Damien feature Part 2: Midseason Catch-Up with Glen Mazzara
Having found myself completely enraptured in the immersive and unpredictable world of A&E’s Damien I was ecstatic to have a chance to talk again with Glenn Mazzara who could be considered the father of the beast about Damien’s journey up until this point and where the path of beast is leading.
Question: Can you talk about some of the motivations and agendas pulling at Damien. There is a power struggle going on within the dark inner circle of those that have been watching over Damien and now that the time has finally arrived for him to begin his ascension, each of them believe they know what’s best for him and how to best guide him?
Glenn Mazzara: Damien finds himself the victim of his own demons in a literal and figurative sense. He has all of these influences pulling on him for what they see as the best path for him.
Question: Can you talk a little about the idea of starting his story from the original Omen movie and if Damien will find himself in the political world with all the power that the Thorn name still carries?
GM: I think some of the fans of the movies might expect him to eventually go into public office because of the power it would grant the “anti-Christ.” I think as we all have to come realize that those with the true power are not the public officials all the time but instead those that are the power brokers behind the scenes. Earlier in the season (ep1) we saw Ann Rutledge consorting with some of the most powerful people in the world, the picture with Ann on the right hand of Dick Cheney was a peek into that world. So I don’t think Damien needs to necessarily hold public office in order to wield tremendous power and influence.
We made the Decision to pick up the story from the original movie as it gave us a great opportunity to follow this character from the start of his ascension at the age of 30 similar to the way Christ began his ministry in the bible at the age of 30. We are there from the onset and we see the struggle and internal turmoil within him, we see how this effects everyone that comes into contact with him, we see how it effects those that he is the closest with in his life and the fallout out from that.
Question: As the son of a minister I want to ask about the way you have carried the religious aspects over from the original movie and how you have continued to mirror some of the events from the bible that happened during similar points in Christ’s life. That was what added to my terror with the Omen while watching it earlier in my life. In my mind this was totally plausible, I read the bible, my father talked about the bible and then I watch the Omen and it hit home for me in a very horrifying and real way. Is the religious aspect something you really wanted to tackle and keep as a main theme in the show rather than shy away from?
GW: It definitely is something that is a large part of the show and will become larger in the second half of the season. You can see at the very start of the season he is put into a situation where he is basically baptized in blood and the elderly woman in Serbia and repeats the words that God spoke to Christ during his baptism. That event is what propelled Damien onto his current path and that is the event that began Christ’s ministry. There is a point where Damien is desperate for this to end, he doesn’t want the power or any of it, and he just wants this cup to be removed away from him. In the Bible there is Christ praying in the garden of Gethsemane, where he is struggling with what is coming and he asks God to remove this cup from him if it be his will so you definitely see where Damien is on this journey flipped on its head and mirroring Christ’s journey.
In the next episodes we really see the church begin to play a bigger role in the overall story and they begin to make their presence felt.
Question: I think you have a great reputation for crafting these huge vibrant, living and really organic feeling worlds that totally grab you and pull in similar to what you did with the Walking Dead. Can you talk about doing that with Damien?
GM: I think that is a huge part of why we wanted to start his story from where we did. You get to meet and know all of the people in his life. You get to know what he loves about these people and why they are loyal to him. That is really what the first half of the season was about, getting all of the players onto the board and introducing all of these wonderful characters that are caught in his pull. Watching everything play out it did take longer than i had anticipated to get everyone introduced but now that we are here its going to be a furious charge to the finish.
Question: Watching the show from the start and learning more and more about Damien it occurs to me that he is a genuinely nice guy and even heroic. Rather it is him putting his own life into danger by jumping in front of an oncoming subway train or getting close enough to a war vet that he helps him end his life in order to escape his unrelenting pain. Damien’s ties and love of people would seem to run counter to his destined role as bringer of the Apocalypse. Will it be tough to tear Damien away from all the goodness and humanity in his heart?
GM: In the Bible the anti-Christ is described as one who brings countries together, as one with charisma, one who seduces the whole world. He rises to power not as conquering tyrant through use of brute force but as one who is loved. He will be loved so that people would do anything for him, they will go to war for him, surrender their rights for him, and die for him all because he will be adored. I think our depiction of the anti-Christ is the most accurate according to his descriptions.
After talking to Glen Mazzara it’s easy to see why Damien is one of the most talked about new shows on tv. His fervor for the sprawling world of Damien and all of its occupants is evident as soon as he starts to talk about where Damien is and where he is going. He indicated to me that he has a clear framework laid out for where Damien is headed although he was very tight lipped on details other than to tell me to hold for the second half of the season as things are going to hell and fast!
He also made a clear point that he and the writers are much more interested in telling a gripping and horrifying stories about complex characters dealing with tremendous circumstances that will decide the fate of all rather than going for the quick thrill or candy rush like scare that often leaves you unsatisfied. I can only imagine what dark deeds and soul crushing choices loom on the horizon but one thing is for sure, we are only just now crossing the event horizon and the pull of Damien is proving to be as inescapable as his own destiny. You can watch Damien on A&E every Monday night at 10 EST and after the season concludes keep an eye out for the 3rd part of our Damien feature with Glenn Mazzara to discuss the events of Season 1.