Spoiler Alert! Do not continue readind if you've yet to watch The Affair's Nov. 9 episode. Major spoilers ahead!
We've got to stop meeting like this.
That was basically what we said to Colin Donnell when we chatted with him about his character's death on The Affair. Yes, that's right: Showtime's new hit drama (and one of our fall TV obsessions) finally revealed the person who died and it was Scotty, Cole's (Joshua Jackson) younger brother. Still, we don't know how or why he died, so this case is anything but closed.
Of course, this isn't the first time we've done a postmortem with Colin Donnell, as we spoke with him after his Arrow character Tommy was the CW hit's first major casualty back in its first season. He's made two appearances since Tommy's death, and will still appear on The Affair despite the reveal that Scotty is the victim at the center of the investigation in the present-day scenes.
"Who knew it was even a niche?!" Donnell said with a laugh when he pointed out he's managed to land roles with storylines after death.
During our conversation with Donnell, he revealed which other character The Affair's creative team was contemplating killing and how Scotty will factor into the storyline moving forward. Plus, we talked about how men and women view the show, whose point-of-view he believes and why fans will be satisfied by the end of the season...
E! Online: When you signed on for the show, did you know that Scotty was the one who died?
Colin Donnell: No, no. I had no idea. But that was the ballgame from the beginning with this. We got our scripts very early for a lot of the episodes, but the whole thing with The Affair came around really, I don't want to say last minute, but the way it happened was out of the norm for what I've normally done. When The Affair got picked up, I had emailed Sarah [Treem] to say congratulations and I had only done the pilot, thinking, "This is great. If it gets picked up, maybe they'll have more stuff for me." And then when she wrote me back, she was like, "Can't wait, got some really exciting stuff. Can't tell you any more than that." [Laughs.] So really, the first time I had done anything, we got episodes 2, 3 and 4, and the first time I saw Sarah again, it was on the first day of shooting, and I was like, "This is great, this will be a lot of fun." Then I read [episode 5], and I was literally sitting on my couch [Laughs.], and my girlfriend Patti was in the other room, and I was like, "Holy shit, I'm dead again!" This is just becoming a thing.
But the good thing is it almost doesn't really count on The Affair, since there's still so much story left to tell.
Which is the great thing, which is one of the things that basically, What Sarah said , without giving it away to me, she said, ‘You become a really central part. It's not a ton o do, but it's very central to where we're going with the season.' Which was really exciting for me. And you're right…god willing the Affair continues into a season two or three or beyond, however long are they thinking it might, there's lots of stories to tell and they are certainly creative with the ways they tell the stories. So who knows from whose perspective it's going to be told next year. There's a lot despite the fact that in the future, Scotty doesn't exist.
Did anyone know who was going to die before the script went out?
Not as far I knew. I think it had gone between, for a little bit, I think Sarah and the writers were thinking it was going to be Oscar. I never really asked the reason why. I was as shocked as anybody to read it myself.
A lot of fans were speculating that it was Cole, but you can't kill Pacey Witter, right?
How can you really kill Joshua Jackson though?! [Laughs.]
What I really love about the show is that it's about the details. It makes you pay attention to the little things.
It's almost like, I don't want to say spot the difference games at the bar, but I used to be obsessed with those things In the newspaper every Sunday. But it's a live-action, beautifully crafted story. It demands a viewer's attention. It doesn't let anybody off the hook at any moment.
People tend to believe one character's point-of-view over the other. I'm curious to know if you immediately trusted Noah or Alison more and if that's changed since the show began.
I would say it's definitely changed because it's such a visual show and Dominic [West] and Ruth Wilson do such a convincing job on each side of the story of playing who they are and who they see themselves as. I'd like to believe that I read and have been watching and find that I know that the truth somewhere lies in the middle and that's kind of how I've been trying to enjoy it. I've been wanting to believe each of them and finding it cool to go back and forth. Like, maybe her story's right this week or maybe his story's a little more truthful.
I've noticed that men tend to side with Noah while women tend to believe Alison. Have you noticed the same thing?
A little bit. I also think that men, they don't want to see maybe what's the ugly part of themselves either, so they're siding with what Alison thinks. I think it's one of the cool things that Sarah and the whole writing team has crafted; this discussion that everything goes, whether it's gender differences or age differences, the single people versus married people…I'm sure everybody has a fierce opinion about what's right and wrong and everything in between.
You said before that a second season could potentially be told from a different perspective. Are they thinking about that at all at this point?
I have no idea. Me personally, I would love to see it. I want to see everything that happens beyond the incident, beyond the interrogation room and I want to see what Cole is thinking and what Helen is thinking. I want to see how they paint the whole world. It's a really interesting thing to be playing a character...not only are you trying to play the character that the writers have created, but you're also playing a character that is within the confines of someone else's perspective.
I feel like you just Inception-ed me or something.
There's a lot of levels going on! [Laughs.] You have to assume that all of this other stuff happening away from Alison and away from Noah. So those things happen and then you bring them into what they observe. It's tricky and it's fun. It was really interesting to watch it happen on set and see how everything was crafted.
I know you can't say too much, but can you talk about how Scotty will factor into things moving forward?
I think all I can say is he's a bit of a loose cannon. He's impulsive; he's sort of got his bands in everything that's going on.
I was surprised that we learned who died midway through the season. So can you say if we'll find out how it happened and maybe who killed Scotty, if it was murder, by the end of the season?
You just gotta watch. There's so much that happens. I wish I could, but I will say...if it were not to continue into a season two, people will be very happy with the end of season one. But, hopefully, if and when it continues into another season, there's so much story left to tell.
After Arrow, I had you say what Tommy's tombstone would be, so let's do the same with Scotty.
I think Scotty's would be a little bit more family-oriented. "A brother and a son, he loved his family."
The Affair airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on Showtime.