Eric Winter Joins The Cast of 'Moonlight'
by Christina Radish
Actor Eric Winter is the latest edition to the CBS television series Moonlight, about vampire private investigator Mick St. John (Alex O’Loughlin). As Assistant District Attorney Ben Talbot, Winter -- who has previously made appearances on such shows as Charmed, CSI, Wildfire and Brothers & Sisters -- will be shaking things up for Mick and Beth (Sophia Myles).
Winter took time out, while filming Episode 15, to speak with MediaBlvd Magazine on the Warner Bros. Studios set of the show.
MediaBlvd Magazine> Since you’re the new guy on the show, can you talk about who your character is?
Eric Winter> We’re learning more and more about him, all the time. It’s a little bit mysterious, in the sense that he’s driven by his work. He’s out to do whatever he has to, to get the answers to solve the crimes going on in town. And, there’s an interesting fondness towards Beth. I’m learning about him at the same time as everybody else. What’s his real motive with Beth? Why was he brought in? She’s an attractive girl, so there’s going to be some of that brought in for a little bit of a love triangle possibility. Besides being the Assistant District Attorney in town, and trying to keep law and order, we’re here to mix up a little personal life, as well.
MediaBlvd> Is he a vampire?
Eric Winter> No. Not that I know of. It hasn’t happened yet. Maybe he’ll get turned.
MediaBlvd> Were you a fan of vampire mythology, before this?
Eric Winter> I was a big fan of Bram Stroker’s Dracula. All these types of werewolves and vampires, and all that stuff, has always been fascinating to me. It’s just a cool genre. Wouldn’t it be cool, if they were real? I dig the fact that this is set in that tone?
MediaBlvd> Had you seen the show, prior to being cast, or did you have to catch up on episodes, once you got the role?
Eric Winter> I had seen some of it, early on. And then, I was working on a couple other things. I’m one of those people who does not stay on track with a lot of shows, which is terrible because I do a lot of TV acting. But, I knew people that were on the show and I was a fan of what I was hearing about it, and I caught some of the early episodes. And then, I played some catch up as well. Then, the strike really screwed everybody up. But, yeah, I was a fan of the show.
MediaBlvd> Was it hard to come into a show, when everybody already knew each other?
Eric Winter> It can be hard. But, in this particular situation, it wasn’t at all. They were extremely welcoming. Alex and Sophia run a really great ship, as far as the cast goes, being that they’re the two leads on the show. They’re really warm. And, starting from the top, down, the producers and everybody have been extremely welcoming and friendly, which makes for a really comfortable environment when you’re coming into a show mid-stream, especially towards the tail-end, after a strike situation, when everything was started and then stopped. It worked out really well and I am very fortunate. Every show is different, in this town, and you’re not always guaranteed a comfortable environment.
MediaBlvd> What would you like to see your character do, if the show gets picked up for a second season?
Eric Winter> I don’t know a whole lot of what they have planned, but I would love to see a little bit more insight into Ben Talbot -- who he is and why he came around in this situation. I understand he’s an Assistant District Attorney and he’s following up on the job. The last Assistant District Attorney is no longer with us, so he’s taking over, in that sense. But, I would love to see a little bit more into his past and why he is the way he is because he’s a very driven workaholic, and does anything he has to. And I’d love to see more develop between him and Beth. They’re definitely headed in that direction, so I’m excited about that and I want to see where that’s going to go.
MediaBlvd> Do you think there’s a chance that his drive could lead him to less than savory practices?
Eric Winter> Oh, I’m sure. I think he’ll do anything. I don’t think he necessarily sticks to the book, so it’s going to affect what and who he’s willing to go after, especially to screw with Mick. Mick is definitely not someone he feels loyal to. He’s got a big finger on the pulse of Mick and he can’t quite figure it out, and I think it drives him crazy. He almost wants to expose whatever it is that’s mysterious about him because he can’t stand that he’s constantly getting in the middle of his stuff. He wants to be the top dog. So, any angle to get to Mick is going to be key.
MediaBlvd> So, he doesn’t know that Mick is a vampire?
Eric Winter> No, but he knows that definitely something’s up. We’ve got a little connection. He’s got his eye on him.
MediaBlvd> What’s Mick’s reaction to your character? How do your characters first meet?
