Actor Christian Sloan has had quite the interesting career in movies and television, having starred in high profile films like Star Trek Beyond, Death Note and Warcraft: The Beginning and a range of television programs from Altered Carbon and Riverdale to Critters: A New Binge and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. His latest project is the streaming television show, See, on Apple TV+ where he plays Witchfinder Ayura opposite Jason Momoa’s Baba Voss. We caught up with him for this exclusive interview to talk about the experience of See, working with Jason and hear some funny set stories, including the moment that Jason got the call for the role of Duncan Idaho on the new Dune movie.
Tell us about your role in See as a Witchfinder Ayura?
My character has the ability to hear much better than most anyone else, and therefore is of tremendous value to the Witchfinder General, as evidenced by Ayura’s position in the calvary relative to Tamacti Jun. With my ability, I can offer tactical information such as a size of an army or village, whether they are expecting us or not, whether or not a captive speaks the truth, incoming weather and so on. Hence, my high value to Tamacti often keeps me from the frontline of war. (Although my own personal backstory for the character before joining Tamacti speaks to his abilities for combat.) Witchfinder Ayura is fiercely loyal to Tamacti, our army, and our people, and is determined to honour our vow to Queen Kane.
What was production like on the set of See in terms of playing a blind character?
Apple was incredible in providing us with the resources to portray as accurately as possible, within the parameters of the world of the show, people who are blind. We spent the better part of a month before going to camera working with Joe Stretchay, a joyful and incredible man, who helped us understand the limitations of depending solely on our vision, as well as opening up a whole new world of delving into our other senses. The first time I worked with Joe, he was able to identify who was in the room with us just by the person’s specific gait and the sound of her heels on the floor. Both she and I were floored! But as you work to develop your other senses a often neglected aspect of our world opens up, through hearing, through smell, through touch. As well, we worked with incredible movement coaches led by the indomitable Paradox Pollack, who really gave us room and opportunities through games and challenges, such as hunting one another with nightshades on, to explore how each of our characters would move throughout the world of See.
Without giving anything away, how much does your character interact with Jason Momoa’s Baba Voss?
Gotta keep those spoilers to a minimum, but let’s just say that as the series proceeds, Momoa and his tribe become the Witchfinder General and his army’s most troubling and persistent adversaries.
Describe what it’s like to work with Jason?
Jason Momoa is a titan. Let me give you an example of how the man leads his cast by being the toughest, most committed actor on the call-sheet. We were shooting in the middle of nowhere in the deep wilds of BC, Canada, and I recall standing by a glacier-fed river in the middle of January, freezing my ass off. I’m huddled there, hot pockets glued to various parts of my body, as this arctic wind is whipping away the last of my body heat. But there’s no complaining, because there’s Jason, jumping off a raft INTO the water, take after take. They had these giant coolers, like you’d take to the beach for a party, filled with hot water that Jason could plunge his hands into between takes to stave off the frostbite. That is not something you ever see with the #1 on the call sheet on any other production. (Maybe Tom Cruise? Good company!) Commitment like Jason’s inspired the rest of us to dig deep and give everything to the production.
Any funny set stories with Jason or the other cast members?
First time I met Jason I was in the make-up trailer finishing up a make-up test for Witchfinder Ayura. The door to the trailer slammed open, and Momoa, who had just wrapped shooting for the day, took one look at me, and growled in that voice of his, “Who the fuck is sitting in my chair?” I felt like Goldilocks busted by the giant Papa Bear. I stood up and introduced myself. I’m not a small guy, 6’2″ and 200lbs, but I felt dwarfed by the man in the tiny confines of the trailer. He snarled a friendly “Good to meet ya, brother”, grabbed a Guinness, slapped on some Metallica, shotgunned the beer, and announced “Get this shit off me.” as he plunked down in the makeup chair. I was, like, Yep, that seems about right. He’s an incredible soul, very down to earth and open, always down to shoot the shit with you. I can’t say enough great about the guy. As for the rest of the cast, Christian Carmargo, Josh Blacker and I became very close through shooting 8 months in the freezing back country of Canada. I’ve got a bunch of great behind the scenes pics I’ll be sharing on my Instagram @christiansloan so follow me and I’ll be dropping some fun stuff.
