Patrick John Flueger is no stranger to playing troubled teens on TV. For four years he played Shawn Farrell on USA’s The 4400, a show on which his character had the ability to manipulate a person’s biology, effectively healing them, but who was at the mercy of a somewhat corrupt official’s master plan. His intentions were always good, but he was often twisted and manipulated by those around him into committing acts that seemed outside himself. Now in ABC’s new summer drama, Scoundrels, Flueger simultaneously plays two separate but equally somewhat troubled young men with good intentions of their own: twins from a crime-embracing family, Logan and Cal West.
Cal is following in his family’s petty crime ways, breaking into homes and stealing artifacts. He wears his hair long and somewhat straggly, his jeans low, and his attitude gruff. His brother, Logan, on the other hand, is the black sheep of the family: he is the straight-arrow that went through school and has come out with a degree in the law. He wears sleek suits and keeps his hair slicked to one side. These guys don’t see eye-to-eye, but something tells us they have a lot more in common than appears at first glance!
Examiner had a chance to chat with Flueger about this theory after viewing the pilot. Here is what he had to say about that, as well as the challenges of the show and the characters in general:
Scoundrels is the first full series Flueger has been apart of since his days on The 4400. The fantastic pilot script, along with some key individuals, brought him back to television:
“You know, my girlfriend was a big fan of Nip/Tuck, and Rich Levine (the creator of Scoundrels) worked on Nip/Tuck. That wasn’t a show that I had seen a lot, but I heard her talk about it, and I started watching it a little bit with her. And the storylines were a little twisted for me; I think I came in at a point where I was like ‘Whoa, what is this happening? It’s kind of creepy!’ But the characters were so rich and every moment was really, really full because they were so rich and defined. So that was a huge draw– the people who were working on [Scoundrels].”
Of course, the chance to play two meaty roles was too good to pass up, too!
“It’s quite the opportunity to be twenty-six and have this kind of challenge set in front of me. Usually I could play the lawyer or I could play Cal, whoever he is. But I get to play both which is kind of– excuse my language– but a complete mindf*ck. And it’s also the most fun I’ve ever had in front of the camera– ever.”
Both twins are fun to play in their own right because Flueger considers them different parts of himself:
“They’re both really fun for different reasons. I mean, with Cal I just kind of have a good time and do whatever I want and experiment and try new things. Frankly a lot of the time I spend trying to make Richard Levine– one of our producers– laugh. I try to see what I can do to make the girls laugh, [too], so that’s really fun. But then Logan has a lot more going on in his head so it can get more interesting because I can sit back in a scene and observe and think a little bit more. On paper I guess Cal maybe sounds a bit more fun but as far as getting into Logan’s head, I really have a good time with that because I’m not very similar to that kind of upscale lawyer that he is.”
The Scoundrels set is a relaxed, collaborative atmosphere where everyone tries to make each other laugh:
“The writers are really, really generous about letting us goof around within the lines. I mean we certainly stick to the script wholeheartedly, but within those lines we’re allowed a certain freedom that– in my experience, I don’t feel like a lot of TV shows allow their actors to have that kind of freedom…to kind of make it seem their own. I mean, we do stick to the scripts because I feel like the dialogue is fantastic, but when we can bring in our own little spontaneous comments within the scene, it makes it feel more real and more alive.”
Flueger actually wanted to strap on a wig to “become” Cal:
“It was certainly a group discussion with the producers and the first director, but I came in asking for the possibility of a wig. And the facial hair was something that we kind of loosely talked about. But when we first did the camera test, and we tried it first with just the wig and no facial hair and then the wig and a mustache and then the wig and goatee…It was kind of an on-going discussion, and you know, the wig, mustache and goatee won out, and I think it was the right way to go. I have kind of a love-hate relationship with every one of those pieces, but I’m glad we went with them. Honestly that character popped out when I got the wig on.”
Scoundrels was shot within three and a half months, on a fraction of the budget a fall or winter show would have. That added its own challenges to Flueger’s already somewhat daunting task of having to work opposite a double in scenes between Logan and Cal:
“Bless the crew, bless the cast and the producers and so on and so forth for being able to uphold this schedule, but we were on a low budget movie schedule for about three and a half months. So the rehearsals were quite short, but it’s coming in prepared, and then I had a lot of support behind-the-scenes. I’d run over to Video Village after takes so we could talk about it and figure out what I needed to do. At a certain point both of the characters were pretty “in me.” Logan doesn’t have a lot of content in that first episode, and we were actually filming two episodes at a time so more and more content was added later on in the game. But in the first two, he was put sparsely so with him I had a little bit more of a difficult time figuring out who he was because I didn’t spend as much time with him in front of the camera.
My doubles were really good about watching my mannerisms, too. With Cal I can do whatever I want a lot of the time but when it was a scene between the two of them, it had to be a little bit more thought out that this was done on this line so I could tell my doubles.”
With a title like Scoundrels, it’s a safe bet Logan won’t be the goody-two-shoes he appears at first glance:
“He might seem like the outsider from the family in that first episode and in subsequent episodes at times but you know, he’s really a scoundrel in some ways– just in his own different ways. He’s extremely involved in his family’s life. [Logan] doesn’t have a huge story line in the pilot but that’s not any indication of how often he’s in the show beyond this point.”
And Logan and Cal will do more than simply share scenes together: they will face off, combat style:
“They’re in a lot of stuff together…There’s a couple of physical confrontations. Cal and Logan have some great stuff together. There’s actually like a full-on physical wrestling match that comes up later in the season. I don’t know if I’m supposed to be giving that away!”
Be sure to catch Flueger back in action on the small screen when Scoundrels premieres on ABC this Sunday, June 20th at 9 pm.