Jack Coleman was interviewed by Sandra Lou, a French TV show host, for the channel RTL9. Because the session was simultaneously translated by interpreters, Jack’s voice is strongly dubbed over, which makes it frustrating to try and follow. So here’s my transcript of the show. A few pieces are missing or I wasn’t 100% sure of what he was saying so they’re between [brackets]. I also made a couple notes in places where it was hard to translate or where I noticed translation errors that might explain some reactions of the TV host.
The show itself can be found on the RTL9 Family website (wish this player was embeddable!).
To find Jack’s interview, scroll down on the right hand-side, you’ll find “Interview de Jack Coleman (Vampire Diaries)”. And now you can watch and read at the same time!
Main info from this interview:
- Jack knows he’s typecast as the mean dad who loves his daughter.
- He would enjoy acting in a horror movie but hates watching them.
- If they did a reboot of Dynasty he would be interested, but only if the conditions were right (quality plot, more room for racy content/language).
- He will be working on the Office again.
Sandra Lou: Jack Coleman, bonjour. [note: "Hello" in French]
Jack Coleman: Bonjour.
SL: I’m delighted to meet you here in Monaco because I follow you a lot on TV and recently in The Vampire Diaries in particular. Tell me how did this casting get organised?
JC: Vampire Diaries just… they called one day, said would you like to come and play Candice Accola’s dad, it would be a… probably a small part because the grownups on Vampire Diaries don’t last very long. They tend to be killed quickly.
JC: I said sure, I’ll do that and they added a couple more episodes and they gave me a big heroic death so it was fun, they just asked me to come down [and that was it].
SL: Can you talk to us about Bill Forbes? He’s Caroline’s dad, he’s strange, isn’t he?
JC: *laughs* Bill Forbes is strange, yes. I guess there’s a whole history of him having been gay which they didn’t go into, and then [he became a] vampire hunter and a very tough dad, so … I really just played the tough dad who loves his daughter and thinks he knows what’s best for her… um, and, you know she’s by nature so sweet and lovely and it’s very hard to be mean to her but I mustered up a little bit of meanness in me to play the part.
SL: You’re a bit of a perverse dad, you say sadistic and that’s exactly it because in Heroes you already had a similar role. [note: the interpreter translated "mean" to "sadistic" for the presenter; I dunno if Jack ever heard the word "sadistic" in questions he was asked]
SL: Are you being judged on your looks, or what? [note: it's hard to translate "délit de faciès", but she's basically asking if he gets mean dad roles because he has a mean dad's face]
JC: Yeah, I think maybe I’ve been typecast as the mean dad who actually loves his child but is better being mean than being loving.
SL: But in real life, do you use tough love too?
JC: Oh! … yeah, I kind of do.
SL: Oh my god!
JC: You know usually, I just have one daughter and usually the daughter and the dad are very close and the mom’s always trying to do the discipline, but we’re other way around, I’m the bad cop, I’m pretty much always the bad cop. My daughter, I think, would certainly attest to that.
SL: So finally it’s following you around, but it’s consistent with real life?
JC: It is, it does follow me around, it is consistent… um, Eric Roberts once said to me on the set of Heroes: “I come with my own lighting, it’s this big ominous backlighting, it follows me [everywhere I walk]“.
SL: You call that an aura, you shine with that, don’t you? What is your opinion about vampires and the paranormal?
JC: Um… I can’t say that I believe in vampires… You know it’s funny that they’ve suddenly become a popular topic, people just love vampires I guess first of all the whole act of being a vampire is sexual and I think that’s one of the things that’s attractive to people. But it’s also romantic, what whole immortality, and uh, a lot of elements to vampire stories that people have always liked, but I don’t believe in them… but there are soul vampires, d’you know what I mean? People who suck the soul out of you, *laughs* but not literal vampires.
SL: I know, I know, that’s true! But then, let’s imagine… we’re going to go into something pretty crazy, but imagine that right now I’m a vampire and that you have to fight me with a personal weapon of yours to kill me, what would it be?
JC: With a… Wow…
SL: [in English] Cause I’m a real vampire!
JC: Maybe if I could… maybe if I could turn my cell phone into a mirror… or maybe… garlic or a crucifix… it would have to involve the cell phone and some sort of anti-vampire app…
SL: Well that’s an idea… or with your charm, maybe?
