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Six Questions with “The Following”‘s Shawn Ashmore

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America’s long standing love affair with all things bacon continues as the much-anticipated crime thriller/Kevin Bacon detective story The Following made its debut Monday night to mostly positive reviews. The horror-tinged thriller centers on an escaped serial killer with a cult of personality (James Purefoy) on another killing spree, and the former FBI agent (Bacon) who put him away once before must see if he can go two for two before the body count gets out of control. We caught up with one of the show’s stars, Shawn Ashmore (“Mike Weston,” Bacon’s FBI protege-in-training), to talk about what sets the show apart from the pack, the problems with having a twin, and what drew him to the show.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_c3PNs1eV8?rel=0&w=615&h=346]

Nerdist: How excited were you to get your Bacon number as low as humanly possible (short of being Bacon himself)?

Shawn Ashmore: I was a little more excited about getting to work with Kevin as an actor, more than anything. That being said, to be able to be one degree away is kind of a fun perk. What I thought was really great is what a good sense of humor Kevin has about the whole thing. Great guy, great actor!

N: What sets The Following apart from other serial killer-centric shows like Dexter?

SA: This show is much different that any serial killer show I’ve seen to date. I’m a big fan of Dexter, and Marcos Siega (director and executive producer on our show), did work on that show but this is much more of a hardcore thriller. Also, as much as Joe Carroll is a charming character, he is never a character we are supposed to mistake for anything other than what he is. A monster. A true villain. That’s not to say we won’t like him at certain moments. That is his true power. Deception, charm and manipulation. That accent can get people to do the darndest things!

N: What attracted you to the role? Are you a big crime fiction guy?

SA: I’m a huge crime fiction guy, but what truly drew me to this part was Kevin Williamson’s amazing script. Great characters in real life and death situations with twists and turns that no one will see coming and a chance to work on a network show that is pushing boundaries. Add Kevin Bacon (and) James Purefoy (who both were attached at the time I was reading the script) and I think everybody wanted to be apart of this show. I was lucky enough to be the right person for the part.

N: What sort of light does this cast social networking in? Do you think it’s something that connects us or is it something that ultimately stratifies us further, splitting us into tiny sects and odd followings (like the members of the show’s KillBook)?

SA: Who knows? I think that we are going through so many changes as a society that it’s too early to even guess what the long term effects of social media will be. One thing we can be certain of, it is changing the way we interact.  I will say this: I still prefer to sit face to face with people!

N: With Bryan Singer back to direct X-Men: Days of Future Past, is there a chance we’ll see you ice up as Bobby Drake again?

SA: I think that is a question better suited to Bryan, but as I’ve always said, it is a character I would love to return to.

N: How many of your first conversations with people are explaining what projects you’ve done versus your brother?

SA: HA! A fair bit of time, but that’s what you get for being a twin and both deciding to act. We are very lucky to both be successful!

You can keep up with Shawn Ashmore (or was that his brother?) on Twitter (@ShawnRAshmore) and catch The Following on Mondays, 9/8c on Fox.

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