• INTERVIEW: Friday, 7/14 - 5:00pm ET - Midnight, Texas - Monica Breen
  • INTERVIEW: Tuesday, 8/1 - 9:30pm ET - Wynonna Earp - Tim Rozon
  • INTERVIEW: Thursday, 8/3 - 4:00pm ET - Midnight, Texas - Peter Mensah
  • INTERVIEW: Friday, 7/4 - 6:00pm ET - Midnight, Texas - Parisa Fitz-Henley

SciFi Vision - Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Spotlight: Midnight, Texas Set Visit - Yul Vazquez on Dispensing Wisdom and Whooping Ass

Yul VazquezNBC's Midnight, Texas centers around a town that sits on an ever-weakening veil between the world of the living and Hell. Drawn to the energy, the town serves as a safe haven for a variety of supernaturals.

The Reverend of the town, played by Yul Vaszquez, is one of these supernaturals. In tonight's episode it is revealed he's a weretiger.

Earlier in the year, Vazquez talked to journalists on the set of the show about playing the Rev.

Vazquez talked to SciFi Vision about what initially jumped out at him about the role. "I read the pilot, and then they asked me to look at the Rev. I have a simple checklist when I'm talking about doing a job. Is the piece good? Are the people involved good? Is the part itself good? Can you do something with the part? And all those were yes.

Yul Vazquez"I got on the phone with David Janollari and Monica Breen and had a great conversation with them, and I decided that I really liked [the Rev]. There was an essence to this man that I, Yul, identified with. There was a measured and mysterious kind of element that I really dug about the Rev.

"So he's a bit of a cypher, and even when he says things, it's done in a way where it gives you a tidbit of wisdom, and it's like when a power is neither good or bad. It's just a power; it's all things.

"So, there's a reason why he's in Midnight, why he found Midnight, why's he happy there, and why he wants to preserve the integrity and the sanctity of the town. So all those things [were there] when I read the pilot.

"I knew that there was nothing that they could sort of guarantee me where the story was going to go, because that's the nature of television. Episodes can end and there're surprises to us. You know, we don't know. It's not like a film which is a finite idea. So, I mean, I felt that there was a lot of me and the things that I believe in in this character."

The actor also talked to the site about how Rev's relationship with Manfred (François Arnaud) evolves over the season. "It’s interesting, because François and I are very close on the show, close friends. He comes into the town, he’s an outsider. He’s the newest addition to the town. He pulls up in his RV, and at first, I’m observing him as, 'What’s your deal, man?' which is what that scene is. He’s coming to steal holy water, and I’m like, 'Actually, here, let me get it for you.' So, it goes from someone observing him to, 'I'm helping him and he's helping me.' We all begin to help each other. That’s all I can really tell you."

He also talked to SciFi Vision about his inspiration for the character. "I grew up in a home with a lot of mystical ideas, a lot of occult ideas. So, I have applied, indirectly or directly, stuff from my own personal life to the character. The Rev is very accepting. I grew up in a home that was accepting of a lot of things, a lot of mystical ideas, magical ideas, ghosts. All that stuff was talked about in my house, it was known. 'Oh, it doesn't exist,' that wasn't my house.

"My mother was very heavy into many things. So, I grew up seeing a lot of things like that. Even though this is a supernatural town, and even though this is a very mystical and mythical town, I can bring that into this in my own personal way, and to the character, especially.

Yul Vazquez"In fact, that was one of the things that when I got on the phone with David and Monica, I said, 'You have no idea; you’ve really come to the right guy for this.' And Monica, herself, has her own brushes with that world through her family. So, it’s cool, because some of it hits home for me in a way."

The actor also talked to journalists about his character being adapted from the books, the duality of the Rev, how he connects to some of the mystical things in the show, and more.

Please check out the full transcript below.

Midnight, Texas
Yul Vazquez

January 30, 2017


We only get a small taste of the character for like a few minutes. How does he fit into the town and what's his purpose?

Lem (Peter Mensah) and the Reverend in many ways are the moral compasses of the town. The Rev dispenses wisdom sometimes, and sometimes he has to dispense an ass kicking. I mean, both things are true with the Rev. There's a duality in the Rev that he struggles with.

