Train­ing day

Quan­tico star Gra­ham Rogers says the au­di­ence will get some an­swers by the end of Sea­son One.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TV - By MUM­tAJ BEGUM en­ter­tain­ment@ thes­tar. com. my

EARLY this month, drama- thriller Quan­tico re­ceived con­fir­ma­tion of re­newal for a sec­ond sea­son. A week af­ter the an­nounce­ment, the cast and crew had yet to cel­e­brate prop­erly as they’re still in the midst of pro­duc­tion un­til April 22.

“We are film­ing Episode 19 right now,” shared ac­tor Gra­ham Rogers on the phone, call­ing from the Quan­tico set at Mon­treal, Canada. “We haven’t had a cel­e­bra­tion yet be­cause we found out dur­ing the work week. But we will do it soon.”

The se­ries which de­buted in Septem­ber last year boasts of in­ven­tive sto­ry­telling for­mat – al­ter­nat­ing be­tween the present and the past – while jug­gling multi- lay­ered sto­ry­lines for the many char­ac­ters on the show.

It fo­cuses on a group of FBI re­cruits com­plet­ing their train­ing at the FBI Academy in Quan­tico. Within each episode too, there is a time jump to when some of these trainees have grad­u­ated to be­come full- fledged agents while the dropouts have gone on to work in pri­vate com­pa­nies.

The se­ries kicks off with a ter­ror­ist at­tack, and all fin­gers point to a for­mer trainee as the per­pe­tra­tor. Work­ing on the as­sump­tion that the sus­pect has been work­ing since or be­fore his/ her train­ing at Quan­tico, the FBI has to look into all the trainees draw­ing them back to one place.

But ev­ery­thing is not what it seems.

In ev­ery episode, a lit­tle more in­for­ma­tion is re­vealed about the char­ac­ters and the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. But more of­ten than not, Quan­tico raises a lot more ques­tions than it an­swers.

If it’s any con­so­la­tion, the ac­tors them­selves find out about their char­ac­ters as the show pro­gresses too.

“That’s one of the chal­lenges about the show,” noted 25- year- old Rogers who plays trainee Caleb Haas. “You can’t make as­sump­tions about your char­ac­ter be­cause ev­ery week you find out a new twist.

“So, you learn things about your char­ac­ter, and it can be pretty ma­jor, which then changes the way a per­son be­haves.”

For us Asians, there is an­other rea­son to tune in to Quan­tico – Bol­ly­wood ac­tress Priyanka Cho­pra is mak­ing her Amer­i­can se­ries de­but. Last month, her pro­file and the strength of the show were raised fur­ther when she was in­vited as a pre­sen­ter at the Os­cars.

“One of the high­lights of work­ing on the show is the most amaz­ing and di­verse peo­ple are brought to­gether,” said Rogers.

“We’ve re­ally be­come a fam­ily. We spend so much time to­gether. All of us are away from home so we be­come a fam­ily, and Priyanka is like the leader. She is just so cool and so much fun. And so down- toearth. She is a blast to work with too.”

Even if Quan­tico re­quires the cast to be se­ri­ous due to its many dra­matic el­e­ments, Rogers ad­mit­ted that the ac­tors al­ways find a way to crack each other up through­out the day. That jok­ing around con­tin­ues even af­ter work­ing hours, es­pe­cially be­tween Rogers and co- star Jake McLaugh­lin who share an ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“We’re room- mates, so he and I have friendly wrestling matches. I make it about 12 sec­onds ( laughs)... He’s a lit­tle big­ger than me, and he was also in the mil­i­tary, so he knows what he’s do­ing.”

Rogers, who is orig­i­nally from Penn­syl­va­nia, United States, said he never thought about be­com­ing an ac­tor when he was grow­ing up. At that time, he was more into soc­cer.

“My ex­pec­ta­tion far ex­ceeded my ta­lent,” he said with a chuckle. “I wasn’t very good.”

Look­ing for an­other ca­reer to pur­sue, Rogers moved to Los An­ge­les at 18. “Hon­estly I just fell into act­ing. I moved to LA and I was pretty naive. And that was my great­est strength – be­cause I was naive, I didn’t re­alise how dif­fi­cult an in­dus­try it was to get into. By the time I started act­ing class, I was hooked. I liked it.”

Be­fore land­ing Quan­tico – through good old au­di­tion process – Gra­ham got a cou­ple of guest star­ring gigs ( Mem­phis Beat, Zom­bie Base­ment) as well as big­ger roles in Rev­o­lu­tion and Res­i­dent Ad­vi­sors.

In the lat­ter com­edy se­ries, he played a col­lege ad­viser who’d steal drugs from his stu­dents. “The last char­ac­ter I played, he is the op­po­site of the FBI agent. He wasn’t the most bright guy,” Rogers in­formed us with a laugh.

Through­out the 20- minute in­ter­view, Rogers pre­sented him­self as an af­fa­ble young man, who is po­lite and con­sid­er­ate – he tried his darn­d­est to un­der­stand ev­ery ques­tion even when the line was crack­ling louder than a pop­corn in a mi­crowave or when a jour­nal­ist’s ac­cent was muck­ing up clar­ity.

For such a nice guy, Rogers said that he en­joys play­ing Caleb when the char­ac­ter is in a nasty mode.

“That’s my favourite side of him. I think Caleb is eas­ily threat­ened. If he’s not be­ing nice, I try to fig­ure out who’s threat­en­ing him or why he feels threat­ened.”

While Caleb can be ma­li­cious – some­thing Rogers hopes he is not – the char­ac­ter and the ac­tor do have some­thing in com­mon. “I would like to think we both have the same sense of hu­mour. I try to put jokes in, that’s not in the script. Some­times it ends up ( on the show).”

But Rogers also dis­closed that, un­like Caleb, he can barely turn on the com­puter. “I am not very good with them.”

He also feels he doesn’t have what it takes to be in the FBI. “That’s one thing about the show. It’s eye- open­ing how much work they do in the FBI and how much study­ing they do.

“I was never one for school – the study­ing, I am go­ing to leave those to high school days.”

The sec­ond half of Sea­son One of Quan­tico pre­miered two weeks ago, and once again, it threw the char­ac­ters and the au­di­ence in the mid­dle of a tense go­ings- on – in the mid­dle of a con­gres­sional hear­ing to tes­tify about the ter­ror­ist bomb­ings. With eight more episodes to go, can the au­di­ence ex­pect a res­o­lu­tion of sorts at the end of Sea­son One?

“There will be,” an­swered Rogers. “It’s go­ing to be good ... I don’t know how much I can give away, but there will be a lot of twists and turns, and drama. And good tele­vi­sion com­ing up.”

airs ev­ery Mon­day at 10pm on AXN ( As­tro Ch 701).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.