Exclusive interview with Alexander Koch
September 18, 2013 | Alexander Koch has landed his first leading role in 2013 as the conflicted character Junior Rennie in the TV version of Stephen King's "Under the Dome". In our interview Alex talks about his role on the show, his passion for writing, and how he imagines he would deal with being trapped under the dome.
1. "Under the Dome" became a huge success this summer. What do you think it is that attracts viewers to the show?
I think that people enjoy the show because it's about the human condition and survival. It raises a lot of questions in people's minds about what they would do in that situation and wonder who can they trust and who will they become when they are facing disaster. We knew it was going to be successful with [Steven] Spielberg and [Stephen] King and everyone backing the project, we just had no idea it was going to be this big. We all feel very lucky to be part of it.
2. What has changed for you personally since the show began to air?
Not too much has changed which I kind of enjoy. I get weird looks every now and then but I'm pretty shy when it comes to that stuff. I just feel fortunate I am able to play such a great character and pay off my student loans while doing it.
3. You work closely with Dean Norris on "Under the Dome" who's currently also on the final episodes of "Breaking Bad". What is it like to work with him and does he share some of his acting experience with you?
I'm bummed out "Breaking Bad" is ending, as it's one of my favorite shows. Working with Dean is great because he comes onto set and he's funny and lighthearted and then just turns on his character in the scene. He's really great at carving out every beat and leading in the scene and since Junior is often following his dad's every order, I just kind of go with him. It's a fun dynamic. He gave this really great piece of advice that he got from a teacher that went like "acting is kind of like jazz. You don't know if the last note was right until you play the next one."
4. Junior and his father have a really complicated relationship on the show. But even though it sometimes seems like they really hate each other, at the end of the day they stick together. How would you explain this strong bond?
Well that is kind of how family is, isn't it? They say and do awful things to each other but they really love each other deep down. Big Jim held Junior as a baby and I think parents rarely get that image out of their head. I think Big Jim is hard on Junior because he sees what he has created by neglecting him and wonders how he went from an infant to the person he is now. I think about that scene in "The Godfather" where Brando says "You should have been Senator Corleone, Governor Corleone." I think Big Jim had the same idea for his own son. Unfortunately the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.
5. Junior's insanity might come from the loss of his mother and the lack of love from his father. Would you rather have Junior’s insanity explained with something that has to do with the dome or something that would have also appeared if the dome wasn't there?
I tend not to focus so much on the reason Junior is the way he is because he's not too worried about it. Maybe it's like cabin fever combined with his mother issues and lack of love from his father (maybe its other things we don't know yet) but at the end of the day, he's not self-diagnosing so he just tries to do what he thinks is right. Whether its right for him or Angie or right for other people is always an ongoing question of perspective.
6. Did you read the novel "Under the Dome" before being cast on the show? If so do you like that Junior hasn't been down that dark path from the novel or do you hope that he gets there at some point in the show?
I did read the book while I was auditioning for the show but it took me a month because it's the size of a dictionary. I loved it because it gave great insight into the character and his sort of mental process and pain he endures. I'm kind of glad it's not going the direction of the book because Junior does some pretty unforgivable things that would make him unlikeable to the audience. Maybe some more elements of the book will come into play, but hopefully none involving dead Angie.
7. Imagine you were trapped under the dome and accepted that it's a sort of permanent thing. What would be the first 3 things you would do and what would you miss most from the outside?
Since we have nothing but time and it’s a permanent thing...I would like to say (in no particular order): play more music, read more books, and rob a bank (only cause money is useless now). But I would probably end up trying to help people or help establish a way for everyone to survive. I would probably miss the ability to drive around the country and see different parts of the world.
8. Did you meet Stephen King? If so what is he like?
He's not what you would expect him to be and that's what makes him really great. I thought he would be this kind of dark and unusual guy, but he was really funny and humble. He's been writing and developing his work into film and TV for so long, but it doesn't seem like it has affected him. I think that's a great quality.
9. "Under the Dome" was renewed for a second season a few weeks ago. Can you already tell us if you will be in it?
[editor's note: The interview took place before the season finale of "Under the dome" season one]
I'm very excited about season 2. I can tell you that people don't last very long under the dome...However some people could be coming back. So maybe some of us die and then come back in season 2 in a different way. Is that a good amount of vagueness?
10. We heard you enjoy writing in your spare time. What kind of stuff do you write?
I took this class that had character development through writing and journaling which got me into writing. I hope to write a screenplay some day and develop it into a film. I need a writing partner to help me write things to keep me focused, otherwise it seems to ramble a bit. I’m a big fan of Sam Shepard and Cormac McCarthy and I wish I could write like that. I’ve been writing a play for the past year but I don't know where it will go.
11. Would you tell us three things that are currently on your bucket list?
Oh wow thats a tough one.
1. Write and/or direct a film
2. Sky dive
3. Rob a bank
12. Do you have any new projects you would like talk about?
I have a couple things in the works right now but nothing is set in stone yet. We will see.
13. Since myFanbase is an online magazine about U.S. television shows, what are your favorite shows?
I love "Breaking Bad", "Mad Men" and "Boardwalk Empire". I was also obsessed with "Arrested Development" for a long time.
Thank you, Alex, we wish you all the best with "Under the Dome" and your new projects!
Annika Leichner - myFanbase