Eric Balfour

Posted: August 11, 2011
Lilja: When I call Eric he is on the set of Haven but is still kind enough to take the time to speak to me.

Thanks for taking the time to speak to me.

Eric Balfour: Thank you.

Lilja: Are you in the middle of shooting season 2 of Haven?

Eric Balfour: Yes, we are. I’m actually on set, in my trailer as we speak.

Lilja: How far into the season are you?

Eric Balfour: We’re about half way through now. And the premier is next month, July 15 in the USA at 10PM on SyFy (this interview was done before the season premiered [Lilja’s comment]).

Lilja: The first season was a success, where you prepared for that?

Eric Balfour: No, actually I don’t even know how much of a success it was. I try not to pay attention to stuff like that. I’m always astonished that I have a job. [Laugh] I’m just happy to be working. It’s a very lucky thing when you’re job is actually something that you love doing so I find that I can be pretty hard on myself so I try to pay attention to the little things in life. And to focus on that I get to go to work every day, and to be an actor and to be creative, and to be an artist and that I got a roof over my head and can pay my bills. I try not to think too much on the other stuff.

Lilja: Is that hard? Not thinking of all the fans and the success?

Eric Balfour: It can be. It’s not… I think the hard part is not to worry. For me I know that whenever I read a scrip or we shoot something and if I don’t think it’s as good as it can be or if it’s not the best scrip we have ever written I get very worried that it’s going to be the end of the show and the fans isn’t going to like it. I do feel a tremendous amount of pressure to deliver to the fans because I have experienced how there are a lot of people that have really embraced the show. I get to see that on Twitter to some degree and when I talk to fans and communicate with them so the biggest thing for me is worrying because I always want to be great.

Lilja: How did you get the part as Duke? Did you audition for it or where you casted?

Eric Balfour: You know, it was very interesting. One of the producers of the show, Shawn Piller, is one of my oldest and best friends. We were on the phone talking about something else, about taking a surf trip together and he said “I’m developing a new TV show and I just realized you would be perfect for one of the roles” and I said “Well, send me the script and let me read it” and it took a bit of work to get it done because the network didn’t think they could afford me and my agents wanted me to hold out for something else but I was really excited about working in cable television and away from the structure of network television so we had to play a couple of games and sort of being a little sneaky about it but then the network offered me the role and it all came together. It wouldn’t have happened if not for our friendship because the politics of the industry would have gotten in the way and we had to go around all those politics to make it happen.

Lilja: Had you read the book, The Colorado Kid by Stephen King, when this happened?

Eric Balfour: I actually didn’t read the novella until after I got the part. And it’s interesting… The novella is really just a jumping of point. My character didn’t even exist in the novella but there was a tone to the book that is similar to the show but so much of it is invented and created by Sam Ernst and Jim Dunn, the writers of the original pilot script.

Lilja: Where you nervous that some Stephen King fans would think it were just a use of his name since the TV series is so different from the novella?

Eric Balfour: Yes, I was. And you know, it’s a double edged sword. Having the endorsement by Stephen King and the liner of his writing it absolutely bring fans in but at the same time you’re right, it’s so different from the book that you worry that it could have a backlash. But fortunately the show was pretty good so people accepted that we had to… really, the book is very short… so you have to expand on it so I think that people that know the book, and honestly I don’t think a lot of people didn’t even know about the book, it was an interesting adventure for the fans, who where fans of Stephen King to actually go and discover this story that most of them didn’t know about.

Lilja: Yeah, I think many, me included, where surprised when word came that they were making a TV series of this short novel.

Eric Balfour: Yeah.

Lilja: The first season was quite heavily promoted as Stephen King’s Haven. Do you now feel that the show has its own life and now can stand on its own?

Eric Balfour: I do. I think that having that to draw from for the first season was very beneficial but I think now the show is really it’s own beast and it can live on its own.

Lilja: Were you concerned that it wouldn’t be renewed for a second season?

Eric Balfour: You’re always worried. At least I am. That’s one of the things in my life that I really have to work on. Having faith and letting go of the things I can’t control. I worry even now as we’re shooting the second season that we won’t be renewed for a third season. The SyFy network has a lot of shows that they promote and obligations that they have so it’s really important that the fans of our show are vocal about it, that they tell people about it, that they talk about it, blog about it and talk about it on twitter because the fans is what’ll keep this show going.

