Dominion's Anthony Stewart Head

EXCLUSIVE: Anthony Stewart Head talks Dominion and why he loves his 'juicy' antihero

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Jun 20, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT (Updated)

Anthony Stewart Head is about to take on some really nasty angels when Syfy premieres its epic angels-vs.-humans action drama, Dominion, and he's not about to be nice about it, either, the English actor told Blastr in an exclusive interview. In fact, Head's character, David Whele, will embrace his inner antihero as he tries to take out any angel OR human who stands in his way.

“Ultimately, Whele is one of those that will turn any eventuality to his advantage,” said Head, whose David Whele is the Secretary of Commerce, the chief administrator of the fortified city of Vega, formerly Las Vegas, which is one of the last refuges on Earth where humans have survived in their war against the angels.

Twenty-five years have passed since the events in the movie Legion, starring Paul Bettany, took place. Back then, a young pregnant woman was carrying a baby who was destined to be the savior of mankind, the Chosen One, in the war against the angels. Dominion delves into the aftermath of that catastrophic war, which has transformed the world just as the identity of the Chosen One is revealed. The series bows tonight with a 90-minute premiere after Defiance as part of a new Thursday night lineup and also stars Alan Dale, Christopher Egan, Tom Wisdom, Roxanne McKee and Shivani Ghai.

Dominion could have gone “in a number of directions, really. It could just be about the civilization that we've grown and stick between the two warring families, and it doesn't. It could play safe, and it doesn't remotely play safe,” said Head. The writers are “not fearful of tackling this whole mythology of the archangels. It's absolutely fascinating.”

And while most of the angels are the bad guys in this apocalyptic world, some of the humans aren't so warm and fuzzy either, most notably David Whele.

“What's fascinating is ultimately that nobody is absolutely squeaky clean on this show,” he said. “Things happen to them and things evolve. Their characters change as well. There are repercussions, and there's a knock on the face for people's behavior. It's very interesting.”

Head originally read for the role of Gen. Riesen, the leader of Vega, which ended up going to Alan Dale. “They came back and said they would love me to do Whele. I just suddenly thought, actually, this allows me to play ... I've played politicians before. I played Geoffrey Howe in The Iron Lady. But nothing quite as Machiavellian as this. It's great fun. I've had some wonderful scenes where he is just twisting stuff around, just using people and bribing people and blackmailing people, getting stuff done his way. And then justifying it. Basically having every justification for the reasons he's doing it, which is pretty much every politician,” he said.

According to Head, Dominion's mythology spans a number of religions, “from Christianity through Judaism and Islam. There are little bits of other religions attached as well. What one religion thinks is an angel, another one may think is a demon. It's fascinating. A long time ago I did a documentary for the Discovery Channel, and one of the episodes was about demons. Again, looking into ancient Roman and Greek civilizations, one man's god was another man's demon. It's fascinating that there's this confusion as to whether someone is good or bad,” said Head.

Head, of course, will always be remembered fondly as the very good Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but he's played a series of heavies of late, including King Uther Pendragon on Merlin and Paracelsus on Warehouse 13.

When it comes to picking a role, “it always comes down to scripts. I've done quite a few sci-fi genre shows, and people ask if that's what turns me on. Well, no. Ultimately, I like good scripts. It doesn't matter what the genre is. If it's giving me something meaty and interesting to do, I'll do it. Science fiction has a tendency for roles that are quite juicy. I found Uther in Merlin was a similar thing. You've got someone who for all intents and purposes is a bad man, because he's done terrible things, but actually in his heart he thinks he's doing the right things. He's an old-fashioned father and an old-fashioned king who is out of step. David Whele is a modern politician who may well be out of step. He can make wheels turn, if you'll excuse the pun, for what he thinks is justified. At least to himself, even if it's mostly for the benefit of David Whele,” he said.

“Ultimately, whether he's an antihero or a hero, in his eyes, he has the best reasons for doing what he's doing. Certainly if he doesn't actually believe it, he will self-justify to make himself feel good about what he's doing. They say Hitler was extremely kind to animals and he loved his mother. He did disgusting and deplorable things. There are some people who say, 'How on earth can they justify what they're doing?' But they do,” said Head.

Here's a look at Dominion:

Dominion premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET on the Syfy Channel.

What do you think? Are you ready for Anthony Stewart Head The Angel Slayer?