‘Dexter’s Michael C. Hall Discusses How Dark Roles Can Affect an Actor

Project Casting

Michael C. Hall is returning to television for the first time since Dexter.

In Netflix’s Safe, Hall plays a character who is determined to find what happened to his missing daughter.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter  Hall talks about returning to a series after spending so much time playing characters on a long-term basis.

Hall spent 13 years on Six Feet Under and Dexter, but he made sure he kept his acting skills on point. He explains, “I did other things during that time. Things either onstage or independent films that obviously didn’t make as broad an impact. I didn’t feel like I was completely relegated to those two parts. That said, it goes both ways. Artistically speaking, I think it’s a unique opportunity, at least with certain things that exist in the current television landscape, to really go deep with a character. You evolve with someone over time in a way that you can’t if you’re doing a stage play or a film. There are ways in which doing something like that presents artistic opportunities that you can’t find elsewhere. But inevitably, if you spend that much time playing the same character, you’re going to get into ruts where you feel like you’re tilling dead soil, as it were. I wouldn’t wish any of it away, but having had that experience certainly kept me from wanting to jump right back in to something else that was long-term.”

Hall points out how playing a dark character like Dexter can affect someone’s mentality, and it is essential to separate oneself from a role like that.

 He explains, “I think that if you spend that much time preoccupied with whatever you were simulating, that a part of you is affected, and a part of you is recording the simulated experience in a way that is more than just fluff, you know? A part of you is absorbing it and marinating in it. It takes some time to get it out of your system and to unlearn whatever increasingly ingrained; reflexive behavior results from doing something for that long. It’s hard to sort of point to specific things. But I certainly know now that I feel a lot farther from the character than I did two months after it ended.”


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