I sat down with talented actress Tembi Locke to talk with her about several of her roles such as Grace Monroe on “Eureka”, a series I absolutely adored, about a town of scientists and their inventions that end up causing chaos.
We also talked about one of Tambi’s most recent roles in Hulu’s new film series “Into the Dark”. “Into the Dark” is part film and part series. Each month an episode is released as a feature length film that is inspired by that month’s holiday. I should also mention that the series is a Blumhouse production.
November’s episode centers on Kimberly, a young woman, played by Diana Silvers, who has severe agoraphobia. With the help of her psychiatrist (Tembi Locke), Kimberly is working towards finding the power to leave her home. When she discovers her father’s (Dermot Mulroney) dark secret she must find a way to escape her phobia and her father’s wrath.
Horror Fuel: “I was a huge, huge fan of Eureka.”
Tembi Locke: “I love it, Kelli. Thank you. It was such a delight working on that show. I’m still in touch with some of my Eureka family. I have such fond memories of that time. The show was just great. It holds up because my daughter has now started to watch it. She’s like ‘This is so cool mom.'”
Horror Fuel: “It’s great that you can share that together. It really was a show. What was it like to play the role of someone surrounded by such amazing technology and inventions?”
Tembi Locke: “Well, it was really fun. First of all, everyone there is like MENSA-level genius. In terms of scripts, when we would get them I would have to look up this, research that, so I would know what I was talking about because the science was so far out there, biology, physics, that was on a whole other level. It was cool, and to week after week to learn something new about say, thermal dynamics or the physics of flight or whatever it may be. On set, the production designers, what they designed, the situations we were in or the gadgets, it was amazing. They were genius. How did they think those up? We were in this world where these rare and special things are always happening. You felt that just walking onto the set.”
Horror Fuel: “I would have loved to have seen the set. Speaking on inventions, if you were actually your character, what would be something you would have wanted to invent?”
Tembi Locke: “I would have wanted to create invisibility if that makes sense. I have since I was a kid, this sounds crazy, but at the age of five or six, I wanted to be Casper the friendly ghost because I thought that you could go into a room and nobody would see you and you could walk through walls. I have a fascination with the skill of invisibility. To create something like a cloak to render something physically invisible, like Wonder Woman with her invisible jet, that would be cool to create that. Of course, it would be cool for all of its practical applications too.”
Horror Fuel: “That would be a great thing to create.
You also did Sliders too.”
Tembi Locke: “I did. It was ahead of its time, with the idea of parallel universes. The early parts of my career, weekly if not daily, a fan would reach out and want to talk about either Eureka or Sliders or of how fond they were of a particular episode. Sliders was really great to film. We were kind of like all over southern California filming things that would play as the desert or things that would play as Paris in the 1900’s. We were always in a different world. It was amazing. It was an amazing show to start out in early on in my career. I got to play different characters and different circumstances. It was so much better than a show set somewhere like a hospital and you’re always playing a doctor. One day you might be in a world where you’re asked to ride a horse or another world where you have to know how to drive a train. As actors, our skill set grew and grew each week.”
Horror Fuel: “I’m sure it’s amazing to have all of those experiences. I’m sure some of those skills came in handy with Into the Dark.”
Tembi Locke: “What did you think?”
Horror Fuel: “That was definitely a disturbing, creepy episode. Being a Daddy’s girl, I couldn’t imagine going through what Kimberly did. I think it affected me more than it would someone who wasn’t close with their father.”
Tembi Locke: “To believe that the person you love and who is your protector, to suddenly be asking yourself ‘Is he who I think he is?’ And the horror that is slowly building inside. I think the emotional arch of the story is itself really, really intense from the baseline of grief that is happening, and that growing fear of ‘I’m living with a mad mind.’ It’s that ‘Maybe I’m the one who is crazy’ part that’s woohoo. I loved working on it. When I read the script I thought that I had to do it. I’ve worked with Blumhouse before and Hulu and I love the idea of one film a month for a year. I think it’s a really fresh and interesting concept. I look forward to seeing what consequent films will be. When I found out that Dermot was a part of it and working with Dianna, she’s a new talent but so very gifted and her performances are riveting, I loved working with both of them.”
