Today, I had the pleasure of talking with actor Erik LaRay Harvey. You might recognize him as Luke Cage’s villainous, gun-running half-brother, Willis “Diamondback” Stryker, as Dunn from ‘Broardwalk Empire‘, or from his roles in ‘Rounders‘, ‘Twister‘, and ‘K-Pax‘. Harvey also lent his voice to the character “Bombate” for the 2014 video game ‘Wolfenstein: The New Order‘.
I spoke with Harvey about both his past and present projects which includes the thriller ‘The Charnel House‘, set to be released on November 4th.
In ‘The Charnel House’ a talented young architect, Alex Reeves, transforms a long-abandoned slaughterhouse into ultra-high-tech lofts, but the building is hiding a dark, deadly secret that has been hidden for the past 30 years.
In the film, Harvey plays the role of Devin, a man who has returned back home and moved into the building with the hopes of finding answers about missing father.
Harvey stars alongside Callum Blue, Nadine Velazquez, Makenzie Moss, Danielle Lauder, Joe Keery, Andy Favreau and Kate Linder in ‘The Charnel House’, directed by Craig Moss, written by Emanuel Isler and Chad Israel.
Horror Fuel: “What can we expect from The Charnel House?”
ELH: “A thriller. The Charnel House will definitively raises some questions that I think we haven’t seen in horror films. It’s a new twist on a modern issue, converting an old property into a new property and all the ghosts that lie beneath.”
Horror Fuel: “Can you tell us a little about your character, Devin?”
ELH: “Devin Cross, I love that name, has a lot of history with the property. His family is from that area for generations. His father worked there, and his father’s father worked there, and his father’s father’s father worked there at the old property, when it was a slaughter house. So, he knows the area well. When he was being raised, this awful accident happened and then he went away and it’s bothered him ever since. Now, he’s returned to find some answers and to find his father who disappeared at that time. So, it’s an interesting journey for Devin. He’s from a military background. He did some investigative journalism in the military and he uses that experience to help him sort of solve the issue with mysteriousness of the current events.”
Horror Fuel: “When The Charnel House was being made was there anything spooky or mysterious that happened on set?”
ELH: “[laughter] I think there was. I think Callum had a couple of issues with some mysterious happenings on set. Devin’s a God fearing man, he has the lord behind him, and with the name Cross I think he was very protected. Nothing happened while I was on set, but I did hear there were some incidents with Callum. Over all it was a good shoot. I think we were really happy with the results, so. I hope the fans and the audience really enjoys it.”
Horror Fuel: “How does playing a role in a film compare to playing a role on a series, like with your character Diamondback in Luke Cage?”
ELH: “That’s a great question, you know. Well, for me the preparation, character wise, it’s no different. How I prepare for a character is how I prepare for a character. But when shooting for a film that’s a very finite story, that doesn’t really change at all. When you shoot a series, such as Luke Cage, you never know what is coming up with the next script. And they don’t really tell you the whole story arc from the beginning. With a film you know what “A” is and you know what “Z” is. You know how to get there. In television they give you “A”, then they give you “B”, then they give you “C”. It keeps you sort of interested as well. They are both equally enjoyable to do and I love both processes.”
Horror Fuel: “Will we see Diamondback in season two of Luke Cage? I need to know. I’m a huge fan of the show.”
ELH: “I know, right? I hope so. I don’t know at this point. That’s a difference right there, especially with Marvel. They are so secretive. They haven’t told me any information about season two. So, I’m keeping my fingers crossed as well. I’m rooting for Diamondback. I really love him and I hope he returns.”
Horror Fuel: “When I told my husband that I would be talking to you that was the first thing out of his mouth, was “Is Diamondback coming back for season 2?”
ELH: “I’m so glad that y’all enjoyed it. The appreciation from fans has been tremendous. Fans have said a lot of wonderful things and been really supportive. Even on the comments on The Charnel House board, they’re sort of ‘Oh, I didn’t know Diamondback was in this, I’m going to go see it’. I hope it brings some of the fans to Charnel House, especially during this time. It’s a great thriller. I’m in Ohio and there’s a lot going on, They’ve got the world series going on. So, I hope it’s well received.”
