Travelers: Enrico Colantoni on Vincent’s History and Why the Series is ‘Brilliant’

Showcase / Netflix
Showcase / Netflix

What would you do if you had a second chance at living? Would you give it away, or would you fight for survival and the right to find happiness for yourself? That’s just one of the questions Travelers is posing to its audience in Season 2, thanks to the introduction of the compelling new character Vincent Ingram, played by Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint, Remedy). In the season premiere, it was revealed that Vincent is the very first Traveler, whose failed mission set him on a path to start a new life, away from the Director–but not without sacrifice.

Of course, once we heard Vincent’s tragic past, we learned he’s also the one who tortured and nearly killed MacLaren (Eric McCormack) and the rest of the team back in Season 1. So, is he a villain? Or something else?

We had the chance to speak with Colantoni about his reaction to Vincent’s past and our ability to sympathize with him, his take on why Travelers is brilliantly written, as well as his recent transition into directing.

 

The TV Junkies: Vincent is a very intriguing new character. What were your thoughts about him when you read the script?

Enrico Colantoni: I was a fan of Season 1, and I was always curious as to who was the “when are you from” character. When I realized it was Vincent, it blew the whole world off key. Now we know who the first Traveler was, now we know when it all started, we have a bigger perspective of this world. Such a smart addition. He’s so creepy, so well-thought out, yet so justified in everything he does. If anybody put themselves in his shoes, they would have behaved in the same way. With the knowledge that he came in with, with the awareness that he had to die, being given a second chance, having to protect that, and still preserve that. What would he do? Absolutely manipulate all the knowledge he has about the future to his advantage.

TTVJ: It was very smart the way they introduced him. They made Vincent a sympathetic character in a way that he couldn’t have been without knowing his history beforehand.

EC: Absolutely. He would have just been a two-dimensional villain. But also, how he was introduced in Season 1. For [Creator] Brad Wright to have that overview of where this show is headed is very impressive, and rewarding to watch. How many times are we not surprised by TV shows? That was my way of saying how brilliant the show is. [laughs]

TTVJ: I do think Travelers is an excellent example of how smart and how well-written Canadian TV is.

EC: Yeah. And I know we, as Canadians, want to identify ourselves as part of the process something how—Canadians affect that, and seeing the world through a Canadian lens. But if we never even talked about that, nobody would judge it any differently. I saw it on Netflix in the U.S. before I knew it was Canadian. Yeah, all the talent is Canadian, those are all badges of honour. I hope we get to the point where we are such contributors to all of it—nah, that’ll never stop. We’ll always take pride in what we develop and produce in this country, as do all countries in the world. It’s how we identify ourselves, I guess. In a sci-fi genre, it’s even more remarkable.

Showcase / Netflix
Showcase / Netflix

TTVJ: The opening of Travelers Season 2 was set during 9/11, and it was such an intense scene. What was that like to film?

EC: It was a little traumatic having to relive 9/11 from a different perspective. It being my job and all, I worked through it. [laughs] You’re just wondering how they’re going to pull this off—it’s so big—and they did it, I don’t know how they did it, but they did it. I guess that’s how far we’ve come in computer graphics to make it look so good. The willingness for the producers to actually want to tackle something like this, they’re committed to how big this story is. It’s not like, “hey, let’s add 9/11.” No, it’s perfect. It’s a perfect addition to the story—this is where it all happened, this is the beginning, this is what was supposed to happen on this day. It’s so smart.

TTVJ: It was very clever the way of going about it, which is one of the many clever ways they’ve introduced new Travelers to the series. It hasn’t felt too out there, so far.

EC: That’s another reason why I like it so much. It’s not the extra-terrestrial, takes place in 3035 [world]. This is the world we live in. It’s 2017, it’s here, and it’s been happening. And it’s not a scary scenario, really. The idea of it is kind of comforting. The notion that we’re headed toward this apocalyptic world isn’t new, but there’s so much hope to the whole show. We can do something, we can change things. It becomes philosophical, it becomes spiritual. It’s not just a sci-fi story. It’s so human to see these characters who have a super objective in their lives, but at the same time have to take care of a child, nurse a drug addiction, struggle with human aspects. Yet they remind us how beautiful life is every time they take a bite of mac and cheese.

TTVJ: You’ve had the opportunity to direct in the last few years, starting with Remedy. What interested in you making that transition?

EC: I don’t know. It just seemed like the directors were having all the fun. It seemed like they were the ones using all their faculties. And, to tell you the truth, it got frustrating working with directors who didn’t understand actors. There are a lot of brilliant directors out there who give us a beautiful product, and you’ll never know that they rely heavily on an actor’s performance, but I’ve found on TV it’s so easy for an actor to lose sight of the joy of acting. I figured that, as a director, I could bring that joy back to these actors just by giving them permission to be a little bolder, be a little more courageous, rethink things, not get stuck in certain routines, and still make your day. It seemed like a really cool challenge.

There were a lot of directors on Flashpoint who came in and wanted to reinvent the wheel, and it really slowed things down. They didn’t understand the TV animal, that if it’s a well-oiled machine, any director who comes in really services the show better if they just stay out of its way—set up the shot, set up the day, and be the time manager of things. Not to take away what they do, but not overestimate it either. It seemed like a really cool thing to want to do, to want to tackle, to bring the talents that I do have and learn new skills: how to delegate, how to communicate, and tell a story, so ultimately I can write. We all have our own stories that we want to share.

TTVJ: You worked with Amanda Tapping for the Travelers season premiere, who has had a lot of success as television director.

EC: Yep, she did it, and she does it very, very well. It’s wonderful to have worked with her, knowing that I could feel safe with her more than most people because I knew she had my back at the same time. I had two directors watching me, you know what I mean? Even working with Eric [McCormick]—he directed the last episode of the season, and just knowing he had the compassion of an actor, you feel safer with that. The safer you feel as a performer, the better performance you’ll give. I want to contribute to that more. I want to be like Amanda and Eric, and Jason Priestley, and heck, Clint Eastwood.

 

What are your thoughts on Vincent as this season’s new villain? Sound off in the comments below.

Travelers airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Showcase.