The Messengers - Exclusive Interview with Trey Callaway
From Spoiler TV:
Interview with Trey Callaway - The Messengers
SpoilerTV: What motivated you to become involved in The Messengers?
Trey Callaway: The minute I read Eoghan O’Donnell’s beautifully written pilot, I knew it was a show I wanted to watch—not to mention be a part of. The characters are compelling, relatable, and all in great periods of crisis in their lives, which made the pilot rich with the kinds of conflict I love to write. Then you play all that out against a colorful, complex, and powerful mythology of literally biblical proportions—and I was hooked. But what really sealed it for me was meeting with Eoghan for the first time. He’s a tremendously intelligent, talented, and humble writer from Arkansas, whom I felt immediately bonded to. Also, I’m from Oklahoma—so we’re both from the Heartland and have not only been steeped in religion, but also share a passion for science and exploring the beliefs of others. He was also in the same place I was when I began my television career, in that both of us got our very first pilots picked up to series (mine was a science fiction series called MERCY POINT on the now defunct UPN Network). So I immediately recognized that look on his face—the one that says “Okay, I just won the lottery—now what do I do?” And fortunately, I’ve been doing this long enough now, that I knew what needed to be done. First and foremost, I wanted to help protect his vision—and then hopefully help ensure we get to keep telling the story of THE MESSENGERS for many seasons to come.
STV: As many know, you were Co‐Executive Producer of NBC’s fan favorite series Revolution. What have you found to be the most significant difference between working on Revolution and working on The Messengers?
TC: Well, for starters, Eric Kripke was the showrunner of REVOLUTION. That meant he was the boss—the buck‐stops‐here individual who makes all final key creative decisions related to the show. And because I had already worked with him on his other successful show SUPERNATURAL (I created the popular Ghost Facer characters in an episode I wrote during season one), I already admired him a great deal—and knew my purpose there was to work with the other writers to help him tell the stories he wanted to tell. But on THE MESSENGERS—I was in Eric’s shoes—which come with a great deal more responsibility. A showrunner isn’t only the head writer on a show—but is also tasked with supervising the actors, as well as all aspects of production and post‐production. In other words, you don’t sleep a lot. But it’s the greatest job in the world and I’ve loved every minute of working with Eoghan, the rest of our amazing writing staff, the talented cast, and our extraordinary crew.
STV: The trailers indicate the “big bad” of Season One will be the Devil played by Diogo Morgado. Can viewers expect to see other villains in the form of demonic creatures introduced throughout the season?
TC: It’s true… Diogo Morgado does indeed play Lucifer, The Prince of Darkness—and believe me, he’s devilishly good at bringing a deeply manipulative and complex level of evil to the role. But no, he will not be our sole antagonist in the show. During the first season, THE MESSENGERS will be challenged to find and stop the mythical FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE. And while our interpretation of them may be uniquely grounded in many respects—with each of them facing the same kinds of difficult choices THE MESSENGERS do—they are flirting with a much darker destiny which may even put them in conflict with the Devil himself.
STV: On the topic of Diogo, fans are excited to see his portrayal of the Devil which is quite a leap from his recent role as Jesus in Son of God. Was this previous role taken into account during the casting process or was it an interesting coincidence?
TC: It was really more of an interesting coincidence—but while the two figures couldn’t be more different ‐ I will say that like Jesus—Satan is an extremely complex character. And it took a performer of Diogo’s caliber to bring that kind of complexity to life in each role. I’ve often said that as frightening as he may be—there is arguably no more vulnerable and insecure figure in all of history and mythology than the Devil. He has been cast down from Heaven for hubris—not just once, as described in the Christian Bible—but now twice, when we first meet him in our series. And believe it or not—he’s profoundly hurt by those experiences. So on THE MESSENGERS—you occasionally find yourself feeling sorry for him—at the same time you fear him. And I think that’s a great testament to the nuance and skill with which Diogo takes on the role.
STV: The press release indicates The Messengers awaken with special gifts ranging from healing to increased strength. How often are these gifts featured and do they play a prominent role in the development of each of the characters?
