Alan Ritchson, who has appeared in series such as Blue Mountain State and films like The Wedding Ringer and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, is now starring in Syfy’s new series Blood Drive.
Ritchson sat down with me to answer a few questions about the insane series and his role as Officer Arthur Bailey, the last good cop in a world that’s gone to hell.
Syfy and Midnight Grindhouse have teamed up for this brutal, high-octane series, set in a near-dystopian future, 1999. The show centers on a former cop (Ritchson), who is forced to take part in a death race in which cars run on human blood. Partnered with Grace, the two must race as a team, like it or not, or have their heads blown off by a remote device implanted at the base of their skulls.
Horror Fuel: “Can you tell us about your role on Syfy’s new series Blood Drive?”
Ritchson: “Arthur is the last good cop in a world gone mad. He’s endevouring to sort of bring the entire world to justice, as impossible as that sounds. I think what we find as his journey continues he starts to look more and more like that which he is trying to bring down. It is a journey of redemption and finding himself in the midst of this absolutely insane Grindhouse world.”
Horror Fuel: “How would Arthur describe Blood Drive?”
Ritchson: “From Arthur’s point of view, I think everything matters. There’s nothing worth saving at the expense of injustice. He’s up against all kinds of crimes against humanity and injustice and institutions. He will risk everything to make sure the world, even if it is just him, have some morsel of good in it and some justice.
I feel the same way I think he does in my own life. I’ve done some probably bone headed things for the sake of trying to see justice. I’ve seen someone break into a car and I don’t know they could have gun or knife or something [laughter], and I’m running after the guy and taking him down. I can’t stand seeing people doing wrong to other people. It’s that, it doesn’t matter what he’s risking he’s going to try and go save the day.”
Horror Fuel: “What happened to cause society in the series?”
Ritchson: “The Scar is a result of a giant earthquake due to global warming in the future, 1999. What comes out of the Scar is all kinds of untold energy and power, ooze and nothing is ever the same. It’s this post-apocalyptic world with mysterious and magical qualities to it. A world gone bad, it can become scary and nefarious and bloody. The world that we are in now is essentially post-apocalyptic and one with the scar which is full of untold evils that we will run into every episode undoubtedly.”
Horror Fuel: “Is it easier or more difficult to film a series that partially takes place inside of a car?”
Ritchson: “Great question [laughter]. It’s the worst. Being crammed in that vehicle for like ten hours a day, it was…yeah. You want to get out a run around. It’s tough. And at least for me, having to sit still that long and if you are like arguing with someone you can’t walk across the room and pick something up and distract yourself with it. You are just there. For me it was incredibly difficult. I’ve always been super A.D.D. and have to walk around and am all fidgety. I have to get my energy out somehow. Put me in a car long enough and I’ll go insane.”
Horror Fuel: “I have to ask. Was it easy shooting that scene where you an Grace have to keep your heads from exploding by having sex while speeding down the road?”
Ritchson: “[laughter] How about that scene? It was a fun one to film. You know what’s funny? I’m six foot three, Christina is like eight and a half feet tall, you put the two of us in a sixty seven Camero, or what ever that was, ask us to perform sexual activities together and it’s like two werewolves in a raccoon cage. It’s the least sexy thing in the world and Dave Straiton one of the E.P.s and the director of that episode, bless his heart, was trying his best [laughter] to make it like , ‘Okay, now can you just get a little lower so we can see you and make it sexy?’ [laughter] There was just no way [laughter], we were like ogres just crammed into this shoe box. I think neither of us ever felt like, ‘Yeah, this is the sexy scene and the thing we’ve been building to.’ It never felt like that for us. One day we were filming and I had food poisoning or something, in the middle of shooting I dove out of the car and I threw-up violently for about five minutes and Christina was like, ‘Okay, you done? Can you keep going? I said yeah, yeah let’s do this. Start rolling.’ So, there was nothing sexy about it. Hopefully, the viewing audience has a different experience. [laughter]
Horror Fuel: “It did not look awkward. [laughter] Actually, it was pretty hot.”
Ritchson: “Oh, good.”
Horror Fuel: “You are so animated in some of your roles, especially the comedic ones like Thad, but Arthur is very different. Which type of character are you more like in real life?”
Ritchson: “It really depends on what situation you catch me in. I think one my greatest strengths and weaknesses is the fact that I tend to be a bit of a chameleon. Whatever energy is around me is usually what I am. My natural state is probably too serious most of the time. I just really love what I do and I love creating stories and I love the world that I am in and I take it very seriously, even if it is a funny slapstick role. I think that’s usually where I am. If you get me with my kids in the back yard, I’m the first one to be down on all fours mooing like some kind of dinosaur or something and we’re having a great time. I think it just depends on the situation. I guess I should say I lean more towards being serious. I’ve disappointed a lot of people that are fans of Thad Castle because they got three or four years of this relationship with this character that they felt like they knew him like any of their great friends. They meet me in person and are like, ‘I’m a huge Thad Castle fan.’ and I’m like, ‘Hey. It’s nice to meet you. Thank you. I’m glad you like the work.’ They’re like, ‘Oh man, you’re nothing like I pictured. You suck.’ So, I’ve let a lot of people down.’
Horror Fuel: “No man, you’re great in both serious and comedic roles.”
Horror Fuel: “Besides Blood Drive, are you working on anything else?”
Ritchson: “I’ve got a couple of films in the can that I was part of. There’s Office Uprising which I would liken to Office Space meets Shaun of the Dead. It’s a really funny office comedy. I had a cameo in that which was a lot of fun. The other is a film called Ghost of War. It is a World War II thriller. It’s just a gorgeous film and watches these five guys, this band of brothers and their struggle to maintain sanity while they protect this estate which is part of their mission. They are some cool projects that are on completely different ends of the spectrum that I am proud of. I’ve been working to develop some ideas. I’ve been shooting shorts. Those will be out later this year.”
Horror Fuel: “I will definitely keep an eye out for those.”
Ritchson: “Thank you.”
Horror Fuel: “Okay, if you could only give our readers two reasons to watch Blood Drive what would they be?”
Ritchson: “The first one is the easiest one. It is completely original. If anybody out there is tired of of formulated or regurgitated content, this is the show for you, it’s completely original. The other thing is, it’s pure entertainment. Vibrant characters, amazing new voice for a show and it’s just a lot of fun. It’s highly entertaining, and if you can stomach the gore, you’re going to enjoy the show.”
Horror Fuel: “I’ve been able to see a few of the episodes, I love it.”
Ritchson: “Awesome, that’s good to hear.”
While I listened to Ritchson talk I realized that he has a lot in common with his character Arthur. He is reserved, polite, and when he does laugh it is infectious. I look forward to following his career and seeing him in action in Blood Drive. Something tells me that once his fans see him as Arthur they are going to fall in love. Honestly, it’s a character you can’t help but cheer for. And the eight-pack he flaunts while shirtless on the show doesn’t hurt either.
You can catch Alan Ritchson in action soon. Blood Drive premieres on Syfy Wednesday, June 14 at 10/9c. Be sure to follow Ritchson on Twitter. Visit Blood Drive’s official website and follow the series on Twitter for updates and more. Stay tuned for our review of the series.