ITGS: Todd & The Book of Pure Evil’s Alex House

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW!

I’ve made no secret of my love for Todd & The Book of Pure Evil, one of the best Canadian shows in a long time. The second season recently finished airing on SPACE in Canada, and will air on FEARnet soon. I urge you all to check it out, and prepare to have your brain destroyed. If you were a fan of the first season expect bigger and better things from the second, and if you haven’t seen the show yet I suggest you get to it immediately.

Todd is a show filled with moving story lines, great characters, funny, frightening, and unforgettable moments. Here to talk about some of these moments is Alex House, the star of Todd & TBOPE!

alex house

SupaScoot: First off, I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to do the interview. Todd & TBOPE is easily my favorite show right now, and it’s a huge privilege to talk with you.

Alex House: That’s crazy man! I don’t really feel like it would be a privilege to talk to me, so thanks, that’s flattering.

And I guess another bit of thanks to you, the cast and the crew of Todd for bringing us such a kick ass show! Did you think it would take off like it has when you got the part?

No, I was just psyched to have a steady job in Canadian television, man. I didn’t even fully understand the tone of the show until a month into shooting. The first episodes we shot were “Invasion of the Stupid Snatchers” or whatever it’s called, and the lesbian twin episode (“Terrible Twin Turf Tussle”). There actually isn’t much gore in those, so it wasn’t until we shot Simon getting torn apart, and I saw how ridiculously over the top it was that I got a real idea of what the show was going to be like. After that I was pretty convinced we had something special, but I had no idea how “big” it would get.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? You were born in Toronto, right? Have you moved around a bit working?

Born and raised in Toronto, It’s been my home base. I haven’t really moved around working, but I’ve traveled all over Canada for it.

What inspired you to begin acting, and did you find Canada a difficult place to start your career?

I was 12 when I started acting, and it wasn’t really inspiration as much as it was dumb luck. I had a friend of mine’s mother say “hey you’re really outgoing and love attention, would you like to meet an agent?”. So I did, and that was my agent for the first 10 years of my career. I’d say I was incredibly lucky getting started with my career, it’s keeping it going that takes actual hard work (go figure). I’m incredibly blessed and fortunate.  There are a lot of guys I came up with who aren’t in the game anymore.

I try to explain the show to friends that haven’t seen it, and it’s so difficult to compare it to something because there is really nothing else like it. What do you relate it to when explaining the series to others?

It’s funny because when I got the breakdown for the script it said “Buffy meets Evil Dead and The Breakfast Club, with a splash of Scrubs etc” and a couple other references. I think the best way I describe it is a “Horror comedy show, that’s really over the top with gore and metal and drug use!”  I also throw in that Jason (Mewes) is on it, because that usually piques people’s interest more than anything else.

I think saying that it’s an homage to “Evil Dead” and “Army of Darkness” is a good reference as well. It’s nuts though because the show is celebrating a pretty particular genre in film, so It’s totally understandable that some people don’t get the show at all, and hate it.

I don’t get the haters, but let’s move on. You’ve been in some pretty extreme scenes In Todd. I mean, you got jizzed on by a homunculus! Not to mention you’re constantly covered in blood. Do you spend a lot of time in the makeup chair?

I can’t remember if they changed the line, but initially it was “It’s pissing in my mouth” but they did have me re-record over it saying “It’s jizzing in my mouth”. I don’t know if they used that though. Hah, those f**kers. Yeah, It was kind of a running gag almost that I would get covered in blood everyday. I always asked for more. I thought it looked badass. Bill (Turnbull) would always go “You look really good in blood, man”, so that’s a plus.

I watched a behind the scenes clip where you mentioned you had to get your ass shaved for a scene by one of the crew. How was that for you? I guess I should ask how was that for her?

I float between the two extremes of pretty confident and incredibly awkward. This was an incredibly awkward moment. the girl who did it, Nina, was a total gentleman about it though. I kept apologizing to her, I was freaking out, making high pitched squeals and such. She was so cool though. At least, she said she was, who knows what she may have said afterwards! Nah, I’m kidding, she was great and entirely helpful and tried to make me feel as comfortable as she could, even though I was losing it.

The special effects in the show are real, as opposed to lame green screening and CG. Do you basically just walk around set with monsters all day? That’s the coolest job ever! What there ever a funny moment with any of the effects or creature features on set?

Yeah, they had a shop at the school we shot at, which was pretty much where we did everything actually. So David Scott and Don (I forget his last name) would be working on the monsters while we were shooting. Me and Bill would run down every once in a while and check out what they were working on.

I guess the funniest moment was every single time the book flies away in the show, they had to sort of get a template for it. This would consist of my buddy Speedy (who was the props master) picking the book up and running out of frame with it while making it wave around. It was so ridiculous! It would have been great if they’d kept that in once.

