Interview: CHRIS OLIVERO from KYLE XY on ABC Family

Matt Dallas and Chris Olivero - Kyle XY

Daemon’s TV: What is the hardest thing about being on “Kyle XY”?

CO: The hardest thing, I would say, is being away for so long. Nine months out of the year is kind of long. That’s the ‘personal’ hardest thing. On the show, the hardest thing is the anxiety that you want to know things. In a movie, you have the script in front of you. You know what it’s going to be, even minor changes, for the entire shoot. On our show, last season, we had six episodes written before we started, which is like a miracle. Usually it’s like a week before or we’re getting our scripts maybe three days before we’re supposed to start shooting. So we’re not even knowing what’s going to go on until the weekend before or the read-through. That’s the hardest thing about it. You want to know and you’re chomping at the bit as far as what’s going to happen and what’s going on. Things change so much on our show as far as what’s going to happen and what goes on. That’s probably the hardest working related thing about the show. Given the nature of it, the sci-fi, wanting to keep it as interesting as possible, you don’t know what’s going to happen. We joke around that we’re as blind as the audience is. Sometimes we don’t even know what’s going to happen. And things change mid-season, so that’s the hardest thing. It’s just not laid out in front of you. But it makes it more exciting. Every week is a new week. You go in for a read-through and you never know what’s going to pop up on the page. So it’s exciting and kind of hard.

Do you have a favorite episode? If so, which one has it been?

CO: I play basketball; I love sports, so I enjoyed the basketball episode in the first season where Kyle is on the team because we got to film pretty much half the episode at a college and all day we got to just play basketball and run plays and stuff like that and, in down time, just play basketball. That’s fun because you have a lot of down time on sets and if you’re sitting in your trailer or watching a movie or reading a book, you’re sitting around. There’s a lot of hurry-up-and-wait kind of a thing. So that was the most fun and the episode, I thought, turned out great. Then this season we have some episodes later on that I think are quite good, especially the last episode. I haven’t seen the final cut of it yet, but just the script and it was an enjoyable experience.

Do you know if “Kyle XY” is scheduled to go to Comic Con in 2008?

CO: I don’t. We’ve been there for the two previous years. I sure hope so; I do not know. I hope that would be a possibility; we have had a great time going there. We’ve had a great turnout; the fans have been great. We all as a cast have enjoyed it immensely. So, I wish I could say, ‘Yes, definitely we’re going to be there.’ We all want to be there. We all may show up with our Star Wars outfits on and just walk around. But we all want to be there, so hopefully.

What has been your favorite role that you’ve played besides Declan in another show?

CO: I always like playing different characters and I’ve been fortunate where I’ve gotten to play a drug dealer or a killer and things like that. I enjoyed CSI Miami a lot. It was just one episode, but it’s kind of nice to play. A lot of times, I’ll play characters where I start out kind of bad. But then I turn out to be the nice guy; I turn out to be the good guy or I’m just the good guy throughout it. But when I get to play the darker characters, it’s good.
In shows, even when I played a bad guy, it’s been for a good reason, like I was a drug dealer because I was trying to support my sister. Not that that’s a great reason, but there’s always a positive kind of thing. So, in that (CSI Miami), you thought I was this shy, quiet, kind of nerdy kid or whatever and then I ended up killing the -agent because I was tired of being rejected. Also, there was a sentimentality to it. It wasn’t just pure evil; he did it because of the rejection, because of all the stuff that’s going on in his life. It was enjoyable to play. I like when people are like, ‘Huh?’ They don’t expect it. I thought it turned out pretty good so I was kind of happy about that. That was a lot of fun, actually.

Do you ever get to offer any input to the direction of your character like advice on the way the script may be going?

CO: Yes, we do. The writers are in L.A. so when we get the scripts, we can put in calls. A lot of times, we’ll call and say, ‘Where’s my character going?’ Like I said, we don’t get the information until kind of last minute, so we all are very inquisitive about it. Matt does a lot with Kyle, ‘I don’t think I would say this.’ I do the same thing with my relationship with Lori. We all like to put in our input with the writers. And the writers are very open. Sometimes they’ll even express ideas to us about what they want and we’ll say, ‘Well, you know…’ because we know our characters now. They write them, but we live them. It’s a good collaboration between us, as far as what we would like to see happen. Like I said, we trust our writers, which is a great thing because we understand that they’re going to do what’s best for the character and for the show. I’ve been like, ‘I don’t like this blah, blah, blah,’ but in the end, it always turns out. So you learn to trust your writers with the storyline, especially the direction of your character. But yes, we call all the time and give input on lines or we call and we’ll change the lines or we’ll say, ‘We already said this and we did this in Episode whatever.’ So we call L.A. and they’ll say, ‘Yes, change the line to this or change it to this.’ We constantly are offering little input. The more you work on the show, the more you do that. Even with directors. We’ll get different directors for every episode and they’ll want to shoot a scene and we say, ‘I already sat in that chair and did the same line last episode,’ and they’ll say, ‘okay, do this.’ So, there’s a lot of collaboration back and forth with the writers and directors. The writers are ultimately the ones that kind of decide, but they are very open, which is refreshing because, a lot of times, you just have to listen to what they say. So it is a great, refreshing show to work on where you can put input into what happens and what your character does.

