We recently caught up with star Mark Valley to chat with him about Human Target's thrilling Season 2 climax. Here's what he had to say:
With the addition of the two women, what do you think it's brought to the show as a whole?
Mark Valley: I think it's brought a little more humor to the show. When we had three guys, yeah there was an aspect to the show that was potentially a little edgier, but I think having the three women has opened up the possibilities in terms of stories and we also get to see other sides of the relationships between the characters as well. Honestly, I think it's made the show a little funnier. There's also some hints of possible romance going on as well, so it's sort of fleshed some things out and opened up some other opportunities to see who all these other characters are.
Speaking of that possible romance, Chance and Ilsa, there's a lot of sexual tension between the two of them. Is that something that the fans are going to get to see some sort of conclusion on this season or are we going to be waiting, perhaps, for the third season?
Mark Valley: I wish you could say that you'd see some conclusion, but no you don't really get to see too much of that. I will say that two people get a little bit closer than you've seen them before and that will be around Episode 12, so stay tuned.
Which do you enjoy more as an actor, the relationship character driven stuff or kick-... action sequences?
Mark Valley: I'm really enjoying the combination of the two because it's really fun to see what the other actors and characters are sort of bringing into each scene and I'm really kind of relishing working with such a talented cast. But you can only kind of stand around and talk so long before I start feeling real antsy. Every once in a while, I just might start to feel like-I think I should be running or shooting or running away from someone or going after someone at some point. So, it always works out pretty well with this show. There's quite a nice balance. It kind of jolts me into character. I'm really fortunate in that way there's so much action.
A totally trivial thing, but important at the same time: Super Bowl, Steelers or Packers?
Mark Valley: Oh, Packers. I just haven't liked the Steelers ever since Terry Bradshaw was quarterback. This is an old feud that goes back to the Dallas Cowboys, so there you have it.
I really enjoyed last season, but with all due respect to last season it seems like this year everything has been better just across the board: the action, the suspense, the story lines. Can you just talk about sort of the differences season to season with this show?
Mark Valley: Well, the second season the biggest difference was we have a couple of new characters. We have Indira and Janet, who have brought some really cool characters to the show. We also have a different show runner, Matt Miller. In the best of circumstances, we've also had the show runner from the first season, Jonathan E. Steinberg, stay on as an executive producer, so we've kept elements of the first season as well. All the experiences we had from shooting and planning and writing and producing are also being kind of brought to bear on the second season and going forward as well. So, we've been really fortunate to bring some new people in with some new ideas and some different types of skills and abilities, but also kind of profit from the first season as well.
What other hints or snippets can you tell us about these last three episodes of the season?
Mark Valley: Well, we finish really strong. I know the episode coming up, "Kill Bill" at least when I read the script it seemed a little bit lighter, but when you watch it, it seems pretty interesting. It seems a little more intense in watching it actually. On that one, Chance meets- To be honest with you, I can't really say that really kind of changes that much over the second season. We do see a relationship building between to members of the cast, but aside from that the episodes just continue to surprise me in terms of the scripts and where we're going with stories and generally unpredictable as well.
Can you talk about the dynamic that Tony Hale brings to the show and how that impacts Chance?
Mark Valley: Yes, it's pretty funny. The first episode that Tony did, he sort of gets himself into a mess and he comes looking for Chance and Jackie's and Chi's characters have to kind of bail him out of a problem. This next episode I always curious, how are Chance and Harry friends? What did they experience together? How did they meet each other and if Harry is just somebody who's always like having problems, why are they friends? But in this episode coming up you sort of see Harry's perceptive ability and ability to kind of put things together. I mean, he is sort of a Pink Panther sort of detective in most ways, but you see that he does sort of stumble onto the truth and some meaningful stuff for Chance. So, in that respect you say, oh, okay, now I see why they know each other.
From your view, how are Russian villains different today and what do they afford you in the opposite role?
Mark Valley: How do Russian villains?
Yes, I mean as compared to the Cold War days, how do you see them different today?