You get to fulfill some pretty awesome fanboy dreams, like rocking the video game barbarian and carrying around your faithful Sanddragon. Is there any kind of fanboy scene you’d like to recreate as Todd?

I wanted to have a full out sword fight with someone, I guess time will tell with that one. Or just a fight where I beat the shit out of a bunch of people. Todd really wasn’t at that point in his monster fighting career though. He was slowly getting there, but he’s a bit garbage at fighting and being heroic so far, so it makes sense that we didn’t get there in Season 2.

I constantly see Twitter and Facebook announcements from the show, has this whole crazy social media thing been a big part of spreading the word of Todd &TBOPE?

I guess so, I think it helped a bit. I didn’t get on Twitter until late last year, and it’s proven to be pretty useful. As much as I despise myself for being on it! (That’s a joke, sort of)

Oh, I understand completely. Now I know you speak fluent Spanish, have you been able to use that to your advantage in any of your acting roles yet?

Not yet, I would love that one day though.

I think it’s safe to assume that Todd getting picked up by FEARnet was a huge deal as it brought the show to an American audience. Have you felt any of the reaction from the first season airing in the States?

Kinda. We have some pretty die hard fans in the states. Like seriously, those guys kick so much ass, they know who they are. They’ve been really supportive and I always feel bad when I don’t have news for them. Other than that though I have sort of a self induced media blackout aside from Twitter, so I don’t really know of any reactions other than the handful of incredibly loyal fans we have making their presence well known.

Now I was going to say I first saw you in 2008’s Nonsense Revolution (which was great) but I realized that wasn’t true. As a young Canadian I spent a lot of time watching YTV, and it finally hit me. You were Lance Stone from Dark Oracle! Does that seem like a whole other chapter of your working life?

Definitely! I was around 20 when I admittedly realized and made the conscious decision to step my game up. I try not to be too hard on myself, but I’ve definitely made attempts to be better at what I do since then. Yeah, sometimes I shudder when I see my old stuff, and just focus on trying to get better.

Here at the Grizzly Bomb we’re all pretty big fans of comics, and Dark Oracle was themed around comics, so are you a fan?

Man, I could geek out about everything I like so much.

Okay, who are your favorite heroes… Go!

I was really into Marvel for a while. Captain America is my favorite hero. He’s just so true… Like lawful good, It bites him in the ass, but he’s an admirable dude. In the recent years I have really liked almost everything that Vertigo puts out, and even more recently I’ve started reading more indie stuff. I’m not a hipster, I love mainstream stuff as well, but man there’s some really really good stuff by Jeffrey Brown, and Chester Brown. I’m big into The Walking Dead, but who isn’t?

I’ve never heard of that show.

Anyways, what’s it like working with some of the older cast members? I mean, Chris Leavins is absolutely hysterical as Atticus, and Jason Mewes is and always has been cooler than shit, is it nothing but good times on set?

No, it’s always the worst times ever. Ha! See what happens when you lead me with a question like that? Okay, I’ll stop being an ass. Yeah, Chris said it in an interview how he always hates the behind the scenes of shows where the actors go on about how they’re all one big happy family, but it’s true, we are. We all love each other, we get along fantastically well, and we have the most fun ever, it’s almost a crime to say that it’s “work”.

Do you and Jay ever swap Degrassi stories?

Heh, no not really.

How about the rest of the cast? It must be a blast to work with the ‘gang’, do you spend a lot of your free time together as well?

When we’re in Winnipeg we usually hang out on weekends and stuff. Bill and I have a weird relationship where we’re both (mostly) adults, but when we’re around each other we bring out this completely juvenile side of one another. We go around causing ruckus and stuff like that. Not in the way you’d think, but more buying crazy stuff from antique stores. I’ve had some good times with that guy. Maggie and Mel are pretty much best friends in real life, they like to decorate the places they’re staying in, which frankly doesn’t interest me very much, but we still get together and talk about boys and such.

Ha! I have to talk about the musical episode ‘2 Girls, 1 Tongue’. I just can’t get those songs out of my head…. Ever. I know you all sang your own parts, was that a challenge and is it something you’ve had to do before working on Todd?

The fact that you can’t get them out of your head is due to the genius that is co-creator/writer Charles Picco. As I said, that man is brilliant! He wrote all the songs and I have to admit I’m quite fond of all of them. It was a bit challenging, from singing out loud and thinking “Wow, I sound so f–king good!” to listening to my recorded voice and sort of cringing. It’s also a pain to have cast mates like Jill and Mel who are triple threat singing goddesses. I mean that in the nicest way though, they’re so incredible.

During ‘Horny Like the Devil’, you were just ripping it up on top of that picnic table with Nikki Kane (Carmen Levine). All original moves? Can you teach me?

