Ray Wise has played some iconic characters in his long career, but he's landed the daddy of them all. Literally. In The CW's Reaper, the veteran character actor plays the devil himself, the dad of reaper Sam (Bret Harrison).
Wise is a devil with a passion for ice cream and a curse that makes it melt as soon as he gets close to it. The devil has tasked Sam with recapturing hell's escaped souls in vessels that range from a Dirt Devil to a hand-knitted winter sweater.
Following is an edited version of our exclusive interview with Wise. Reaper airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
You've played demons before, in Charmed and other evil characters, but this is the devil. What's it like playing the ultimate evil?
Wise: It's wonderful. You know, fictional or not, it gives you a great feeling of power.
Do people on the street refer to you as the devil?
Wise: [laughs] Yeah. And they're all very nice, and they have smiles on their faces, and they say things like "You're the greatest devil ever" and "You're the best devil I've ever seen." I don't know how many devils they've seen, but I'm apparently the best one they've ever seen [laughs]. I've had nothing but enjoyable experiences meeting the people who recognize me as the devil.
You've played so many iconic characters in so many different shows. Is this the one you get recognized for the most now? Or is it Twin Peaks? 24?
Wise: Twin Peaks, really, actually. That gets the most. And then 24 gets quite a few. And RoboCop gets a surprisingly large number.
So, in Reaper, we just found out that you're Sam's dad. Are we going to get to see some father/son bonding? Will you two be eating ice cream together?
Wise: [laughs] Yeah. You're going to see us do a lot of stuff together. We open up our relationship full out, and we're going to explore that relationship and also relationships between the devil and some other characters. It's not just going to be the big D and Sam. We're going to have some other new and great characters enter the scene.
He's remained pretty calm around Sam. Are we going to see any kick-ass temper tantrums from the devil this season?
Wise: Yeah. Yeah. In a word, yes. Yeah, you're going to see some of the more, ... at least momentarily, some of the more frightening aspects of the devil's character. ... There are going to be more demons brought in, and a little bit more of the ancient battle between the nether regions and heaven. Some of those aspects of the story, yeah. ...
Looking at the always-accurate IMDB, it looks like you've got quite a few projects in post-production. What's coming up next for you?
Wise: Well, I'm not sure about release dates and that sort of thing, but I have a film called Infestation that I did for Mel Gibson's Icon Productions that is supposed to come out very shortly. And I have another one called Love at First Hiccup, based on a series of successful films in Denmark. And we've done the Americanized version of it. And I have a film called Stuntmen, which is a film all about the stuntmen in Hollywood, and I play this kind of grizzled veteran stuntman who's been brought up in the business, and he's a little sour on it.
I see that there is a script floating around for Jeepers Creepers III. Is that going to happen?
Wise: Yeah, that's going to happen. They haven't set a start date yet, but it's definitely going to happen. And I think it will happen this year.