Our Exclusive Chat with Jonathan Lloyd Walker
For those who do not know, what exactly does a showrunner do?
A show-runner is exactly that. Someone who runs every aspect of the show from the creative to the logistical to the post. For a far better understanding, watch the documentary about the job http://www.showrunnersthemovie.com
What do you hope audiences take away from Van Helsing?
I think the same that any writer would wish for; that they are entertained, maybe have a thought about the deeper moral questions asked in the show and feel like we somehow distracted them from the mundane aspects of their lives and gave them some escapism.
If you could play any character on the show, who would you choose?
I’d be Abraham Van Helsing. Somehow aware of all the history and the stakes, but also trapped in a reality he didn’t choose. A hero kept from fulfilling his true destiny.
Fingers crossed the show gets renewed! Are there any storylines you’re hoping to get more into?
The backstory of the Dark One. How did Dracula become Dracula? I think I have some exciting ideas on how to evolve and adapt the original incarnation of that character and breathe something unique into it.
What would be your dream role?
As an actor? I don’t really think about the work that way. I love playing layered and complicated characters, so I have to read it on the page to know if I want to play it. Also, these days I’m equally concerned and interested by who the team is- Is the project something with a great director, cast, written by a cool writer. My dream role is working on exceptional material with exceptional talents.
As a show-runner, I have grand ambitions to tell a big story on a big canvas. High concept TV rooted in the basic dilemma of the human condition.
Did your time in the military have any effect on your career in entertainment?
Absolutely. After a few years in the Army, exercising a very logical and emotionally restricted leadership role, I knew I had to listen to the more creative side of my personality and give it a chance to express itself. One extreme prompted me to explore the other.
Do your children have any interest in the entertainment business? What advice would you give them?
I tell them the truth. Fame and wealth are illusory and intangible. Don’t enter into this field if you crave fame, prestige or material gain. You have to love the actual work, the graft of it all, the need to do this even if it means you live broke for all your life. You can’t enter into it because you love the idea of having a big social media following. It’s a career of more sacrifice than reward.
Who are some of your influences?
Aaron Sorkin, Emma Thompson, Kenneth Branagh, Craig Mazin, Amy Berg, Hart Hanson, Paul Haggis, Graeme Manson, Dennis Kelly, Charlie Brooker, Beau Willimon, Sam Esmail. I’m certainly drawn to hybrids like myself; artists who not only write but also act or produce or direct… or a combination of all. I don’t want to stay in one lane. I want to weave through traffic at a high speed and see just how close to the edge I can get. Hopefully I don’t crash.
Van Helsing premieres on September 27th (This Friday at 10 PM/9 Central on Syfy).