EXCLUSIVE | 'Snowpiercer' star Iddo Goldberg decrypts his character Bennett, promises a thrilling violent ride
The 44-year-old 'Salem' star, in an interview with MEAWW, sheds light on the themes the series addresses and what's in store for the audience
'Snowpiercer' can be added to the list of much-anticipated shows of 2020. Based on the 1982 French graphic novel 'Le Transperceneige' and the 2013 South Korean-Czech film of the same name, directed by Bong Joon-ho, the series is a reboot and portrays the world as an insanely frozen wasteland after a human experiment to cool down temperatures goes woefully wrong.
The dystopian thriller boasts of an ensemble cast and one of them is 44-year-old 'Salem' star Iddo Goldberg. In an exclusive with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), Iddo spoke about the upcoming thriller and decodes his character Bennett and what's in store for the audience. Excerpts:
Congratulations on Snowpiercer. How excited were you when you realized you would be part of the series?
I was really excited actually. The graphic novel and the film were wonderful and TNT has been making really good shows so I assumed this wouldn’t be any different. The cast attached and filmmakers were an incredible draw also. I think I was also excited because I bombed my audition, I actually apologized at the end of it. Casting director Wittney Horton, who’s worked on 'Stranger Things', 'The Nick' and many other great shows, saw something and called me back. I’m lucky that she’s good at her job!
Can you take us through your research process for the role? Did it include reading the graphic novel and the film?
I immediately threw myself into the graphic novel and the film. Both are fantastic. But you only have to turn the news on to see social injustice and misused power and these are very much the themes I wanted to hold onto and think about lots moving into this. Researching for projects is funny though, you go down these holes! Or at least I do. I think not long into the process I was just fanning over Tilda Swinton’s performance in 'I Am Love' and then that made me watch 'The Great Beauty' for the 50th time.
What can you tell us about your character, Bennett?
Bennett is part of the Snowpiercer’s Engineering team. He’s been in the employment of Mr. Wilford for sometime when we meet him so he was part of the very early construction crew of the train. This makes him very good at his job but also very responsible for keeping many of the trains’ secrets close to his chest. And there are lots of secrets.
What drew you to the role of Bennett?
I love how the mission at hand keeps him balanced. There’s something very non-showy about him and about how he gets things done. And he gets to drive the train sometimes, so there’s that! He’s got an interesting relationship with a person on the train and I think that keeps his hope alive and I like that in him a lot. The idea of pushing forward no matter what’s going on inside. There’s also the opposite, the pain, and the loss he carries within him. Unlike the film our story takes place seven years after the world froze over, so for the people on the train, the pain is much fresher.
Snowpiercer questions class warfare, social injustice and the politics of survival. Do these elements form the crux of the show?
Yes very much so, survival and the continuation of humankind ultimately. But when you look further in, you see what everyone’s willing to do for that, whether they know it or not and that’s what makes the show so interesting. It’s always going to be the human element that grabs you in a story and there are so many of those stories dotted all over the train.
I think that’s the main difference for me between our show and the film. We get to meet so many characters on the train and try and tap into what they’re dealing with. We’re not heading from the back to the front of the train. We jump around the different carriages and every one of those is filled with loss, pain, struggle, love, deceit and hunger (for survival and power).
What can the audience expect from the series?
For time to fly! The episodes move so quickly, filled with wonderful performances with humor and drama and all within a magical world that is at times intensely violent and dark. The effects brought to the screen here are just incredible. Snowpiercer is without a doubt a thrilling violent ride that will give us food for thought. It’s ironic that most of the people that could afford to get a ticket to board the train are probably people that got rich whilst the world around them got poor.
If there is one tease about the series that you can tell us about?
A vile murder. The reason Layton (Daveed Diggs’ character) is pulled out of the tail of the train (where all those who fought to get on the train in the last moments before departure, are trapped). They just about exist in the tail, eating scraps whilst avoiding illness and random violence.
What's next for Iddo Goldberg?
I was maybe gonna go to the UK and work there again on a film but as of the Covid tragedy that’s now unlikely. If things get back on track for all of us I’ll probably return to Vancouver and start working on the next season of Snowpiercer which I’m really looking forward to.
I’ve spent the past few years taking lots of pictures. I love photography. Big influences are Alec Soth and Larry Sultan. So I’m always doing that. I’m planning on releasing a zine of my work taking pictures of strangers on Fairfax in Los Angeles over the last three years. When I started shooting film I would constantly be chasing my wife around the house, asking her to hold still again whilst I set up an elaborate shot only to develop and show her a badly underexposed image.
So I eventually took myself and my RZ67 (medium format camera) and stood on Fairfax and asked to photograph strangers. A huge plus was that I’d never had to show them the images if I f****d them up, and I did, a lot. But then a little less.
'Snowpiercer' debuts on May 17 at 9 pm ET on TNT. You can read our spoiler-free review here.