Last season on Once Upon A Time, Giancarlo Esposito‘s Sidney often was at Regina’s side, spying and doing her dirty work. Starting September 17 on NBC, Esposito will be playing a character with a bit more authority — although he answers to Sebastian Monroe, his character Neville is the top lawman in the post-apocalyptic world of Revolution.
KSiteTV caught up with Esposito about his new role at a roundtable discussion during this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego.
“I play a guy named Neville. Captain Tom Neville. He is an ex-insurance adjuster, which gives him the ability to talk to people and manipulate them in many different ways, because he can tell if people are lying or not,” Esposito explains. “He’s an enforcer. He is the top cop for the Monroe Republic, and he is someone who is in charge of keeping the order and staving off anarchy in what’s left of this society that we have. Obviously, Sebastian Monroe is interested in creating a whole new government and society where he would really like to rule the world. Neville is his strong arm. He is the person responsible for keeping order, collecting taxes, and making sure people stay in line, but he is also the person who is given the responsibility that there is a possibility that power exists. [If it's there], the Monroe Republic needs it, to be able to have the power over the world, and to create a new Republic. Neville’s got a big job ahead of him, trying to figure out how to bring that back to Sebastian Monroe, so we can get started,” he tells us.
Esposito describes Neville as someone who might have been a “studious weakling” in school. “He had many vulnerable places in his psyche. He always wanted to be in charge of men and wanted to have a little more power. I think his ability to read people, to be a good listener, and to read body language was his first entrance into the idea or semblance that he could be in the position that he’s in. He probably taught himself how to fight and how to use a big gun, and how to speak louder, and all of those things. I think this is his dream, to be in this position, sort of like the kid who goes to the movies and wishes he could be a superhero. That’s Neville, and he’s able to realize that, and then — surprise, surprise! — he’s actually good at it. And then, another surprise — surprise, surprise, surprise! — he actually likes it. Killing doesn’t bother him. It doesn’t turn his stomach to see blood. It doesn’t turn his stomach to hurt someone. It doesn’t turn his stomach to have to even do something out of mercy or passion. You’ll see some of that in this show. So then you start to wonder: Is he really a bad guy, or is he a guy who’s just doing what has to be done? Those are the kind of questions that I think are going to come up surrounding Neville on Revolution,” he postulates.
Are Neville’s intentions noble? “I think his intentions are noble,” he confirms. “I think he really has that Utopian view that we could be a society again. I think the ignoble aspect belongs, probably, to Sebastian Monroe. I think Neville is someone who really wants to bring people back together again, and knows that he is the enforcer, and has the power to do that. I think you might see that conflict come up. I think you’ve got to be able to see some of those character dynamics. I think that’s what’s going to make this show really special. The whole show is about people reconnecting with a simpler way to live, and with each other again, but it’s also about action, and about drama, and about survival. That kind of thing is going to guide us to some new heights in television. It’s not going to be your typical television show; it’s a show that’s going to be more filmic, and it’ll be more like a movie story,” Esposito enthuses.
With so much going on for Esposito on Revolution, might we ever see him returning to Once Upon A Time, or is he now too busy? “This show now is my priority,” he says. “I love new things and doing something new. I loved my time with them over at Once Upon A Time. I think there’s completely a possibility that I could go back and do that. Sidney’s sort of locked away in a dungeon, and the man in the mirror with him. I think there’s some more cultivation of that character that I’d love to do. I think we’re just going to put it on hold for a little bit, and see what happens,” he continues.
Revolution premieres Monday, September 17 on NBC. Read some of KSiteTV’s other Revolution coverage!