Yeah, We weren’t given choreographed moves for certain parts so it was basically up to me to make a ridiculous dance up. I can definitely teach you. It’s all in the hips man! That’s where my partly Latin heritage takes over.

Do you have a favorite episode out of the last 2 seasons? Or maybe a favorite moment from filming the show?

My favorite episodes from Season 2 are “2 Girls, 1 Tongue” and “Black Tie Showdown”. I think everyone brought their A-Game to those episodes, and I’m very very proud of how they turned out. I don’t really have one particular favorite moment, well maybe I do. One night we were shooting very late and Bill and I found a wheelchair in the school we were shooting at. So we decided to wheel it around when I got the bright idea to ride it down this ramp that the crew had constructed to push camera trolleys up and down the school stairway.

So I went first and was giggling like an 8 year old the entire time. Then Bill went, and we were in hysterics. Then poor Maggie stepped up, she’s such a trooper, she was going to try as well. Except the way that the ramp was set up was that it was very close to the door way at the top of the stair case. So Maggie pushes off and I could just tell that by the way she was positioned it wasn’t going to be good. She ended up crashing into the wall and falling out of the chair. I lost it, I’m really immature when it comes to stuff like that, but she was awesome and laughed it off.

I’m terrible! My favorite memory is laughing at one of my co-stars getting injured. Oh! Another thing, in the special features there’s a shot of a dummy hitting the wall, and Bill and my reaction to it. That’s my other favorite thing.

How has the character of Todd Smith grown in your two seasons with him? Has he changed from your initial idea of him?

I think he’s less unwilling to believe the possibility that he’s the pure evil one. He’s slowly taking steps in the direction of “Well, if I am the pure evil one, what am I going to do about it?” Where as in the first season it was entirely “I’m not the pure evil one, this isn’t my problem, oh wait, Jenny’s involved? Okay, sure It’s my problem, for now…”

In terms of my initial idea of him, he’s slowly becoming a bit more heroic it seems. Which isn’t really a different idea, but more of an evolution of the character. I never really go into my perception of a character feeling like they’re only one way, there should always be room to change and grow.

I love the Metal Dudes, your interaction with each other makes for some of the best scenes of the series. Are the scenes as fun to film as they are to watch?

Heh, I love working with those guys, but in all honesty they’d come out for a day or two each block of shooting, shoot all their stuff for two episodes then head out. So it was a bit fast. However Daniel (Brodie), Norman (Eddie), and Steve (Rob) are such great guys. They’re always a blast to be around.

Todd was nominated for 8 Gemini Awards (That’s a Canadian Entertainment award, for our American readers) and took home the Best Ensemble Performance in a Comedy Program or Series , which is a pretty awesome award. Is that a bit of a surreal feeling for the show to receive such accomplishments? As an actor was that something you were pretty excited for?

I played it off like I wasn’t at first, and probably would’ve continued to do so if we hadn’t won. I was really excited about it though, and proud of all of us. I honestly didn’t expect for us to win in that category though. I don’t know if I’m crazy, but I’ve alway felt this sort of ” That Todd show got nominated? What the hell is that all about?” so it was extremely gratifying for us to win.

Are we getting another season? I don’t know how many comments I made and things I signed begging for a second season, do I have to do that all over again? (To do that all over again, click here)

I hope we’re getting another season! In regards to your commitment, I can’t thank you enough.

So what’s next for Alex House? Are you looking to stay on TV, maybe go back to movies? What are your future goals? Feel free to pimp yourself out to the fullest here.

I just want to work on good projects where I can get better and grow as an actor. If something awesome on TV comes my way, I’ll do it in a heartbeat. I’d love to focus predominantly on film, but there’s a lot of excellent TV shows being made these days, and I’d love to be a part of some of them. As far as future goals go, I really just want to be able to act professionally and get to the point where my performances move people, as cheesy as that sounds. I want to do things I can be proud of. Todd is definitely something I am incredibly proud of.

Alex, I want to thank you for sitting down with us today. Watching Todd has been something to look forward to every week, and I hope we get to keep doing that for a few more seasons!

My pleasure, I just wanted to also mention to anyone who’s a fan, I cannot thank you enough for your dedication to the show. Thank you for enriching this experience and really motivating myself and the rest of the crew to make a good show for you guys.

Season 1 of Todd and The Book of Pure Evil was recently released on DVD which you can pick up here. It’s also currently airing in the UK on SyFy. Check your local listings.

Soundtracks to both seasons are available here & here.

Season 2 premieres in the States on FEARnet March 13th. I advise you not to miss it! Here’s a trailer for it if you doubt the awesomeness:

Official Website here.

Naked pictures of cast and myself here. (Removed for your convenience)

For more Exclusive Interviews click here!

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