Louis Hunter Talks Life After Death With ScreenSpy
I’m speaking with Louis Hunter on the phone. He’s relaxed, upbeat and cheerful, and in what can only be described as a classic case of mixing up the actor with the character he plays, I can’t help but feel a distinct sense of relief that barely a week on from being possessed by a demon, knocked unconscious and violently drowned to death in icy sea water, he can still find something to laugh about.
“Is Nick really dead?” I ask, deciding to address the obvious question first.
“Well he is, yes,” says Louis. “He is very much dead at this point in time. I have a lot of fan forums and it’s been popping up as a question. ‘Is he really dead? ‘Is he going to come back?’ So yes he is really dead but,” he pauses, “there is absolutely a possibility he will come back.”
Attempting to tease out this tantalizing piece of information further, I mention an expression about science fiction TV that goes along the lines of ‘Nobody ever really dies in scifi.’ Although The Secret Circle is is not a scifi show, but a supernatural one, could the sentiment hold true here as well? Especially given that Nick was such a fan favorite?
“I’ll quote you an answer from Andrew Miller that he did in an interview at one point,” says Louis. “He said we wanted to really reveal the stakes of how dangerous this world of witchcraft is. And by killing off a main character they’ve successfully done that. So it would be a bit of a cop out of they resurrected him in a heartbeat just because the fans reacted quite quickly.
“But I think even though he is definitely and well and truly six feet under by now there is a possibility that within the next two seasons, three seasons, maybe even this season that he could come back.
“I don’t think they want to give in to the pressure of resurrecting a character just because the fans want it too quickly. They do want to create real drama and keep people in a place where they’re unsure of the safety of anyone in that world, you know?”
I ask Louis how long he was aware of the writers’ plans for Nick.
“I knew from the beginning when I signed onto the project that that was going to happen,” he answers. “I thought if I was going to do five episodes of this show, then fantastic! I hadn’t really any problem in terms of that at all.”
Nick Armstrong made a huge impression on audiences in just five episodes, transitioning from a guy who was, frankly, a bit of a jerk to a true hero with many fans adopting him as their favorite character along the way. Was Louis pleased with Nick’s journey overall?
“Yes I was. At one point I was a little concerned that we might not be able to build in enough of a character arc with just those five episodes to get people to really care about Nick and I still think that perhaps it might have worked better if it had been six or seven episodes but even with those five, there were so many little changes that happened throughout each scene going from – as you said – a jerk to someone who is really willing to sacrifice his life for this person that he’s truly let in.
It was his big problem. He didn’t want to let anyone in and then he finally did. He got over that fear and he died for it. So I was really happy with where he ended up. I was almost proud of him as a character.”
But what about the way in which Nick bowed out?
“I hadn’t worked with Gale or Natasha up until that episode,” he says. “And that was a real treat for me. I really enjoyed working with the both of them. If was going to die,” he laughs, “I would find it cool that I was dying at the hands of those two! It was such a pleasure to work with them. So I didn’t have anything to complain about there.
“But drowning! Drowning was such an odd experience. I didn’t really have to act all that much because being submerged under icy cold water again and again and again and again does feel quite real. In terms of an acting point of view I think it was an easier way of going about it because I didn’t have to do all that much acting,” he says with another laugh. “That was fun for me I guess.”
I tell Louis that it looked tough. And cold. There were times when it looked like he was under the water for some time.
“Well, we all went there thinking look, we’re going to get this done. It’s really cold water but hey! This scene needs to happen. Everyone was just on the top of their game that night and we tried to get through it as quick as possible. They had a really nice bath of hot water just next door so we ran and jumped in the nice hot water after each take which was good. It wasn’t too difficult to film.”
There’s a scene in which Nick is punched by Charles Meade and he hits the deck pretty hard. I ask Louis if that was him or a stunt double.
“Oh yeah” he laughs, describing the scene. “So, I get punched, and then it goes out to a wide shot of the body falling to the ground. So it’s me and then in the wide shot, it’s a stunt double falling to the ground. He did a fantastic job actually, smacking the ground in a really violent way. It was so realistic.”
With so many people calling Slither the best episode of the season to date in terms of drama, mythology and the over all story arc, how does the praise make Louis feel?
“Well it’s nice to know I’m going out on an episode that’s a highlight episode, I guess,” he says. “A lot of fans have reacted in a certain way which is really pleasing to me – a lot of support, a lot of love, a lot of care for my character and a sense of being sorry to see him go out of the show. It’s nice for me to know that I did my part as best I could and they obviously liked Nick a lot to care enough to write on my wall or blog or Twitter or whatever. So that was nice.
“But I do think inherently that the scripts are getting better anyway with each episode. I think with 6, 7 and 8 the fans are going to be pleasantly surprised. [The episodes] are not going to be dull after a death in the series. It’s going to just keep getting more intense and more dramatic. There’s going to be a lot of good things coming.”
I tell Louis that I have read several tweets along the lines of “Well that’s it! I’m not going to watch the show any more.” What does he make of those comments?
“Yeah I know. A lot of people say that,” he laughs. “I don’t know if half of them really mean it because that’s the point of the death. [The writers] want to shock them enough to have that reaction. And you do have that reaction straight away but then you go ‘Well I can’t stop watching the show now!’ He laughs again. “And you go back again after five minutes. It’s a case of curiosity killed the cat, I suppose. But they do go back and make the effort. I hope they do. The performances that everyone is giving are fantastic and there’s someone new coming onto the show next episode. There’s going to be some really good acting going on between people.”
I’m curious to know how Louis’ cast mates reacted to the news of his departure from the show.
“They were a little sad I think,” he reflects. “We were all so close. We all bonded so well. We really got used to seeing each other’s faces on set and figuring out who we all were to each other. We were kind of like a family. I think that family vibe would have kept on getting stronger if we were around each other for longer. They were a little sad, but at the same time they were happy to see me off to do other great things. They were very supportive which was nice.”
The last time I spoke to Louis, he made a casual reference to having lived (note the past tense) in Vancouver. At the time I didn’t pick up on the fact that he was no longer there, but around that same time there were rumors circulating about a possible character death. It was only while I was transcribing the interview later that day that I suddenly realized it was him. I ask Louis how careful did he have to be about revealing things about Nick’s fate?
“I did have to be pretty careful,” he tells me, laughing. “With those kinds of shows – scifi shows and supernatural shows and whatever – big plot twists are very important. This secret lair or this world of magic or this gateway into this other universe or something that people discover – those real pinnacle moments throughout seasons are what usually keeps people coming back, and keeps people being interested in the show, so I didn’t want to ruin that for the show’s sake and also for the fans’ sake.
“So you know, you do have to be very careful. And I tried to do my best. I did slip up that time when we had that last interview! I used the past tense. I noticed it myself afterwards.” He laughs “Hopefully I didn’t reveal too much to too many people. I think that despite the rumors flying around at that time, for the most part, people didn’t expect someone to die in that episode.”
So apart from a possible potential fan-campaign fueled return to The Secret Circle at some point, what is next for Louis?
“Well right now I’m about to start rehearsing for a play that I’m doing down here called Red Light Winter which is an Adam Rapp play which I’m really looking forward to. That will probably carry through into December. Then I’m going to do a tiny bit of traveling and then I’ll probably be in LA in mid January for a few things which I can’t actually reveal. There are certain film projects that are under wraps and kind of confidential. But I’m looking forward to doing that as well next year. So that’s kind of me for the next four or five months!”