What do you want people to take away from See after watching the entire first season?
First and foremost, I hope everyone comes away entertained! It’s an incredible concept from one of my favourite storytellers, Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders), and it’s such a dynamic world. The world-building is deep and thought out, and plays to some of our greatest fears about our future. I think the show raises a lot of questions about humanity and the way we treat each other, as well as letting the viewer’s imagination run wild in what it would be like to live in this world. I think one of the most interesting concepts presented is how man would survive losing arguably his most dominant sense. And in our increasingly insular world, where our connection with others occurs increasingly through phones and the internet, there’s almost a lack of real community in our lives. The tribes of See all depend on each other to survive and thrive. One man alone will never survive without his community in the world of See.
What has your favorite role been so far and why?
That’s a tough one. I love that my career so far has been so diverse, and that I’ve been able to walk in so many different shoes. See of course is a highlight, and I’m excited to see where the show goes. Playing Holt on Critters: A New Binge was just trashy B-movie fun, and slinging that iconic bounty hunter gun was wicked. Playing an elf in Warcraft was on the bucket list for sure. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is one of my favourites as well. The show is so bizarre and off the wall, definitely not for everybody, but I had a blast playing Lord Triangle Badevil. With a character with a name like that, how do you not have a blast?
Having been in both movies and television shows, which do you like better?
I love the language of film, that every shot matters and is crafted in a dynamic way (in good movies anyway!). But as an actor, I actually prefer shooting a little faster as you do on a typical TV show. On Star Trek Beyond, I remember that we spent one entire day with Chris Pine shooting one line of dialogue. Usually with television, there’s no time for that, and there’s an incredible, exciting energy that comes with the pressure of banging out 3 to 10 pages a day. I feel like with See, we get the best of both worlds. When you’re working with a master like Francis Lawrence, he knows exactly what he needs, no more, no less. We had time for the jaw-dropping cinematic shots, and for the smaller more intimate moments.
Who do you look up to in the industry as a fellow creative?
Oh man, that’s a long list. If I had to pick just one person to work with in the future, right this moment it would be Denis Villeneuve. I’ve loved everything he’s done, I think he’s a cinematic genius, and I cannot wait to see what he does with Dune. I was actually sitting next to Jason in the makeup trailer the morning he got the offer for Dune, he told me all about it, and I legitimately freaked out. I had just re-read the first four Dune books last summer, and I’ve never been more excited for anyone. It’s an incredible cast, and Jason is gonna kill it. Yep, Denis Villeneuve is at the top of my list right now.
How do you use social media and what is your favorite platform?
I try to keep myself weened off the social media these days. Facebook is a time sinkhole, so I’ve walked away from it, and Twitter just feels like a land of anger and rage, so I’ve left that behind too. I am a fan of Instagram, however. It’s hard to get angry at pictures, and I can bomb through it in about 10 minutes and I’m done. Definitely follow me on the Insta @christiansloan as I’m gonna be dropping some BTS pics, and I’m always happy to answer any questions about the show!
Let us know what upcoming projects you have and where we can see you next?
Unfortunately the NDA’s prohibit me from talking about what’s coming next, but stay tuned…
Christian Sloan Headshots courtesy Marcee Rae Photography (@marceerae).
Photos from ‘See’ of Christian Sloan courtesy Luc Roderique.
In the far future, a virus has decimated humankind. Those who survived emerged blind. Jason Momoa stars as Baba Voss, the father of twins born centuries later with the mythic ability to see—who must protect his tribe against a powerful yet desperate queen who believes it’s witchcraft and wants them destroyed. Alfre Woodard also stars as Paris, Baba Voss’ spiritual leader.
Coming November 1 to the Apple TV app with an Apple TV+ subscription: http://apple.co/_See
Trailer with audio descriptions: https://youtu.be/03RAKJipMeM
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