Mark Valley: Well, the Cold War villains-I mean, for me I still see Russian villains as Cold War villains. Maybe it's just kind of being ingrained and having served in the army in Berlin when the wall was still up and having to go behind the Iron Curtain and see Russian soldiers and so for, you know. There were also some mind games going on, like who could act tougher. I do remember the Cold War aspect of it. I don't really know that many Russian operatives. I'd have to assume that they're probably a little more opportunistic because they are driven probably a little more by capitalism than idealism these days. But there's just something great about a Russian bad guy because Russians, in general, if I was going to make any kind of sweeping behavioral statements is they have a tendency to be a little less demonstrative facially. You don't really see what's going on and I think that kind of classic Russian deadpan; it's fun to kind of figure out what's going on or maybe crack the veneer with some humor or something like that. So, Russian guys are great and Russian spies. Anna Chapman notwithstanding I still don't really get how breaking into Facebook makes you that famous, but Russian spies are fun to go against.
You said sometimes you'll be surprised by the way the script is written. What is it that's so unpredictable so far that you've done?
Mark Valley: Well, I don't want to ruin it for anybody, so I can't tell what's unpredictable.
What have you been surprised by of late?
Mark Valley: Well, I don't want to tell you because then you won't be surprised when you see the show. I think what I find surprising is it's continually how our writers can integrate so many different elements into a script and keep all our different characters involved. One of the things I really like is Matt Miller really kind of started the second season with the idea that every episode was going to have a personal hook for at least one of the characters. He stuck to that for the entire episode as well and we don't really have anonymous guests that we have to kind of try to feel sympathy for. Each case has had a personal link to one of the characters. So, I have to say I'm continually impressed at his ability to see that vision through.
You once stated that you were not a big comic book fan and that somehow after doing the show you've looked into it somewhat. Are you enjoying it more now and what are some of the physical challenges that you face?
Mark Valley: What are the challenges?
Yes, like what are some of the physical challenges that you face while filming?
Mark Valley: Well, some of the physical challenges, I realized the other day as I was hanging off a building that I think at one point in my life I used to be afraid of heights. Maybe it's just because I've developed a good trust in our rigors and our stunt people, but now I don't have any problem hanging off of things anymore, no matter how high it is and that's definitely due to the experiences on the show. Another challenge is that there is an awful lot of violence on the show. There's an awful lot of gunplay and explosions and so forth and people being shot or dying. I think it's been an interesting season to be able to walk that line, to have a show that is, yeah, it's fun and it has its roots in a comic book so that allows you to kind of treat things as if they don't have quite as many dimensions. But then, still, when we're playing it in three dimensions to kind of make it seem real. That's kind of a convoluted way of saying that I'm thoroughly enjoying myself. I also like the Human Target comic book that comes out every once in a while, probably because the Human Target character looks like me. It's just pure vanity I think.
I actually did want to pass on a bit of good news. Since we last talked, we have actually launched the Human Target Fan Club, of which I am the official president. So I just wanted to say you do have fans out there and we are pulling for you.
Mark Valley: All right, thank you very much. Congratulations on the launch and everything.
It's something I wanted to do because we do have a lot of really passionate fans for this show. One of the things that drives, at least those of us in the fan club, really nuts is people seem to have finally discovered the show. They're finally giving it attention, but it only seems to come out like they've just now figured out that this is a good show. I mean it seems to discount the first season and it drives us nuts. I'm kind of wondering what's your perspective on that. Are you glad that the show is finally getting the attention, but how do you feel about it sort of like getting a short shrift of the first season?
Mark Valley: To be honest with you, I just sort of look at it like I leave a lot of the publicity up to the publicity and the show and when it's airing and when it's programming. I just really want to make a good show and make it as interesting as I can and anything else is kind of above my pay grade. I'm really proud of the first season and it's a DVD that sits on myself and I'm really proud of the second season, too, and I just hope we can continue.
Now, the major difference I notice between season one and season two is season one we were trying to get into your head, into Chance's head, and season two it's kind of like, okay, now you get to figure out everybody else. So, what's it been like for you, instead of being the guy that we're trying to figure out having to be the one that gets to try to figure everybody else out?
Mark Valley: Well, to be honest with you, it's been a little more interesting. I don't know about you, but 13 hours of introspection can get to be a little heavy. It's been a lot of fun getting to know these other characters and the other actors playing them as well. Having a role where I'm possibly doing a little more reacting to everything that's going on as opposed to kind of acting or creating a kind of, I suppose, creating a kind of mystery. So, I've just had a great time. The more the merrier as far as I'm concerned.
