In NBC’s new series, The Cape, Australian actor, David Lyons, portrays Vince Faraday, a cop framed for crimes he did not commit. He is forced to go on the run, teaming up with a group of carnival misfits, taking on a new identity to fight crime and win his family back.
Faraday becomes ‘The Cape,’ his son’s favorite comic book superhero, and finds the ringleader of the circus gang of bank robbers, Max Malini (Keith David) an unexpected mentor, training him on how to use the cape and become ‘The Cape.’
I spoke with David Lyons at the TV Critics tour about his new series.
What attracted you to this character?
I think for me Vince Faraday is the everyman, and what was really interesting is playing a man that has such an unwavering moral and ethical core, which is not vastly, but somewhat dissimilar from me. He’s very much human, and being human you’re in a grey zone. He lives in a world of black and white and is forced to see grey.
I think that that was kind of what made it interesting, that he goes from being the one good cop on the force, and that sounds like a cliché but he truly was, and to being this one good guy in a world which is upside down, and he’s trying desperately to keep his feet on the ground and stand upright when everything else is spinning and turning around it.
You’re playing a character that is, within the story, based on a comic-book character and yet has to be relatable and real and not larger-than-life. Can you talk about finding the balance?
What was a godsend for me was the fact that Vince Faraday is not a part of the comic-book world. The Cape is. So at the heart of The Cape is Vince Faraday which is an archetypal good guy, the guy that wants to see things done right, that does everything for his family, that ‘does everything with a straight bat,’ as we’d say in Australia.
But it’s been interesting as an actor to work with it, because I still feel when I put the cape on, I’m not The Cape. I’m Vince Faraday wearing a cape. So what I’ve tried to do in this, and what hopefully I have done, is create an emotional epicenter for ‘The Cape’ and to use that cape as the character is as the means through which Vince Faraday can fight back.
Is it difficult to live in a realm of hyper-reality?
The first hour of the initial pilot we see his real world and then we’re delved into this incredibly rich, dark kind of world. It’s almost weirdly blood-like, and it is a weird [circus] environment to be in. So as a character it is a weird world to work in, but his answer to it is become ‘The Cape,’ which is as weird as anything else in that world.
Did it take some time to figure out how to use the cape, because it is very effective when we see it?
Yeah there was some time, we worked pretty hard. We worked with a great bunch of choreographers called ‘Eighty Seven Eleven,’ who did a lot of fire choreography for various things like The Bourne Supremacy. One of the telltale signs of the way they operate is using conventional or everyday objects as a weapon. And so when they had the chance to use a piece of fabric as a weapon, it’s amazing what they could come up with.
They wield it a lot better than I do, and obviously there’s CGI that needs to be involved for a lot of the stuff. The concept Tom has come up with is legitimate. It can be used as a fighting form.
There are elements of ballet in the fighting style.
Capoeira is designed to look like a dance and it’s actually an incredibly effective means of fighting. Fighting is dancing. Look at a great boxing match, it’s a dance, and that’s what’s great about the choreography that goes on here, it’s a delicate ballet with a fist in the face!
You do a great leap from one building do another in the pilot, how far have you had to jump?
The question would be, ‘How far have you jumped successfully?’ I’ve jumped three and a half, maybe four, five meters. I’ve jumped down from something ten feet, it depends on the day, and there are certain things that I’m not allowed to do. So you will find someone else can jump a lot further than I can.
A lot of the stuff I do, including the fights, some of them aren’t successful. I’ve caught a few random fists and elbows, but we are pushing the limits, and it’s a lot more fun to do.
Is there something in every man that wishes they could become The Cape? That they could right the wrongs and be the champion for justice?
I think that when you talk about justice, not to get too philosophical about it, but there is something that every man and every woman holds true and dear and when they see that aspect of themselves, or the environment or the society that is getting trampled on, they wish that they could do that.
It’s what puts Vince in a very privileged position, because his family is the center of his universe and that is being destroyed. I think everyone wishes that they could put on a cape and make it all better, certainly into today’s world. I mean, look at what’s going on.