'Siren' actor Curtis Lum dishes on his character Calvin's unconventional arc in season 2: 'It's been one hell of a rollercoaster ride'
Freeform's 'Siren' is a story about a lot of things: from mermaids to subtle polyamory and tense friendships, a lot dances around the edges of the story, that at its core, is a loud alarm warning us of the disruption that man-made pollution causes on ocean population. When humans start digging up oil rigs along the shore of the fictional town on Bristol Cove, legends become true and merpeople start washing up on the shore, eventually culminating in attacking the humans. And amidst this war between the fantasy creatures and human life is a character called Calvin Lee, who doesn't fit into any of the stereotypes on TV.
Calvin, played by Curtis Lum, is drawn into the wreckage brought about by humans via his best friend Xander (Ian Verdun) whose father had died at the hands of one of the merpeople. As the plot progresses, we see Calvin filled with resentment towards his closest friends for siding with the merpeople. But when he is drawn into the scene and enlightened with the reality of the situation, he feels the town shouldn't work so hard in keeping the existence of the merpeople a secret - something that most of his conflicts on the show are oriented with.
In the past, we have seen the character be an overall caring and outgoing person. He likes his friends, he likes his job, and he likes Janine (Hannah Levien), sure, but he also happens to be super hot-headed and quite sensitive, leading to the many clashes the seemingly approachable, friendly character manages to land himself in. Speaking about these flaws and virtues of his character, Lum shared with us how different things are going to be for the hot-headed but outgoing cop at the end of this season. "It may seem like he is always up to his usual antics, drinking, plotting and always trying to figure out his next move but it's been one hell of a rollercoaster ride for Calvin this season," Lum said in an exclusive interview with MEA Worldwide (MEAWW). "Things have been rough since their North Star ship burned down and both Xander and Calvin have had to reconfigure their lives entirely due to the mermaids coming to land."
In the ongoing season 2 that is about to wrap this July 26, Calvin has been through quite a lot, most of which was exceptionally calculated and manipulative something that the character hasn't been noticed to indulge in, in the show's past. "I would say that Calvin and I are very similar in that regard," Lum says about the extra length he sometimes has to go to for the role. "I'm the type of person that finds sitting still very difficult. I'm a mover and shaker, so bringing that into Calvin's character was quite easy."
And albeit Calvin is the friend we all secretly want - the fun, outgoing kind that also feels passionately about certain issues, Lum assures that sometimes the character is a bit too much. "It's been difficult to go through most of the season playing someone who is always scheming for a way to make some money and being unsuccessful at it," he shares, adding: "But at the same time, the character is completely relatable because that is what most of us on this planet are trying to do - figuring out our next move, trying to find value in what we do and provide for our loved ones. Hopefully, Calvin figures it out by the end of the season so he can start putting his energy towards some more positive things."
While it was "how fascinating the mermaids were," and Eline Powell's exquisite portrayal of the mermaid, Ryn, that drew Lum into the show, he sais it's always a thrill to be shooting scenes with the merpeople. "It's always a trip. Our mermaids on the show are so damn good that most of the time there isn't any acting required. I'm really just reacting off of them naturally most of the time," he says, adding: "I could watch Eline all day just going about her business. She brings so much to the table and I think it's pretty clear the fans are constantly on the edge of their seats watching her every move and waiting to see how she develops."
Signing off, Lum couldn't help gushing about the incredible bond between his character and Verdun's Xander on the show, a bond that transcends beyond the screen too. "We've definitely built a strong foundation of trust with one another so we know we can always lean on each other when the going gets tough. Just like our characters do. It's very meta," said the actor who's gearing up for another Netflix show airing this fall.
'Siren' airs on Thursdays at 8pm/7c on Freeform.