Having spent the better part of five seasons on LOST, a series known for being shrouded in mystery, actor Henry Ian Cusick knows a thing or two about keeping a secret. Luckily, what Cusick — who can currently be seen in the increasingly addictive Shonda Rhimes sudser playing gladiator in a suit Stephen Finch — lacks in specifics, he more than makes up for by dropping a handful of tantalizing teases in terms of what audiences can expect in the coming weeks from both his role on SCANDAL and his upcoming guest spot on FRINGE. See for yourself after the jump.
Does having recently come off a show as successful as LOST make it easier or harder when it comes to choosing your next project?
Henry Ian Cusick: That’s a very good question… is it more difficult? LOST was a great show, I really enjoyed doing it and when it came to an end everyone just assumed that all of us from the show would have our pick of choice parts. But the reality was that a lot of people didn’t want us because we were so associated with LOST. There were roles that I thought I was right for and was told it would be too similar to LOST and we don’t really want to go that way. But I really enjoy working in television and when pilot season started I went to Los Angeles and did the rounds, met a lot of directors and casting people about various shows and Shonda Rhimes has a great track record. I read the pilot, there was a little hook line that I liked, Kerry Washington is a beautiful and talented actress and figured this could be one that goes, so I went with it.
One of the most interesting aspects about SCANDAL is that everyone who works at Pope & Associates seems to be running from some sort of past. Would you say that’s a fair assessment of your character’s work environment?
I think with all of the characters you’re going to be surprised. All of the characters are not what they seem and you slowly realize that over the course of the season. Some more dramatic than others and there is one character in particular that you won’t find out about that has a very great secret. That’s going to be a good one.
Something that was made clear right from the outset of the series is that Olivia Pope [Kerry Washington] runs her office like somewhat of a dictatorship. Which is all well and good until her increasingly messy personal life starts to bleed into her work. How do you think your character is going to handle things when that day invariably comes?
I think you’re on to something there. Put it this way, after episode 4 everything changes. It’s almost as if the show becomes something else entirely. It’s a real page turner so that’s when the whole dynamic of the show
In the series premiere we learned that your character was going to put a ring on it Are we ever going to meet Stephen’s fiance?
[Editor’s Note: Henry paused the interview for a moment to confer with an ABC publicist before answering] Maybe you will, maybe you won’t!
In terms of revealing information, is this show easier or harder to talk about than LOST?
LOST was pretty easy to answer questions because basically you just said nothing. I mean you answered questions but you gave nothing away. With SCANDAL it’s a bit more of a challenge because you want to tease a little bit more but I find this more tricky because on LOST it was just give nothing away.
Moving back to something you can talk about, you mentioned earlier that there was a specific line in the pilot that sold you on this role. Can you talk a little more about that?
At the end of the pilot I say to Olivia, “I’m not a good man” And too me that was a really interesting hook when somebody says that because the character obviously has some idea of what a good man is and he wasn’t meeting it and I like that. To me that was interesting and I think that every character or part that I’ve taken there’s always on little something.
Another question you probably can’t answer involves with the firm’s newest member, Quinn [Katie Lowes]. Aside from serving as the audience’s entry into this world, she hasn’t done much thus far. Did Olivia seek her out for a specific reason and if so, are we going to find out why she was brought into the fold?
Yes. You’re on the right track there. That’s a very good storyline and I think probably one of the most exciting as the show.
In terms of your character, is there anything you’d like to see should the series be fortunate enough to get a second season?
The way episode seven was left, something happens right at the end of it that serves as a set up for episode 8 and it would be great if we get an episode 8 because I’d love to see where Shonda would go with it. So finger’s crossed
And finally, diverging from SCANDAL to another show shrouded in secrecy. Is there anything you can tease about your upcoming guest spot on FRINGE?
Well now there’s a show that I think I’m not allowed to say anything. But what I can tell you is that I turn up in episode 19, which they always say is an alternative episode. I had a great time working on it. I mostly work with John Noble and Georgina Haig who are both not only fantastic actors but a real treat to work with.I had a great time in Vancouver and I would love to drop by the show again. I think it’s a pretty cool storyline which reminded me of LOST, very high stakes in that sense. Life and death stuff.
SCANDAL airs Thursdays at 10PM on ABC (CityTV in Canada).