I wanted to find out how the finale is going to go in terms of are we going to be left on a cliffhanger or is it going to be things wrapped up? On that same note, where would you like to see the next season go?
Mark Valley: Well, I think I definitely would like to see the second season go. Where it would go I haven't even begun to think about that yet. I think Human Target has done a great job of kind of establishing who these characters are and where they're going, so I'm really interested to see what his ideas would be for a third season overall. I mean now that we do know who these people are and we do know where they're from, maybe we can kind of move on to other cases that don't necessarily involve people in a personal way. Maybe the show can kind of find its feet there.
Will the ending be a cliffhanger or will it be a wrap up of the season two?
Mark Valley: Oh, it won't be a cliffhanger in terms of the way last season was, but it does sort of complete the second season while leaving a lot of uncertainties in terms of relationships. I guess nobody is really in physical peril as much as we don't really know where some relationships are going to go at the end of the season. But it also feels like this is a team that's going to be able to stay together and keep working.
Your character Chance seems to be skilled in everything, so how difficult is it for you to have to learn different things for each episode?
Mark Valley: It's really interesting for me. It's kind of fascinating to play somebody who is so much more interesting than I am, to be honest with you. I really enjoy it. It's one of the things about acting that I really like is that I can really explore this fascination with things I don't understand or don't know. We've had a Tai Chi instructor come in for one episode and we always have a weapons expert there and our stunt coordinators who have an awful lot of experience. My stunt double is really an accomplished Martial artist and it's just been really fun to learn these things. Of course, the different languages that Chance speaks. I think it's a real challenge and I really enjoy it.
Having that military experience, how much of that do you use for the show?
Mark Valley: Well, let's see, we get up early in the morning and we all think that what we do has life or death consequences so I'd say those two things are probably consistent. Also, I think the weapon that Chance is using now is the same one that I used when I was in the army, this one 45-hand gun. So, I think in that respect it's similar, but otherwise that was a while ago that I was in the military. I've been acting for a while, so anything else is probably coincidental.
When you're away from the set, given what's going on in Egypt, how has Chance changed your view of the world and how you look at world events?
Mark Valley: That's interesting. Chance has a certain hopefulness I think about him and I think before playing Chance I would look at things in a little more cynical way. But I think after playing Chance I can't help but think oh, there's got to be a way out of this, there's got to be a way to kind of figure this out. So, it makes it a little easier to read the news when you have a little more positive attitude.
Oh, I feel special. The one thing that a lot of people ask me about is, of course, you guys change composers between seasons, change the new theme. A lot of people seemed to have noticed that as like a major difference. And I know you were a big fan of Bear McCreary's work as well, so I'm wondering do you notice as big a difference as we do with the score?
Mark Valley: I can still hear it, I mean the initial score I can still hear-I can hear traces of it. It's kind of an apples and oranges sort of thing. I do definitely hear a difference in the score, but also in some ways we've had the ability or we've been fortunate enough to have a show in the first season that in all likelihood probably would not have gone on to a second season if there hadn't been some changes. I was just fortunate enough to have been able to stay on the show and to kind of see what it would look like under a different interpretation. It's sort of like watching-people say, oh, they want to watch a movie; it's going to be redone by someone else or watching a play that's going to be redone and revived. I just want to make sure that it's clear that I've really been fortunate to have been on a second season to be able to see the different interpretation of how the show goes. That having been said, I don't think I really answered your question, but I definitely enjoy Bear McCreary's work. I'm looking forward to seeing what he does next.
Did you get the CD and you're like playing the CD as you're driving along, playing the theme music?
Mark Valley: Yes, I try to play it whenever I walk into a room. I usually have an entrance theme whenever, with the trumpets playing, so that's meeting varying degrees of interest. But, yes, I definitely love that music, though.
I woke up my neighbors with it accidentally, so that was my highlight.
Mark Valley: Really?
Yes, they sent me a review copy and I plugged it into my stereo, cranked the volume and didn't realize, of course, it's like 9:30 in the morning and woke up my neighbors. So, oh well.
Mark Valley: Yeah, there you go.