JC: *laughs* I could try that…
SL: Why not, with your eyes…
JC: It hasn’t got me too far so… you know… at this point, we’ll see…
SL: When you were little, was there a horror story that really really scared you? Which one?
JC: You know what? I, um, I’ve never liked horror movies. I remember seeing a movie when I was very young called the “Carnival of Souls” and it completely freaked me out… they did a remake of it not that long ago, but, um since that I can’t stand horror movies. I can take violence, I can take [gore]… I don’t like scary movies, I’ve always hated them.
SL: So it shocked you, what was it, the people yelling, blood..?
JC: You know what it is, really, probably? It’s the music. I think it’s the music.
SL: Ooh, yes!
JC: I always find that if you’re watching a movie that’s too intense, if you’re at home, if you mute it, it’ll lose all its power.
SL: That’s true!
JC: Have you ever noticed that if you’re ever scared at home watching a movie, hit mute, and you won’t be scared anymore. It’s the sound.
SL: Yes, it’s true, it’s true! They have this ability when they make movies to put music a few seconds before something happens, to make us jump, and sometimes they even prolong the effect by making us think that something is going to happen and it doesn’t, so it’s really very powerful. Would you like to play in a very very scary movie?
JC: Actually scary parts are a lot more fun to play than to watch, for me, I’d be very happy to play those parts but I don’t enjoying watch them. But you’re right, the music creates the anticipation, you know, it’s just, you know that something horrible is about to happen… you’re walking very slowly and the music is rising and you know something bad’s gonna happen.
SL: Exactly. You played Stephen Carrington in Dynasty, is that a role that’s still following you around?
JC: Um, I, yes, and especially last night when I had dinner with Joan Collins. My old television mom – I don’t mean my “old” television mom, I mean my *former* television mom. She’d hit me in the face if she heard me call her that. But it was so lovely to see her, she spends a lot of time in the south of France so we had dinner last night and reminisced about the old days.
SL: And do you see your old colleagues often?
JC: You know, I don’t see them often, but I do stay in touch from time to time with John James, Pamela Bellwood and Pamela Sue Martin and Gordon Thompson from time to time, not all the time. Cause this is, this is Europe… if you’re talking to your audience now, they’ll be at least 45 years old or they’ll have no idea what you’re talking about.
SL: What memories do you keep of those days filming Dynasty?
JC: Well, I learned how to act on film during Dynasty, and John Forsythe was kind of a personal coach for me because I was very young, I was in my early twenties and he was of course by then already very successful veteran actor and he was so sweet and so kind to me and he really showed me how to act. I remember him putting tape on the floor and like “hit your mark” and I’d didn’t know [what a mark was], so I had to learn and John was a lovely teacher.
SL: Dallas is making its big coming back this summer on the TNT, if they did the that, would you like to be a part of it? Would you enjoy that?
JC: You mean a follow-up to Dynasty?
JC: Um… if the circumstances were right, I would. I would have to know that it was going to be done well and that the plot would have to be good… it’s good that it’s on cable, I think cable is where the show would have to be, because they’re a little racier, there’s a little bit more room to… um, for language, for content, and I think for shows like this to reinvent themselves, it cannot just be what they were 25 years ago, it has to really be new, different, even if a lot of the people are the same, if the characters are the same, the show has to feel [new]. So I think that cable would be a place to look.
SL: And what are your projects?
JC: Right now I’m continuing on with The Office and that was… I had so much fun doing that, it’s so different from a show like Heroes which is so technical and so specific and lots of stunts and explosions and special effects and green screen and all that. And in the Office it’s almost like doing a documentary, they kind of follow you around with a camera…
SL: And do you like that kind of show better or do you prefer Heroes with all its effects, it’s lighting..?
JC: Well, I like all of it, I love doing some of the big things that we did on Heroes, like the stunts and explosions and all that kind of thing, um, but also, there’s a real freedom of movement and expression when you’re doing a show like The Office, it’s just, it’s not nearly as technically demanding of the actor. It’s… but in many ways more demanding of the actor, we all know the hardest thing in the world is to be funny, and funny people who are funny [...], comedic actors have always been undervalued. You’ll never see a comedic performance win an Oscar, and it’s a shame. Bill Murray in Ghostbusters, it’s just an example, and it’s an impossible performance, it’s like you tell a joke in April and all the people laugh at Christmas, you know? It’s a very difficult thing and it’s undervalued so I have tremendous respect for comedic acting.
SL: Okay. Well thank you very much.
JC: My pleasure.