The first question was for John Lithgow, who plays a new serial killer known as the “Trinity Killer” because he kills in three’s. He went on to say that he couldn’t say much more, except that his first victim is High Commander Dick Soloman. His new character, he says, couldn’t be further from his popular character on Third Rock from the Sun. Beyond that, he sadly couldn’t say much about his character.
When asked about the importance of Comic-Con to a show like Dexter, Hall says that while Dexter isn’t born from a graphic novel, that the character has a very similar appeal and the show has a broad, crossover appeal that they didn’t anticipate. There’s a superhero-element to the character that the convention goer finds appealing.
Keeping with this topic, the executive producers discussed how great the fans are, and how they connect with the show in such a powerful way. Julie Benz discussed how she’s come to Comic-Con for many years, and how the convention and the studio’s have changed their outlook on the convention, and how passionate they all are about the show. They also discussed how the wide appeal of conventions like Comic-Con help energize fans, and how it brings them closer to the fans, who come from all over for a convention like Comic-Con.
The next question was about Dexter’s new role as a father. Hall said that becoming a father was an act of rebellion going against the traditional theory of fatherhood, even though it appeals to Dexter in that he’s making choices his father never thought he would make. The reality of this new family life with Rita and all the kids, and from a logistical standpoint, he didn’t realize how trapped it would make him feel and how difficult it would be to exercise his compulsions.
The next question was for John Lithgow, regarding his acting approach to this new serial killer. Apparently he’s “not very good company these days,” but it’s a fascinating experience. The process is brand new, not just the role but getting the role itself. He discussed about meeting the executive producers with his agent, wherein his agent was told to leave. He was then told everything that he couldn’t tell us, including every detail about his character over twelve episodes. As a result, he’s working with a whole bunch of people who has no idea about the story and he does. While he feels like he has the hope diamond, Julie Benz offered to get him drunk so she could get the information out of him, which was hilarious. He refused to say anything, though.
He went on say that the process of putting the episodes is amazing, and it’s great to see everyone, from the actors to the crew, on the edge of their seats, wondering what’s going to happen next. There are so many surprises that are so thrilling that they don’t know about, which helps him be more mysterious in his role. Apparently, if you met his character on the street, you’d never know he was a serial killer because he is exactly like his real-life persona. He also didn’t do any research into serial killers, putting all his faith in the writers. The producers went onto say that they told Mr. Lithgow everything about his character to help lure him into the role. He originally turned down the role too, since he had plans for the summer, but his wife turned to him and said, “Are you crazy?” which solicited more laughter. Jennifer Carpenter herself then asked the producers if there was anything they hadn’t told Lithgow. While they did tell him nearly everything, he does know some mysteries that others don’t.
Going back to the topic of fatherhood, someone asked Michael C. Hall how being a father would change his murderous ritual. This doesn’t leave Dexter with as much time as he would like to complete his ritual. This and sleep deprivation creates a frantic energy that we haven’t seen in his kills before. The essential part of the ritual, however, remains, and it’s in his kills that Dexter experience the most authentic of human connection.
In being asked about fans who want to know about the story as it progresses, the actors only know the story script-by-script, and Jennifer Carpenter, at least, likes it that way because it “evolves like life.” The other actors seemed to agree with this sentiment.
Onto a new question, someone asked Jennifer Carpenter if we’ll see Deb Morgan evolve into a happier person, or at least one with a healthy relationship. Carpenter feels that Deb, more than any other character, has evolved more publically. She an objective learner, so lessons aren’t wasted on her, so this season we might see her move out of under the shadow of Harry as well as disconnect from Dexter in certain ways. This might be the most authentic we’ve see her character, as every move she’ll make will be about herself rather than about others.
Another question was about the baby. Apparently the season begins with the new baby being born and in their lives, so no messy delivery. While it’s not Rita’s first time as a mom, Benz feels that Rita now has it all, with a beautiful home, the perfect husband and healthy children, and she’s in a very grounded place as her life is where she wants it to be.
The next question was quite interesting, as the person asked…who would Dexter be the most honest with…Rita, Deb, or the baby? Hall feels that Dexter feels a connection to the child that he doesn’t feel with anyone else due to the shared blood in the baby’s veins, and if there’s anyone in the world who convinces Dexter that he’s a real person, it’s having a child. He also has a little window that, while the child doesn’t haven’t have conscious memories, Dexter can say anything he wants and not worry about it, which was pretty funny.
