Working with lions is just one of the frills of Zoo, says Billy Bruke
There is a lot happening on Zoo, and know-it-all veterinary pathology professor Mitch Morgan, played by Billy Bruke, is bang in the middle of it all. The actor, who faces a violent animal uprising on the show, along with four other characters, tells us how they combat the disaster and what we can expect from season one.
Tell us about Zoo and your role in it.
Zoo tells the story of five individuals with vastly different histories and skill sets, faced with solving a worldwide crisis— a mysterious animal kingdom uprising. I play Mitch Morgan who’s a bit of a loner. He’s a veterinary pathology professor who’s used to being the smartest person in the room but he’d really prefer to be the only person in the room. He thinks he’s seen it all until he starts to witness the strange and violent occurrences.
What drew you to the show?
When the producers told me the concept, I couldn’t think of any other show I knew of that I could compare it to. I’m a big fan of breaking new ground when the opportunity is there.
What aspect of Morgan most appealed to you?
I’m rarely the super smart guy. Smart ass? Yes, that I’ve done. But Mitch can actually back up his smart ass-ness with being legitimately hyper-intelligent. I think there’s a different kind of damage riding beneath the surface of guys who have spent a major portion of their lives educating instead of living.
How did the production work with the animals?
We had the live animals on set for every episode. If you see a bear, a lion or a rat, we worked with them. We’d get everything we could from an animal’s live performance, then enhance it later if needed.
What do you think Indian audiences will enjoy most?
Having never been to India myself, I don’t know if it will play any differently. But what we’ve found is that week-to-week the viewers not only enjoy the action, adventure and humor, but the constant struggle to decide who they’re actually rooting for. Humans or the animals.
How different is Zoo from your lead role in Revolution?
We all loved working on Revolution and were sad to see it go so soon. The major difference I guess would be how physically demanding Revolution was in comparison to what I do on Zoo. As Miles Matheson, I was either fighting, running or in some sort of life-threatening peril almost every day. I love doing action stuff and I did almost 100 per cent of my own stunts on that show, but I don’t mind having a more cerebral gig now.
How would you describe the show to someone skeptical about watching Zoo?
First of all, why be skeptical? All the animals of the world go nuts and start killing humans because they’re pissed off. What’s not to enjoy about that? But really, the show is done with a tone that makes you believe it could actually happen yet doesn’t take itself so seriously that the characters can’t have a little fun with the absurdity of it all.
Any highlights from your story arc this season?
I’m pretty proud of our writers for layering Mitch’s backstory in a way that gives us some unexpected turns but stays consistent to who I believe him to be. Beware of hidden liaisons and fluctuating motives. I enjoy the moments when Mitch gets cut down to size. I’ll let you all watch for yourselves and pick your own highlights.
Sundays, at 11 pm on AXN.