HAVEN: Cristián de la Fuente Previews His Killer Role (2011)

There’s a serial killer loose in Haven! Special guest star Cristián de la Fuente took a few minutes to chat with press in a recent conference call about his highly unusual role on HAVEN. Cristián plays a mild-mannered banker with a twisted secret that is about to be unleashed on the unsuspected town of Haven.

What can you share about the character Cornell, which you are playing on HAVEN?
CRISTIÁN: It was a great challenge and I don’t want to give too much about the character because there’s going to be a lot of surprises that you’re going to find out during the episode. But it’s not your average evil twin story — it’s that incarnation of all your bad thoughts. That one day you wake up and you’re facing them. All your thoughts are materialized in a person that looks exactly like you and you’re confronted by them.

How did you come to get this role on HAVEN?
CRISTIÁN: I met the producers of the show a while ago when we were working on other stuff with them, and then one day we were talking and they say, ‘Oh, we have this idea of this character that would be great for you to play!’ And when they described the character to me it was a great challenge and I was like, ‘Oh, let’s do it right now!’ I’ve never played myself twice and it’s a great challenge.

How would you compare this to your role in IN PLAIN SIGHT? What’s different, challenge-wise and everything?
CRISTIÁN: The biggest challenge is, in IN PLAIN SIGHT, I had to act with Mary McCormack and here I was acting with myself. So talking to yourself is kind of a challenge. And doing all the scenes more than twice, because you do it all from one character and then you do it from the other character. And then always have in mind and being very careful that you’re not confusing them, especially in HAVEN as they both were raised the same way and they were almost twins. To be able to understand, ‘Okay, now I’m playing one Cornell, and now I’m playing the other version of Cornell.’ So being very focused in trying to not confuse the characters.

At the end of last week’s episode of HAVEN, they gave us a sneak peek into your episode tonight, and we saw that Cornell looked like he’s about to kill himself. So is what Bad Cornell doing to Good Cornell, is that really happening?
CRISTIÁN: As you know, we call them that in order to make a difference. It’s easier – the Good Cornell or the Bad Cornell. But, at the end, we realize that the Good Cornell is not that good. But let’s try to keep it simple, so the Good Cornell and the Bad Cornell. When the Good Cornell wakes up and realizes that the Bad Cornell is trying to do something that he doesn’t want to happen, because it’s something that he’s been keeping as a secret and he doesn’t want that secret to go out or to really deal with it. Many, many times in life we have things that we don’t deal with, but all of a sudden this Good Cornell one day wakes and he has this version of him that wants to do all the things that he hasn’t done and wants to really face all the problems that he hasn’t been able to face. So, that’s when he gets scared and he starts to kill his versions.

What inspired you to take on such a controversial role on HAVEN?
CRISTIÁN: As an actor you always want challenges. My first challenge was to come all the way from Chile and start acting in a different language. That was my first challenge. When I did that then I started doing drama. When I did drama then I wanted to do sitcoms. And then, do different roles and then go back to Spanish, go back to English. And then, when this character was presented to me and they told me about it, it was a great challenge. It was something that I’ve never done. I’ve never been able to play two characters at the same time and acting with myself, which is something that is, thanks to technology now, it’s very easy to do. But, it’s something that you don’t get to do very often unless you’re living with a mirror. So it was a great idea and a great experience, and I’m very happy I was able to do it.

Can you tell us a bit about which part you enjoyed playing more? Such as you mentioned how the good one would play the bad one and that you enjoyed playing the bad character.
CRISTIÁN: Of course, the Bad Cornell. We always have to be good in life. You can’t run a stop light. You can’t speed. You can’t eat too much of anything. You always need to measure up, and because you have to interact with society with yourself there’s a lot of rules that we have. But Cornell, the bad version of Cornell, doesn’t have any rules. So it’s great to play that little craziness that we have and do things that you would never do.

What do you think you’ve learned about yourself since you worked on HAVEN?
CRISTIÁN: That probably there’s a bipolar part of me that I didn’t know, because it was easy to talk to me!

What other character did you interact with the most on HAVEN, besides just your two characters of yourself?
CRISTIÁN: Well, everybody of the show — with Emily, with Lucas, with Eric — but with Emily, I had a little more scenes than with the rest.

And beyond the police force of HAVEN, were you interacting with any of the other characters on the show, the Reverend, or any of those characters?
CRISTIÁN: No. Just with myself, that was a lot! [laughter]

Was the storyline mainly based on your character or were there any other storyline plots going through this episode?
CRISTIÁN: Well, there’s also something that happens with a kid, but that kid is kind of related with me.