Unfortunately, I am not allowed to tell you what happens, what the Rev does, but it will be interesting, and it will be big.

Was it explained to you why he's away from the other Midnighters at the Home Cookin' restaurant?

Well, he keeps to himself. He's a contemplative man, and he's measured, but you might see that change throughout the season, because there're some liberties that we have to take that may not be in the books per se. Because, I think it ultimately has to stand on its own. I think the books were a great launching point, like the Sookie Stackhouse books, but ultimately it has to live and die by its own hand.

SCIFI VISION: When you first read the script for your character, was there something in particular that jumped out at you that made you think you had to do it?

I read the pilot, and then they asked me to look at the Rev. I have a simple checklist when I'm talking about doing a job. Is the piece good? Are the people involved good? Is the part itself good? Can you do something with the part? And all those were yes.

I got on the phone with David Janollari and Monica Breen and had a great conversation with them, and I decided that I really liked [the Rev]. There was an essence to this man that I, Yul, identified with. There was a measured and mysterious kind of element that I really dug about the Rev.

Yul VazquezSo he's a bit of a cypher, and even when he says things, it's done in a way where it gives you a tidbit of wisdom, and it's like when a power is neither good or bad. It's just a power; it's all things.

So, there's a reason why he's in Midnight, why he found Midnight, why's he happy there, and why he wants to preserve the integrity and the sanctity of the town. So all those things [were there] when I read the pilot.

I knew that there was nothing that they could sort of guarantee me where the story was going to go, because that's the nature of television. Episodes can end and there're surprises to us. You know, we don't know. It's not like a film, which is a finite idea. So, I mean, I felt that there was a lot of me and the things that I believe in in this character.

Can you tell us about the two paintings in the pilot that Manfred sees when he enters the Rev's chapel where the holy water is?

I can't tell you about those paintings, because I don't know anything about them. [laughs]

Talk about the set that you work on particular to the Rev.

I have a church. They built an actual church on the back lot. We have an entire town. So, the town you saw in the pilot, that was shot in Las Vegas, New Mexico - the exteriors. They've recreated that entire thing on the back lot here. So, I have a working church with stained glass, a pulpit, and pews. I mean, it's unbelievable.

So, we work in there, and then we also have interior sets inside the stages. They’ve continued to build, so they're getting more enormous.

The books have a big fan base. A lot of people have expectations about where the characters are going to go and who they are. So, is that interesting, maybe creating a twist on those characters that will surprise people who already have previous expectations?

It’s a great question, and as you know, the fans of these books are rabid. They’re like, “Don’t f*** with our books, dude.” But I think that it has to deviate. Again, I keep referencing True Blood, but it has to have its own life. It’s different if you’re doing a film. Like we discussed earlier, it's finite. You can sort of do an interpretation of the book, an adaptation of the book, and that’s that particular slice of that. This is an ongoing thing, so it has to have its own legs. So, I think the fans who love the books are going to love these characters and be like, “I can tune in every week and watch these characters that I love now in this world.”

Yul VazquezAnd I think, visually, they’re going to be blown away. The guy who’s shooting it shot it so beautifully. Our DP, Mike Spragg, is from the U.K. I mean, the show has a beautiful rich quality. The few, very preliminary special effects that I’ve seen were amazing. The show has size.

What are the big deviations for your character from the books to the show?

I can’t really say what the Rev does, or what happens to him, but, he has a very, very incredible superpower.

And we’re going to see that on the show? You have a big episode that explains?

Yes. Episode two is really a lot about the Rev. It’s all about the Rev.

Will we see his backstory also?

[You'll see] a little bit of backstory. There are a lot of characters, so it’s tough to give everyone [a lot of individual time]. It’s sort of slowly doled out, but you’ll find out.

Lem and I are old friends, and our ages are probably measured in the hundreds. What the Rev is, he’s born into it. You can’t become that. It’s not like vampires who can bite you into a vampire. It’s cool. It’s a departure for me, from my usual body of work. It’s very interesting stuff.

