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Interview with Eric Balfour of Haven

Eric Balfour
Eric Balfour caught his first big break with Six Feet Under, but it was his work in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake that made horror and sci-fi fans take note of the actor. Even though his character was one of the first to die, he showed considerable screen presence, charisma and charm in a limited amount of screen time. He followed that with roles in such efforts as Dinoshark and Skyline. A role in Lie with Me stirred up plenty of controversy with its explicit sexual nature, but it established him as an international sex symbol (something that he says surprises him). Enter the Syfy channel's Haven, based on the Stephen King novel The Colorado Kid. Haven gave Eric Balfour fans the best of both worlds as it allowed the actor to continue working on horror and sci-fi projects, but it also showed off the considerable sexual energy that the actor radiates. This of course, notoriously lead to him being dubbed the "shirtless hunk of the week" on one website. Haven returns to the Syfy channel on July 15th. Here's what Eric Balfour had to say about Haven.

You're playing this ambiguous character in Haven and you don't exactly know what's going on with him. How do you get in the mindset to play this part when you don't fully understand what's happening to the character? 

Yes, what it usually entails is a lot of phone calls and emails back and forth from the writers. Because this show is so intricate in its dynamics, you're always having to ask questions and to get questions answered. There's two different schools of thought. Some people like to keep the actors guessing, because they want their responses to be honest. 

For me, as an actor, I (always) like to know what's coming ahead, because I feel like it is my job to paint a palette, and to know that if I'm going from A to B, there's certain hills and valleys that I'll want to hit along the way. So I like to know the answers. So a lot of the time it's me reading the next week's script and then sending like two-page emails to the writers with a thousand questions and they just go, "Oh, man. Balfour is emailing us again. What are we going to do?"

But they're always really cool about it. And they always take the time to answer our questions and talk us through things. And they're - I've got to hand it to them. They're amazing in that way, that really appreciate and respect how much we have breathed life into these characters. And so they really do value our opinions about what our characters do. And it's really neat. It's cool.  

Eric Balfour
Other than the fact that you're both attracted to dangerous women, what characteristics do you see in yourself, that your character "Duke" has? 

I think the most obvious answer for me is that we both have an aversion to authority. Neither one of us likes rules very much. I think that would be the most obvious thing to me when I think about how me and "Duke" are similar.

It's interesting. There's a lot of similarities. I think "Duke" is innately more confident than I am in some ways, which has actually been really kind of a blessing for me in my own life (just) - (and) playing "Duke," I have to get outside of myself and really have strong belief in who I am as "Duke" because that's what makes "Duke" really kind of awesome is that he has a confidence and a charisma that I've sort of learned a little bit from playing him in my own life.

He walks through the world believing that he can do anything and that the rules don't apply to him in that. Anytime somebody said you can't do something, that's just a challenge for him to do it. It's a lesson that I've sort of taken in my own life.    

Eric Balfour (left) or Lucas (right)
You and Lucas both have an attraction for Audrey. Why do you think she should pick you over Lucas?  

If I was being really honest, I don't know that I would tell the character, "Audrey" to pick "Duke." I think in some ways that, you know, "Duke" is "Duke" because he is a loner in a way. He does walk to his own drum beat and I don't know that he is capable of really ever being domesticated. I think it would be a lot of fun to see "Audrey" try to settle him down, but at the end of the day, I just - I don't know if "Duke" is capable of it.  

I think "Duke" is one of those guys who probably will one day get on his boat and sail, you know, around the world and kind of sail into the sunset on his own. And, he'll just disappear one day and you'll never know what happened to him.  

Eric Balfour
Back in the episode where they aged you, how alike or different do you think you're going to look like when you reach that age yourself?  

I would say I'm going to look very different because I'm going to have - I'm going to be like the 1970s version of Jim Morrison. I'm going to have a big fat gut and a giant beard and long straggly hair. And I'm going to be like a cross between Elvis and Jim Morrison when I get older. And I'm just going to be like hanging out on a beach, surfing on a long board, talking about the good old days.

I think the character, "Duke's" old version was much more thin in scope than I will be. I'm going to let it go man. I'm going to - I'm just going to rock out and get old and ex-old-rock-starry when I get old. 

Eric Balfour
On the Internet, they were gushing that you were going shirtless in the episode and they were dubbing you the shirtless-hunk-of-the-week on one web site. So what's your opinions of being seen as this TV sex symbol?

It makes me kind of laugh. I actually remember last year at Comic-Con there was that - that was when that article about the shirtless-man-of-the-week came out. And all of my castmates and the producers from Skyline were making fun of me.

It just all seems kind of silly to me sometimes. I mean I'm probably the most critical person in the world of my own physicality. So I'm always a little shocked when people say things like that or find me attractive I guess. Because I'm always very critical of myself.  

Eric Balfour (right) with the cast of Haven
Since the show is dealing with supernatural elements, I'm wondering what's your personal opinions on that? 

My own personal beliefs about the supernatural? 


Well, there are a lot of things that we don't have proof of in this world. There are a lot of things we don't answers to. We don't know for sure if aliens exist or we don't know if ghosts exist or (humans) or an afterlife. All these questions, we don't know the answers to. 

And I don't profess to say that I have a definitive answer either, but I guess I would say it sure does make life more interesting to believe that these things exist. In some ways, whether or not they do, I sure would like to believe that there are crazy little alien men running around on another planet and that ghosts really do exist. And that there are people out there that have super powers and can do things with their mind and we see evidence of it all the time, but obviously we don't have definitive proof. But I sure just think it makes like more interesting to believe that those things do exist.  

So I take it you've never had like no, in your own mind, a supernatural encounter, anything like that yourself?  

Every time a girl says that she will go on a date with me, I think that is a supernatural occurrence. So I see it all the time.    

Also, I'm wondering have you ever been approached by any irate Stephen King fans about Haven?  

No, I haven't. I think for the most part the Stephen King fans have been very supportive of the show. I don't think we were never dishonest, that we said that Haven was like a direct copy of a Stephen King novel. Haven has always the novella that Haven was based off of was always the jumping off point. And we were always really straightforward about that. I mean obviously, if you've ever read it, it's very short and very simple and there's not a lot to base an entire series on. 

So it was always the jumping off point. And I think because we were honest about that, that the Stephen King fans didn't really have any argument to that or angst.   

If they were to do another Dinoshark movie -- like Dinoshark versus whatever, like they did with Dinocroc versus Supergator, and they bring you back for that -- what movie monster would you want to go up against with the Dinoshark?  

Dinoshark versus the Care Bear.  

I was wondering if there's any horror themed TV shows that you really like? 

I really thought that the series that (Scott Free) did for a while, the Ridley and Tony Scott did, The Hunger, was fantastic.  

Eric Balfour
Eric, they are doing another reboot (or incarnation) of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, entitled Leatherface 3-D. I was wondering what's your thoughts or opinions on that? 

I honestly don't know much about the project, but I do know that the guys who really gave me my first shot in a starring role, in a movie were Brad Fuller and Andrew Form and Michael Bay, in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre that we did. So I've got to say if anyone was going to remake that movie, they did an outstanding job and they are just amazing guys. So without them involved, I honestly don't know what the movie will be, but I wish them the best of luck and I hope it turns out decent. 

I have one more question. You got a sci-fi, horror and a cult following and then I'm sure you've got your fans for your more mainstream work. What's the difference between the two? 

The sci-fi fans are way more awesome and crazy and enthusiastic.

Thank you for taking the time out to answer my questions. I appreciate it. Thanks. 

No, my pleasure man. Thank you.

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