In what ways did you relate to Cornell in order to play him effectively?
CRISTIÁN: I’ve always said that we as human beings, we are a mix of many characteristics. We all have our crazy side, which in a way for us, let’s say, so 10%, for other people it is 90%. You all have that mix of personalities and that mix of characteristics that make your personality unique and different from somebody else. So when I played one Cornell, the mix of characteristics was in one way, and then when I played the other Cornell it was the complete opposite. So all the craziness that I have, all the things that, sometimes you think about doing and you never do, all the personalities that you are not, you play them.

What was your favorite scene that you filmed on HAVEN?
CRISTIÁN: Favorite scene is probably the last scene that I had that. I’m not going to spoil what happened at the end, but it’s a great scene where between me and myself, which just sounds crazy to say, but it was a scene with me and how the twist of what the decision that both Cornells have to make and what’s the result of that decision.

You joined a cast that’s pretty well established already. Did you find there was chemistry right away with the cast members?
CRISTIÁN: Yeah, I met Eric (Balfour) a while ago, a couple of years. I met him in another set that he was visiting. So when I arrived to the set he wasn’t a complete stranger. But as you said, it’s a cast that has a chemistry between them. They’re all friends. The fact that they’re all living far away from Los Angeles in Nova Scotia, it’s something that you all create like kind of a new family out there, and everybody was really nice. I was very happy, not only with the cast, but the crew and everybody. The first day, of course, you feel like the new guy, but then after a week I was like part of them and I didn’t want to leave.

How was the experience of HAVEN different than what you envisioned before you go on set?
CRISTIÁN: Well, I’ve never been in a set like that. When you are working with green screens and you are working with somebody that is supposed to be you, and then you’re going to replace that somebody. The whole mechanics of how the show had to happen in order for us to see what ended up in the screen, that I’m doing both characters and they’re both interacting, that was completely different from anything that I’ve done in my life.

How would you feel if you’re offered a reoccurring role on HAVEN? Would that be something you’re interested in or are you committed to other projects?
CRISTIÁN: No, right now I’m not committed to anything and the only one that I’m committed to is my wife because, if not, she will kill me! [laughter] And work-related I’m always open to new challenges and new things, and HAVEN would be great because it’s a great set and a great crew and I really liked everybody working there.

Can you talk about what it was like to travel to Nova Scotia to be in HAVEN?
CRISTIÁN: Well, Nova Scotia I’ve never been there and it was great. I never ate so much lobster, because they eat lobsters morning, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the place reminded me of the South of Chile, where I’m from. It’s a very beautiful place and people are very friendly, and it’s a very beautiful place to travel to.

What will you remember most from working on the Nova Scotia on the show?
CRISTIÁN: I remember how we celebrated the day of sun. I was there ten days and it was one day that it was sunny, but we were all celebrating. And I think it was a day and a half. So that was in the winter, and in the winter most of the time it’s raining or cloudy, but we had that day of sun and we were all dancing and happy.

What’s something that your fans would be surprised to know about you?
CRISTIÁN: That’s an interesting question. I think probably what people don’t know is I’m addicted to adrenaline. When I was living in Chile, I was a firefighter. Now, I’m a Lieutenant to the Chilean Air Force and I fly with a (robotic) team. I do water ski and I do a lot of sports that, require a lot of adrenaline, so that’s kind of something that moves me. And probably the adrenaline comes from also every day trying to face a challenge and always trying to challenge myself, and not being comfortable in a way that life gets boring because it gets in the routine of daily routine.

Do you have any other projects coming out besides HAVEN?
CRISTIÁN: Well, there’s a series “Profugos” for HBO Latin America that premieres September 4 that we produced in Chile with my production company. It’s a series done in Spanish, but for all Latin America and for the U.S., and I’m very proud because there also I have a role that I play. I play a politician, but what’s really made us proud is it was the first action series produced in Chile for HBO Latin America. So we’re happy that they’re producing stuff in my country also.

What do you think it is about HAVEN that keeps people tuning in?
CRISTIÁN: When I saw the sneak peek of this weeks’ episode and the promos that they have, you realize that HAVEN taps into that magic and unknown world that we never see, but it may exist or it may not, but it’s always a surprising world. Everything has a surprising twist and everything is unpredictable. In life, many times things are very predictable, but in HAVEN nothing is predictable.

To see the multiple and fascinating roles of Cristián de la Fuente as Cornell in HAVEN, be sure to tune in on Friday, September 2nd at 10:00 pm on Syfy.

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