Midnight, Texas, NBC’s newest series, premieres on July 24 at 10/9c! And since the premiere is so close, the embargo has been lifted from my set visit earlier this year! I was able to sit down with Dylan Bruce who plays Bobo Winthrop on the new series, to talk about his character, what drew him to the series, and what he can tease for the first season (along with a few of my images from set)!
Not familiar with Midnight, Texas? Take a look at the trailer below.
What drew you to the show and what do you like about Bobo?
Dylan Bruce: I auditioned for a lot of pilots when this pilot was out, and this was definitely my favorite one by far. I’m a fan of the supernatural. I’m definitely a fan of Charlaine Harris. I’m a fan of Monica, who’s our brilliant showrunner and writer. Then when I got the pilot script, and I found out Niels [Arden Oplev] was directing, you have to be familiar with his work … the original “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” He’s called the pilot winner, as well, because every pilot he directs gets picked up.
It was a very different character that I have ever played before. I read the books before my first audition. I read the first book. I knew a little bit about the character, and he’s actually in a different series of Charlaine Harris’s, the “Lily Bard Series”, when he was a teenager. That actually comes into play in our show because of his past and why he’s here. I thought that was very interesting, too. I always wanted to play a good old boy from the South, and I’m definitely playing that in this. It’s been great.
The second part of that question … My character, Bobo, he is the owner of the town pawn shop. I would say he’s one of the newer residents in town, probably been here about three, four years, but he’s been readily accepted by everyone, a supernatural mortal. He’s kind of the guy that would give you the shirt off his back. Friendly, gets along with everyone, but you don’t mess with his friends, or you will feel his wrath.
Is he a little too trusting?
Dylan Bruce: No. I would say he’s very guarded. He’s very guarded, but he masks everything with a smile and a nicety to him. He’s very charming, but there are a lot of layers underneath that. A lot of demons in his closet. It’s really fun to play that balance, because in a moment’s notice, he can pop off, and something bad can happen.
That’s where Fiji comes in. She’s kind of his moral compass. She guides him, calms him, but he definitely has a tendency to be a loose cannon at certain times, especially in the series with his past, and with what could possibly be catching up with him in the town of Midnight.
What’s something that you’ve had to get used to, playing this character, that’s clearly not you, or clearly something you haven’t done before?
Dylan Bruce: A lot of running in cowboy boots. I was just talking … I am always running. No one else. Lem blurs, so we run, and we stop, and then he just blurs past us. Everybody else walks at a cool pace, but they’re always making me run in these things. I actually enjoy it. I get to workout while I’m at work.
Not only that, but one episode we shot was very physically taxing on me. I’ve had the most fun I’ve ever had on a show. It’s been fun learning the accent, too. He’s a good old boy from Arkansas in the books. From Shakespeare, which is a fictional town. I was listening to the dialect of people from Arkansas, and from my own ignorance, I thought Arkansas is very deep South. I thought it might be more of a thick, hokier Southern accent, but no. It’s very slow drawl. Very Bill Clinton-esque, I guess. I was listening to a lot of Bill Clinton, trying to get that down. It was fun doing that.
It’s been fun. Getting used to being in that pawn shop, too. It’s a freaky place to be. The most fun for me, on the show … Bobo, he’s new to the supernatural world, so when new supernatural things happen, it’s new to him, so it’s almost a shock. It’s fun to play that shock. Then having an angel in the town, and one of my closest confidants being a vampire, and a psychic finding out about my fiancee’s death and helping me with that. It’s fun to go on that journey with them. It’s been really cool.
Do you accidentally keep the accent sometimes?
Dylan Bruce: Yeah. The last group of interviews I did over there, I was accidentally talking in it, and I was like, “What? Stop it.” It’s when I get these boots on, it just happens. And this [belt] buckle. Gosh, how can you not with a buckle like that? Sometimes I catch myself. When I go home, my wife’s like, “Stop it. It’s not a turn-on.” I’m like, “Wait ’til you watch the show, honey. Wait ’til you watch the show.”
Is it a fun change of pace to actually play a character who is so smiley?
Dylan Bruce: Yeah. It is. All those years of having braces in high school, it’s definitely nice that I get to smile every once in a while now.
It’s paying off.
Dylan Bruce: Yeah, instead of playing such a stoic individual. It’s good. It’s fun playing a guy that has a heart of gold, but that has anger issues as well. It’s been interesting, but it’s been a lot of fun. I like to smile. It’s nice.
Do you have much of an affinity for this kind of material … the supernatural, horror? Is that an appeal for you?
Dylan Bruce: Of course, yeah. The thing I love about our show is the supernatural element and the horror element. But also, it’s about a group of misfits, if you will, that are banded together and formed a real community, from all different creeds, sexual preferences, sexual orientations, backgrounds. It’s really neat to see everyone work together, and try to protect the town that they love and respect. That’s been a lot of fun.
The relationships in the show, we always come back to the relationships. The relationships are so strong, and they’re so sweet. Some are a little salty, some are sweeter … It feels like it grounds the supernatural element of our show, which is really, really cool, because we are a high concept show in the supernatural sense, but also, we have that romanticism that viewers crave.
