Published: Friday, 24 February 2023 13:07 | Written by Jamie Ruby
Today, the dark comedic thriller, The Consultant, based on the novel by Bentley Little of the same name, comes to Prime Video. With their old boss gone, Regis Patoff (Christopher Waltz) is hired at the app-based gaming company, “Compware,” as the new consultant. The series follows the employees adjusting to their new sinister boss and the challenges that they face which could be deadly.
In the series, Waltz plays a fantastically creepy character, but the actor doesn’t look at him as good or evil. “I don't evaluate the darkness or lightness of a character,” Waltz told SciFi Vision during a recent interview. “I just read the script and find what I can do, because a good script makes the character readable through behavior, and that's what what I'm there for.” “I think he's just that type of a character that has to cause mayhem and mischief in everything he does,” added Tony Basgallop, who adapted Little’s book for television, adding that he shares a “dark” and “cruel” sense of humor with the author, and that it was the book that gave the series the unique tone.
“Trying to create that tone, that feeling of off balance, is really fun, as a filmmaker and for actors as well,” added Matt Shakman, who directed the pilot episode. “That's what makes it exciting, is that you're not repeating anything from moment to moment. You're kind of finding your way through this looking glass.” For more from the three, watch the full interview and read the transcript below. All eight episodes are available now to stream on Prime Video.
SCIFI VISION: Christophe, this character is so fantastically creepy. Can you talk about kind of connecting with that dark side of him?
CHRISTOPH WALTZ:Yeah, actually, it's not difficult for me, because I don't evaluate the darkness or lightness of a character. I just read the script and find what I can do, because a good script makes the character readable through behavior, and that's what what I'm there for. So, I would like to pass the answer of that question, actually, to Tony, because he was the one know who came up with it.
SCIFI VISION: Tony?
TONY BASGALLOP:I mean, the darkness, I think it's just there. Like Christoph said, I don't think you ever look to explore it. I never sit down and say, “this has got to be dark,” or “this has got to be funny.” It's, where does the character naturally take you? Where is the story evolving? Where's the richness in that? I think he's just that type of a character that has to cause mayhem and mischief in everything he does, so it naturally leans him towards that kind of - there's a darkness. You don't quite know what his motivations are, which I think is important. So, you create the darkness. You always wonder if just there's something wrong about this guy.
CHRISTOPH WALTZ: Darkness results from turning the light off, you see? [laughs]
SCIFI VISION:[laughs] So, Tony, can you talk about what you sort of changed from a story perspective that you had to in order to bring it to television from the book?
TONY BASGALLOP: The book very much gave the tone. It's Bentley Little who wrote the book. He and I, I think we share a very dark sense of humor, a slightly cruel sense of humor as well. So, really, it was kind of like tapping into that, which I think we both share. And obviously, if you adapted this book directly, it would be a ninety minute horror film, and we were making a returnable TV series. So, I had to go different ways with the characters and explore different things. But keeping the character in check - I think in the book, just when Patoff off goes crazy, he really goes crazy, and we had to just hold that back a little bit. So, [we’re] giving a little bit each week.
SCIFI VISION: Matt, from a directing standpoint, what did you find difficult about bringing this to life?
MATT SHAKMAN:It was really not difficult. It was really a joy. It was so much fun to work on. When you find material this good, you get to work with wonderful actors like Christoph, and you're playing with so many different tones, no scene is like any other scene in the show, and everyone is off balance. Trying to create that tone, that feeling of off balance, is really fun, as a filmmaker and for actors as well. That's what makes it exciting, is that you're not repeating anything from moment to moment. You're kind of finding your way through this looking glass.
SCIFI VISION:Christoph, other than the script and the book, where did you kind of pull inspiration from as you were doing this, as you were kind of creating your version of him from that?
CHRISTOPH WALTZ:You know, I'm sixty-six years old. If that pool isn't deep enough, then I kind of failed in life.
SCIFI VISION:What was it in particularly about this script or this character, though, that made you think that you just had to take this role?
CHRISTOPH WALTZ:In the story how this character triggers change, and that's beautiful and fun and desirable in my modest book, to trigger change. And if it's existential change, that is that much the better.