EXCLUSIVE TV Goodness Q&A: Anson Mount Discusses Season 3 of AMC’s Hell on Wheels [INTERVIEW]
Warning: Spoilers Discussed
Back in June, TV Goodness attended the ATX Television Festival in Austin TX. We talked to some great people and sat in on some really good panels. We screened the second episode of Hell on Wheels‘ season 3 (the premiere was too CGI heavy and not quite ready) and got an opportunity to sit down with series star Anson Mount to discuss the evolution of his character, what’s coming up this season, and what he loves most about his job.
TVGOODNESS: I love how Cullen Bohannan changes yet stays the same. Can you talk about playing this character and how that’s changed from the first season?
Anson Mount: “This season he’s having to change in terms of maturation, but not out of a decision to mature. It’s literally a question of survival. He has to mature in order to survive. When he first came to Hell on Wheels, it was totally a fluke that he discovered this enterprise that resembled an army. Totally a fluke. But then that allowed him to begin to keep fighting his war. And then when he came into a position of power he decided to run the enterprise like an army and found out that doesn’t work. And so now he’s having to- if he wants to keep this thing that’s filling the hole in his life and in his heart he’s got to figure out how to run it. That requires a certain level of thinking and operating beyond base instincts. So that’s where that comes in. And if it was a decision to mature it would be boring and I’d want to be on another TV show, but because it’s maturation for survival’s sake I think that’s really interesting.”
TVGOODNESS: Do you think part of that was forced on him because of Lily’s deathâ€¦
Anson: “No. Absolutely not, no. You’ll see in the beginning of episode 1. He could easily die. He’s in a situation where he could die. He is drowning. He’s a drowning man. When you’re in a situation where you’re in danger of drowning your instinct decides for you whether you’re gonna go through with it or not. And his instinct says, ‘No. I’m gonna swim to the surface.’ So he wants to live. He does. He doesn’t quite know why but there’s something deep in him that has a kind of begrudging hope.”
TVGOODNESS: As we go into season 3 and we’re meeting these new characters who come into town and interact with Cullen, can you talk about how it’s been to work with the new actors and go into these new directions with your story?
Anson: “We’ve been very lucky. We’ve hired some very cool people. We’ve got Jennifer Ferrin, who’s a new contract player. We’ve got a fellow who’s a friend of mind that I went to grad school with named Leon Ingulsrud. He’s a founding member of SITI Company, which is Anne Bogart’s theater company, and he’s playing Doctor Major Augustus Bendix. He’s a very dangerous Calvary major.”
TVGOODNESS: And we meet him in episode 2, right?
TVGOODNESS: He’s an interesting character.
Anson: “He’s like- do you read any Cormac McCarthy?”
TVGOODNESS: Yeah, I have.
Anson:Â “Have you read Blood Meridian?”
Â TVGOODNESS: I haven’t.
Anson: “Well you need to read it.”
TVGOODNESS: Ok, I will.
Anson: “He’s like the judge. He’s profoundly, deeply intelligent. And bigger than everybody and he uses his size and his intellect for nefarious purposes.”
TVGOODNESS: He definitely impressed me and he wasn’t on-screen for very long.
Anson: “He’s just an odd-looking dude. It’s interesting. And then Mr. Toole’s brother, Declan Toole comes to town to find who he believes is his brother’s child. There’s actually a cultural standoff between the Irish and the Freedmen about whose baby this is.”
TVGOODNESS: Sounds good. How far along are you in filming this season?
Anson: “We’re in the middle of episode 5. Neil LaBute is directing episode 5 right now.”
TVGOODNESS: That’s exciting.
Anson: “He came on board as the fan of the show and we’ve really enjoyed working with him. Obviously he’s a smart dude. This is his first episode of television.”
TVGOODNESS: What’s coming up this season that you’re excited about and allowed to discuss?
Anson: “I had to learn a little bit about lacrosse. I can’t tell you exactly why.”
TVGOODNESS: And what have you enjoyed in the past two seasons?
Anson: “The best part of my job is riding my horse. It’s the best part of my job. I just get to be in the sunshine on my horse.”
TVGOODNESS: I know you can’t really give away too much, but can you tell us anything else about the premiere?
