Get ready for a new monster to haunt your nightmares, says Scottish actor Iain De Caestecker, who stars in BBC America's latest Sci-Fi Saturday series, The Fades. The series does its own spin on the horror genre with the spooky Fades, which don't quite fit into the normal monster categories.
"These new kind of creatures have been created, and I think that's a really exciting thing. You've got vampires and werewolves and things like that, and now you've got the Fades, I suppose," said De Caestecker. "There's a lot of rules, things that are associated with the Fades that you need to become aware of to really understand them ... So there's a mythology behind it now."
The Fades, which premieres tomorrow, is about 17-year-old Paul (De Caestecker) who suddenly finds himself facing the terrifying Fades, which appear to be a cross between ghosts and zombies. Unfortunately, his friends and family can't seem to see them AND he's having apocalyptic nightmares. The high schooler is quickly drawn into a war that's brewing between the Fades and the only people who can see them, the Angelics. After the Fades lead a devastating attack against the good guys, Angelic Neil draws Paul into the fight after realizing that he can see things he shouldn't be able to see.
Still, for Paul there's something more terrifying than ghostly zombie monsters that are trying to break into the real world and eat people ... high school and girls. The Fades also stars Daniel Kaluuya as Paul's best friend, Mac, Johnny Harris as the Angelic Neil, and Sophie Wu as the girl Paul has a crush on, Jay.
According to De Caestecker, when it comes to creator Jack Thorne, "he's got quite a lot of balls, and he's not scared to do something that you're not expecting. There's a couple times I remember reading the scripts and going to myself like, 'Oh really?' and then turning the page, 'Oh, no! You've done that?' So, that's one good thing about it. There's lots of twists," he said.
"Paul has been given these powers which he can't really explain, and it doesn't really fully know their purpose yet, and that's really interesting. That's something that I've never come across before. I've never experienced myself in my life and I don't know if I will," said De Caestecker with a laugh. "So that adds something really different, the supernatural element."
The teen has "all the normal worries that a 17-year-old kid does. Coupled with the fact that he's got this really huge burden on his shoulders of ... is he going to have to do something to try to save mankind or what? You know, he doesn't really understand what exactly it means, him having these powers," he said.
Paul's other big challenge is how to reconcile possibly being the savior of the world and telling his friends and family what's going on.
"How do you tell someone that? You know, when you find out that this is the way the world ends and there's all this other stuff going on ... first, of all do you believe it? Secondly, how do you explain that to someone who doesn't have the same connection as you do with the Fades?"
Probably the most important relationship Paul has is with his best bud, Mac, who's a big nerd and movie fanatic. "Mac's quite content to stay in that world with Paul and not meet anyone else, and I think Paul is yearning for something a little bit more. So there's that, yeah, and there's also growing up and living up to the responsibilities of these powers that he's been given. ... I think he has to become a man and he has to become selfless, and learn what the difference between right and wrong is. I think starting the story he's quite impressionable. He can be manipulated because he's quite innocent, and I think he starts to learn to make decisions for himself for the greater good, or what he perceives as the greater good," said De Caestecker.
While this might initially sound like a Buffy knockoff, not so. The Fades is filled with the language and sexual situations that the British are used to, but that might have challenges when it comes to what the American audience is accustomed to.
Beyond that, De Caestecker feels the show is adult in other ways as well. "I think it's really deeply rooted with some adult themes, and there's a lot of different ways you can interpret some of the messages that come across, maybe. But that was one of the things I always found so great about it, was that it had a real sense of purpose around in it in whatever way you took it. It's got a lot of depth to it."
The role has given the 24-year-old actor plenty of meaty material to sink his teeth into, including using an English accent for the character.
However, his biggest challenge involves dealing with "so many sci-fi elements and the special effects. There's loads of practical things you've got to be very aware of whilst trying to mesh yourself into a scene," said De Caestecker. "I think there was, at one point, we shot a sequence for about two days that only probably lasted 10 minutes. I remember it being really grueling. Me and the other actor had bruises all over us, and but I felt at the start if you didn't have a few bruises, you weren't really doing it properly, I don't think."
Here's a look:
BBC America premieres The Fades' six-episode first season tomorrow at 9 p.m. ET. Episodes run 75 minutes long. After the premiere of The Fades at 10:15 p.m., BBC America will air The Nerdist, hosted by Chris Hardwick, who will interview The Fades castmember Lily Loveless, who plays Paul's sister, Anna.
Are you ready for a new kind of monster?