SCIFI VISION: I really enjoyed your interactions with Manfred; the scene with the holy water was great. Can you talk a bit about how their relationship develops over the course of the season?

It’s interesting, because François and I are very close on the show, close friends. He comes into the town, he’s an outsider. He’s the newest addition to the town. He pulls up in his RV, and at first, I’m observing him as, “What’s your deal, man?” which is what that scene is. He’s coming to steal holy water, and I’m like, “Actually, here, let me get it for you.” So, it goes from someone observing him to, “I'm helping him and he's helping me.” We all begin to help each other. That’s all I can really tell you.

Can you, as an actor, identify with the duality that’s in the Rev?

Absolutely. I think we all can. I think that we all have a dark side. I, Yul the person, am very happy embracing my dark side, and my light side, and my feminine side, and male side. It all makes up, hopefully, what makes a person interesting to watch on screen.

As my shrink would say, “All the things that make your life miserable are the things that make you interesting to watch as an actor. So, if you take those out then..." I'm like, "Well, let's leave them in." And that's really kind of all of us. But, yeah, I do, because I think I, myself, might struggle with that. You know, the dark side is fun. [laughs]

Yul VazquezI’m curious how the town relies on the reverend for spiritual guidance and also for information, being the age that he is and what’s happening to the town.

They rely on him quite a bit. You also have to understand that the church is hallowed ground, so it’s a safe space. Sometimes people come into the church trying to make trouble - outsiders. And then, sometimes Midnighters come into the church and want to talk about something, want to get something off their chest. So, the Rev lends a hand to all of those. Like I told you earlier, "Sometimes you’ve gotta whoop their ass." So, it’s colorful.

How much of a wealth of information is he? He must know stuff about the town that nobody else knows.

He knows, yes, but nothing particular about the town is revealed, I believe, in this first season. I mean, some things are revealed, but you find them out through the characters’ own stories. But the town exists in what I call a mythical and utopian place.

We saw on the marquee that the reverend does weddings and pet burials. How often is he called to bury pets? Is that a driving business for him?

He has a pet cemetery; it’s a part of the church. So, he does; he'll bury your pets, but you'll have to make an appointment.

Will we see that throughout the season?

I don’t think you’ll see him doing any pet funerals, but if you make an appointment, he’ll see you. [laughs] It says “weddings and pet funerals by appointment only.” I think that’s in the books as well. He loves animals. The Rev loves animals. The Rev loves everyone. [laughs] Bugs, you know, he’s not a judgmental person.

SCIFI VISION: Other than from the script and the book, was there anything or anyone that you felt inspired by in your portrayal? Where did you take some of that from?

I grew up in a home with a lot of mystical ideas, a lot of occult ideas. So, I have applied, indirectly or directly, stuff from my own personal life to the character. The Rev is very accepting. I grew up in a home that was accepting of a lot of things, a lot of mystical ideas, magical ideas, ghosts. All that stuff was talked about in my house, it was known. "Oh, it doesn't exist," that wasn't my house.

My mother was very heavy into many things. So, I grew up seeing a lot of things like that. Even though this is a supernatural town, and even though this is a very mystical and mythical town, I can bring that into this in my own personal way, and to the character, especially.

In fact, that was one of the things that when I got on the phone with David and Monica, I said, “You have no idea; you’ve really come to the right guy for this.” And Monica, herself, has her own brushes with that world through her family. So, it’s cool, because some of it hits home for me in a way.

Yul VazquezDo you have stories that have been handed down in your family or that have happened to your neighbor or something?

I don’t have stories like that, but there were a lot of people that my mother knew, that were friends with my mother. I would go to mediums and psychics, and people who channel spirits when I was a kid. Literally, just because my mother [would be like], "I have to see so and so," and they would just come in, and I would just be hanging out, and I would see some amazing, wild stuff that’s kind of inexplicable.

My mother was into a lot of sort of Afro-Caribbean religions. So, as I grew up, that was in my house. It was all positive and good. It was all just an energy that could be used for good or bad; it didn’t have per se a polarity; it was just a power. So, I didn’t grow up [with the mentality] that ghosts don’t exist, but the opposite. For my mother, they were very real.

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