With its first two episodes, FOX's Sleepy Hollow quickly established a tone that's unlike anything else on television: part sci-fi thriller, part campy drama, all amazing. And according to star Orlando Jones, that DNA was infused throughout the pilot script, which is exactly why he signed up to play Captain Frank Irving.
But just how much does Irving know about the supernatural 'burg he polices? That was one of the questions I posed to Jones when we met up last week to talk Sleepy Hollow secrets!
ETonline: What attracted you to Sleepy Hollow?
Orlando Jones: It's not like anything else in the one-hour world [because] it's not a soap or a procedural. Obviously I have a penchant for science fiction, having done Evolution and The Time Machine, but the idea of doing a show that doesn't fit into any genre was exciting. It's really scary but then two seconds later you're laughing and then you're delving into history and using The Revolutionary War and real historical moments to try and fight the war that's now looming. It's a big, crazy idea, but I've never seen that script before -- in TV or film. National Treasure and The DaVinci Code were close, but this strikes a different tone. When I read the pilot script that was very much the spirit of the show and I think we've been able to translate that to the screen. I also love that this show is global in its casting too. Every nationality is represented on our show, and that represents a lot of my personal beliefs; that there's no such thing as gay rights or civil rights, there's just human rights. I love that the show is broad and open in how it embraces those elements.
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ETonline: Your character, Captain Irving, is the skeptic on a show of believers.
Jones: I like that I'm holding the premise under scrutiny. I love that we don't ask you to believe there's a Headless Horseman outright, because not only do I need to see him, I need something more than that. Criss Angel and David Copperfield and David Blaine exist. Seeing something in today's world is not enough, I really love the fact that I get to play someone who is a fish out of water as much as Ichabod is a fish out of water. And I really like the fact I'm not [Abbie's] mentor, and we're not doing that traditional relationship -- he's going to call her on her B.S. and I like the depth that comes with treating our premise this way.
ETonline: That said, he's already been confronted with some pretty bizarre things. Was it important to you that Irving not stay a doubter in the face of irrefutable evidence?
Jones: Absolutely. What you said is exactly how I felt. I like the fact that the character did not fit into a plug and play box, and on the show, you never know who is evil. Everybody has a secret they're hiding. You don't know which coven they're a part of and the choice of which coven Irving is in is not being made by the staff arbitrarily. You're watching his journey and seeing that discovery first hand, as opposed to Brooks, who you know immediately is part of The Sandman's world. But a conflicted part of that world, so I love that [John] Cho's character is not strictly evil. He doesn't just want to get rid of Abbie, he knows something about her the rest of us don't know and he's trying to serve two different masters ... with his head on the back of his neck.
ETonline: Will we learn more about Irving's past as well?
Jones: You'll understand everyone's motivations. You only know bits of these characters right now but as the stories go on, you get to know everyone. Like, you'll learn more about where Katrina is and why she's there.
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ETonline: Speaking of that amazing effect, what are you excited for fans to see with the villains on Sleepy Hollow?
Jones: Two things leap to mind: I like the fact we create these characters and rather than just ask you to accept them, we give you their backstory. I love that you will get to see Headless before he was Headless and be part of his decision-making process to see why he chose the side he chose. I really love that as a storytelling and as a character moment for someone that had been previously written off as a straight-up bad guy. I also love that because we give characters that backstory, it allows us to be more than your standard procedural which is, "Here's the bad guy, he committed a crime, we put this person in jail.' This is, 'Here's the bad guy, he's got an agenda and he's moving in a very tactical way, so how can we be smart about stopping it?' From a sci-fi point of view, I love that we're doing that. Also, you ain't seen nothing yet! [laughs] The other creatures are immense and you'll meet a ton of them.
Sleepy Hollow airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on FOX.