Recently, Daemon’s TV got the chance to take part in an interview with CHRIS OLIVERO who plays Declan McDonough on ABC Family’s KYLE XY.
Chris Olivero talks about Declan’s growth in Season 2 of Kyle XY, Declan and Lori’s relationship, some of his favorite parts to play, and the prank he played on Matt Dallas.
(Daemon’s TV questions are in blue)
How will the dynamic change between Declan and Lori now that the secret is out about what Kyle can do?
Chris Olivero: The relationship now, it takes a lot of pressure off of Declan as far as not knowing who he can tell, what he can say, when people want to know the answers about Kyle. Now he can try to protect his friend, but at the same time try to focus on his relationship with Lori and where that should or should not go. Basically, the characters now can focus on themselves a little bit. Protect Kyle, but focus on their relationship, what their future holds together, what their future holds individually. The dynamic is going to be like a friendship, with that same kind of back and forth that we’re used to, with some new elements to it because we’ve already been through so much together. Declan is still into Lori, and it’s the same thing of friends or not friends? That’s going to continue. But definitely a lot of the pressure is gone and now it’s kind of back to the whole family protecting Kyle.
The Declan/Lori relationship is probably the most real relationship on the show. Do you find that that adds an additional level of responsibility on your part to make that accurate, or do you just play it and have fun?
CO: No, I definitely feel responsibility to it because I do like the realness of it, where it’s the whole life-is-complicated and those complications affect your relationship. When you’re that age, when you’re in high school and stuff, it’s that element of what should you do? Do you kind of go with what the crowd thinks or what you think? It’s all that confusion about relationships and that’s what I like about it. It’s a strong relationship, which is also great to play. It’s definitely, like I said, it’s a big responsibility in the sense of you have your own creative mind about your character and the writers have theirs and you have to kind of meld what you think. We’re always getting scenes with some of the writing changed or different things like that and we talk with them openly, continuously, so that we all are in connection with where the character should go. And yes, we want to be as truthful as we can, so the public can get that out of it and I’m glad to hear it; I’m glad that you feel that. That’s the best thing that we can hear is that it’s real and that people believe it because believability’s the biggest thing in what we do. We want to continue doing that to the best of our ability and that’s what we hope the writers give us and we can hopefully make the fans happy.
Declan’s commitment to help Kyle find the truth about his past has generated a maturity level well beyond the Declan we met in season one. Can you talk a little bit about that transition in the character?
CO: Absolutely. In season one Declan pretty much had the high school worries. The thing about Declan, though, is there was always a depth to him. He may have appeared to be kind of the typical high school guy and there is that part of him, but there was always a depth of who he is, a soul searching kind of a thing. That’s why he was into Lori, because she was different and she was unique. And that was part of him. And then, when Kyle came into the world, he didn’t know whether or not to be jealous. He didn’t know what to think of him and kind of felt threatened by him. And then the friendship developed and Kyle became basically his only true male friend and he did whatever he could to protect that. You do see him grow up and it’s one of the reasons why I really liked the character in the beginning, knowing that he was going to grow up and stand up for what’s right. He cherishes what’s close to him and he sometimes doesn’t handle situations right or he makes mistakes, like maybe how he reacted to Kyle standing with Lori. But he means well deep down. He definitely wants to help Kyle find who he is. He kept his secret. He took all the price, the physical tolls and the emotional tolls that came with it. But it was great to see that the writers went with that and it’s amazing to play and it’s just like you said, it’s a big transition between season one where he starts and where he ends. And season two it’s the same thing. You see that he is flawed; he’s not perfect. But he tries hard and he wants to do what’s right. That’s pretty much where he went with Kyle. He’s just trying to do what’s right and trying to protect what he feels is close to him because there’s not that many things or people that are close to him.
Daemon’s TV: What’s in store for Declan in the future?
CO: In the continuous part of season 2.5, now that the secret is out, the focus is going to be on Declan’s relationship with Lori and with Kyle as his friend. He just lost out on his basketball scholarship because of his injury. So it’s kind of going to be ‘where’s Declan going from here.’ He’s held Kyle’s secret. He’s focused on that; his relationship with Lori has suffered and he’s tried to repair that. Now that’s kind of where it’s at. All of a sudden, he’s thrown into a situation where now he’s friends with Lori again. Kyle has Jessi to worry about. Kyle has his own issues to get through and worry about and Declan now has his, with school and everything else. So what’s in store is basically just trying to figure out who he is; trying to figure out how to help Kyle; how to protect Kyle. We get to see more of that as the season will progress and, especially towards the end, more of the emotional kind of confusion. He tries to find some resolve and there’s always complications that are still going to arise in his life. Like I said, he tries to do the right thing, wants to do the right thing and sometimes things just don’t work out for him. But he’s going to try to search his soul and do the best he can and protect everybody as much as he can.
“Kyle XY” has a strong sci-fi tone. What is your personal sentiment, your personal relationship with the sci-fi genre? Do you feel stories like “Kyle XY” could be a reality today?