Anson: “Yeah. At the end of season two Cullen Bohannan is offered the position of temporarily running the Union Pacific. And this survival mechanism that springs into life in him, his swimming to the surface is getting to New York to accept the position and it doesn’t necessarily go smoothly.”
TVGOODNESS: Nothing does.
Anson: “So a big part of our first episode is set in New York City. We have three locations: Hell on Wheels, Omaha,Nebraska, and New York City. And it’s a big, expensive episode. [Laughs] We spent a lot of money on this episode.”
TVGOODNESS: Did you shoot on location?
Anson: “We built sets. We were gonna do reciprocity with Copper and we were gonna use their New York sets and let them use our railroad sets and some lawyer f*ckheads got involved and decided that we were not allowed to do that.”
TVGOODNESS: Well, we’re excited for the season to start. We like what we’ve seen so far.
Anson: “We’re pretty happy with it. We’re still tweaking it a little bit.”
TVGOODNESS: It’s been a good journey to go on, seeing how the other characters in the camp have evolved as well. Who’s your favorite person to work with?
Anson: “Common. He’s one of my favorite people I’ve ever worked with.”
TVGOODNESS: I love that relationship. Tell us a little more about its evolution.
Anson: “Good and I’m proud that we didn’t go the Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor route. The immediate friendship would’ve been stupid.”
TVGOODNESS: It wouldn’t have been believable.
Anson: “But because we’ve done that, it’s really paying off now. And you’ll see. I think that’s maybe the best part of season three, is seeing that relationship start to evolve.”
TVGOODNESS: That’s great to hear because I do love your scenes together.Â
Anson: “You’ll see. It takes root in episode one. Cullen is in full Grisly Adams mode and he’s gonna go to New York and do this crazy thing and the one person he has to have with him- and he goes and finds Elam. But then…”
TVGOODNESS: The twist.
Anson: “He’s very underhanded about it. You’ll see why. I don’t want to ruin it for you. It’s so good. It’s so good and so wrong. [Laughs] It’s so…it’s…so…it’s a good episode.”
Season 3 of Hell on Wheels premieres Saturday, August 10th at 9/8c.
Edited for space and content.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Dennis Heaton Talks The Imperfects
Longtime readers at TV Goodness will know that Motive is one of my ride-or-die series, and as such, I am fiercely loyal to its creator, Dennis Heaton. He followed up that fantastic reverse procedural with Netflix’s The Order and is back on our streaming screens with The Imperfects, which dropped…
Kelly McCormack Talks Favorite Moments in A League of Their Own
[Warning: Mild spoilers for season 1.] Now that you’ve had a chance to watch A League of Their Own, here’s the rest of my chat with Kelly McCormack about her favorite moments of the season. Seeing the iconic Peaches uniforms for the first time wasn’t just a goosebump moment for…
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From on EPIX Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks EPIX’s From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People [streaming on Global TV in Canada and Roku…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
Pegah Ghafoori Talks From “All Good Things…”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode] Tonight on From, Fatima’s anniversary celebration turned into a Colony House of horrors when a misguided Kevin let his monster bae in and she promptly killed him and left the window open for her crew. While the party devolved into terror and sent everyone running,…
Shaun Majumder Talks From “Book 74”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight on EPIX’s From, Father Khatri made a bold move, kidnapping Sara instead of turning her in, and then recognizing her as a vessel for some big messages. That startling realization speaks to him on multiple levels–as a man of faith, a man trapped in…
Avery Konrad Talks About Sara’s Struggle in From “Silhouettes”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Over the course of the season so far on From, we’ve witnessed Sara’s battle against the voices telling her to to do terrible things, and tonight we saw her unravel further, threatening the Matthews and lashing out in a moment of terror with horrifying results….
Hannah Cheramy Talks From “Choosing Day”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight, on EPIX’s From, the Matthews participate in the show’s version of the sorting hat, choosing where to call home–the town or Colony House. At the end of the episode, Julie makes the decision to split from her family and instead settle in with Fatima…
Ricky He Talks From “The Way Things Are Now”
[Warning: Spoilers for episode 102 of EPIX’s From.] Epix’s new series From is two episodes in and it’s already laying the groundwork for a seriously spooky season. Tonight’s episode demonstrated the careful balance of relief and horror that the show hits, with our characters’ worst fears realized, just not when…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…