Lilja: Yeah, I have noticed that you are pretty active on Twitter.

Eric Balfour: Yes, I find that twitter is a really good tool to connect and communicate with the fans of the show and I’m very grateful for it in that regards.

Lilja: Do you get reactions from the fans after each episode? Do they comment on it?

Eric Balfour: Yeah, we try to stay active and tweet fans photos of us from the set while filming and it creates almost like a little family in a way and it’s the least we can do to give back to them. Without them we wouldn’t have jobs.

Lilja: It’s interesting to follow you on twitter and get these photos and updates from the set, to see what you’re all up to.

Eric Balfour: Yeah, I hope people enjoy it.

Lilja: I think they are.

The show has some really interesting guest actors this season. I’m thinking of Jason Priestley and Edge.

Eric Balfour: Yeah, they brought in some really fun people. Like any show that goes on and builds popularity and followers it creates the ability for us to go out and bring exciting people onto the show and I hope we can continue with that.

Lilja: Jason Priestley is directing some episodes as well, is that something you would like to try?

Eric Balfour: Yes. Directing is a huge passion of mine. I actually directed my first film earlier this year called Do not Disturb and I’m actually getting ready to direct a film next year based on a graphical novel called Jesus Hates Zombies.

Lilja: Yeah, I was actually about to ask you about that one. I read about it just a few days ago and it sounds like a very interesting movie.

Eric Balfour: It’s a really cool, funny, smart script and it’s reverent and its heartfelt and it’s got great comedy in it and I’m so excited about it.

Lilja: Do you think it would be hard to direct and star in the same episode? To be on both sides of the camera?

Eric Balfour: Well, you know, I have done it before and it actually doesn’t bother me. I actually enjoy it in some way because as a director if I’m also acting in the scene it allows me to guide how that scene goes. So I actually enjoy it.

Lilja: Do you feel now with season 2 that the cast and crew has grown together, almost like a family, now that you have one season down and working on the second?

Eric Balfour: Yes, absolutely. I think that one of the best parts of starting season 2 was the reunion of all of us. Everyone was excited to see each other and spend time with each other. When we left after season one we spent about six months apart so it has become like a family and we’re very fortunate. We have a great crew of people up here that we work with; we’re blessed to have them.

Lilja: And you also have a new regular on the show; Vinessa who plays the character Evi.

Eric Balfour: Evi is a new reoccurring character on the show and she has a very large impact on what’s going to happen to Duke. She is a catalyst to what’s going to happen to Duke in season three.

Lilja: I spoke to her yesterday and she spoke very fondly of you.

Eric Balfour: Well, she is a very sweet and wonderful actress and she’s been doing a fantastic job.

Lilja: Are you going to do a lot of promotion for season two? I understand you went to Europe to promote season one.

Eric Balfour: I know we’re going to do a bunch of launch press for season two, I’m going to do some TV interviews but I’m not sure what we’re doing internationally. I hope we get to come back to Europe to promote the show; it was so much fun last year doing that. It was so cool getting to go to different countries and meet these people so I really loved it.

Lilja: What was the reaction to the show in Europe compared to the US? Was it different? Did the fans recognize all of you from other shows?

Eric Balfour: I can only speak for me personally but I’ve been very lucky to have fans in Europe that are familiar to my work so that definitely made it helpful going there to promote the show that there were people who were interested in talking to me about the show based on what they know of me from other things. But European fans are great. It’s not like in America were there’s actors, artists and celebrities everywhere. In Europe they really do appreciate your taking the time to come and embrace them so I really like going to Europe and meet fans there.

Lilja: I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you land in Sweden this time.

Eric Balfour: I hope so. Why don’t you and me set it up? We should find a reason for me to get to Sweden. I have always wanted to come.

Lilja: You’re welcome. I’ll take care of you if you come.

Eric Balfour: I’d love it.

Lilja: OK, thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview, I really appreciate it.

Eric Balfour: It was a pleasure talking to you. Thank you very much.