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SYFY WIRE Resident Alien

Resident Alien's Corey Reynolds on Sheriff Mike's New Romance, Feasting on Sunflower Seeds & More

Sheriff Mike has begun to realize that opening himself up to genuine emotion isn't the worst thing in the world.

By Josh Weiss

As we approach the Season 3 finale of Resident Alien, SYFY WIRE is catching up with several cast members to discuss their respective character arcs over the past seven episodes.

How to Watch

Watch Resident Alien on SYFY and Peacock.

Today, we sit down with Corey Reynolds, the man behind Sheriff Mike Thompson — aka "Big Black" — whose blustering outer exterior has softened with the arrival of Detective Lena Torres (Nicola Correia-Damude). Forced to take a long, hard look at the standoffish behavior he's adopted since the death of his partner in Washington, D.C. all those years ago, Mike finally realizes that opening himself up to genuine emotion isn't the worst thing in the world.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg we cover in the following conversation...

Resident Alien Star Corey Reynolds Talks Sheriff Mike in Season 3

Mike really comes out of his shell this season once he starts dating Detective Torres. Did the character's newfound romance affect your performance at all?

I think it was a good thing for Mike. I think Mike is searching for something. Some aspects of his life feel empty to him and that's why he chases being the hero, wanting to assert himself in all these ways. Lena grounds him and that scares him because she makes him think about changing himself for her, and change is scary. Sometimes, we are so conditioned by life to have chaos, that when it's calm, we create it. I think that might be a little bit of what's going on for Mike. He doesn't want to change, but he also knows the things he wants are only attainable through changing. So you have this constant head-butting for him and that leads to all sorts of stupid stuff for him.

Mike's also been a lot kinder to Deputy Liv this season, instilling her with more self-confidence. How would you say your rapport with Liz Bowen has evolved throughout the last three seasons?

It’s like when someone finally discovered that peanut butter and chocolate tastes really good together. We’ve had that connection since Day One. We had never met each other or read with each other until we were at the first table read. And it just clicked. It's hard to explain chemistry. We just get each other and have a tremendous amount of respect for one another. We also have this thing that we do where we battle for the last line in the scene. So oftentimes, this will lead to an endless string of ad-libs as we're both trying to be the last person to say a line in the scene before they demand we cut.

I love Liz and I think her character’s embracing of Mike, with all of his shortcomings, really gives the audience permission to embrace him as well. I had someone tell me once that playing Mike was difficult because it's hard to be a likable a**hole. And I was like, ‘That's absolutely right!’ I'd never thought of it [that way] but it’s right. This person mentioned Dwight from The Office. You have to find a way to make this character annoying, but maintain a likability at the same time and I think she is the secret ingredient to that for our show.

For More on Resident Alien:
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Resident Alien’s Hilarious Kiss Between Alan Tudyk and Edi Patterson? It Was Totally Improvised

What has been your favorite Sheriff Mike-ism so far?

Wow, there's a few of them. The wallet thing: 'This smells like it was puked out of an ass factory.' I also like 'Sorry to interrupt this little stroll down who-gives-a-sh-- lane.” That was an improv, by the way. [Another] one of my favorite ones from Season 1 is, 'Everybody's innocent until proven guilty…unless they're guilty.' I think that sums up Mike pretty well, straight out of the gate. But yeah, those are some of my favorite Mike-isms.

Let's talk about Cletus. Has he been played by the same dog all this time?

We did have to change dogs. We had a dog named Gus for Season 1 and Gus retired. Or is the new dog Gus? I don't see the dog enough, quite frankly. Chris and I picked Gus [together]. I just thought he was just such a funny, cute, little thing; to have this complete antithesis of a police dog. Then the name 'Cletus' just rolled off the tongue. I think originally, in the script, the dog's name was 'Tiffany.' [Chris] wanted to have this big, tough-looking dog with this little cute name. I looked at Gus and I was like, ‘Man, if that's not a Cletus. I don't know what it is!’ That name always seemed funny to me from the Dukes of Hazzard. That's where I learned it first.

Deputy Liv Baker and Sheriff Mike Thompson hold their hands up on Resident Alien Season 3 Episode 7.

I have to ask about the hilarious fantasy sequence where Levi feeds you sunflowers in bed. How fun was that to film?

That was hilarious! It was Levi's idea [to have Mike in uniform]. He's got his shirt off, he’s in bed, but he's only seen Mike in uniform. So even in his imagination, he sees Mike in a uniform. That was fun, man. In a lot of ways, the show has done a great job of pulling all of us out of our comfort zones in some capacity. Chris is so daring, creatively, that you want to do it solely because it's such a creative thing to do. Even if you're like, ‘Wait a minute. We’re gonna lay in bed and he’s gonna feed me sunflower seeds?’ He’s like, ‘Trust me!’ And it did [work]. It was great ... I told Chris ‘I feel like the Mayor and Mike are kind of that Stewie-Brian combination.’ You could break us off and we would have weird adventures together because there's just such a crazy dynamic between the two of them.

You also get to take pictures of the mayor’s feet this season…

That’s another thing! What a journey, right? What a journey for these guys. That was a fun scene, too, by the way. That was a really fun scene. We did some crazy stuff this season.

Speaking of crazy, you get to play an evil version of yourself in Episode 7. What was that like?

When I first read the script [and got the part where Harry] tases the baby and the baby explodes…first of all, I had to put my script down because I was laughing so hard. Watching the way the alien’s DNA finds other stuff and morphs [into other characters] … I love the idea of just doing something different, especially if it works within the storytelling.

Playing an evil [version] of myself was great until I got tossed out the window. It actually got me out of that scene pretty quickly. I remember asking our First AD, ‘So wait, do I come back in?’ He was like, ‘No, actually. I think once you're thrown through the window, you're gone.’ I was like, ‘So I can bounce?’ But it was great. It was nice to see some of our other cast members come back with Isabelle returning … and the pizza guy as well. And then the booger being Max at the end. It’s just so creative, it’s so silly. But at the same time, it works. And then obviously, what happens with Joseph and the mayor. Listen, we go balls-to-the-wall on that one. It’s my favorite episode of the season.

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity

How to Watch The Season 3 Finale of Resident Alien

The Season 3 finale of Resident Alien airs on SYFY next Wednesday — April 3 — at 10/9c.