Interview: Zach Gilford Talks ‘Criminal Minds: Evolution’


Ahead of the upcoming Criminal Minds: Evolution premiere, Nerds & Beyond caught up with UnSub Elias Voit played by Zach Gilford.

Criminal Minds: Evolution catches back up with the FBI’s elite team of criminal profilers, the BAU. The team comes up against their greatest threat yet, an UnSub who has used the pandemic to build a network of other serial killers. As the world opens back up and the network goes operational, the team must hunt them down, one murder at a time.

Nerds & Beyond: Elias is a much darker character than fans would expect from you. Did you have a specific approach to getting into the headspace to play such a different role?

Gilford: The way I work on anything is kind of like, I just do what’s on the page. And on the page it’s dark. I’m going into shipping containers; I’m doing bad things. When you’re in the moment doing these things, for me as an actor, you end up in that head space. You kind of think, “All right, I know this character. How would they act here and now?” And you know, sometimes if it’s a long day of filming, it’s a little exhausting. It’s nice to get in the car and drive home, but it sometimes takes a minute to just shake it off. And not that I’m like, “Oh, I’m gonna go do dark stuff,” but you’re just like, “Ugh. It’s just been icky. It feels icky.” I’m fortunate enough that when I’m doing a scene, I can be there and be in it. I don’t have to do the thing where I’m like listening to like scary music or something for 15 minutes before they yell action.

Nerds & Beyond: Were you nervous about preserving the legacy of a series that has such a cult following behind it?

Gilford: I was a little bit. I think a little pressure was taken off with the … reboot? I don’t know if that’s the right word.

Nerds & Beyond: A revival.

Gilford: Thank you. I like that. Because it’s on Paramount+, instead of CBS, they’re doing it a little different. They want to make the same show, but in a slightly different way and they want me to be a part of doing that. So, I think I’m cocky enough to think I will do nothing the fans are going to hate. I’ve watched the show and I love the show, so I think I understand the appeal of it.

I’m not going to be some guy coming in like, “I’m not going to do the Criminal Minds scenes. This is my show now!” I have much respect for the fans of this show and what this show has been, and I think being directed by the cast members and how collaborative the writers are, hopefully I don’t stick out like a sore thumb.

Criminal Minds: Evolution premieres its first two episodes on November 24 on Paramount+. CBS will also host a special broadcast of the first episode at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on November 24.

Haley joined the Nerds and Beyond team in 2019 as a Writer and Editor. Her main fandoms include Criminal Minds, Wrestling, and The Walking Dead. You can find her on Twitter @haleyanne_.

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