Back to Frank Black speaks to Doug Hutchinson (2009)

Doug Hutchison is a name very much associated with some of the most iconic moments from 1013’s past productions. Whilst a widely celebrated actor he is enshrined in the memories of fans of the ‘X-Files’ for his notable depiction of ‘Eugene Victor Tooms’ but to the fans of ‘Millennium’ he will always be ‘The Polaroid Stalker’, the psychotic individual who’s arc formed the bedrock of the first season of ‘Millennium’ and who’s effects would be felt throughout the entire second series and beyond. We are extremely grateful to Doug for taking the time to speak to us and to his personal assistant, MC, in helping to arrange securing this interview on our behalf.

BACKTOFRANKBLACK.COM: Fans of Millennium are no doubt familiar with your celebrated role on the ‘X-Files’ as Eugene Victor Tooms. How did the experience of working on Millennium compare to your contribution to its sister franchise?

DOUG HUTCHISON: I had a blast playing both Tooms on ’X-Files’ and Polaroid Man on ‘Millennium‘; two distinctly different roles. I had, maybe, 12 lines of dialogue as Tooms [“yes”, “no”, “yes”, “no”, “I like art”, etc.] and “Polaroid Man“ couldn‘t seem to keep his mouth shut!

BTFB: The Polaroid Stalker was an integral arc throughout the entire first season of Millennium. When you were brought in to portray the character are efforts made to ensure you are aware of the character’s history and place within the show’s mytharc and when such an integral arc is being brought to its denouement is there a certain pressure on you to deliver a performance befitting the zenith of the audience’s
expectations?

DH: Very rarely are guest stars given insight to a show‘s myth arcs and their character‘s histories, etc. However, on “Millennium”, I had the extra benefit of knowing Glen Morgan and James Wong [who I had forged a relationship with on “X-Files“] and they gave me certain insights to the Polaroid Man that I might not have had otherwise. As far as pressure regarding delivering performance, well, I suppose there’s always some pressure, some trepidation, some doubt diving into any role really. But to be perfectly honest, [and I‘ve never confessed this before, so you’re getting a no hold barred uncensored exclusive here!] about 3 days before I flew up to Vancouver to shoot “Millennium”, I did a hit of ecstasy and me and Polaroid Man fused! And now for the record: I don’t do drugs anymore to commune with my characters (O:

BTFB: The scenes in ‘The Beginning and the End’ between yourself and Megan Gallagher are, by necessity, intense to view. Are scenes in which duress and torture simulated difficult to shoot for the actors involved and do these scenes require more rehearsal and choreography or does a certain spontaneity enrich the performances of those involved?

DH: I recall, Megan and I just dove into that sequence because, generally speaking, there’s not a Hecuba lot of time luxuriating in rehearsal on episodics. We had to rehearse, obviously, for camera and lighting, but other than that we just plunged. Megan was awesome, It’s far more challenging, in my opinion, to play the victim and emit stone fear than it is to perpetuate fear. In performing the role of a King in Shakespeare, for example, they say that all the actors playing the King’s minions are the ones who enhance the actor playing the King’s performance by endowing him with absolute servitude. Megan was fiercely generous. She acted afraid impeccably and, thus, helped me to come across menacing, adding tension to the scene. Megan’s a helluvan actress.

BTFB: Millennium fans have long been preoccupied with Megan’s character’s response to her onscreen husbands killing of your character, The Polaroid Stalker. Many believe she was unjustified in her decision to part from Frank in light of this. With your understanding of what took place between the two characters do you believe there was narrative justification for the decision? Does it surprise you to discover that this consensus was largely held by male supporters of the show?

DH: I gotta be honest, I don’t own television. So I’ve never had the opportunity to follow “Millennium” [or, for that matter any of the episodics I have worked on so I really can‘t contribute to this question. Sorry )O:

BTFB: I am aware that you fought for certain artistic changes to the intended depiction of Tooms in the famous Cocoon scene in order that a certain animalism be preserved with regards to the character. The Polaroid Stalker, during interrogation, is almost bestial, primal in his taunting of Catherine Black is it easy to bypass one’s psychological inhibitions in order to harness such carnal drives and feelings?

DH: I don’t own TV or inhibitions. I just plunge. Inhibitions be damned!

BTFB: Followers of your career will no doubt be aware of ‘Vampire Killers’, the series of two minute webisodes you have created. What inspired you to explore the relatively untapped potential of online video and does this format allow for greater creative autonomy than would be afforded someone writing for teevee?

DH: From collecting the “The Tomb of Dracula” comics as a kid, reading Anne Rice’s novels, and digging movies like “Nosferatu”, “the Addiction”, and “the Hunger”, I’ve always had an affinity for the Vampire genre. “Vampire Killers” was initially conceived as a TV Series and then my good friend, Marco Mannone [co-writer and playing the role of Travis in “VK] suggested turning it into a web-series. I thought it was an enticing idea and the perfect venue for something like “Vampire Killers”. I wanted to shoot it dark, gritty, sexy and with no holds barred. The internet is like the wild wild west. Anything goes. We’re building a global audience virally. It’s exciting. It’s the new frontier and best of all: I don’t have to deal w/studio execs breathing down my neck. I can maintain creative control. I’m to “Vampire Kilers” what Chris Carter was to the “X-Files” and Jack Bender is to “Lost”. I welcome the impeccable ideas from my creative partners [Mannone and writer/director, Tim Baldini], but ultimate – when it comes to a definitive answer/solution/decision: the buck stops with me.

BTFB: In ‘Vampire Killers’ there’s a palpable sexual current to the stories you are telling. As sexuality and vampirism are almost a given with regards to their association what efforts have you made to ensure this aspect of the narrative remains fresh rather than familiar.

DH: I’ll leave that up to the audience. I think we’re telling a compelling and alluring story in our series, but you can be the judge: www.vampirekillers.tv.

BTFB: For fans of your continuing career what should we look forward to from you in the future?

DH: I’m co-starring with Thomas Jane and Vin Rhames in an indie feature called “Give ‘Eh Hell, Malone” directed by Russell Mulcahy [“Highlander” and “Resident Evil 3”] premiering sometime this fall. I’m also playing a recurring on “Lost” this season. Hoping to direct/produce my original screenplay, “dream birds” sometime this year, and to continue shooting “Vampire Killers” when we secure sponsorship. If anyone ever wants to keep abreast of my career, they’re welcome to visit www.doughutchison.com and/or www.darkwaterinc.com for updates.

BTFB: Thank you Doug for taking the time to talk to us and best wishes for the future.

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