Horror Fuel: “The episode, the cast, everything was perfect. But I have to ask, did you do your own stunt? I don’t want to give away too much but it was a pretty brutal ending for the Doc.”
Tembi Locke: “That was me. It was all me. What we did in that situation was a great deal of choreography leading up to it to make sure that everybody was safe and there wouldn’t be any danger. In a scene as violent as that, with that many moving parts, and blood and gore, you only really get one take. So, you really have to take great care in everything that comes before that. When that moment happens, you really have to just go for it. So I did. When we were filming the moment Henry takes the doctor’s arm and pulls her into the house, as an audience you know what’s going to happen, he’s got that boxcutter he’s been hiding behind the door. The film had been pretty quiet up till then. It’s sort of a simmering thriller. Then it tips and you see all that blood and gore. It was horrible. I was shaken. I was covered in blood and you kind of have to shake it off. Then I remember I left and walked out of the house and towards my dressing room. It’s daylight and I’m all covered in blood. I looked like a walking zombie, covered head to toe in blood. But yes, we did all our own stunts. Dermot was so generous. He kept asking if he hurt me if I was okay. I kept saying, ‘I’m all good.”
Horror Fuel: “That sounds awesome. I’ll be honest, it looked pretty real to me. It was a really smooth kill scene. I can imagine what someone’s reaction would be just driving down the street and coming across a woman soaked in blood. I don’t know what I’d do if it was me. I was curious if it was really you or a stunt person.”
Tembi Locke: “It was me. It was a prosthetic on, a neck piece for the cutting part and whole apparatus for the blood to spew. That was all on me.”
Horror Fuel: “Wait, so he actually cut into it on your neck?”
Tembi Locke: “Mmmhmm. I had never done anything like that. I remember when I went to the shop where the designers were designing that piece which was this big studio space and there’s like heads hanging from the ceiling, blood, and gore, and body parts, eyeballs hanging and maggots, It was like when you walk into a department store with clothes hanging on different racks. I was like, ‘Oh my god, what are you people going to do to me?’ They were wonderful and so great. When you put that thing on it really was comfortable to wear and I had to wear it for about seven or eight hours. That’s moviemaking.”
Horror Fuel: “I love that kind of thing, effects. I turn into a kid around them. Well, all of your hard and theirs was worth it. It looked great.”
Tembi Locke: “Thank you. It was a great project. Patrick the director was wonderful. The set design was so rich and beautiful and you really get a sense that the house is in such disorder which mirrors the disorder of the characters and that construction, and their lives under construction. I was amazed at the production design and I credit the crew and the director and everyone for really making it so incredibly real. When we were filming it felt that way, to see the final product, it’s even more so.”
Horror Fuel: “I was truly impressed by Into the Dark. The first installment was great. I really loved this episode. It’s great to see something so many people but such hard work to come out as well as they had hoped.”
Tembi Locke”: “Definitely.”
Horror Fuel: “What’s next for you?”
Tembi Locke: “My next project is a show for FOX TV called Proven Innocent and it stars Kelsey Grammer. It’s a legal show from producer Danny Strong who did Empire. It’s going to be fantastic. It premieres in February. Check it out. Tell all the fans to check it out and to follow me on all the social media platforms.
Horror Fuel: “You got it. I definitely will.
I’ll admit, I had a bit of a fangirl moment over “Eureka”. It’s a great series and Tembi played an interesting role as scientist Grace Malone. If you haven’t seen, you should. You can find it now streaming on Amazon Prime.
Tembi was great to talk with. She’s very upbeat and friendly, similar to her character on “Into the Dark: Flesh & Blood”. Luckily, you don’t have to wait to watch it. “Flesh & Blood” is streaming now on Hulu along with the premiere episode titled “The Body.”
“Proven Innocent” is set to premiere on Friday, February 15, 2019, on FOX. The series follows a legal team takes on cases involving wrongful convictions. Grammer stars alongside Harry Jarvis, Jennifer Parsons, and Jennifer Polson along with Locke.