My favorite scenes are the one-on-one friend scenes, or the one-on-one romantic scenes that I think are really sweet, when our show is frigg’n insane. That’s my favorite part of the show.
Do Bobo’s neighbors and friends know about his past?
Dylan Bruce: No. No one knows. He’s kept that a secret. Everybody’s pretty mysterious in Midnight, which is great about our show, because every episode focuses on a single character. You find out about their back-story, and the rest of us find out in the town, along with the viewers, which is neat. That has repercussions with the relationships amongst other Midnighters.
Also, it’s cool, we have a sweet overarching theme for the whole season that’s pretty terrifying as well. We have contained episodes, but we also have that main arc that goes too. Everything’s pretty exciting.
He seems so welcoming to Manfred when-
Dylan Bruce: Not at first. But then yeah. he’s like, “Come on in. I checked you out.” That is that smile masking his suspicion. At first, he doesn’t like Manfred, but something happens in Episode 2.
Manfred has to earn the town’s trust, and he does that pretty quickly with each and every one of us. He shows his mettle and his worth, because that’s what you have to do in Midnight because people that come to Midnight, or entities that come to Midnight, for the most part, have ulterior motives. That’s why we’re very guarded and protective of this special, special place, which you will find out is very special.
Does everybody who comes to town have to go through that? Your character probably went through that too.
Dylan Bruce: Yeah, definitely. He did. Fiji has a way of discovering people’s true intentions when they come to town, which is all in the books, so if I said it, I don’t know if it would be very spoilerish, but it involves cookies that she bakes.
That’s the cookies.
Dylan Bruce: That’s the cookies. Something happens to them that’s not too great if they have ill intentions to other Midnighters. We’re all wary of people that come into town, and Bobo’s always on guard … He works at the pawn shop, and there’s a reason why he doesn’t work the night shift at the pawn shop. Lemuel works the night shift, because that’s when the shady characters usually come into town, to pawn their crazy items and stuff like that.
Speaking of the pawn shop, you said that you’re a little bit creeped out by that set. What in there creeps you out the most?
Dylan Bruce: There’s a doll missing arms, and missing an eye and an ancient baby carriage. The bear with bullet holes in it is kind of creepy. There are tons of clowns in there.
A lot of clowns.
Dylan Bruce: Lots of clowns. They add stuff to it, too. There’s this creepy demon ghoul skull face. There’s a lot of other relics in there that have historical relevance as well, that come out in the script. I won’t give that away, but when you research what a certain thing is, you’re like, “Oh, that is terrifying. It is absolutely terrifying.”
Does your character live by his name? When I think Bobo, I think maybe goofy, or just-
Dylan Bruce: A clown?
… a little funny or stupid.
Dylan Bruce: So did I. I did too. No.
That’s his secret past. He was a clown.
Dylan Bruce: I think Bobo’s French.
You’re breaking the mold. You’re breaking the Bobo mold.
Dylan Bruce: Breaking the mold. I guess it’s a popular Arkansas … Arkansonium? It’s a popular name in Arkansas, I guess. No. Bobo comes from, he actually comes from extreme wealth. Think the Waltons who own Walmart—kind of on that level. He grew up kind of a golden boy, not wanting for much. Always a good guy, and his family might not be the best people, though.
What kind of journey is he on? I’m not looking for spoilers, but as a character, how would you say his evolution is, from when we meet him to where we end up?
Dylan Bruce: I think from where you meet him to where he ends up, his journeys rectify his past. [He is trying] to make good for what has happened that might not be his fault. He’s trying to prove that he is the man that he wants to be to his fellow Midnighters, and to gain their respect, and to keep their respect. It’s fun to go from being put on a pedestal to falling from grace, and then trying to earn that back. That’s kind of his journey, I guess, in a nutshell.
I’d imagine that you love that being on NBC, but with NBC doing a show like “Grimm,” those fans probably will bounce over to this.
Dylan Bruce: We hope so. Yeah, certainly.
Talk about that if you could. How you might already have an invested fan base.
Dylan Bruce: That can also be true for the fans of “True Blood,” but I think our show stands alone. It’s very different than any other show I’ve seen on TV, or it’s very different than “True Blood.” “True Blood” was on HBO. It was a lot of sex, but we’re more about the bond of the township, and the relationships, and how important that is.
The supernatural element on the show is insane. It’s out of this world; it’s so crazy. It’s also neat that it blends together so well. I think we are a show that’s fun, and that’s going to be a lot of fun to watch, but I think we are trying for high concept. A lot of the stuff that happens on our show is very prevalent in today’s socioeconomic climate. It couldn’t have been done on purpose, because we didn’t see what was going to happen that is happening now. I think a lot of the issues we explore are very relevant in today’s political world too.
I think we’re going to draw all sorts of fans, and it’s definitely been my guilty pleasure being in it, so I hope it’s someone’s guilty pleasure watching it. And we’ve got a talking cat; how can they not want to watch?
Midnight, Texas premieres on July 24th on NBC at 10/9c! Will you be watching? Let us know your thoughts below!