Is Jessi is going to come back in the mix for Declan as a romantic problem or is he more focused on Kyle now?

CO: Jessi is always kind of there and a little mixed up with everybody. Jessi and Declan, after everything that happened, they haven’t had close contact or relationship at all because she was reprogrammed and all that was kind of done with and Declan understands that. And Declan’s main concern is Lori and Kyle. But there is some stuff in the future that Declan will kind of come to her for, not for romantic interest, I can tell you that, but he comes to her more for help. So he does look to her and she does become more of a part of everybody’s life, more than she is now. Romantically, right now, Declan has his hands full with Lori and also with trying to figure out what he’s doing himself. But you never know with our show. There’s lots of rumors going around with everything, but you never know. As far as this season is concerned, Declan’s main focus is on Lori and on his relationship with Lori, Kyle and himself. I think Lori and Declan both are trying to figure things out themselves. And Declan, like I said, he handles things in a different manner, but it’s going to make for some enjoyable scenes coming up.

Will we begin to see a little bit more of Declan’s back-story? We’ve kind of got a hint that maybe he has a connection with Kyle in another way, will we get to see any of that? Do you know?

CO: Yes. I can tell you now as far as a back-story for me, I know the writers didn’t want to just throw in a one-episode back-story. I talked with them about it a bunch. As you know, there have been mentions of my dad and mentions of my troubled relationship with my dad and no mention of my mom. There’s definitely a back-story to be had and it’s just a matter of the timing for it, as far as the writers are concerned. As of now, they don’t want it to be just like a one-episode thing or a two-episode thing. They want it to be its own arc. Declan is one of these few people on the show that we don’t know about his past as much. We know he comes from a wealthier family, but we haven’t really dived into that, which I’m sure will be a nice story arc. All that does play into what Declan does and who he is and it’s just going to have to be a wait-and-see thing still. He’s still trying to figure out, like I said, things with Lori and things with Kyle and I’m sure later in the season there’s more information that will come out, slowly. And then next season, we haven’t filmed it or even started yet, but I’m sure next season hopefully, there’s going to be definitely some diving into answering some questions about Declan.

You appeared in the TV series “24.” Can you describe to us the atmosphere on that set, the pace versus what you’re doing now with “Kyle XY”?

CO: The thing is that, on Kyle XY, actually we have a seven-day shooting schedule. For a drama that’s really short. You can’t really do it much shorter than that. It’s actually pretty, I’m not going to say frantic, but there’s just a need to get everything in and everybody is trying as hard as they can to do their thing and get the episode done. I don’t want to say everybody is working faster, but there’s a lot more people around – producers, directors, the writers that’ll pop in and out and be on set. There’s a lot more phone calls going on, immediately as far as what’s going to happen. On 24 it was already well into the show’s history when I joined it. I’d like to say it’s more fast-paced, but it really wasn’t. The crew had everything laid out; they just kind of did their thing. It was more relaxed. The thing is, like I said, they kind of had their footing already. They already had everything going on, so they knew how everything was going to work, where the storylines were at that point. That’s like the main difference. On CSI, the same kind of a thing. Our show, I would honestly say, is more busy trying to get everything down and trying to get the right things here and the changes here. Our show will change even during the shoot, major changes. And those shows tend to stay the same because they have like an arc built out further in the future. There’s more episodes kind of laid out. With ours, everything changes so quick that you don’t really know what’s going to happen and the crew is more fast-paced. 24, especially, was very set. They already had everything down, A, B and C, so it’s just kind of get in, do your thing, get out. With our show, definitely, everybody’s trying to get out the best product they can. They always will, especially because it’s early in our show’s history as far as what to do next. So that’s probably the biggest difference.

Daemon’s TV: Aside from Declan, who’s your favorite character on the show and why?

CO: Favorite character, I like them all. I like the Kyle character obviously, just because Matt (Dallas) is the only person I can imagine that could play the part. I auditioned for it and it was retarded the way I auditioned. It’s so hard to play. He does it so perfect, even all his mannerisms are just exactly what you would think Kyle would be. I like reading what he does next and seeing how he experiences things because he does make a lot of logical decisions about different things. Where I’m naturally more like Declan, I guess, where I’m just kind impulsive about things. Not everything I do is thought out completely, you know? And I love April Matson’s character. I know I’m playing her boyfriend and friend. But I think they write her really well for a teenage girl, as far as the same pressures that every girl faces. But they give her an attitude and a confidence and she’s coming into her own. So I enjoy reading that. I enjoy seeing her, I guess because she and Kyle have the closest relationship on the show. So I guess I see them grow and that’s enjoyable for me to watch and to read and to be a part of. And I hope that Declan doesn’t screw it up too much. But yes, those two characters I think I really enjoy watching them grow and seeing what happens.

