Barry Sloane On 'The Whispers' Wes Lawrence & How He Compares To Aiden From 'Revenge'
If you're looking for a new summer show, then might I recommend ABC's new drama The Whispers? Not only does it revolve around the sinister not-quite-imaginary friends of various children, particularly one named Drill, who are convincing the kids to do their dirty work, but it also stars a familiar ABC face: former Revenge star Barry Sloane, who played Aiden Mathis for 44 episodes of the drama series. Now, Sloane can be seen as Defense Department operative Wes Lawrence, who is very different from Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke's former love interest — and not just because he uses an American accent. Sloane explains that he sees his character as an "accidental hero," who is also going through many struggles in his life.
In addition to being a father and a husband, Wes has worked his way up the government ladder quickly, which Sloane believes "suggests that he's made sacrifices." One of those sacrifices would be with his wife Lena (House of Cards' Kristen Connolly) and daughter Minx (Kylie Rogers). "Things have gone very well in his life and career up until this point… but we’re starting off this story, where he’s made mistakes," Sloane says. "He’s had an affair with a co-worker, which has caused his marriage to start to fail. He’s not been spending enough time with his child, so there’s gaps opening up in that relationship. We’re gonna have to see if he’s able to put the pieces of that puzzle back together."
Those particular qualities of Wes are exactly what interested Sloane about the role. "That’s also what attracted me to this guy, was that he’s an accidental hero throughout the story," the 34-year-old explains. "He’s trying to wear his way through dire situations the best he can. Also, he’s a good man, who wants to do the best for his country and his family. We’ve just gotta see if he’s strong enough to do that."
Unlike Sloane's character on Revenge, who was a trained assassin totally prepared to kill, Wes is quite the opposite, which is another reason Sloane enjoys playing him so much. Sloane says, “He’s not a fighter. He’s a thinker. He hasn’t been out in the field. He’s not a soldier. He’s a very well educated government official. He’s gonna have to deal with things using his brain, using his knowledge of how these things work, and his love of his family to drive him through." The actor also enjoyed all of the pressure Wes feels throughout the entire series. "How far can this man go with so much weight on his shoulders?," he explains. "Can he stand up? Can he keep going? It got hard towards the end of the story. This guy has to go through a lot."
For example, Wes will probably soon learn that his own daughter is in communication with her "imaginary friend" Drill, aka the mysterious entity persuading children to do very bad things, which is shown in the first five minutes of the pilot (posted below). As Sloane says, "It’s important in the first five minutes of the pilot to show shock value, to show that this is the story we’re telling."
With that said, Sloane wants viewers to know that such scenes involving the children are not "graphic." He says, "I don’t think any of the stuff that we’ve shown is gratuitous. I think it’s done in the most tasteful manner. I think the nature of the story is that it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna be part of the story, but if you’re watching it you’ve accepted the fact that that is the story." Also, Sloane says that "it's not an evil kid of the week show," but rather one about the "realm of mystery and not shock value."
For viewers who are still not yet convinced that they should tune in, maybe this will change your mind. Per Sloane, he describes the series as a "supernatural Homeland" and an "amalgamation" of many genres, including soapy drama, sci-fi, and political thriller. Now are you ready to tune in when The Whispers premieres on Monday night at 10 p.m.?
Images: Bob D’Amico/ABC (2)