Exclusive Interview: Ray Wise, from 'Reaper'
Exclusive Interview: Ray Wise, from 'Reaper'
Ray Wise, veteran television and movie actor, is probably the most perfectly cast actor on a TV series this year.  As the devil on Reaper, Wise brings the perfect combination of humor, mischief, and pure evil that you need out of a modern day Satan.   Reaper fans can attest to the fact that Wise steals every scene he's in on the show, and is one of the main reasons I watch each and every week.  Reaper aired it's last new episode until April 22 last night, but starting in April are five more season one episodes of The CW series.  Ray discussed the new direction Reaper will be taking in those final five episodes, as well as what's going on with the future of the series.

Below you will find the full written transcript and mp3 audio of the interview.

Hey, this is Oscar Dahl from BuddyTV, and I have the great pleasure of welcoming Ray Wise, who plays the devil on Reaper. Ray, how are you doing?

I'm doing fine today, Oscar.

Great. When you got the script and you saw that it was the devil, what was your interpretation going in? Was it pretty much what was on the page, or did you have any collaboration with the writers and creators over it?

Initially, for that pilot episode, it was pretty much what was on the page. That sort of dictated the way they wanted the character to be played, then of course I just added my own take on that, and my personality went along with it I guess. They had seen, I think, already about a hundred actors. I came in at the end of the process. I was the last one to be cast on the show, I think. They still hadn't found what they felt was their ideal devil, then I walked in and did that scene where I'm cooking a chicken fried steak, and added my little two cents to what they had written. When I was finished, I think they thought, "Yep, that's the guy."

What strikes me, more and more as the season has moved along, is how much fun it seems you're having playing that character. Is that right on?

Yeah, that's right on. I'm having a ball playing him. The character is so iconic. Everybody has their own idea of what they think the devil is, whether they're religious or not. Certainly everybody is familiar with the stories and the mythology related to the devil. They've seen devils before on other TV shows. Everybody has their own ideas, and then this is kind of a new, fresh take on the devil. My devil is very much like, he's kind of like if George Clooney were a devil, I suppose. A little bit of Cary Grant thrown in. He's sophisticated, he's suave, he's well dressed, and yet he can be down home too. He could be your next door neighbor.

It's definitely a new, unique take on it, but it also weirdly feels realistic. It seems like this is what the devil would be acting like. He'd be mischievous, he'd be trying to entertain himself, right?

Exactly, yeah. I think he's a devil for the 21st century. That's what he would be, ideally.

Being such a veteran of TV yourself, are there any constraints playing the devil? It must be a little weird playing a character that you know, at the end of the day, is unchanging.

Yeah. Are there constraints? So far I haven't felt them if there are. I really haven't felt them. I think that the dialogue that they give the devil is extremely well-written, and in many cases, almost poetic. I enjoy saying those lines, and so far the situations that I've been in as the devil have been exciting to me. I think that it's only going to get more so.

Pretty much all of your scenes are with Sam, played by Bret Harrison. How did you two hit it off initially? How important was that, and did you two do anything special to create on-screen chemistry?

I don't think we did anything special, it just seemed to click right off the bat. He's a great kid and I like him a lot, and he feels the same way about me. We just clicked right at the beginning. We have a very friendly relationship, we have a good working relationship, and we know each other well. We know pretty much when the other is going to do something, so we have a familiarity.

After coming back from the strike, have you noticed anything different about the scripts or being on set? Has anything changed, or is it pretty much business as usual?

It's sort of business as usual, but with some degree of change. I've noticed, and I could just be imagining this, but this new episode that we're shooting seems a little better written. And this new director that they brought in, I love this guy. The creators are on set with us, there seems to be a little bit more attention being paid, the slightest bit more care. And maybe they're spending a little bit more money. These last five episodes that we're shooting to complete the season, I think are going to be the best that we can do. It'll be a fine way to show the CW and the television audience what Reaper is.

I've watched every episode this season and I've loved the show, but what strikes me is how you feel that there's that much more potential in the show if it got a couple more seasons.

Absolutely, yeah. You're right, Oscar. I think that we're catching that in these last five episodes. We're opening it up a little bit, and we're seeing more about the relationship of the characters that we already know, as opposed to those escaped devils of the week. I think the whole hierarchy in Hell, and that whole world of Hell and its relationship to them is going to open up even more.

I have to ask this: have you heard anything about a second season, and is there any sort of uncertainty lurking on set?

There's a great deal of uncertainty, yes. I believe there's actual talk that's been said that we're on the bubble. They haven't decided yet if they want us to come back or not, and they've already renewed a number of shows, the CW. So far we're not one of them, so I can say very definitely that our future is in doubt. All we can do from our end is do it as well as we can and hope for the best.

Well Ray, I really appreciate you taking the time. It's been a pleasure.

Thank you, Oscar. Good to talk to you.