Quinto convincing as an evil immortal in AMC’s ‘NOS4A2’
Fans of Zachary Quinto will find him in a character light years away from Spock in a series premiering this week on AMC.
In “NOS4A2,” a supernatural horror series debuting Sunday, June 2, the 42-year-old “Star Trek” actor is virtually unrecognizable under heavy prosthetics and makeup as shriveled, old Charlie Manx, an evil immortal who lures children into his antique car full of wrapped presents, feeds off their souls and deposits the remains at Christmasland, a twisted place of his imagination where it’s Christmas every day and unhappiness is outlawed.
Meanwhile, New Hampshire teen Vic McQueen (Ashleigh Cummings, “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries”), a product of an unhappy home life, is just discovering her supernatural ability to find lost things – including, presumably, the souls of Manx’s young victims.
“I had been looking for a project and a character that would give me the opportunity to really transform and into whom I could disappear,” Quinto explained to a recent gathering of journalists in Pasadena, Calif. “So that was one of the aspects of this experience that was really magnetizing for me.
“I was a little resistant to be honest at first about the horror nature of the show and the kind of archetypal villain that I’d be playing. But as
I read the scripts ... it seemed to me that there was a real depth and an emotional grounding in these characters, and an incredible collaborative spirit around the project itself. And so, those things – combined with this opportunity to really dive into who this immortal character was – made it really irresistible for me in the end.”
The opening scene gives a good idea what to expect. A late-night intruder rousts a couple and a young son from sleep. The boy runs from the house to find Manx parked out front in his gift-filled auto beckoning him to come with him. Mom, who was injected with an unknown drug, pursues until she slows and falls. And Charlie drives away with the boy, his license plate reading ‘NOS4A2.’
“He manipulates and exploits the vulnerabilities of these children,” Quinto says, “because he himself was abused and neglected and exploited in horrible ways as a child, which you learn through the book and through the companion graphic novel to ‘NOS4A2’ called ‘The Wraith,’ which really dives in-depth into Charlie Manx’s backstory. And so, understanding the origins of trauma ... and how if it goes unexamined and unprocessed, it can lead to this kind of warped and twisted manipulation, is really interesting.”
Zachary Quinto stars in “NOS4A2,” premiering Sunday on AMC.