Dis for danger
ETHAN SUPLEE comes out fighting in psychological thriller Chance
IN THE WORLD of TV tough guys, they don’t come any tougher than Chance’s Darius ‘D’ Pringle.
The martial arts specialist with a sideline in philosophy thinks nothing of taking out three assailants single-handedly while imparting pearls of wisdom.
All of which makes him a useful sidekick for San Francisco-based neuropsychiatrist Dr Eldon Chance (Hugh Laurie) as he gets sucked into the dangerous and dark world of his mentally unstable patients.
‘I think of D as a warrior monk,’ says Ethan Suplee, who plays the role. ‘he’s a less jolly version of Friar Tuck. He’s smart and philosophical and he’ll kick your ass.’
In the first series, Chance got too close to his femme fatale patient, played by Gretchen Mol, with deadly consequences. Now, as the second series opens, the psychiatrist is trying to establish whether tech millionaire Ryan Winter (Parks and Recreation’s
Paul Schneider) is a serial killer.
Once again, Chance needs the help of his pal D, whose day job is working for streetwise antiques dealer Carl Allan (The Wire’s Clarke Peters). A skilled carpenter and blacksmith, D is equally at home with the tools of his trade as he is with weapons, many of which are improvised.
‘There is a wonderful scene in the new series where the script just said, “d takes out five guys with a dish towel and pencils,”’ laughs Suplee. ‘And me and the stunt guys
‘i think of d as a less jolly version of Friar Tuck. He’s smart and philosophical and he’ll kick your ass’
were like, “Okay, let’s figure out how to do this.”’
Although the New York-born actor had a background in jiu-jitsu and Thai boxing, he had to learn a whole new range of skills for his role in Chance.
‘Dis very advanced in a Filipino martial arts discipline called Kali, specifically Kali with edged weapons and improvised weapons,’ explains Suplee. ‘So there was quite a bit of training in a subset of martial arts that was completely foreign to me.’
During the last series, Chance discovered D had been profoundly affected by a childhood tragedy, while the events that followed had left him psychologically scarred.
‘We definitely go even more heavily into D’s background this season,’ reveals Suplee, perhaps best-known as Earl’s slow-witted brother Randy in My Name Is Earl.
Chance and D are an effective double act and their warm on-screen relationship is replicated by the actors off-screen.
‘Hugh is fantastic,’ says Suplee. ‘He is so smart and so generous as an actor and so encouraging while at the same time self-deprecating. He is really fabulous to work with.’
ETHAN SUPLEE AS D (RIGHT) WITH HUGH LAURIE AS CHANCE
D GETS TO GRIPS WITH AN ASSAILANT