With an eerie trailer and big names like Kevin Bacon and James Prufroy, one of the most highly anticipated mid-season premieres, The Following, is gaining a huge, well, following, and Mexican newcomer Adan Canto is right in the thick of it! The Fox show created by Kevin Williamson, the same man who brought us Dawson’s Creek and The Vampire Diaries, serves up a psychological drama about an FBI agent who must track down an escaped prisoner who’s been building a network of copycat killers from his cell. One of the stars of the show, Canto took a moment to talk with us about his role in the series, his hidden talents, and how he saves money on therapy.
Tell us a about the role your character plays within the series?
I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I play Paul who is a part of this following or cult. He’s a very loving, passionate young man who is willing to do whatever it takes to find a safe place within his life to be accepted, loved, and have a family which is something he probably lacked as a child. He definitely does have a dark side.
Do you prefer to play light-hearted characters or characters with more of an edge?
It’s an interesting question because I see these people with darks sides and they have such a complex psychology. You have to ask yourself why it is that they have this dark side and then try to figure it out because it always goes back to their roots. That’s the value of the back story of a character. I think we all have a dark and light side; it’s just whether people choose to stick to one side or the other. It might be bad to say about myself, but I consider myself a good person. I love people and I love to understand them, and sometimes in doing that I have to touch the darker side which is amazing because I save a lot of money on therapy.
The show premiered on Monday. What were you most nervous or excited for people to see?
This is my first mainstream thing in America. Before this I had only done theater and independent films in Mexico, and I was a musician before that, so this is something entirely different. I was excited, but I was mostly intrigued to see how things were going to flow out.
What did you do to impress the execs at Fox that landed you a spot on The Following?
I don’t know. I’m really flattered and humbled. Fox offered me a holding deal to read for their pilots. The Following was the first pilot that I read for and I was blown away because it was so well written and had an interesting story line. It set a high standard for every other pilot I read. It’s kind of like the stars aligned.
We thought maybe you would say you whipped out some crazy hidden talent. Do you have any hidden talents?
I can hold my breath for about 10 minutes straight. I like to go deep sea fishing with a spear. I’m a musician, a singer, and that’s what I was before jumping into the whole acting world.
How did you end up making that transition from musician to actor?
I was working on an album in Mexico when things kind of fell apart and I felt like I had to get my life back together. A friend of mine suggested going to this acting workshop and it was amazing. I’ve always loved the idea of working with your body to communicate something. I discovered that there were moments where I’d be working and even in the midst of turbulence I felt it was my place if that makes sense. I fell in love with it, and I kept at it.
You speak both Spanish and English fluently, which came first?
We spoke Spanish in my home, but I went to Catholic school in Texas from pre-k to junior high, and if you spoke Spanish in school they’d really punish you. Pretty much all of my life I’ve been completely bicultural.
It sounds like you’re really drawn to the complexity of characters.
You know, we’re very interesting people. Wherever you are, go out, take a walk, look at everyone, and you’ll be amazed. I’m not a fan of judging people or making fun of them, but something that I did as a little kid is I would try and understand why people do what they do and act in certain ways. I remember my dad had this friend of his that had this horrible tic. Whenever we’d be in conversation he’d out of the blue scratch his neck, like really pinch his neck, and then go all around and gather himself again in the conversation. I remember being at the table when I was probably 9-years-old and I was doing what he did exactly the way he did it. My mother got so angry at me asking why I would make fun of this poor man. I wasn’t making fun of him, though. I was trying to understand why he did these things. I’ve always loved making voices and playing with accents too.
Do you have a favorite impersonation?
It depends on how I feel. Sometimes they call me Patty because I’ll speak like an Irishman. Also, it’s kind of cliché, but being Latino people will automatically think I have an accent so I gave them their way and came up with this Latino character that struggles to find words whenever he’s having a conversation. It’s a lot of fun.
You’re trying something new by taking on this new role in The Following. What is something you’ve never done, but that you would really like to do?
When it comes to my career I would love to do a Western. Where I was raised every weekend was spent at my grandfather’s ranch and we’d herd cattle. Now when it comes to me I’d want to jump out of a plane, but I really want to do it alone first. I know it has to be tandem, but I would love to just go at it. Sign me up! There are lots of things I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always been a motorcycle fan so I want to go hit the tracks, not professionally, but almost.
It sounds like you’re a speed demon.
Check out Adan Canto in The Following Monday nights on Fox!