When we all first met Duke Crocker, we saw a young man motivated by his own goals, whether that was smuggling goods or running his restaurant The Grey Gull. He only became embroiled in the ongoing “troubles” of Haven as events began to spiral out of control, and over the course of the past 2 seasons, we have seen a fascinating transformation in Duke.
As portrayed by star Eric Balfour, Duke became much more attune to how all the “troubles” were beginning to affect him and encroach on his way of life. At first begrudgingly and then a bit more determinedly, Duke seemed to realize that this was a unique opportunity to change his fate; though he probably never anticipated that his fate had already been preordained from birth simply because his family carried a curse or “trouble” of their own. He found out that by killing anyone afflicted with a “troubled” that he could save their families from every passing down their “trouble” to future generations. That is never something anyone wants to hear: it’s your destiny to kill people.
So, in the third season, Duke finds himself at a crossroads. Does he pick up the burden placed upon him and help the “troubled” by exterminating them? Or does he wrestle with fate and find a different path to help the “troubled”? And just where does that place him in his friendships with Audrey Parker and Nathan Wuornos?
In a recent exclusive interview, Eric Balfour shared a few insights into the dilemma Duke faces this season, as well as how much fun he is having playing Duke as he wrestles with his demons.
When we last saw Duke, he was on the boat with Nathan (Lucas Bryant) at the end of Season 2 and Duke had just found out his legacy to be an exterminator of the “troubled.” Can you talk about how Duke feels now that he knows that this is what he is supposed to be doing, but he doesn’t want to?
ERIC: Yeah, when we sat down at the beginning of the season, the writers explained to me what was going to be happening with my character this year and a big part of that storyline for Duke was going to be this sort of battle inside of himself, and this struggle with who he wants to be, who he actually is, and who he is supposed to be. This season is this huge change for Duke in a lot of ways. He’s really going to be pushed to the limit and he’s going to learn a lot about himself and who he wants to be in his life, and every episode this season builds on that really well. We’re going to see him go in a whole new direction. It’s crazy.
We also found out that there is some significance to that scene where Duke was exposed to Dwight’s (Adam Copeland) blood and it kind of supercharged him. Can you talk about what that means?
ERIC: A big part of what Duke realizes is that, similar to Audrey, he’s not one of the “troubled,” as we call them. He doesn’t have a curse, but he has this supernatural ability and has almost like a destiny in a sense. So how he chooses to use his power — whether he chooses to use it for good or for evil and how he manipulates it — it’s going to be really, really interesting. It’s a big part of Duke’s journey this season.
For the first time ever, it kind of gives Duke a stake in what’s going on in Haven. Before he could afford to sit on the sidelines and just observe everything and volunteer his services as he wanted to, but now he is a pivotal part of it. How does he adapt to that responsibility?
ERIC: It’s very difficult for him. [Laughs] That’s the fun part about the character I get to play because — different from everybody else — he’s a very reluctant hero, and that’s what makes him really fun ’cause he didn’t ask for this. Unlike Audrey’s character who has this sort of burning desire to be a hero, Duke didn’t ask for it. He really doesn’t want any of it. But that is what makes him a really fun character — at his core he has a really good heart and a really good soul, so it’s never easy for him; and it affects him positively and negatively at times.
This also alters things significantly as far as Duke’s personal relationships, his friendship with Nathan and perhaps his romantic prospects with Audrey (Emily Rose). How are we going to see those relationships change?
ERIC: One of the things that the writers explained to us that I think is my favorite part of this season is that really is going to be the main focus of this season. This season is about the relationships between Duke, Audrey and Nathan. Whether you want to call that a “love triangle” or friendships, everything this season is about how their relationships are affected. To me, and I think for all of us, that was our favorite part of the season – and that we really got to spread our wings a bit as actors. Because a lot of the show in the past was really procedural and this year I thought they did just an amazing job making the show about how the “troubles” or the case-of-the-week affected each of us as characters. The stakes are way higher. The emotional consequences are greater. So I think this year is going to be a bigger, cooler, more amazing season. It’s the best season we’ve done.
This also seems like this is the season where Duke is not only wrestling with his conscience, he becomes the voice of conscience in these situations with the “troubled.” We see in the upcoming episode with the alien issue that Duke challenges Nathan and says, “Hey, is that really the best way to approach things?” He’s kind of developed a conscience and he’s speaking out on behalf of other people more.
