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Sean Depner Talks #SaveDeadlyClass & His Hopes For Viktor’s Future
Tuesday, June 11, 2019

After nearly two full months of waiting to hear the fate of Deadly Class – the TV adaptation of the comic book series written by Rick Remender – SYFY’s announcement that the network would not be renewing the show shocked, and disappointed a dedicated fan base.

Something special, however, happened this past Friday. A hashtag appeared – #SaveDeadlyClass – and a tweetstorm ensued.

Tens of thousands of tweets from all over the world were sent out in support of the show, all in an effort to sway another network, or streaming service, to pick up where SYFY left off.

I caught up with Deadly Class’ Sean Depner, who plays Russian tough guy Viktor on the show, to find out more about the #SaveDeadlyClass movement, the cast’s reaction to the outpouring of support, and his hopes for Viktor in potential future seasons of the show.

Let’s start by talking about the movement to save Deadly Class. When SYFY announced they wouldn’t be renewing the show, did you expect the fan base to be so dedicated to keeping it alive?

Well you know it’s … I feel like I’m cursed if I talk about this, but growing up my greatest wish, and one of the reasons I became an actor, was I wanted to be on Firefly. So being on a show like this, and seeing this wellspring of support and passion from the fans … I accepted the fact that I’m never gonna be on Firefly, Firefly is never coming back, but being in this kind of situation where there’s THIS many people affected, and really going to bat for the show, it feels like I was a part of it.

So no, I could not have expected this much of an outcry, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

It was really tough news to get, but seeing all this support from the fans, it makes it easier. It actually means a whole lot to me. So whoever is reading this right now – thank you … for your, I don’t know, brilliance. I don’t know what to say.

Seeing the #SaveDeadlyClass hashtag, and all the people tweeting it, what kind of emotions did you, and the rest of the cast, and everyone involved in the show, feel? Did you all call each other up like, “Holy crap, are you seeing this?”

Well, yeah. We have a group chat that gets pretty lit sometimes.

One of the things that jumps out is we are so here for Brazil, because Brazil is so here for us. Brazil loves us, and I think it’s because we’re on a streaming site there, so the young people there were able to see it.

In terms of us as a cast feeling this love from the fans, it really makes us feel like we’re not alone.

A couple weeks before we got the news a bunch of us got together just to hang out and sign some comics for some fans, and we were talking about how much we love this show.

It’s nice to know that it’s not just us who are making the show who like the show, that the people who are watching it love it just as much as us.

We all know Sony is looking for a new home for Deadly Class. Do you have any insight as to how that’s going, or are you kind of in the same boat as the rest of us?

Here’s an insight for ya – actors down the call list as far as me, don’t get any extra insight. {laughs}

If you were to talk to like Ben (Wadsworth), or Lana (Condor), maybe they could tell you something. I’m just a Vancouver local actor. I’m the Draco Malfoy of the series. I’m not Harry (Potter), I’m not Ron (Weasley). They don’t tell me nothin’. I find it out on TMZ with everybody else. {laughs}

So you’re still checking Twitter to see if there’s any news.

That’s why I’m on Twitter.

Like, seriously, this past month I’m checking Twitter, I’m looking at Rick (Remender)’s tweets like, “Ooh, is that about our show?”

I’m like, “You create so many things, is this about me?!?!”

So I don’t have anything to give you except my hope.

It’s gotta be tough being on a show that wasn’t renewed, but is still being shopped. It puts you, as an actor, in a weird limbo, work-wise. How difficult is it to figure out what you can, and can’t, currently accept in terms of gigs?

It’s fairly easy, what you can and can’t (accept), that’s just with the contract, and what not. I think the hard part is just waiting to hear without being able to do anything about it. That’s really tough.

This time right now is actually really exciting for me because how much noise the fans make helps us.

The other day (June 7th) we did that big mass tweet, and that was a lot of fun, and what I loved about that is it wasn’t us – it wasn’t the cast, or Sony, who organized that – that came straight from the fans. So I feel like my place right now is to support that, and foster that, because the community around this show is unbelievable.

I haven’t gotten a negative tweet, which is absurd to me because all I hear from all my friends and peers is that Twitter is this swamp of negativity, and I’m like, I’m not seeing it.

That is fairly amazing, because Twitter can be a swamp of negativity. To have a 100% positive interactions is a blessing.

Yeah, it’s one of the reasons that I care so deeply.

Make no mistake, for me, as a nerd, and as a performer, Viktor in Deadly Class is an absolute dream role.

There is an opportunity now for larger roles, but I don’t want to make that trade. I would rather stick with Viktor right now, because I love the project, I love the people behind it, and I love the character and his journey. He’s just where I want to be right now.

In talking about the experience of being on a show that’s trying to find somewhere new, I look at it like this – I think we are absolutely at the precipice in terms of making, or breaking, the show, because if we were to land on a streaming service, that’s so much more accessible to the people who actually would watch Deadly Class. The young people, the millennials, that’s who our audience is, so if we get on a streaming service, and I’m saying any streaming service, then I think we’re gonna find our audience, and I think Deadly Class is gonna fuckin’ take off.

