If you think that Islamic extremist Faris Al-Farik, whose terror network's scheme to wreak explosive havoc on Los Angeles was foiled during the first season of Showtime's acclaimed Sleeper Cell, is down for the count, think again. Premiering Sunday at 9 pm/ET, and airing for eight consecutive nights, Sleeper Cell: American Terror finds Farik in U.S. captivity, but no less a force to be reckoned with. All the while, FBI agent Darwyn Al-Sayeed gets sucked into going undercover with another deadly cell. TVGuide.com asked Farik's portrayer, the compelling Oded Fehr, for a preview.
TVGuide.com: Were you concerned at all about the fate of Farik at the end of last season?
Oded Fehr: Really, I didn't know where we were going. I didn't even know whether we'd have a second season. I was very proud of the show, and then we got nominated for a Golden Globe.... Once we passed the first year and I realized that these writers are fantastic, that I can trust the material, I knew we'd do great.
TVGuide.com: From the first new episode alone, it looks like Farik might be as dangerous and capable in captivity as he was out.
Fehr: I think that's what they're trying to suggest, which is great. It works really well that way.
TVGuide.com: There's a chilling moment where he almost impossibly utters the name of a we-soon-learn-is-doomed FBI agent. What is your favorite moment from the first episode?
Fehr: Probably that one, and when Farik turns on [one of his captors] with a cup of tea. But that first moment was great, underlining, "Where the heck did he get that information from?" Even though he's in captivity, he is still kind of all-powerful, which is kind of cool. The ending of the first episode, I think, is very, very powerful and very disturbing.
TVGuide.com: Do you think the series is as relevant, or even more relevant, this season?
Fehr: I think it is as relevant as it was last year. The writers are very good at making the show as real as dramatically possible, and they draw on real life as much as they can. The character of the female terrorist [Mina, played by newcomer Thekla Reuten] is something they never felt comfortable doing until they read about the two girls who were European and converted to Islam and attempted to join the insurgents in Iraq. They really imitate life in that way.
TVGuide.com: Considering the new circumstances, can we expect any scenes with you and Michael Ealy (Darwyn)?
Fehr: Of course. There are not many, I'm afraid to say, which was really hard this time around, but there's definitely going to be a big meeting at the end.
TVGuide.com: Which of the new cast members is the one to watch?
Fehr: They are all the ones to watch, really. Felicia [Fasano], our casting director, is absolutely amazing at her job, so every actor that we've had, whether a guest star or one of the leads.... I mean, Henri Lubatti, who plays Ilija, this year really gets to explore his character, and does a fantastic job. The interesting thing is that last year involved a lot of technical things, whereas this year we delve into these characters a bit more. Everyone gets to stretch their acting muscles.
TVGuide.com: What would you say the theme of this season is?
Fehr: Self-doubt. There's a lot of self-doubt going on in all of it.
TVGuide.com: Yeah, we see a hint of that in the season opener, with Michael.
Fehr: With everyone. Nothing is as black and white as it was last season. Even with Farik, nothing is black and white — even though he tries to keep it that way.
TVGuide.com: What's your take on Showtime's plan to make all eight episodes available online starting Sunday? And to air them all during one week?
Fehr: It's great. It's one of those shows, I find, that people enjoy watching one episode after the other. Everyone I spoke to who saw it on DVD watched it within one or two days.
TVGuide.com: A lot of Showtime's programs are like that.
Fehr: Yeah. The reason, especially with our show, is that each episode isn't standalone. It's not like you can watch one and go, "OK, that was great. I feel very fulfilled." It's very enjoyable watching it one after the other, consecutively.
TVGuide.com: On to other topics: a comic-book fan friend of mine wants to ask you why Justice League was canceled? [Fehr voiced Dr. Fate.]
Fehr: I have no idea. I did quite a few episodes of it and loved it, so I'm very surprised they have canceled it.
TVGuide.com: Do you own your own action figure?
Fehr: No, I don't. I never knew one existed, so your friend needs to get me one, please! [Laughs] I'll pay him for it. Seriously.
TVGuide.com: Where do things stand with the Deuce Bigalow and The Mummy franchises?
Fehr: Deuce Bigalow, my feeling is that it's done. As far as The Mummy, I have no doubt that Universal will be interested to do another one in some shape or form. My character, Ardeth Bay, is still to be reckoned with, though the last script I heard about only had Rachel [Weisz] and Brendan [Fraser]'s characters. If they ever ask me, I will be more than happy to do another one. The Mummy is what made me a working actor, and I'm very proud of it.
TVGuide.com: Lastly, what can you tease about the next Resident Evil movie?
Fehr: We shot it all in Mexico, a lot of it in the dunes of Mexciali, so it has a very postapocalyptic, Mad Max feel to it. The script was better than the first two, and visually it's going to be better. There will be a lot of great action in it, and there are great new characters in it. Ali Larter (Heroes), obviously, joined the group, and she's great. I think it's going to be the bomb, the best of all three, for sure.
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