TC: Indeed, each of THE MESSENGERS has been given a supernatural gift from God in order to help them work together and attempt to stop the Apocalypse. But each gift is custom tailored to who they are as human beings—as if a higher power has looked inside each of them, identified a key weakness, and then given them a powerful tool to not only save humanity, but ultimately save themselves.
STV: In regards to character development, will we learn more about each of The Messengers backstories? How much will their previous relationships factor into their new mission?
TC: I think I speak for Eoghan and the rest of our writers when I say that delving into who our characters are—past, present, and future—is one of the most satisfying aspects of THE MESSENGERS. These are not superheroes. These are real human beings who have been drawn together at what may the worst possible time in their lives, by an unexpectedly shared destiny they do not understand, and in some cases refuse to accept. And I think that whole notion of what it means to become a reluctant warrior or prophet in a search for greater meaning in life—is what makes our show so profoundly enjoyable to watch.
STV: Is the series based on good versus evil or is it more focused on the individual choices made by the characters?
TC: This show is all about choices. Good ones… bad ones… and all the grey areas in between. THE MESSENGERS have to make choices—in both their personal lives and regarding their destiny as Angels. The Devil has to make choices—about his relationship to both God and humankind. And the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will have choices to make as well… which may or may not seal their fates for all eternity.
STV: Some people fear the series will focus too heavily on religion, specifically Christianity. If you had the opportunity to speak to these people what would you tell them?
TC: I would tell them that this is a television show, first and foremost. We’re here to entertain, not preach. And the show is extremely thrilling, sexy, romantic, action‐packed, and scary. But it’s also very thought‐provoking and emotional. And I think every episode of our season makes you think and feel things that you might not get from the average show—no matter what you believe in. Being in the writers room on THE MESSENGERS was often like being in the center of a great theological discussion or debate. With very few exceptions, most of the world’s great religions have their own version of an Apocalyptic end days scenario. And even in the world of science—once the sun expands and the Earth burns—things don’t end well for any of us. So in that sense, all of these different belief systems begin to feel like they’re each wells on the same river. And like the characters at the heart of our show—we came at the material from many different spiritual perspectives—or in some cases, no beliefs at all. But we always embraced great tolerance and respect for each other. Because at the end of the day, I think our audience will realize just like we did that THE MESSENGERS is not a show about religion. It’s a show about faith. The faith we have to find in ourselves when times are tough. The faith we have to put in others—even when they’re complete strangers. And maybe, just maybe, the faith we may have to ultimately place in powers far greater than ourselves.
STV: Does Season One end on a cliffhanger or will fans receive closure if the series isn’t renewed?
TC: Let’s just say it’s an extremely satisfying ending to our first season—but it is by no means the end of the story!
STV: If you were able to have one of The Messengers gifts which would you choose and why?
TC: That’s a great question. I’m not sure I’d want any of them, to tell you the truth. Because as our characters will learn over the course of the first season—each of their powerful gifts also exacts a price in their lives. But I guess I would have to admit it would be pretty cool to have wings—if only to get me from LA to Albuquerque (where THE MESSENGERS is filmed) a lot faster!
STV: Finally, for anyone who is unsure whether to tune in, can you tell viewers why they should check out The Messengers?
TC: Look, I don’t think all the Apocalyptic or Post‐Apocalyptic stories we’ve all seen on TV or at the movies have happened by accident. I think they reflect a general sense of unease that people have with the state of the world we’re living in. I mean, once you take climate change, political turmoil, military conflict, socio‐economic disparity, and a whole host of other problems—then broadcast them day and night on 24 hour news channels—it’s a wonder we’re not all sucking our thumbs in the fetal position. But the thing we’re probably most proud of in our first season of THE MESSENGERS is the overwhelming and emotional sense of HOPE that exists at the heart of every episode of this series. It’s like we’ve somehow managed to say—without always overtly trying to say it—that in the end, everything’s gonna be okay. Sure, one day we’re all gonna die. And maybe one day, the world as we know it will finally come to an end. But it’s the search for meaning in our lives—and the people we love who help us find it—that makes life truly worth living. And THE MESSENGERS truly worth watching.