CLARK MOORE INTERVIEW 2017

   


Through all the ups and downs of season three of “The Last Ship”, there was one shocking moment that stood head and shoulders above all the rest: the murder of President Jeffrey Michener. Covered up as a suicide, the reveal was brutal, visceral, and deeply disturbing. Perpetrated by one of Alison Shaw’s hired thugs, the murder marked what is arguably the darkest point of the show so far.

The killer – Agent Costas – was played by Clark Moore, an LA-based actor. He appeared in a total of five episodes – “In The Dark”, “Paradise”, “Scuttle”, “Legacy”, and “Don’t Look Back”. Clark recently took the time to talk with us about his role in “The Last Ship”, his career, and what we can see him in next.

To all intents and purposes, Costas was shown as one of Shaw’s goons, someone who obeyed her orders, seemingly without compunction or question. “My take on the character was that I was always for Alison Shaw’s cause,” says Clark. “Things can change when you get there. What you read in a script versus when you get there… you see everyone’s attitude, and where they’re going with it, what actually fits in best with the story. My initial take on it was that I was an agent who was completely after their own cause, like a mercenary, selfish sort of individual. As I got there, I really started to feel the presence of the other president, and Elisabeth [Rohm], who’s just such a force on set.

“And I was like, ‘okay, this will add to the story better, this will be stronger if I was always about this other cause, as opposed to what the rest of the team was trying to get together with the country’.”

Of course, Costas’ is most remembered not just for killing President Michener, but also for taking out Regional Leader Roberta Price. However, Clark wasn’t aware of the full scope of the role when he was put up for it. “My agent called me, and said ‘you fit the role of this character they’re after on The Last Ship, but we don’t know what’s going to end up happening to him,” he explains. “That was my first time on the show, and when I was there, I saw that things change all the time. I went in knowing that I was going to be ‘something’, but not to the extent of what it was until I got there.

“Then I saw that, from one day to the next, all of a sudden, the dialogue was different, all of a sudden, they had me doing different things. They needed to move the story along in whatever way they found necessary. While I was there, I was thrown into this working machine. The first episode I worked on was directed by Steven Kane, who is the creator of the show, and he was just a force! The nicest guy, and I was working with him to try and see what would bring the story along best.

“Things change all the time, and it wasn’t until my second episode that I was thrown completely in the mix, and I got exactly what was happening. In the beginning, it was like a whirlwind of ‘you’re doing something, but we don’t know what it’s going to be, so you’re going to be looking after Alison Shaw, protecting her.”

Behind-the-Scenes on set of THE LAST SHIP Regram: @ClarkMooreLA

Despite Costas being largely silent when we see him in screen, he’s not just a background character, and Clark was able to have a direct input into his portrayal and how he comes across on screen. “They just give you a blueprint,” he says. “The script is just a blueprint, and the rest is up to you. I could have been doing a lot of different things, [but what you see is] what I chose to do on set. Some directors allow you a little bit more leeway when you’re working with them, and every episode had a different director, so depending on what was going on at the time, the director might say ‘we’re going to tweak it like this.’

“They’re doing multiple takes of everything, one take you might give them something that you feel… They’re all aligned with what I felt the character was: he was no-nonsense, he was there to complete a task. His mission was for the greater good of what direction he felt the country was going in, just not aligned with what President Oliver and his crew were doing. From my character’s perspective, I was right! I was doing what I felt I had to do to execute the cause that I felt was justified. That being said, I wasn’t going to put up with anyone getting in the way of that, which is where my attitude came into killing both Price and Michener.”

After killing Roberta Price, the shadowy Agent Costas seemed to disappear into thin air, and we’ve never known what became of him, whether he was even dead or alive.

“The last episode I did was the season finale, and it was an honour to work with Peter Weller,” admits Clark. “He was in one of my favourite movies, he was Robocop. He’s amazing!”

He’s there on set, and he leaves nothing to chance. He’s like ‘you’re gonna come over here, and you’re gonna point there, and you’re gonna say this’, and back and forth. I thought this guy was great, he’s brilliant. He had everything worked out in his head.

“So the last, final moments when I walk out the door, he looked and me, and he goes, ‘Clark, I don’t know what happens to you, but I’m going to assume that you rush out, and get cut down in the crossfire as you’re trying to protect Alison Shaw’. Now, that’s never finalised in anything that happens in the show, but I guess whatever they wanted to do with it, technically, no-one’s seen me die, I could technically come back if they really wanted to see me again, which would be super exciting for me, I would love that. I will say that because the only mention of if I ever died or not was that Peter mentioned it was on set, I like to think that I lived on, and I escaped and I’m in the shadows, and I could come back in any episode. I live in that world.”

Clark, Adam Irigoyen, Al Coronel & Emerson Brooks at THE LAST SHIP season 3 wrap party. Regram: @ClarkMooreLA

Of course, for the cast and crew, what we see on screen is just the beginning of their experience, and, often, some of the most memorable moments that they have will be consigned to being behind the scenes. “I live in a [state] gratitude,” begins Clark. “I cannot believe I lead the life I lead, and I’m grateful for all the gifts I have in my life every day. But a really great incident happened, and it was such a surreal moment. I’m sitting in the van, and this was the beginning of day two – they work on different episodes each day – they could be shooting one scene from one episode on one day, and one scene from a different episode the next. It’s not necessarily shot in order. So it was the beginning of day two, and I get to set, and everybody is in a rush. All of a sudden, people are running up to me, and I had seen the script from the night before, and in this particular episode, I was just supposed to be looking menacing and protecting Michener’s office.

