Two weeks from now, on June 14, CBS All Access is all set to roll out their brand new series 'Strange Angel.'
Strange Angel is created by Mark Heyman and based on George Pendle’s book of the same name. The drama series is inspired by the real-life story of Jack Parsons and explores the dramatic intersection between genius and madness, science and science fiction.
Jack Reynor will play Jack Parsons, the brilliant and ambitious blue-collar worker, who started as a janitor at a chemical factory but had fantastical dreams that eventually led to the birth of American rocketry. Along the way, he fell into a mysterious world that included sex magick rituals at night, ultimately becoming a disciple of occultist Aleister Crowley. Parsons used Crowley’s teachings of self-actualization to support his endeavor to the stars.
Reynor is joined by Bella Heathcote, Rupert Friend, Rob Zabrecky, Peter Mark Kendall, Michael Gaston, Greg Wise, Rade Šerbedžija, Zack Pearlman and Keye Chen.
I had the chance to catch up with five-time Academy of Magical Arts winning magician, ex-frontman of the alt-rock outfit Possum Dixon and actor Rob Zabrecky via email to get a sneak peek into the show. Rob plays the mysterious role of 'The Minder' on the show and although he kept things quite close to the chest and didn't let out much, I did get the chance to sound out what to expect from the show through the very relevant lens of a magician, considering its intertwinings with the magical and the occult.
Zabrecky is renowned for playing aberrant, eccentric characters on screen as is exemplified by his first leading role, which portrayed a middle-aged groundskeeper who falls in love with a corpse in the 2015 film 'Decay'. I pointed that out to Rob and asked if we could expect more on-screen eccentricity on 'Strange Angel'.
"Yes," Rob admitted. "The Minder and the character I’ve played live during magic performances as well as in TV & film share that similar affectation!"
Rob educated me about the character he plays on the show. "The Minder is the gatekeeper at the Agape Lodge; a Pasadena private residence that also serves as the fraternal/religious order, Ordo Templi Orientis, known for its connections to occultist Aleister Crowley," he said. "The Minder's job is to watch, observe, and report to the order’s Grand Magus."
When I asked him if we get to see him perform any magic on the show, he left me disappointed by confirming that there would be none of that. But he did add that "the character has some magical qualities, though."
I asked Rob how integral the Minder was to the plot of the show. "He’s a fringe character, but exudes a certain dark countenance which contributes to the darkness that lurks at the lodge," Rob said. "And yes, he makes several appearances throughout the first season. Trying to draw a link between Rob's history with magic and the general theme of the show, I asked him if he'd studied or even read Crowley before. "I’ve read some of Crowley’s writings, but I’m not an occultist or anything," Rob quipped.
"It’s been an excellent experience. Great cast and crew," Rob said of his time working on 'Strange Angel'. Talking about how he came to a part of the show, Rob said: "I was in 'A Ghost Story' written and directed by David Lowery. David (who directed the Strange Angel pilot and is executive producing the show), reached out and asked if I’d be interested in the Minder role. Being from LA and fascinated by the Parsons story, I said yes. Plus, David’s a wonderful guy, and great to work with."
To wrap up, I asked him if there was anything interesting he would be taking home from his time on the show. "I think I’ll go back and re-read the book, Strange Angel again," Rob said.
Rob has also been a part of a couple of other projects apart from 'Strange Angel'. He'll be featuring in the complex romantic drama 'Spring Bloom' which hits theaters next year and also in the horror flick 'BOO!', slated for an October 30 release.
Strange Angel is produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Scott Free Productions. Heyman serves as executive producer alongside David DiGilio, Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker. Clayton Krueger is co-executive producer while David Lowery directs and executive produces.
The first season will include 10 episodes and will be available on demand weekly on subsequent Thursdays starting June 14 on CBS All Access.