ERIC: Yeah, that’s an interesting point about Nathan. I think there’s some people who see Duke and think he’s selfish and self-centered — well, yes, he is actually — but that’s really just a defense mechanism. When I think about Duke, as an actor ’cause I cannot control what they write or what the episodes are — I have to make things up in my own head to have it make sense to me and make it interesting. But, for me, what I wanted Duke to really be as a character was somebody who wasn’t really selfish, he just can’t stand any kind of authority or oppression. So obviously when that comes at him it’s very personal. But I think that’s the thing; I don’t think he likes the idea of anybody making choices for other people or choosing their fate. I think it all becomes very personal. So I think Duke starts to see Nathan and Audrey doing things to manipulate other people for what they think is right and I think Duke becomes a very interesting voice this season. The one thing you can count on Duke for is to be straightforward. I know that can sound weird because he can be manipulative, but when it comes to saying what he thinks and what he means, that’s never been a problem for him, and sometimes that is to his detriment because he doesn’t hold back. He doesn’t sugarcoat things. He says what he thinks and he says what he feels, so when he sees the sort of political side of how Audrey and Nathan doing what they think is right, that’s really hard for Duke because he doesn’t think anybody should make decisions for other people’s lives. That’s my favorite part about the character.
It has been an interesting development for the character and it’s a little unexpected to not only see Duke step up into this role of being a hero, but challenging his friends about their conduct.
ERIC: Absolutely. For me, that was the most interesting character arc and development for Duke. I loved that.
On a lighter note, HAVEN is getting some fresh faces this season with Bree Williamson, Dorian Missick and Kate Kelton. Can you share how Duke is going to be interacting with their characters on the show?
ERIC: Duke doesn’t really interact with those characters very much this season. The majority of Duke’s season is really about his relationships with Audrey and Nathan. Though there are some pretty exciting things that happen between my and Dorian’s characters, which I really can’t reveal. But there’s definitely some fireworks there.
Dorian Missick said that your characters don’t get along at all. In fact, Duke is really suspicious of Dorian’s character.
ERIC: I think when you think back to who Duke is and has always been; he’s never been a fan of cops or authority figures. It took a long time for him to admit his affinity for Nathan, who has always been kind of a brother to him. They’re like family in a way, like two brothers sitting at a table and one’s a cop and one’s a criminal, but when they sit down for dinner, they’re still brothers. So I think that was difference between Nathan and him in that dynamic. But if you think back to when he first met Audrey, he was suspicious of her too — although she was a cute, beautiful woman so it was much easier for him to be friendly to her. But I think for Duke, he doesn’t trust any law enforcement. So this new guy shows up and it’s even weirder.
This season seems like it is going to take some pretty dark turns. For Duke’s journey, how dark is it going to get?
ERIC: Right off the bat you’re going to see in first few episodes some pretty heavy things happen to Duke and it’s not often that you see Duke in a position where he’s affected emotionally because he does a pretty good job of guarding himself. But throughout this season and even in the first few episodes, you’re going to see some stuff that happens to Duke that kind of turns his world upside down. It mostly affects his relationship to Audrey. It’s going to be intense.
At this point do you think Duke is still carrying a torch for Audrey? ‘Cause it kind of feels like he does a little bit. But then again he might be the kind of guy who is willing to step aside saying, “It looks like she’s made a choice and I’m going to step aside.”
ERIC: I don’t want to give too much away, but what I will say is that I think that everything that happens to Duke in this season is about that. It’s about his relationship to Audrey, whether that be as friends or lovers, and how that affects his relationship with Nathan and Nathan’s relationship to Audrey and their dynamic with Duke. That really is Duke’s whole season. So I don’t want to give anything way ’cause I think it’s all exciting to watch in real time as it happens, but I will say that’s the whole season. That’s everything.
Finally, if you have seen the Twitter posts, when Lucas Bryant did his interview at the HAVEN office he left some notes for Shawn Piller in his office to find when Shawn returns to his office. If you were to leave a hidden note what would it say?
ERIC: [Laughs] If I was going to leave a note for Shawn, Matt, Sam and Jim, the writers and producers, it would be: “Don’t make me starve myself and workout everyday if you’re not going to make me take my clothes off!”
While fans may be disappointed to hear that Eric may not be shedding his clothes, they should be eagerly anticipating how the Duke, Nathan, and Audrey interpersonal relationships are explored in depth this season and what path Duke ultimately chooses for his destiny. So be sure to tune in for the third season premiere of HAVEN on Friday, September 21st at 10:00 p.m. on Syfy and we will be praying that Duke finds peace and perhaps love this season.
“Haven Season 3 Preview” video:
Fan video “125 Reasons You Should Be Watching Syfy’s HAVEN” (credit: uponatime1)
Fan video previewing “Haven – Season 3” (credit: pruedens)
Fan video: “Duke, Why You Gotta Be So Cute?” (by Dachildofevil)
Fan video: “I’m Not Calling You a Liar” (by Shadow243all)
Fan video: “What It Takes” (by BSGNightSky)
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