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Michael C. Hall has spent a lot of time around death. First, doing five seasons playing funeral director David Fisher in Six Feet Under, then, more famously, as the serial killer Dexter Morgan through eight seasons of Dexter. All that death has affected the actor, as Strombo found out when Hall talked about those shows and being able to play a character who gets killed, not does the killing, in the film Kill Your Darlings.
GS: You’ve come a long way too, right? Don’t you feel that in your mind? Just at being able to move away from those two characters that you’ve played?
MH: Yeah, there’s something really… within the context of the show… I say it half-jokingly to play someone who gets killed rather than doing the killing, to be the victim of some murderous impulse, rather than acting on it was cathartic. It’s nice to remind yourself that there are other ways to be. When you play a character for a really long time your sense of yourself as an actor and your sense of that particular character and performance become fused in a way you kind of long to extract yourself from.
GS: Was there residue from Dexter?
MH: Yeah, I think there probably still is. Even though we only took about half the calendar year to shoot the show. When we were off, there remained a preoccupation. You’re still kind of tied to the train tracks, waiting for the train to come again. Now that Dexter as we know it has ended, the eighth season is wrapped and the final episodes are airing now... It’s a real soup of feelings. Some sadness. Some wistfulness. Some pride. But also some relief at not carrying around the obligation at simulating this murderousness. And also a sense like, shaking it out of my head, playing someone who kills people and is able to get on with his life. It’s like, "What have I done?" I know it was all a simulation but I think there’s some part of me that thinks it really happened.
GS: That’s almost like a mild PTSD.
MH: Yeah, I think that there’s part of us that records ritual and reality in the same way. And we’re sort of in a state of deep pretending when we’re acting and maybe there’s a part of me that on some level thinks that all that stuff that I simulated really happened.
Michael C. Hall's interview on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight airs Thursday, October 10 at 7 pm.
"Dexter" - Showtime Networks, John Goldwyn Productions, Colleton Company
The Clyde Phillips Productions, Devilina Productions
Titanic – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Paramount Pictures, Lightstorm Entertainment
His Girl Friday – Columbia Pictures Corporation
Lost in Translation – Focus Features, Tohokashinsha Film Company Ltd., American Zoetrope, Elemental Films
The Big Lebowski – Polygram Filmed Entertainment, Working Title Films