Eric Winter> The first scene of my first episode, I come across Beth, in a situation that we’re in, and Mick can’t quite figure me out. He’s not judging me right away, but I am judging him. I know a lot about him. Assuming that I’ve been in the District Attorney’s office and I knew the last Assistant District Attorney from past interactions, I know who Mick St. John is and I’m not fond of his practices. So, he definitely sees that I’m sizing him up, and he doesn’t like that.
MediaBlvd> Is there any interaction between your character and Josef?
Eric Winter> There is, in the first episode back, but there’s not a whole lot, as far as my character. That remains to be developed. That will come out later, I’m sure.
MediaBlvd> Would you want your character to turn into a vampire?
Eric Winter> Who doesn’t? I want those cool fangs on. I’ve never had that happen to me, in my life, so it would be kinda cool. I’ve never gotten to play a vampire before. That would be a fun thing.
MediaBlvd> Have you gotten to do any of your own stunts in the action scenes?
Eric Winter> My first episode wasn’t crazy for me, as far as the stunts go. I guess I did fly into a cabinet, but it was a minor little stunt. I can see it definitely unfolding, on this show. They do stunts quite a bit. I’m impressed. Alex has his work cut out for him because he does a lot of the stunts. But, I’m definitely excited to be a part of more of that. I’m very much that type of a person, in real life. I love anything extreme, just going off and having a great time. I’m looking forward to some of those stunts.
MediaBlvd> How did you first get into acting?
Eric Winter> I hate to say it, but I was a model turned actor. I started by modeling and I took some drama in college. It was not my major. I got a degree in Psychology, which actually applies a lot to acting, and the people you come across. Basically, I got very turned on by it, through the drama classes, and when I started modeling, I transitioned into a lot of different acting classes and I was able to get into a really wonderful comfort zone with it. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a passion that’s grown tremendously, since I started. I’m not one of those typical people who knew their whole life that they were going to be an actor. It grew with me, so it was fun to be a part of that.
MediaBlvd> Will your character be returning to Brothers & Sisters?
Eric Winter> No talks of it yet. I could assume that there’s probably room for it. I’ve given them a tough situation. As soon as I booked that show, I had another TV show for CBS, called Viva Laughlin, so they had to work around that. They wrote me out and sent me to Malaysia. And then, Viva got cancelled and I went back to Brothers & Sisters. Then, there was the writer’s strike. Now, I’m on Moonlight. So, they’re probably saying, “What the hell do we do with this character?” And, I’m Rob Lowe’s brother, so I’m part of the family. I assume you’ll probably see me again, at some point, at least for closure. It’s a great group over there, and I was fortunate to be a part of that.
MediaBlvd> You also have a movie coming out on the same day Moonlight returns?
Eric Winter> Yeah, Harold & Kumar: Escape from Alcatraz. I’m excited about that. Hopefully, it will be a big night for CBS and a big night for New Line.
MediaBlvd> Do you have any other projects coming up?
Eric Winter> Yeah, I’m doing another movie right now, that I’ll be doing simultaneously with the show, called The Ugly Truth, for Sony with Lakeshore, starring Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler. I’m looking forward to that as well. I’m sure that will come out next year sometime. It’s a romantic comedy, and I play Katherine’s sort of love interest, throughout the process. Gerard is teaching her how to date me, throughout the movie, and then, of course, he ends up with the girl. When you shoot 300 and you become a big movie star, I guess they give you the girl, at the end. One day, I’ll get that girl.
MediaBlvd> In real life, what’s your greatest fear?
Eric Winter> I’m not a super-macho stud with no fears. I have a weird, crazy fear/infatuation with sharks. I love sharks. They’re one of the coolest things on the planet. But, every now and then, when I’m drifting out in the ocean and swimming, I start thinking, “Wow, if I got attacked right now, what would happen?” It’s one of the things that stumbles across my mind. But, I’m a weird guy. I had pet snakes, growing up. I love reptiles. There are not a lot of things I have phobias over. I’m cool with tarantulas, and all those kinds of things. But, something about a shark and the element of surprise in the ocean, freaks me out a little bit. I love the ocean. I’ll snorkel and scuba dive. I did a thing, one time, in Tahiti where I snorkeled into this area where they feed black tip reef sharks all around your boat, and you jump in and you’re just in the middle, surrounded by probably 20 or 30 of them, in the middle of the ocean, and not in a cage. And from having this weird infatuation with sharks, I was freaking out, holding onto the boat, while they were circling me, and there was nothing to stop them from killing me. It was really cool, but I was flipping out the whole time. I’m infatuated, but I’m freaked out, at the same time.