As Congressman Greg Stillson on USA Networks The Dead Zone (Sundays at 10 pm/ET), Sean Patrick Flanery has the none-too-popular task of getting in the face of Anthony Michael Halls superpsychic, and now, in light of this seasons opener, is even more in the pocket of the enigmatic Malcolm Janus. TVGuide.com spoke to Flanery about his current vice-presidential aspirations, as well as his past Indiana jones.
TVGuide.com: This seasons premiere seemed to indicate new lows to which Stillson will go in his grab for power, as well as the lengths hell go on behalf of Janus agenda.
Sean Patrick Flanery: Its an interesting time when Janus is starting to kind of infiltrate Stillson's rise to power and resteer it. This is really the first time you see Janus influence.
TVGuide.com: Stillson basically left his bride-to-be to die, though. And she was pretty!
Flanery: Yeah, but still, thats not really that outlandish for Stillson. It's kind of par for the course!
TVGuide.com: When you approach the story and your character, is it in your mind that Stillson doesn't believe in what Johnny does/sees, or is it that he does, and is fearful of it?
Flanery: He doesn't believe that Johnny can do what he says he can do, but there's always a little fear and doubt that he might be wrong. Stillson is a very scientific-minded, logical kind of cat, and what Johnny does all sounds a little bit hokey.
TVGuide.com: So hes not wrong every step of the way like the police chief in a buddy-cop movie just to be wrong but is more a voice for the skeptics out there?
Flanery: Yeah, exactly.
TVGuide.com: Stillson is actually MIA the next couple of weeks. Without revealing too much, what can you tease about your next appearance, where Johnny faces a hearing about his involvement in a Waco-style showdown?
Flanery: Everything is geared toward culminating in Stillson taking over the vice presidency and then the presidency. This is a great opportunity for him to discredit Johnny, and he takes full advantage of it. I dont want to give away anything about what happens after, but if you see a chink in the armor, you attack. Thats what Stillson does.
TVGuide.com: How is Anthony Michael Hall as an on-screen foil?
Flanery: Hes been good, man.
TVGuide.com: Do you two like getting into it?
Flanery: Yeah, we do. Hes a very worthy adversary.
TVGuide.com: I have to say, every time Stillson shows up on my screen, words like "oily," "smarmy" and "cocksure" come to mind.
Flanery: Hes every one of those negative things that a daughters parents warn her about, but hes fun to play. Bad guys are always the best to play.
TVGuide.com: I was pretty bummed that ABC didnt pick up your pilot, Secrets of a Small Town.
Flanery: It was kind of weird; everyone was talking like it was getting picked up, and it didnt.
TVGuide.com: What a source close to the production told me was that ABC loved the script but not so much the way it actually was filmed.
Flanery: I have no idea.... Ive done a couple of pilots that I thought were really, really good but never got picked up, and I can never wrap my head around why.
TVGuide.com: What type of character were you playing in Secrets?
Flanery: I played the cop-husband of Samantha Mathis. Again, the best characters are always the fun characters, and this guy has a reputation around town as being a cheater/womanizer/misogynist, and there are a lot of hints that he might have committed the murder that takes place in the small town.
TVGuide.com: How does the pilot thing work? Is there any second chance? Might ABC or another network revisit a pickup?
Flanery: Every time a pilot doesnt get picked up, people always talk about, Oh, theyre going to shop it around to a different network, but I've never seen that happen. But I dont know the inner workings of network TV that well.
TVGuide.com: Lets flash back quickly to 1993. What was it like being thrust into such an iconic role as the star of TVs The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles?
Flanery: It was a huge deal. Getting a role like that seems impossible and outlandish and then it happens, and its mind-boggling. I suddenly got to meet Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, and traveled the world. I mean, every episode was shot in a different country. I had to get a passport for that show! It was amazing.
TVGuide.com: Does having that credit on your résumé give you a special added interest in seeing the fourth movie, whenever it ultimately gets made?
Flanery: I would have seen it regardless. Its Indiana Jones! [Laughs] I was a huge fan of those films. The fact that theyre making another one theyll definitely get my $10, regardless.
TVGuide.com: We can only hope its just $10 by then. Do you have anything else in the works that youre particularly excited about?
Flanery: There's a film called The Insatiable that a bunch of buddies and I did down in Austin, Texas, and it really, really turned out good. Its like a really dark horror-comedy, and we're all very proud of it. Itll be at a couple of [film] festivals, and were shopping it around right now trying to get distribution. So look out for that one!