Is there a way that people can contact you through a MySpace or a Web site or some way that they can let you know how much they appreciate what you do?

CO: One thing is I do not have a MySpace. I know there’s been a couple MySpace’s that somebody has made or whatever else, but I do not have a MySpace; I don’t have a Web page. The best way is through ABC Family publicity because, when I’m in Vancouver, the only things that get to me really are stuff that’s sent through ABC Family. That’s the best way for people to contact me. And we do, honestly, check the Kyle XY boards from time to time. So if you put stuff on there, we’ll get it. We know people are on there writing; we’re curious to see what they say so, from time to time, we will check them. But that’s a good way if people have stuff to say that we’ll check at some point. As far as the individual fan things, through ABC Family publicity, through Kyle XY, is the best way to get me stuff.

If you could write a storyline for Declan, what would you have him do or what would you have his back-story be?

CO: The ever-present joke, Declan XY. We joke about it all the time because I want every storyline to be about me. I don’t know where the writers are going, but I think I would write it kind of similar. I would like to see my father come in, with my mom not being in the picture and just the relationship there and the tension that that brings, so that people could see a reason for Declan’s actions and stuff, maybe with a troubled relationship or his mom maybe even leaving. That’s kind of where I’d really like to see the show go, but otherwise, just give a better understanding of who Declan is. And also Declan’s involvement with Kyle – I really enjoyed solving the mystery of who Kyle was last season and helping him out and things like that. It’s fun to shoot; it’s fun to do. I’d really like to get more involved with Kyle and find out more about what’s going on with him and being his friend. We do have that; it is in the show. But if I could write it I would keep in the same path they’re going. Like I said, I don’t know what’s going to be in season three. I would like definitely a back-story with my family and maybe even other family members, the issues that that brings up, just so we have some reasons to know Declan better. I feel like sometimes you don’t like me and then you like me again, then you don’t like me, then you grow to like me. Like I’ve always said, I don’t want to betray the audience. If I’m going to be bad, I want to be really bad. And if I’m going to be good, then I want to be a good guy. I don’t want to be mediocre; I want to be strong either direction, so that the audience itself can gravitate towards my character in one way or the other.

Do you have any plans for behind-the-camera work in the next two, three years?

CO: You know, I would really like to direct. It’s very, very hard to do. I like to write but, my problem is, I could come up with ideas, broad storylines and then I try to write it, and I can’t get past the page or I’ll write one conversation and it’ll be ten pages long. Maybe f I could collaborate with the writers or something, but I don’t have the skills. I really like directing. I’ve shadowed, which is basically following around, the director and listening. And I pay a lot of attention to what goes on behind the camera. One of the most important thing an actor can do, if I could tell anybody anything, is so much more than just acting. There’s so much that goes in when you’re doing a scene repetitively. There’s different camera angles. So I try to learn as much as I can. It helps what you do so much because you’re much more comfortable. I don’t know if Kyle XY would let me direct an episode, but maybe three seasons from now. But I would like to; I eventually would like to direct because I really enjoy that aspect of it and collaborating with actors. The directors that are the best are the ones that work with the actors and talk with the actors and communicate with the actors. I think I know how to do that, so I really would like to direct and see how I could put the puzzle pieces together.

Can you tell us a funny moment you’ve had on the set? Do the actors play tricks or is there just something really funny that’s happened to you?

CO: I’m actually the one playing the most tricks. Funny things happen. There’s a lot of inside jokes on our show. A lot of the stuff is like people put stuff in people’s trailers or pictures on the wall. Or they’ll make up fan letters, pretend like they’re a fan and write some stuff, put that in Matt’s (Dallas) trailer, things like that. Last season I played a big prank on Matt (Dallas). We were finishing the episode and I got the set cell phone, it’s Rachel’s. I called from her cell phone to Matt (Dallas) and basically pretended to be somebody else, saying that the episodes were fried and you have to re-shoot them. This was when we already moved out. We were moving out next week and he was all panicking and I’m like, ‘Yes, I don’t know what to do. We’re sorry, but we’re going to have to be here for three more weeks.’ Then I ran over to Matt’s trailer and banged on the door and said, ‘Matt, Matt, did you get a phone call? Can you believe this? What are we going to do?’ He busts out of his trailer and he’s like, ‘I don’t know what to do. I’ve got to call my manager,’ and then I started bursting up laughing. That’s the biggest joke. It worked really good, too. He really didn’t know what to do. Things like that, there’s a lot of that going on. We joke around a lot and we hang out a lot. Usually, I’m the one making fun of stuff. I like to make fun of myself a lot, so it kind of helps and keeps stuff light and fun. We all kind of tease each other and joke about stuff. We like to do our own versions of Kyle XY in between takes. We’ll rearrange the scenes into our own twisted way. There’s a lot of that going on.