Today A&E presented a panel on their Damien TV series for the Television Critics Association. The show is a sequel to the 1976 film The Omen, but ignores the sequels which feature antichrist Damien Thorn as a teenager and later an adult politician. The show picks up with 30-year-old Damien (Bradley James) confronted with another woman shouting, “Damien, it’s all for you!” This time, he is a war photographer, making the random confrontation as disconcerting as the original announcement at his fifth birthday party.
If the film sequels are non canon to the show, presumably Damien has been living a normal life for the last 25 years of his life. James said he has rationalized how Damien dealt with his childhood.
“It’s more a case of not being able to articulate it when you’re five and strange things are happening,” James said. “I looked at it as all that evil, if you will, was a noise. The only way he could escape that noise was by surrounding himself with louder noises. That’s why he became a war photographer. There’s a lot to be said for not knowing any different and not being able to articulate it yourself, having had no one explain it to you.”
Former Walking Dead show runner Glen Mazzara developed Damien. He intends to play with audience sympathies for Damien.
“The approach here is you want to see Damien’s humanity,” Mazzara said. “He’s an antichrist. So if you say Christ is all God and all Human, the antichrist would be all human and all devil. That’s an interesting character to root for. As Damien faces his humanity, he’s going to go down a path where as he’s doing stuff, we both want him to be stopped and want him to fulfill his destiny.”
As for Damien’s adolescence, Mazzara hinted that it wasn’t all just repressed, as we may find out in adjunct stories in the Damien universe.
“We play with that,” Mazzara said. “I think we get to that. I know hat that gap, that missing 25 years is interesting. We’ve actually looked at and are developing filling in some of that space on other platforms. There’s something being developed with mobile devices. This is a character who has a complete life story and we’re jumping in at this point. Look at that first episode. He’s 30. Christ was baptized when he was 30. That seemed like a good starting point, again using the Christ/Antichrist paradigm I wanted to explore. We do know what happened to him, where he’s been, all of that.”
Dealing with the antichrist, Damien won’t shy away from religion either.
“I do feel very good about the Catholic theology that’s in the show,” Mazzara said. “I was raised Catholic so there is a Catholic viewpoint. You’ll see right from the jump, people saying, ‘Why are these things happening in our world? What does this mean? How can I go on? How can I survive?’ These are questions that are important to all of us. That’s the viewpoint we’re exploring.”
What Damien won’t be is a “will they/won’t they” show, in this case being “is he or isn’t he the antichrist?” He is.
“The show is about Damien’s journey,” Mazzara said. “A man’s search for God leads him to the Devil. It’s a process. One of the things I wanted to avoid was I didn’t just want to have Damien fully cognizant of what was going on and a matter of people trying to flush him out because that’s a serial killer show. I wanted to look at someone who is supposedly tasked with this horrifying future crime, that he is going to bring about the apocalypse. Does he give into that? Does he fight against it? Does he want to do that or not want to do that? I thought that was very interesting. That seemed like the longest run. That seemed like the fullest story. That was a full character arc, a full journey.”
Damien premieres March 7 at 10PM after Bates Motel on A&E.Cool Posts From Around the Web: