Written by Caitlin Elam
“The Exorcist” as a title generally conjures thoughts of Linda Blair up-chucking split pea soup on an old priest and a young priest in the 1973 nightmare-inducing iconic horror film. Now, the frights and thrills are back on the smaller screen of the television. Our own Juwaan Carter interviewed actor Alex Barima to see how things are going on Fox’s hit show about three priests who investigate demonic presence among a targeted family and a foster home.
No stranger to horror themes at work (having three episodes playing an actual demon under his belt with the hit CW show, Supernatural), he notes that playing Shelby on The Exorcist was a big experience.
1. How has it been working on the Exorcist? Have you ever left feeling a little scared?
Working on The Exorcist was the most rewarding and challenging acting experience I've had so far. To be heavily involved in such a large production is something every actor dreams of, so I tried to appreciate every moment. We were all very proud of the end result, given all the work that was put into making the show what it is, and we're thrilled with the fan response.
Some of the sets were definitely quite creepy, but I felt safe most of the time. We did have some priests come by and bless the set before we began shooting, which helped put a lot of people at ease, myself included. The makeup department never ceased to out-do themselves every episode; seeing new monsters come out of their trailer every week was the scariest part!
2. What can you tell us about your character and what makes him unique.
I play a teenager named Shelby, one of several foster children living in Andy's home. I was immediately drawn to Shelby's kind nature when I read the audition. I love intuitive characters in horror, which is exactly who he is; he's the first person in the family to catch on to the strange occurrences plaguing his home. I like playing him because he's easy to get behind. In a career where you can't be too choosy, it's always nice to play someone you might actually get along with in real life.
3. You were also on Once Upon a Time I’m actually a big fan of that show how was it filming for that show?
Once Upon A Time was my first TV role on a major television show, so I remember it quite well. Although I only played a small role, I was amazed at how much work was put into every single detail of production, from the wardrobe to the set decoration, to every little prop used. It truly felt like we were in a different world. I was fortunate to work on two episodes and meet some great people, including Craig Powell, an incredibly gifted camera operator. We were reunited 5 years later on this season of The Exorcist.
4. Being that you work on the show the exorcist I have to ask are you a horror fan? And if so what is your favorite horror movie?
I wouldn't consider myself a horror fan, since I get scared too easily. I'll watch scary movies around Halloween as long as I'm with friends, but if I had to pick a favorite, I'd probably go with Cabin in the Woods or Monster House if that counts!
5. I see you have also starred in Tomorrowland what was it like on set of that film? And how was it working with George Clooney?
Tomorrowland was quite simply the most impressive production I've ever been a part of. This kind of project only comes around once in a while, and to see it all up close is overwhelming, to say the least. My scene was shot in Spain, so Disney arranged travel and accommodation for the cast and crew. I got to work in Spain for a week on a Brad Bird sci-fi movie; that's probably still the coolest thing I've ever done! I never got to meet George Clooney unfortunately, but I'm certain we were in the same room at some point.
6. We here at Geekvibes Nation are huge superhero fans so I’d like to ask you a few questions about that field. Are you a fan of comics or superheroes?
I read manga and watch a lot of anime, but not many western superhero comics. I prefer the more contained storytelling of manga, but I still watch all the superhero movies in theaters.
7. Who is your favorite superhero?
Goku from Dragon Ball, or Luffy from One Piece. They're characters who redefine themselves constantly, while still remaining true to what drew fans to them in the first place. Their influence in modern entertainment is undeniable. And they're both hilarious.
8. What was it like being on CW’s hit show The Flash?
Working on the Flash was actually the first and only night shoot I've ever done. Surprisingly, I had no trouble staying awake, and had a great time shooting the scene. It was bittersweet however, because I had booked tickets to a show in Seattle months before, and I had to cancel the trip. It was well worth it though.
9. What Superhero would you like to play?
I don't know if I've ever imagined myself portraying an actual superhero in film or TV. The closest thing for me would have been to play Cornelius Fillmore from the Disney cartoon. I hope I get the chance before I'm too old!
10. Besides the Exorcist are there any other projects we could see you in very soon? If we haven’t already.
The last feature I worked on, Adventures in Public School (starring Judy Greer), was recently acquired for world-wide distribution. It's a wonderful indie comedy which we premiered at TIFF last year, and was very well received! Now that The Exorcist is over, I'm looking to the year ahead for the next opportunity! I truly don't know what's coming next, which is scary and exciting at the same time.
To see more of Barima’s amazing acting prowess, look for him in the upcoming indie comedy, Adventures in Public School with Judy Greer.