Interview: Mike Vogel On UNDER THE DOME Season 2
By Brian Walton on June 12, 2014
Last year’s break out summer show Under the Dome returns for a second season on June 30th. The adaptation of Stephen King’s epic-sized tome about a town cut off from the rest of the world features an impressive ensemble cast including Rachelle Lefevre, Dean Morris and the man we’re speaking with today, Mike Vogel.
The first season of the show found Vogel’s character, Dale “Barbie” Barbara, falling in love with local reporter Julia while trying to hide his knowledge of some of the towns darkest secrets. As season two premieres, with a Stephen King penned episode no less, we caught up with Mike to talk about Barbie, new additions to the cast and the potential for a sequel to She’s Out of My League.
(Season 1 Spoilers Below!)
Nerdist: You have had a very interesting arc, because you had probably the most mysterious backstory. But now that we know you and people kind of rally around you – you’re that great everyman character – in season 2, you’re going to take on a lot more of a leadership role, even more than you were. What can we look forward to?
Mike Vogel: I think we certainly started, as you said, last year, with not knowing – who is this guy? Is he good, is he bad? I think, as the show has a habit of doing, where we start off is never where we end up. What I’ve been told and what I’ve been filled in on, over this next season, will continue that same pattern. Even still, how we start out this season will not be how we end it, and I’ve been told some really interesting, interesting things.The [writers'] minds are crazy. In December, when I sat down with Neal [Baer] and Brian K. Vaughan, and we outlined where the season was going, even then it was great. And they just keep finding really interesting ways to expand this thing. So I think what we’ll find with Barbie this year – we kind of got this idea last year that he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. This season, we’ll find out that it was absolutely no accident. There’s a reason that he’s here, and he’s going to discover that, and the audience will discover that.
N: One thing I’ve liked about the character is he wasn’t a victim of his circumstances. He takes ownership. Is that something you related to?
MV: Absolutely. You know, I – it is interesting, because Mike Vogel, the person – when I’ve read some of these scripts, I’m like, “Why am I not vindicating myself? Why do I just let Big Jim just constantly – how would I not….” But as I’ve said before, I have a lot of friends that come out of the special forces community, and it’s that mentality of you don’t piss and moan, you grin and bear it, and you deal with it. You figure out, adapt and overcome. I think that’s kind of Barbie’s mantra. You can spend time pissing and moaning about a situation, or you can do something about it; take it into your own hands.
The one thing with him that I always want to avoid is that “hero” phrase. I don’t want him to be a hero. I want him to be in the wrong place at the right time, every time. He’s just a guy that his mode of operation is action, and that’s what he knows to do.
N: He’s the John McClane of the Dome.
MV: That’s right! [chuckles] That’s right. So, you know, I think for him – I think we’re going to see more stuff with Julia, a kind of tearing apart to bring back together.
N: Well, she’s the monarch now.
MV: She’s the monarch. That’s right. Those are big shoes to fill.
N: [chuckling] Nobody quite knows what being the monarch means.
MV: That’s right. Neither does she. [laughs]
N: “These are big shoes – we think.”
MV: That’s right! “We think this is very important.”
N: That actually leads to a great question. One of the best things about this show is that it’s an ensemble show, and when Stephen King creates ensemble stuff, it’s never about the circumstances, it’s about the people. What I’m really looking forward to this year, is that last year Barbie had a couple of people – most of your scenes were either with Jim or Julia, and this year we’re going to get to see you interacting with a much bigger scale of people, and seeing how that plays out. Are there any characters where you’re looking forward to getting more scenes with, to see how that dynamic plays?
MV: Oh, yeah. I mean, I am really looking forward to Carla Chrome, our new cast member Rebecca, who just came to town. She’s a fiery little actress, and I’m excited to see – I’ve been told, sort of, her arc, and how it plays into it. And it’s really interesting! That, and also Eddie Cahill. Already, he and I have kind of hit it off, and just as a person he’s a great guy. I’d love to see those two characters clash. So continued, I’m sure it’ll be interesting – the relationship between Jim Junior and Barbie switches a bit. I’m looking forward to that.
As you said, and I hope is the case that continues is that instead of being about – the circumstances are going to be amazing and exciting and all that fun stuff, but the characters need to stay rich. They need to push an envelope of not just being sliced down the middle, good guy/bad guy. I’d love to see these characters meander and find their way. I think that is Barbie, you know. Yes, he’s a good guy, and he does – he has integrity and does what’s right. But the way that he gets there, I’d love to not always be squeaky clean, by any stretch of means. I’d love it to be dirty.
N: We’re fans of She’s Out of My League. Is there any chance that you guys might come together and do a Fierce Creatures/Fish Called Wanda sequel kind of thing? It was such a surprise sleeper hit.
MV: Yeah – I was a little worried going into it, because I love comedy, I can do it, but I’m not a comedian. I know that comedic sets can be really brutal. It can almost become a bit of a stand-up – like being at a stand-up club, where one is trying to one-up the other. Thank God they were gracious to me! Everyone was rooting for everyone. They were behind the monitors and genuinely laughing when you would do something – the ball shaving scene, we were literally just taking the piss out of me the whole time. I think that kind of fit into the reality of these characters. Because everyone has those friends! The thing I love about that movie is in any – you look at the nucleus of your friends’ group, you’re going to have every single one of those guys in that group.
N: It really did feel like a group of friends. Just hanging out, making each other laugh.
MV: And we did. We did, off camera too. Everyone – whether it be – Jay has a thing with Dave and Busters, so everyone would go to Dave and Busters and play video games all night long, and hang out and I think that worked its way onto the screen.
N: So if they did say, “Let’s get the band back together…”?
MV: Oh, I’d be there! I’d be there in two seconds.
Under The Dome returns to CBS Monday June 30th. Stay tuned to Nerdist.com for more interviews from the cast of Under the Dome.