I may be kicking myself a couple weeks down the line if things go south on us, but SYFY dropping us, I see it as potentially the best thing that ever happened to Deadly Class … if things go well. If they don’t (go well), it will just be another brilliant SYFY show that got canceled too soon, and that’ll break my heart, but that’s just how the industry goes sometimes.

You mentioned Firefly at the start of the interview. That fan base is still dedicated. Those actors and actresses still go to all the Cons, and they’re still mobbed by those fans. Would it be weird to be a part of something like that knowing how much more you want to do with this character?

Would it be weird? No, I think it would be really unfortunate.

When I was on The Order, which was a Netflix show I did just before Deadly Class, I got to do two or three days with Jewel Staite, who played Kaylee on Firefly, and oh my God it’s really hard for me not to get starstruck, but I was able to like swallow my shit, like, you know, be an adult.

I’ve already gotten some messages from people online like, “You’re such an inspiration,” “Now that you’ve found success …” I’m like, dude, I haven’t found success yet. I’ve done some work that I’m very proud of on a show that I’m really fuckin’ proud of, but I’m not an anybody right now. So I guess the idea of if I become someone like a Nathan Fillion, or Alan Tudyk, or Jewel Staite, or any of them, then that’s just an absolute gift.

If something that I feel really proud of affects people and inspires them in any way, whether it’s to pursue their own acting dreams, or, I don’t know, be a little more badass in their day to day life, even if there’s no season two, then Deadly Class has been a success in my mind.

I know you’ve read ahead, in terms of the comics. What are you most excited about when it comes to potentially being able to dive deeper into the character of Viktor?

So much.

A – My relationship with Shabnam, who is played by Isaiah (Lehtinen), who is just brilliant. We had like one scene together.

It involved the bathroom.

There was the bathroom, and there was the fighting class, and just both of them – we need more of this, and luckily it’s supported in the comics. That’s so exciting to me, because I love working with Isaiah.

I think the thing that I’m really excited to explore that we don’t really get to see much of in the comics is Viktor’s relationship with his father. It’s sort of hinted at, we get sort of this silhouette of Viktor’s father, but getting to dive into that … I believe Viktor is the way he is, it’s in that speech with Billy during finals, he is the way he is because he’s trying to earn his father’s love.

Moving forward, now that there is no Chico, Viktor is the big dick on campus, and he’s really gonna grow into that role, and become much more of the Viktor that we see in the comics, who is very alpha from the beginning. So to see season two, and especially season three, Viktor really come into his own, into this bear gorilla predator alpha male, to then see him off his game in the presence of his dad, where I imagine he’s a lot more submissive, and actually fairly terrified – of course trying to bluster his way through, and convince his father that anything else is the truth – that is something I’m really excited to dig into, and that we haven’t seen in the comics, but because we’re on TV we have more time, so that would be great.

Yeah, there were entire episodes that weren’t in the comics, like The Breakfast Club episode.

Yeah. I love the fleshing out the relationship with Petra.

I really want to see some stuff with Lex and Viktor develop a bit more.

In the comics Billy is the ever-present thorn in Viktor’s side, but so far in the show it’s been Lex who’s been giving him all this shit, so I would love to have a confrontation with Lex (who is played by Jack Gillett).

Jack and I went to the same acting school back in London, so I’ve been a fan of his work for years, so to do a scene with him … I just love what he does.

One more thing I’d like – I’ll geek out on this show all the time – Viktor and Willie (who is played by Luke Tennie) have to have a fight, because Luke, he is a big guy. Willie in the comics is a tiny guy. Luke – big guy. I like that. I think it’s a good change.

We’re like the two big guys on set, so when we’re standing beside each other we’re just like – we have to fight. Even if it’s just in a class, like a sparring match that gets out of hand.

There’s one scene in episode, I think three or four, Marcus is walking through the hallway in slow motion, and he’s got his voiceover, and we see Viktor and Willie mean mugging each other with their crews, and I was like oooh, we need to see the natural conclusion of that tension. We need to have a big guy fight. Everybody loves a big guy fight.

Definitely. What we need for those things to happen is 1. we need Lex to live, and 2. we need Willie come back from his … vacation.

Don’t worry. One thing that I love about this show is the fact that we’re the first TV comic adaptation where the writers of the comic are the show runners.

I’ve talked to them. Don’t you worry about Willie. Exciting things are gonna happen with Willie.

What happens to the various characters, because we have more time to explore them than in the comics … the ideas that Rick and Miles (Orion Feldsott) have told me, I’m just like, that is so smart, please, I, as a fan, want to see that.

Unfortunately I can’t say anything more than that, but a few characters go in directions you wouldn’t expect initially, but when you think about it you’re like yes, of course, that’s so perfect.

Finally, is there anything more the fans can do to influence the situation, and help #SaveDeadlyClass?

Keep doing what you’re doing. It DOES make a difference.

I know it feels like you’re just screaming into a void, but I saw this thing that every Saturday from now until we get a second season is #SaveDeadlyClass day. They’re gonna have these weekly, organized, mass tweets. That is a great idea. Organizing, and coming at the streaming services, and networks, in waves … if we all work together, and do these big pushes together, that makes more noise.

Talking to Rick, talking to Miles, it does help. It does get noticed by the higher ups.

Keep up with Sean Depner by following him on Twitter and Instagram.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 11:35 AM  
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