Horror Fuel: “Is there anything similar between the two characters, Diamondback and Devin?”
ELH: “Let me see, let me see, let me see. No, they are two totally different characters. That’s an interesting question. No, there really isn’t. Luke Cage is more sci-fi, more fantasy, fantastical. Diamondback is really a character that you’re not going to find on the street. His circumstances are so extreme, from his childhood to jail, to the underground weapons runner, to kingpin of the underworld, to fighting a bulletproof man. That’s really a fantastical journey, you know. But Devin in Charnel House is based more on reality. You find that guy on the street. And you would pretty much find all the characters in Charnel House on the street. It’s more realistic, more grounded. One’s more fantasy and one’s more reality. I think fans will really appreciate the difference between Luke Cage and Charnel House and the two different characters that I play in it. They are two very distinct characters.”
Horror Fuel: “Is there anything special that you did to prepare for Luke Cage?”
ELH: “Luke Cage dealt a lot with family. The most important thing for me was to hold onto my close knit family. My experience growing up, a lot of it was a like in the sense that I did have a grandfather who was a minister so I was very familiar with the bible. I just had to remember where I came from and put that in sort of that fantasy world of Marvel to help me with Diamondback. That really was the only thing special that I used to prepare for Diamondback is my own experience with family and that really helped me with Charnel House as well. Here, Devin is looking for his father. It’s really funny, both of them, their actions are based on their fathers, so to speak. That’s a huge part of people’s lives, their mothers and fathers. The connection between the two is a fatherly connection. But with Diamondback, he’s out for revenge and with The Charnel House, Devin is out for answers. He’s looking for his father. But they both love their fathers dearly.”
Horror Fuel: “If you could describe The Charnel House in one word, what would it be?”
ELH: “Doppelganger, everybody look it up. I think that’s going to be the word of the year, doppelganger . In fact, I think I heard someone else say that recently when I was watching some program. I’m like, it is the word of the year. I had to look it up when I came across it, I was like ‘What?’. It’s true, it’s a true word that exists. It’s a powerful word and a powerful concept, doppelganger.”
Erik laughed the entire time he was answering that question, leaving me to wonder if he knew something he couldn’t tell us. In fact, he laughed during the majority of interview. He has a great laugh which is a little hard to imagine if you know his hardened character, Diamondback. In fact, the man I spoke to seems a far cry from his bitter, stone-faced character on Luke Cage.
Horror Fuel: “You also happen to be in one of my favorite movies, Twister. I’m a sucker for disaster films.”
ELH “[laughter] Old Twister, yeah that was my first film. I had no idea it would make such a huge impact and I’m glad it has stood the test of time. It’s still current today, right? Yeah, tornadoes are terrifying.”
Horror Fuel: “What are you working on now?”
ELH: “Right now, I’m doing on a project called Godless. It’s also a Netflix project. It’s a miniseries and it’s a western, actually. I’m a big fan of variety. I like to challenge myself in the roles that I play. Anytime they present one to me I’m like ‘Wow, I haven’t done that let’s try it.’ if the story is good. I’ve never been in a western. I’ve always fantasized about them. Clint Eastwood is a fan of mine and I love his movies, so. This is a lot of fun. It’s shot in New Mexico, I’ll be going there next month. Hopefully here will be another project coming out called Heartlock. You can probably look up and see the trailer for. That should be coming out next. So, there are some things in the works.
Harvey was a pleasure to talk with. He was so cheerful. He’s a very talented actor with a lot of range. I look forward to following his career and seeing the characters he brings to life.
Be sure to see ‘The Charnel House‘ when it arrives on VOD and in limited theaters on November 4th. ‘Luke Cage’ will return next year, hopefully we haven’t seen the last of Diamondback. ‘Godless‘ and ‘Heartlock‘ will both premiere sometime next year. Follow Erik LaRay Harvey on Twitter for updates and more.