CO: Yes, I’ve always enjoyed sci-fi. I was into “Star Wars.” I used to watch “Quantum Leap,” “MacGyver” after school and “Star Trek.” I was always into the mystery. It’s always more enjoyable to me in a show when there’s a certain level of mystery or unknown, so you can let your imagination kind of go. I was into comic books and things like that. And we do have a lot of loyal fans. When we go to places like Comic-Con, you see the devotion of the fans. It’s pretty amazing and it’s rewarding just to know. Even if fans don’t like your character, if they have either problems or issues, just to see they’re passionate about it â€“ that’s what it’s about. If they believe what’s going on, that’s the most important thing. Not every character is the most likeable character or whatever, but as long as they believe it, as long as they’re passionate about it, that’s what’s important. And I think Kyle XY is a great show for today. I think it gives you the family values. It gives you a realness of teenage relationships and also an ideal. Kyle represents the ideal of what people could be. So you can watch him go through stuff and it’s like, ‘Man, I wish I was like that. I wish I could be like that.’ And that’s what everybody around him tries to do. They want to be more Kyle-like and they take steps in the right direction. I would hope that in this day and age that the show, that the Trager family could be a reality and people could try to live and get through things and try to do the right thing and everybody could have a Kyle in their life.
What do you enjoy most about working on the show?
CO: It’s got to be the people I work with. It’s a great group of people. We film up in Vancouver, so we’re all away from home, except for Jean-Luc (Bilodeau) and Kirsten (Prout); they live there. But we’re all away from home. When you’re on location, if you don’t have a good rapport with people, it’s harder than anything because a lot of times you have down days where you don’t have much to do in your hotel or your apartment or whatever. So working with a great group of people, working with a great crew, and this is one of the only shows that I’ve worked on where there’s not a lot of division. The network people, the writers, the crew, the actors, everybody hangs out. It’s not really where the actors kind of find their thing and then the writers are over there and the producers are over here. We’re all in it together; we’re all enjoying it together. It’s been that way since the start, since the barbecue we had up there. It was the first weekend we were there. We were playing cards, everybody was laughing. It was kind of like magic. It was like ‘wow, this is a group of people that all have their unique personalities, but all get along and that’s the most enjoyable thing.’ As far as the show goes, I like the story; I like picking up the scripts. There’s a new mystery and new storylines to be undertaken. There’s a lot of stories that the writers come up with that don’t go and there’s a new storyline. You’re constantly wondering what’s going to happen and what’s going on and you’re able to communicate with the writers and give your own opinion of where your characters go. Just the whole dynamic of everybody and the nature of the show is what’s most enjoyable.
In an interview you talked about a movie that they had put off because of your shooting “Kyle XY.” Are you still attached to that project? Do you have other projects that are coming up, now that you’re in hiatus on the show?
CO: Yes. That was supposed to film this summer actually. The writers’ strike actually threw a lot of stuff into loops. There are some other film projects that, actually, this week, I’m waiting on. The thing of it is, with the show too, when the strike ends, we don’t know â€“ we’re contractually obliged to Kyle XY, so we don’t know when it’s going to start up again. Basically, it’s a very wait-and-see and a lot of studios aren’t really into that because they want their actors immediately to sign on. It still is a possibility; it films in Lithuania, so obviously there’s no possibility to do Kyle and that. Right now, it’s just a big wait-and-see. Everybody kind of has their fingers crossed as far as what’s going to happen. Hopefully, the strike will resolve and we’ll at least have a tentative date, so the projects can go forth. There’s about three or four projects now that I’m up for. But, like I said, this week, early next week, hopefully start around early March filming. It’s just a big wrench in the machine with the strike and everything. When we film for nine months in Vancouver, it kind of limits what you can do in the meantime. In that three months or four months or whatever you get off, you hope to put something in there- and then something like this happens. There’s a lot of wait-and-see going on. I can say that I am up for a few projects right now. It’s just going to basically be about the dates and if it can work out, so hopefully.
How did you come into the part of Declan? Did you audition for it? Is there a reason why you accepted the role?
CO: Yes. I actually did a couple of other ABC family pilots the year before. I guess this is the third one that I did. So I kind of had a relationship with the network already and with Touchstone and the director who I did another pilot with was the director of this. So I had a relationship already established. But I had to go through the same process. I originally went in for Declan. Then they were going to cast Declan out of Vancouver. Then I went in for Kyle. Then I went to the producers for Kyle. Then they switched me back to Declan and then I went to the studio as Declan and then to the Network as Declan, then got the part. I really enjoyed the script. Some pilots you’re like, ‘Yes, you know, it’s all right.’ But I really enjoyed the script and wanted to be a part of it and was kind of nervous about trying to get it. Then the whole, ‘Kyle is this,’ and then, ‘Okay, why don’t you come back in for Declan?’ back and forth, but it was very rewarding when I learned that I got the part. It’s a great network to work with and I’ve really enjoyed working with them. I had no reservations about working with them or not wanting to do it. I’ve done quite a few Disney things and I’ve always enjoyed it. Basically, the script and the relationship with the network is the main reason why I took it.