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XIII : The Series - Stuart Townsend interview

One of the joys of any relationship is discovering the little details of someone’s life. But what about when you’re trying to establish a relationship with yourself, and you are the unknown? In “XIII,”
debuting Wednesday, April 20, on Showcase, that was the challenge and the fun of the role, says Irish actor-director Stuart Townsend, who stars as the title character. “If you woke up tomorrow and couldn’t remember anything, it’s not as if you’d be a blank person,” Townsend says. “You’d have a personality. It’s more about finding out who you are.”
Based on the popular comic book series “XIII” by Belgian artist Jean Van Hamme, the series follows two parallel stories: of a large conspiracy to undermine the western world and of a man searching for his memory. The international cast includes American Aisha Tyler (“Ghost Whisperer), French actress Virginie Ledoyen, Italian Caterina Murino, and Canadians Stephen McHattie (“Watchmen”) and Greg Bryk (“Saw 3D”).
XIII was part of a team of agents who uncovered a device that could allow one unscrupulous man to more or less control every connection on the World Wide Web. The mystery man controls a vital part of that secret, but he has lost his memory. The only clue is a tattoo of the Roman numeral XIII. “XIII realizes he’s trained,” Townsend says. “He’s a highly trained individual. He breaks codes, and he knows how to fight people. He speaks Russian all of a sudden.” This presents an interesting challenge for Townsend in playing the mystery man.
Somehow, he has to come to know a character who doesn’t know himself.
“It’s strange,” he says with a laugh. “How do you do press for him?
People say, ‘Tell me about your character.’ He’s a guy who doesn’t know anything about himself. That good for you?’ ”
So the 13 episodes of “XIII” waver between the story of the character trying to uncover the truth about himself and the overall struggle to uncover the conspiracy, until the two dovetail as the mystery man’s past is revealed. “It’s like a treasure hunt, full of mystery clues,”
Townsend says. “I never knew what he was going to find out next, or where he was going to go. I had read the series synopsis, so I knew vaguely what was going to happen, but I kind of forgot about it. So each episode I got was, in a sense, me as an actor finding out about who this guy was, too.”
Townsend, 38, is a native of Dublin and the son of professional golfer Peter Townsend. He’s almost as well known for the roles he hasn’t played as the ones he has done. He was cast as Aragorn in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy but was fired just a few days into shooting and replaced by Viggo Mortensen, reportedly because director Peter Jackson thought he was too young for the role. And just last year, he was fired from “Thor” by director Kenneth Branagh because of “creative differences.” Roles he has played include the vampire Lestat in “Queen of the Damned” and Dorian Gray in “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.” In 2007, he made his directorial debut with “Battle in Seattle,” about the 1999 anti-World Trade Organization protests.
In its physical demands and the pace of work, “XIII” is “the most intense shoot I’ve done,” Townsend says. “We shot 102 days, 800 pages of dialogue, 13 episodes, which is the equivalent of making six feature films. And there were a lot of stunts. “But it’s been fun.
It’s like being a kid again: scuba diving, rock climbing, and shooting bow and arrow and guns. And early on, there was a couple of very large fight sequences, and they were so much fun to do. But they definitely take a toll on you.”
This is the second time Van Hamme’s comic has been adapted. The first was a 2008 two-part TV movie from the same French and Canadian producers. In that, the character XIII was a bad guy being hunted by the fi lm’s protagonist, played by Val Kilmer. He was the object of the story. In the series, XIII is the subject. “It starts off very much about him, this man looking for his past, looking for his memory,” Townsend says. “He’s been extracted from a rendition camp, so we start with the idea that for the last couple of years, he was in prison. And now, he’s on the loose again.”
Like the “Bourne” movies, “XIII” plays on a deep fear that we all have of losing ourselves, because without a memory, a person has no identity.
“There are some people who would like to erase their past,” Townsend says. “But then what happens if, like this guy, you don’t have a past, and you truly don’t remember a thing? “It would be hard to trust anybody or any situation. And that must be very hard. In playing the role of XIII, any time I meet another character in the series as XIII, I’d have to look at them and go, ‘Right. Who are these people? What do they want from me? Why are they being nice to me?’ “You’d be distrustful of everything and everybody, and I think that would be a very hard place to be.” Stuart Townsend stars in “XIII,” premiering Wednesday on Showcase.

Source : whatsoninvancouver