Read our exclusive interview with actor/director Mark Deklin, who stars as Trammel Thatcher in the critically-acclaimed FOX drama ‘Lone Star.’ Set in Texas, the show follows Trammel’s con brother-in-law, Robert Allen, played by James Wolk, who is leading two separate lives as he tries to take control of the family’s oil business. The show airs Mondays at 9pm EST. Deklin discusses with us, among other things, why he took on the role of Trammel, what it’s like to work with Jon Voight and why viewers should watch ‘Lone Star.’
Shockya (SY): You are remembered for guest starring on such shows as ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Sex and the City.’ So why did you decide to take on a starring role, as business executive Trammel Thatcher, in the new FOX crime drama, ‘Lone Star?’
Mark Deklin (MD): Well, that’s the funny thing about this business. It’s not so much as deciding on taking a starring role, because one would always prefer to have regular work. But what drew me to the project more than anything else was the intelligence of the writing. First and foremost, when I first read the script, I immediately knew it was a smart, fun show. I thought I could do something kind of interesting with this role. In some ways, it’s sort of written as a bad guy, a villain. I thought I could bring some different colors to that, maybe play him a little more vulnerable, and not stereotypically bad guy.
SY: On the show, Jon Voight plays your father, Texas oil tycoon Clint Thatcher. What is it like working with him?
MD: Oh, it’s fantastic, on so many levels. Obviously, he’s an actor of a different stature. He’s had a tremendous career, and it’s an honor just to work with him. Besides from all that, it’s an honor at the basic level to work with a phenomenal actor. Whether he’s a famous, Academy Award-winning actor or not, he’s just a tremendous actor. What he brings to every scene is almost mind-blowing. He always brings 110 percent. His dedication to his craft is aspiring to all of us. I love being in a scene with him, because he always challenges you and pushes you to do your best. It’s great, and the whole team is like that. On a personal level, he turned out to be one of the sweetest people to work with. I love the guy. We’ve become buddies, and we’ve formed a great relationship where we can disagree, or go head-to-head. He’s just wonderful to work with. I have nothing but glowing things to say about the man on every level.
SY: ‘Lone Star’ is considered to be one of the best new shows of the season. What does it feel like to be part of one of the more buzzed-about pilots of the year?
MD: It’s wonderful, for obvious reasons. It’s kind of an exciting ride. It’s great, all the hype and critical response. That’s an exciting thing to be a part of. Again, as an actor and as an artist, you’re always just grateful to have work, even if you’re working on something crappy, you’re grateful that you’re working. It beats the alternative. But it’s wonderful when you’re working on something you’re really proud of. Ever since the premiere, I’ve been getting calls from all my friends and family. You would think that as friends and family, they’re just blindly supportive. But that’s not true. These are the people that will tell me, “Hey, I think that show’s a piece of crap.” Unanimously, everyone’s saying “Dude, this is great, this is one of the best things you’ve done. We would watch it even if you weren’t in it.” It’s something that I’m proud of.
SY: You received another honor when you were ranked as number four on the New York Daily News website’s Fall TV’s Hot New Stars. How did you react when you found out?
MD: Obviously, I’m a human being, and I have an ego. It made me feel good. Actually, I was surprised. That was actually the most fun part. I was actually going to check my e-mail. I saw, you know on Yahoo in the little headlines, “the New York Daily News picks its hot new stars of the fall.” I was like, oh, I’m going to click on that. Obviously, they were going to have something about Jimmy (Wolk, who plays the main character, con-man Robert Allen) on there. I thought he was going to be the break-out star of the show. It never even occurred to me that I would be on the list. I really was just looking to see if Jimmy was on it. It would be great for the show, and great for Jimmy, he’s a great kid. I was really pleasantly shocked to see my own mug looking back at me. It’s really flattering. There’s never anything wrong with people saying nice things about you. So, it felt great.
SY: Why should viewers watch ‘Lone Star?’ What makes it stand out from other shows?
MD: I think there a many number of reasons why viewers should watch. I think it’s a great show. It’s interesting, in this day and age, where you have con-men, like Enron, who are swindling people out of their life savings. I can imagine someone out there saying, “Why would I want to watch a show about people doing that? That’s terrible.” To me, that’s what makes it timely. Our protagonist, our con-man, isn’t happy being a con-man. He’s really upset with himself and his life, and really, it’s the only thing he’s ever known. He was raised to be a con-man, it’s the only life he’s ever known. It’s beginning to weigh on him, and he doesn’t want to do it anymore. He wants out, and he doesn’t know how. You’re watching this young man struggle with his conscience. He wants to go legit. He’s dug such a deep hole for himself, it’s going to be really hard to dig himself out. It’s not a show in anyway promoting con-men, saying “Isn’t that great?” or glamorizing it. We want this kid to suffer, and torture himself with what he’s done. It’s really the writing. All the characters, the older generation, me, my brother, they’re all drawn-out characters. Everybody, in some way or another, is running a con. Whether they’re conning themselves, or their spouse, or someone in business. It just really explores the inner colors of humanity. In a way, it’s really subtle and smart. I think that’s a mix for interesting watching. I think it was beautifully shot. Mark Webb, our director for the pilot, set an amazing tone with that pilot. The editing and the lighting, it was very beautifully rendered. Now the team for the series, everyone’s really committed to continuing that vision. I think we’re doing a bang-up job of doing that. I can tell you, honestly, this is a show that if I wasn’t in it, if I was just watching TV, I would watch this show.
Written by: Karen Benardello