NYCC Interview: Tim Robbins Talks ‘Castle Rock,’ Complicated Characters, and More!


Exclusively photographed for Nerds and Beyond – photographed by Mandi Lea Photography

This past weekend, Nerds and Beyond had the opportunity to attend New York Comic-Con. We participated in the press room for Hulu Original series Castle Rock, and interviewed the talented Tim Robbins!

Robbins is known for his role as Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption. He will be joining the Castle Rock cast for season two, along with Lizzy Caplan (Mean Girls) and Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade). Season two will premiere October 23 only on Hulu.

Nerds and Beyond: Stephen King’s work famously runs the gamut from drama to horror and everything in-between. Was it the horror aspect of the show that attracted you to it after being in Shawshank, which is more of a straight drama?

Robbins: Honestly, I didn’t even think about that. I know that they had done The Shawshank [Redemption] in the first season. But they’re such wildly different universes that I was more interested in the universe of terror and horror that they were dealing with and the character. The character is what drove me to it. It’s something I haven’t played before, and I wanted to explore.

Nerds and Beyond: Can you say more about the character of Pop and what his motivations are?

Robbins: He’s morally complicated. He’s someone that has a past that’s full of demons and ghosts.

Nerds and Beyond: Literally or figuratively?

Robbins: I can’t tell you about it! (laughs) He’s probably the only one in the town that can recognize a certain element of the town that has a tenuous hold on itself, and at any time, can burst. And because he’s been there as long as he’s been there, and has experienced what he’s experienced, and was one of three that dealt with the evil that has presented itself before, he’s in a position of unwanted responsibility.

Nerds and Beyond: So we see him happy that Ace is taking over, or is there going to be a bit of animosity there?

Robbins:  Well, the question is he bad from the beginning, or did Pop have something to do with that? And you know, it’s what happens in a crime family. If you raise your children in a crime family, you’re going to have to expect that some of your children might not be good people. But it also begs the question, what is good, what is bad; is there a possibility for Pop to redeem himself; and is it possible to raise a good child in a family that is morally complicated.

Nerds and Beyond: What’s sparking his interest in the refugee community?

Robbins: That’s a good question…that I can’t answer. (laughs)

Nerds and Beyond: Did you ever see yourself revisiting Shawshank in some way, shape, or form like this? Because Shawshank is a part of Castle Rock?

Robbins: No. And there never was going to be a Shawshank sequel.

Nerds and Beyond: How do you find a way into a character like Pop, who morally is a bit questionable, someone you may not agree with, or could even be seen as someone possibly evil? How do you find your way into that character so you can identify with them and empathize with them?

Robbins: I think all of us have the capability of acts that are immoral. And sometimes it’s the way you’re raised; sometimes it’s your relative mental security; sometimes it’s as simple as the fact that you have enough to eat that leads to whatever behaviour that one or society might find compromised. An experiment you could do is try not eating for four days and see how rational you are. Then add a little drugs into that mix and see how rational you are. Kurt Vonnegut used to say — he was talking about a criminal or someone that had crossed over into doing something horrible — “bad chemicals.” I grew up around kids that got into trouble; some of them went to jail. So I don’t feel that far removed from people that weren’t as lucky as I was, so I don’t approach it with that kind of judgment. I approach it as everyone is capable of evil, and everyone is capable of good. Even if you have done bad things, you’re still capable of redemption. And if you have been an angel your whole life, you are capable of murder. That’s the human condition.

Nerds and Beyond: So did you try the four day fast?

Robbins: I have done it in the past, yeah. (laughs)

Nerds and Beyond: Thank you!

Julia is a writer/editor/content assistant for Nerds who joined the team in 2019.

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