IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Seth Gabel Talks 'Allegiance,' 'Arrow' and 'Fringe'

Friday, 04 January 2013 15:54 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Seth Gabel Talks 'Allegiance,' 'Arrow' and 'Fringe'

Actor Seth Gabel has appeared in such films as The Da Vinci Code, Jonah Hex, and Take Me Home Tonight, as well as the short-lived series Dirty, Sexy, Money. But he is probably best know to fans as agent Lincoln Lee on Fox’s popular sci-fi series Fringe

However, the actor will soon be taking on the role of Green Arrow’s archenemy Count Vertigo on The CW series Arrow, which is based on the popular DC Comics archer. Not to mention that Gabel can be seen once again on the big screen in the new military based film Allegiance, which is currently available on VOD and opens in Los Angeles theaters on January 4th.

I recently had a chance to speak with Seth Gabel about Allegiance, as well as his upcoming role on Arrow, and possibly returning to Fringe for the series finale. The talented young actor discussed his new film, his character’s conflict, the research he did for the role, Arrow, his interpretation of Count Vertigo, looking at the comics for inspiration, his fight scenes with actor Stephen Amell, whether or not it will be a recurring role, and if he will in fact be returning to Fringe for the show's series finale on January 18th.

Here is what he had to say:

IAR: To begin with, can you talk about the character you play in Allegiance and the conflict that he is going through during the course of the film?

Seth Gabel: Sure, I play Lieutenant Danny Sefton, a National Guard Lieutenant who’s questionably transferred out of his unit before shipping off to Iraq. I’m this smart, strategic, resourceful guy, which is why Bow Wow’s character, Reyes, comes to me and asks me to help him go AWOL so that he could see his dying son one last time. So I’m faced with this dilemma of having the ability to get him off the base, but if I do, I’m putting myself at risk and ultimately my fiancé, my family, and the rest of the soldiers in my unit by doing so. 

In the research that you did for the role, did you find that dilemma to be common for many soldiers? Not necessarily the AWOL aspect, but the idea of choosing between home and family, and their own unit?

Gable: Yeah! It was tough because I think a lot of the guys in the National Guard when they were called up were able to make the choice, and a lot of the guys weren’t able to make the choice whether or not they were going to go. So it’s really difficult because you’re so close to the other soldiers in your unit and it really becomes a question of loyalty, not just to your country, but also to your friends that you’ve been training with for so long and perhaps fighting with. So that dilemma is an extremely difficult one and I think that’s what’s so profoundly impactful about this story. It captures a very simple and honest relationship between people that you don’t really see in war films and usually address the vulnerable feelings that soldiers have. 

I’m a huge fan of the CW series Arrow, and the DC Comics character Green Arrow, which the series is based on. I was very excited to learn recently that you have been cast as one of Green Arrow’s archenemies from the comics – Count Vertigo. Did you go back and look at any of the classic comics for inspiration for the role, or are they going in a different direction with the character for the series?

Gabel: I knew right away that they were doing an adaptation of the character. In the original comic book series his name is Count Vertigo and he’s a guy of eastern European decent. In this, I play a street thug/drug kingpin and instead of having super powers, whatever super powers I may have get manifested in the form of a drug called Vertigo that I found in the street of Starling City. I’m using that to acquire money, power and psychologically disturbing citizens of Starling City so that I could eventually take over. 

So they are kind of doing it like they did with The Scarecrow in Batman Begins. Where instead of him actually having a super power, it is manifested through a drug, is that correct?

Gabel: Yeah, that’s exactly right. With that said, I wanted him to have special abilities in some way. I really wanted to make sure that he had a physically intimidating presence on the street and that whoever he goes up against; he ends up being a very worthy adversary for them. 

Did you choose to use an accent for the character similar to how he was depicted in the comics and his cartoon appearances?

Gabel: Yeah, I definitely have some kind of a voice. I threw myself into just taking big risks with the character, doing as much as I could to keep it grounded in reality, but at the same time not being afraid to be over the top. So I definitely have a voice of some kind or definitely some affectations, but they feel real and they were a blast to portray. 

Does your character get to battle Green Arrow, and if so, what was it like shooting the fight scenes with Stephen Amell?

Gabel: Yeah, we got to do some fight choreography together. I think the stunt team on that show is incredible, as well as the fight director, and we spent a lot of time making some really cool stuff happen. 

Do you know yet if the part will be a recurring role or is this just a one-shot? 

Gabel: It’s definitely open to be recurring. That’s how it was presented to me initially and we’ll see what ultimately really happens. I would love to continue on, it was so much fun to do. 

Finally, are you going to be returning to Fringe for the series finale?

Gabel: I’m not allowed to say one way or the other. 

Fair enough, then allow me rephrase the question. Would you want to return to Fringe for the series finale if you had the opportunity?

Gabel: Oh, of course! Fringe has been one of the best experiences of my career.  

Allegiance is currently available on VOD and opens in Los Angeles theaters on January 4th.

The "Vertigo" episode of Arrow will air January 30th on The CW.

The series finale of Fringe will air January 18th on Fox.   

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