Although it’s been a few weeks since NYCC 2017, Bad Samaritan is still one of those shows that’s pinging people’s attention. Bad Samaritan features Robert Sheehan and David Tennant as two car valets whose plan to steal from their clients goes horrifyingly awry. When one of the homes they burglarize has a trapped woman, their decisions in that moment have consequences they never expected.
During NYCC 2017, Bad Samaritan director, Dean Devlin, and star Robert Sheehan sat down with reporters to give us some insights into what we can expect.
Listening to Devlin and Sheehan speak, the first thing you notice is the deep respect they have for each other and the movie. The two of them talk about Bad Samaritan as they would a child, with sweet reflections steeped in pride. Shooting in Portland, Devlin notes that the area was hit with five blizzards during the month-long filming which made it more difficult. As he noted, the actors were “literally standing in a blizzard acting their asses off.” However, this dedication was clearly more than just trying to stay within budgetary timelines as Sheehan noted, “We had snow days, but it’s a testament to the fact that I’m in the right business that I didn’t go, yay!”
Similar to Devlin’s much beloved show, The Librarians, Bad Samaritan does bring with it a bit of that comedic charm. However, instead of the writing driving that, it comes directly from Sheehan’s acting choices. Known more for his comedic roles, Sheehan shared, “Even though Sean is going through this horrible traumatic thing, you can find comedy. The thing about comedic moments is they can be found in the deepest darkest corners. So there’s a few moments where he steals a few smiles or giggles because I naturally go that way.” Devlin followed up, “You actually end up needing it because some of it is so intense.”
If one word describes Bad Samaritan, it seems to be “intense.” For a lot of actors, carrying that kind of emotion for long periods of time can be draining. Sheehan ruminated on this a bit, noting, “Sense memory is the idea of using things that are personal to make you miserable. You end up feeling guilty and remorseful for having done it because you exploited something personal for a pretense. That can be difficult because when you play with your memories like that, it’s always deeply personal. So when you apply that to something else, you change the imprint of that memory.” Sheehan’s own intensity filters right through his words giving you a sense that portraying Sean was something extremely difficult given the subject matter.
More importantly, this is another moment during the interview where you can see the mutual respect between actor and director. Devlin followed up by telling a story of how they emotionally developed Bad Samaritan’s Sean. “We discovered that the pivotal moment is the moment he decides not to help this girl and what it does to him. We talked about it in terms of an enormously embarrassing moment for a person. Everything he thought he was becomes a lie in that moment. What Robert did was something I don’t see in a lot of actors. He did a completely egoless performance. This drove the rest of the film. I’ve had situations like this in the past where you want to go that deep, and the actor worries about how other people are going to view them. But with Robert, he throws himself so deeply into the role that I would forget I was directing and just want to see more.”
Curious to learn more about Bad Samaritan? Check out our NYCC 2017 Bad Samaritan video clip below: