quent episodes, it’s even more bru­tal. It takes a toll on Man­fred’s body for days and weeks. We ex­plore his ad­dic­tion to painkillers be­cause of it. It’s not just a trick. In episode nine, we even see a younger Man­fred try­ing to cope with the be­gin­nings of his power and how it af­fects other peo­ple.

IS MAN­FRED, THE LONER, A QUICK CON­VERT TO MID­NIGHT’S CHARMS?

He does run away a few times but the sense of com­mu­nity he finds in Mid­night is a pos­i­tive thing in his life. He’s been on his own for a lit­tle too long. There’s also a love story with the bril­liant Sarah Ramos (Creek) who is smart and brings a great spark to a char­ac­ter who could be Strawberry Short­cake sweet.

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