“I realised everyone was in an unusual rush. They were like ‘oh my god, Clark’s here, and he’s ready…’ I didn’t see what the big deal was. So they got me in the van, and rushed me over to the set, and, in the front seat of the transpo van was Lt Kara Foster, played by Marissa [Neitling], who is just the sweetest. She was sitting in the front seat of the van, and I noticed her going over her lines. She was reading her script, and I decided to see what she was looking at, and all of a sudden, I see that my dialogue is there, and I realised I never got this part of the script, so I’m finding out what is actually happening on the day by looking over her shoulder.

“And I’m like ‘wait a minute, I’m not prepared for this! I have no idea what’s happening!’ The pressure’s on, and you always want to make a good impression, you want to make people feel like you’re a professional. So some way, somehow, I didn’t get the revised version of the script, so I didn’t know what was happening until I got in the van and was literally looking over her shoulder. I slapped my forehead, and hoped I wouldn’t screw this up. It was a really surreal experience. You want to be as professional as possible, but I couldn’t get off the van going ‘excuse me, I didn’t get a script today’.”

Working on “The Last Ship” seems to leave a lasting impression on most people, and Clark is no exception. “My take aways usually come from personal reflection, or from watching someone else, and seeing what I can learn from observing,” he says. “There’s no right or wrong, just taking your time with each individual scene. I’m coming from a personal place of creativity and performance in myself, and there’s the old adage ‘you dress up, show up, and shut up’, and you’re there trying to learn, and be part of the bigger picture, Watching what other people were doing, and the fact that, regardless of how little time you have, stopping to take a breath and just relax in the moment, when you’re in it… the time goes by so fast. I feels like yesterday, but so much has happened, it feels like five years ago. Just being there, in the moment – I think that adds to the performance, I think that adds to being able to appreciate where and what you’re doing.

“I feel like that was a really good take away, because it was from that that I was able to learn that it’s okay to make mistakes; I saw a lot of people make mistakes, myself included, and that’s okay. It’s okay to not be perfect, but it’s not okay to not be yourself.”

Clark has quite a varied résumé, with a vast array of character types under his belt. We wondered whether he had a favourite. “Some of my favourite movies growing up… I loved “Groundhog Day”, I loved “Back to the Future”, I loved “Young Guns II”,” he explains. “I have a very varied taste in movies, and somehow, in some way, shape or form, I have gotten to play a little bit of the characters that I loved growing up. I did a short called “This Day Forward”, produced by Mini Cooper [the car brand] and directed by Academy Award winner Joachim Black, which was very “Groundhog Day”-esque, and I couldn’t believe I was getting to do that.

“I also got to play Pat Garrett in [a telling of] the Billy the Kid story, which is what “Young Guns II” is about. I got to play one of my favourite characters. But I guess I have to say that I’d really like to be in a Western.”

Clark as ‘Pat Garrett’ in Nat Geo’s ‘Billy the Kid’

While Clark’s career is now on the rise, there’s still a little bit of advice he wished he had been given when starting out. “I have listened to a lot of bad advice,” he admits. “The main reason is that I, admittedly, didn’t know what I was doing. I am always cautious now of people who claim they know what they’re doing, [but] who aren’t in the business, or who claim they’re trying to be in the business, and know exactly how it works. My question is ‘if you know exactly how it works, and you know exactly what you’re doing, why aren’t you further along than you are?

“There are probably two bits of advice I wish I’d been given from the very beginning. One is don’t listen to anyone who’s never made a dime in the business. That is the single best piece of advice that I wish I had gotten early on, and I didn’t, and I took a lot of advice, and a lot of it was inaccurate. The second piece of advice would be figure it out for yourself. I had an acting teacher once say ‘I’m going to say the same twelve things to you, in about 250 different ways. One of those ways I say them to you is going to click, and it’s going to make sense.’ I feel that that is really accurate. What that is really saying is that you don’t understand what the person is trying to tell you. There’s a million different ways to say it, but if it’s not being interpreted by your brain in a way that you can take action on it, it’s not going to help you.”

Clark has kept himself busy since leaving “The Last Ship”, and is excited to share what’s coming next for him. “There’s a new show I just finished shooting, coming out on Amazon Prime, based on a podcast, called ‘Lore’, and it’s a horror genre,” he says. “It’s coming out later this year. Each episode is its own thing, with all new characters, all new cast, and all new stories, based on true events which have taken place, and the lore that has come off them that has made it into our culture. The episode that I’m in is the fourth episode of the season, called ‘The Beast Within’, and I play a werewolf hunter. I’m really excited about it, because it’s set in the 1500s, and they did all the research, and made custom outfits for the entire cast. It’s amazing, I’m really excited about it. You’ll be seeing some really talented people in that.”

So if you’ve been wondering what happened to our favourite murderous mercenary, there you have it! Watch out for Clark later this year in “Lore”.