The last time I saw you was at the launch party for TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES. Would it be fair to say that your well received role playing Andy Goode helped land you your role in LIE TO ME?
Brendan Hines: I think so. I’ve had a good relationship with FOX for a while and I think my role in TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES gave me the opportunity to do some stuff that I hadn’t done before which the network was pleased with. In fact, originally I was just going to be on for two episode of TERMINATOR, but then they brought me back in the “future episode’ which was a great surprise and so much fun to do. The last time I saw Friedman [Showrunner Josh Friedman] he told me they were all trying to bring me back. But I’m not holding my breath!
What can you tell us about your LIE TO ME character Eli Loker?
Eli is the lead researcher at the Lightman Group. He conducts voice stress tests in order to see where the spikes are, indicating possible deception as well as analyzes video to uncover micro expressions. Lightman (Tim Roth) also likes having Eli around because he refuses to lie. He has taken this pledge to be radically honest. Which not only means being honest when you’re asked something, but saying everything that’s on your mind as well.
Were you at all concerned that Eli’s radical honesty might make him, for lack of a better word, a jerk in the eyes of both his co-workers and the audience?
Yes. In fact, I had this conversation with Sam [Creator Sam Baum] when we first shot the pilot. I asked Sam, “if Eli is saying everything is on his mind and just never shuts up, why would anyone want to be around him?” So we came up with a middle ground so that he could be a bearable human being and more importantly, a character on television that people want to watch.
Is Eli’s pledge of radical honesty rooted in a traumatic event that happened earlier in life?
Something happened to Eli not too long ago. And that, coupled with the field in which he works I think led him to this place where he believes that the only way to prevent all that pain and suffering that comes with lying is to be honest at all times. I think it’s a pretty recent thing for him and hopefully we will get into what exactly happened. I have my own ideas but we’ll see if the writers end up agreeing with me.
Procedurals have a history of being somewhat tedious for the supporting players. Is this something that concerns you as an actor, ensuring Eli doesn’t turn into a generic lab assistant?
I think that the way the pilot was set up there are a lot of places where these characters can go. I also believe that we [the actors] ended up bringing a lot to these characters and the writers are really good about not just making it a dry procedural. It’s not just, “We ran this through the blah blah blah… and I came back with a couple of hits.” I have opinions on the cases we’re involved with which I don’t think you get in your average procedural.
You can catch a brand new episode of LIE TO ME tonight at 9PM on FOX (Global in Canada)