Keeping with the baby theme, the cast really likes working with the baby, who are played by twins due to child labor laws (I’m not sure if Hall was joking about that or not). Benz talked about the challenges of working with a baby, but it’s an amazing experience. One of the producers said how natural both Hall and Benz look with the baby. Benz’s maternal instincts have definitely kicked in, as she says she’s a “mommy in waiting.” Apparently the whole set changes when the baby is around, as everyone wants to hold the baby in between shots. Hall loves babies, as he was a baby once and had a lot of babies
around since he grew up in a big family. Carpenter also said “babies are great.”
The next question was about the upcoming iPhone game. He did the voiceover work, but other than that knows nothing about video games. However, he says they recreated the police precinct in the game perfectly within the game. The story of the game takes place sometime during season one, possibly running parallel to the pilot episode. Apparently only Benz has seen the game itself, and she was pretty impressed with it, as it was “really cool.”
In asking the producers whether they’ve already begun work on season five, they said they absolutely have begun to crack at it. They feel as the show moves forward and the characters progress naturally, they plan to explore humanity each season. They also work to have a defining character each season to help Dexter discover aspects of himself and humanity.
In being asked how their characters have changed over the seasons, Hall said it’s a crazy thing to make an open-ended commitment to a character, such as a beginning, and indeterminate middle and an eventual ending. The characters change along with them, and they change along with the characters. It’s nice, however, to get a break every now and again because Hall finds that his idea of a character and the act of acting can become fused, so it’s important to flex the acting muscles.
Benz discussed about the synergy between the actor and the writers in blending more with the characters over several seasons, and has learned so much by playing Rita. Having part of series television before, it’s fascinating, Benz says, to see the growth of the character as well as the actor over several seasons. Michael C. Hall was then asked about his new movie, “The Gamer,” and he said it was an interesting project, and he got to explore with a more unabashed power trip.
Carpenter was then asked about Deb, who is called such a tough character in the show. When Carpenter began playing Deb, Carpenter wanted to grab her and teach her, and now she finds that Deb is teaching her. Apparently both Carpenter and Deb both have “ravenous beasts” inside of them, and while Carpenter didn’t know her’s was there, Deb did. Carpenter’s beast has woken up as a result, and playing Deb learning about her life is helping Carpenter learn about herself. Deb also really wants an “invitation from Dexter” for more of a connection into his life, especially now that he has a family. The writer’s, apparently, are brilliant in expression stuff that doesn’t need to be said, but Deb wants more. She’s desperate for a connection with him, she needs to know him in order to know herself. Dexter doesn’t give her what she needs, so she feels the grip on him loosening. Deb keeps running to Dexter, but doesn’t know why she has so much faith in him.
One of the executive producers discussed Deb’s bond with Dexter, even from her introduction in the pilot as Dexter’s “fowl-mouthed foster sister.” Dexter said then if he could love anyone, it would be Deb, which explained how their bond has grown over the seasons. John Lithgow chimed in to say how he’s watched all of the episodes of the show once he got the job. He was elated about getting onto the job, but also impressed with the strength of the women characters on the show. He also noticed that many of the writers are women, giving more attention to woman’s issues, especially the brother/sister relationship which is at the heart of this show, he feels. He feels that the brother/sister relationship is one of the most realistic and complicated relationship you will find in a television show.
Lithgow went onto say how welcome the cast and crew have been, even though he’s not yet had any scenes with the cast at this point. Benz said she didn’t want to do a scene with him, even though she did, because he’s scary, which was hilarious. Lithgow then went onto talk about the cast reuniting after their hiatus, including returning actors such as Keith Carradine, was like the first day of school, and he was completely swept up in the ensemble, helping make it a great work experience.
In being asked to describe the new season in one word, Benz said “creepy,” which was hilarious. She then went onto say that she wonders whether one of the writers is actually a serial killer because the scripts are becoming more and more disturbing. She doesn’t want to know who, though. Carpenter feels that the stakes are really high this season, while Hall likes how they keep the suspense going by learning about Dexter as the story continues. Carpenter also said she would love to see how Deb would react if she found out about Dexter’s secret.
Those were the highlights from the Dexter media panel from earlier today. It was a real treat to see these actors up close and to see the actors and producers talk about their show. You can tell they’re passionate about their show, and that passion comes through.
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