Has Ryan Hardy truly moved on from Joe Carroll and his devoted followers? With Carroll on death row, and Ryan and his team moving on with their lives, both personally and professionally, it would appear so.
However Ryan’s newfound happiness is about to be shattered by a series of brutally staged murders and a dark new threat this season.
With The Following’s third season just around the corner (the show returns to FOX from Monday Mar. 2), ScreenSpy sat down with series star Kevin Bacon to talk about what’s coming next for Hardy and the team.
Full highlights from our call follow below.
What new (and old) threats will Ryan and the team will face this season?
Kevin Bacon: Mark is still there. Dr. Strauss, who was also from the previous season, is involved. We have a fantastic, loving and extremely beautiful couple named Daisy and Kyle who are terrible, terrible sociopaths but incredibly in love with each other. They’re kind of reminiscent of Bonnie and Clyde or Natural Born Killers. I think they’re a lot of fun.
Joe Carroll, while we don’t see him for the first few episodes, is still a very big presence in my life and I’m trying to really figure out if the killing that’s happening in and around New York now is somehow connected to him or not. That’s part of what I uncover in the course of this season.
The Following’s first season offered a number of shocking twists, while season 2 focused on detail and characterization. Where does Season 3 fall into that spectrum?
Kevin Bacon: You know, I think that we know that our audience enjoys the twists but, at this point, we also know that our audience is very savvy and very much looking for that. So I feel like we’re trying not to throw things in there that are twists for the sake of twists. The ones that happen, and the things that are surprising, are still going to be there, but they’re going to come like in a really organic way.
I also think that, you know, we’re trying to keep focused on the emotional content of the show, and what’s going on personally with these characters, because without that it doesn’t really land. Somebody mentioned the box in the second episode. That box is a very, very creepy thing, but the reason that it really works is because of what’s set up, you know, of the emotional and personal connection to it.
That’s why it works. Those are the things that I like to focus on; those are the things that I get to play and I am constantly lobbying for — as much as we can mine from what’s going on with people in their private lives. What’s going on outside of the case and how does whatever is happening in your life, outside of the case, reflect back to the case.
What can you tell us about Michael Ealy’s Character, Theo?
Kevin Bacon: What’s interesting about the character that Michael Ealy plays, who is Theo, who is sort of slow burning into the season this year, is that he’s actually a guy who prefers to be behind the scenes, to not be in the limelight. You will see pretty quickly that that is equally as chilling and equally as terrifying. He’s the shark that swims beneath the surface of the water.
Both Zuleikha Robinson and Michael Ealy are series regulars and new to the show this season. Hunter Parrish and Ruth Kearney also guest-star. They play Kyle and Daisy. Fantastic couple!
What can you tease about Ryan’s new relationship with Gewn? He hasn’t had the best track record.
Kevin Bacon: Well, you know, it’s great for me to have this relationship for a number of reasons. One thing is that I’m crazy about Zuleikha. She’s doing a great job, and we have a really nice connection. If you look at my love life – Ryan’s love life – it’s been complicated, because you know there was Claire who, as fantastic as our relationship was, and Natalie Zea is such a great actress and was so great in that part, I mean she’s the wife of the serial killer, so probably not the best person that I should be involved with.
Then you look at Carrie Cooke who was writing an expose. She was a tabloid journalist. Again, maybe not the best choice and, my neighbor, Molly, who ended up being one of Joe’s followers and stabbing me. So my picker as a man is a little bit off. I’m not a good – Ryan Hardy, he’s not a good picker. Then here comes this character of Gwen, this season, who truly is the right woman for him. She’s not involved with the FBI. She’s not involved with the case. She’s not a killer. She’s a doctor. She’s someone who helps people, heals people.
That’s really what I need in my life and she’s also willing and able to kind of call me on my shit. So when I look at her I say to myself, okay, this is the girl that I should be with and the struggle of trying to keep that relationship together, in light of this incredibly difficult and bloody and stressful job that I have, is going to be part of what is the backbone of the season.
What has it been like working with Zuleikha on set so far?
Kevin Bacon: You know, you get thrown into these situations with people where have to become incredibly intimate and there has to be a sort of trust there right away. I mean, Zuleikha and I, we played a scene the other day where we didn’t kiss and I was like, wow, we didn’t kiss. This is the first scene we’ve ever done that we’re not kissing in. You have to be able to have somebody that you really feel safe with and feel connected to and she’s that.
She’s just a fantastic person and, you know, really willing to just kind of roll up her sleeves and get to work. No BS and I’m crazy about her. She’s a little mysterious in a way, too, which is cool. I feel like I know her, but I don’t know her in a lot of ways, you know, and that doesn’t actually hurt in terms of me and Ryan and that whole thing.
How will Ryan react to Max and Mike’s split?
Kevin Bacon: While she’s my niece, and I’m incredibly protective of her, the beginning and the end of how I feel about the men in her life is whether or not they’re nice to her. That’s how I feel about my own nieces, and that’s how I feel about my daughters. I can like the guys or not like the guys. I don’t feel like it’s really my place to judge them, except to the extent that they are good to her.
There are great storylines there between Mike and Max and Tom, her new boyfriend. One of the things that the writers set up, which is so great, is that you’ve got this guy, Tom. It’d be one thing if he was an asshole, it’d be like kind of easy. Of course, here comes Mike and the guy’s an asshole. Of course, you know, there’s a very easy choice there, but he’s not. He’s a good guy. He works hard. He’s in the FBI. He’s SWAT so he’s a badass and you can’t really fault the guy. So I think that makes for a much more complicated kind of decision making process, both for her and for Mike, and let’s remember that he’s the one that split. She begged him not to.
Will Ryan be protective of Max this season now that she’s joined the FBI?
Kevin Bacon: You know, I will throw myself in front of a bus for Max. One of the craziest and most angry that I get in the course of the season has to do with something that happens to Max. It has to do with her not being protected in a way that I find absolutely unacceptable. So, yeah, she’s – I have a sister who lives in Florida, but I don’t really know her that well and we’re not that close, and Max’s dad was killed in 9/11 and so she’s really it. My parents are both dead. She’s my family, so, yeah, I’m protective.
The third season of The Following premieres Monday, March 2nd at 9 p.m. on FOX.