Ray Wise has a legendary gift for diabolical roles — he played the character, after all, who committed perhaps the most famous murder in television history. Wise is marking his 40th year since his first film — Dare the Devil — by continuing his turn as The Devil himself in the second season of the CW's Reaper (premiering Tuesday at 8 pm/ET).
Wise, whose other memorable roles include the vice president on 24, talked to us about The Devil's plan for his son, Sam, and how he learned the fate of Twin Peaks' Laura Palmer. (If you've never seen Twin Peaks, skip the last two questions and go watch the DVDs right now. It is, in the opinion of your humble interviewer, the best television show that has ever aired.)
TVGuide.com: You play The Devil like he's having a lot of fun. Is recapturing souls a high-stakes thing for him, or is he just having a blast?
Ray Wise: I think it's just kind of a blast, yeah. I think he really enjoys mixing it up here on Earth with human beings. ... And the more chaos he can cause while enjoying it, the better he likes it.
TVGuide.com: At one point this season, Sam tries to hang out with him as a buddy and he seems a little shaken up. Why is that?
Wise: Well, I don't know that he's that shaken up... I think he has a plan for Sam and that he wants the relationship to develop in a certain way. And so, if Sam tries to step outside the devil's plan at any one moment in time, he wants to rein him back in.
TVGuide: Does he want Sam to take over the family business at some point?
Wise: [Laughs] I think that that's quite possible, yes.
TVGuide.com: One of the little twists this season is that Sean Patrick Thomas' character has figured out a way to escape The Devil.
Wise: I think it would be safe to say that you really can't escape The Devil. So what you should do is try not to go his way.
TVGuide.com: On Twin Peaks, your character, Leland Palmer, killed his daughter. On Reaper, Sam thinks maybe The Devil is out to kill him. Are your kids a little freaked out?
Wise: [Laughs.] Nah, it doesn't bother them at all. They were pretty young when Twin Peaks was on, so they've just been catching the tail end of that phenomenon. ... But they are enjoying the fact that I'm playing The Devil.
TVGuide.com: When you were making Twin Peaks, when did David Lynch tell you that your character killed Laura?
Wise: I didn't find out until a day before we shot those scenes, where I was revealed. It was a hush-hush big secret. ... When he told me, it was me in a dark room we were all sitting cross-legged on the floor with a lava lamp in the corner. It was me and Sheryl Lee and Richard Beymer and Mark Frost and David Lynch and he leaned over and he touched me on the knee and he said, "Ray, it's you. It was always you."
Are you excited for the return of Reaper?