Channel Zero’s Paul Schneider Talks Candle Cove

Channel Zero: Candle Cove - Season 1

On October 25, Paul Schneider spoke to several members of the press about Channel Zero:Candle Cove and his character in the show; Mike Painter. Just prior to Halloween, Paul talked to a number of press sites about the adaptation of Kris Straub’s Candle Cove and, amongst other things, his preparation for the role of Mike.

Channel Zero: Candle Cove is about a series of child murders that takes place back in the 1980’s. Mike is convinced that the deaths are connected to an old child’s program Candle Cove.  He returns home to seek some closure and to see if he can keep the kid’s show from claiming any more lives.

Paul was asked by  SciFi Vision if he had done any special preparation to play child psychiatrist Painter, especially as the man had such a traumatic childhood.   Paul  replied that initially he had not.

However, he did read an old Abnormal Psychology textbook from his days at Columbia. Paul’s final diagnosis of Painter was that he had acute anxiety disorder.

Schneider then went on to talk about how he got involved with the project.  He explained that executive producer and show creator Nick Antosca and co-executive producer Craig William Macneill approached him. They asked if Paul would read the script. He did and loved the concept of the series.

Playboy asked if Paul had any idea why the shortened season of six episodes was proving to be so popular. The actor was also asked about why he chose to play Mike as such a quietly intense character.

Schneider could not really offer an opinion on the show’s seasonal format of six episodes.  He did say that his portrayal of Mike was based upon a man returning to his hometown. A place where he was uncertain of who was friend or foe.

He also points out that Mike’s relationship with his mother is very chilly. The character is also one who left small town life and became quite successful. Apart from returning to the scene of the crime, Mike is back amongst people who resent his success. asked if Paul had seen the original program on Straub’s Creepypasta and the answer was no. Paul went on to explain that he tries not to over research for any role. Reading the source material could, he said, completely change the way he approached the character.

He admitted to having never heard of Creepypasta or seen it before he took the part. It was only after he agreed to play Painter that he learned of the website’s existence.

Paul did say that he loved the idea of the website that it allowed those types of stories to be told.

As The Nerd Element started to question Paul, he joked that “listen to your answers is not anxiety provoking  at all…” He was then asked if he could see himself writing or directing a future Creepypasta series.  The actor answered that he had not been approached to do so.

Paul also explained how he approached any particular writing and/or directing job. He explained that it was a combination of story and whether or not it felt right for him.

He was then asked what film, book or television program, scared him as a child.  It turns out that The Elephant Man, starring John Hurt, made a huge impact on the young Paul Schneider.

It was, Paul said, the first film he had ever seen and it was not the film he was meant to be watching. His mother had taken him to the cinema to watch the Disney film, Song of the South, a kid’s movie  now considered to be racist.

Paul and a number of neighbor kids went to see the show but he broke away from the group and went to the toilet.  On his return he chose the wrong door and wound up watching the David Lynch film.

Five year old Schneider walked in on the scene of Merrick’s nurse bringing him a cup of tea. The woman sees Merrick in the flesh, sans his drape like clothing. The camera showed all the wrinkled and deformed flesh of Merrick.

Paul said that particular scene, “terrified and transfixed” him made the five year old react with a combination  curiosity,  enchantment and sheer horror. He went on to say that scene still gave him the “heebie-jeebies” and it was, oddly, his favorite film.

Inverse wanted to know if Paul could say what Mike was like before his return to Iron Hill and the whole Candle Cove business. The actor replied that he, and the series producers felt that Painter buried himself in academia.

He also felt that Mike wrote in a way to handle the trauma. Paul thought that Painter’s marriage allowed some cracks to appear in his carefully crafted exterior. The appearance of his daughter furthered his deterioration and he felt that Mike may have had a drinking problem.

The actor also revealed to  OMFGTV that he has not been keeping up with the series and that he watches them as they air. It has, Paul said, become an event that he and his wife share.

Schneider went on to say that the highlight of  the project was getting to work with performance artist Olivier De Sagazan who plays The Skin Taker in the show. He explained that their scene together was the most intense of the series.

(It is where the burning Skin Taker runs at Mike Painter in the show.)

He went on to say that everyone was buoyed by Olivier’s presence on the set.  Finally he talked about whether or not Jessica  (Natalie Brown‘s character) and Mike would have married if  he had not left Iron Hill. (The answer was yes)

There was some discussion about whether Mike saw what his daughter sees in the episode where he takes Lily out of her bedroom and Paul believes that Mike did see it. He has, after all, seen Jaw Bone in the woods.

Channel Zero: Candle Cove airs Tuesdays on SyFy.  There are two episodes left in this little chiller. Tune in and see if Mike can save this generation from Candle Cove.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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