The Umbrella Academy star sat down with the hosts of Talk From Superheroes to talk about where Diego’s journey goes in season 2, whether he’s ready to love again and how damn good he is with knives.
Diana: Going way back to the “I Think You’re Alone Now” trailer, it was a brilliant homage to the Season 1 dance, obviously you guys are in quarantine so you can’t do press in many ways, I’m curious how you guys filmed it? Did you get a director zooming in telling you what to do or did you get free reign to record it however you wanted?
David: Well you know the marketing team at Netflix were so helpful they actually gave us a full on template of specific frames to match the actual sequence on episode one of Season 1 so that was really helpful. Obviously because we were in quarantine they kind of let us play with things and props and stuff and said you know whatever you have, obviously if it looks kind of weird - for example I used baby sheep rather than a moose – that’s the point. Cause the point is to make it seem like we are in quarantine, which, obviously we were. But they made it really simple for us so I – it probably took me like twenty minutes to shoot that whole thing and then obviously they edited it together and it was really funny.
Diana: It’s really funny. Were you a little nervous to do your dance again though? I know everyone was talking about your dancing in Season 1.
David: Yeah, I mean it’s kind of funny when it comes to … you know people kind of expect a dance move and I try not to do it too much cause I don’t want to burn it out, you know, it’s like “oh there goes David doing the same damn dance moves again.” So I’ve been trying to switch it up but in this one I couldn’t really shuffle cause there was a rug on the floor. You know like when you rub your feet on the rug after awhile and then you touch things and you get electric shock, you ever done that before when you were a kid?
Diana: A kid? No, this week.
Andrew: We’ve been doing that the last few months, how do you think we’re killing time?
David: You’re like “I’m doing it right now actually.”
Diana: Well [your dance] still looked great even if you couldn’t shuffle.
Andrew: One thing that has changed for Diego this season that I want to talk about is romantically, and one thing that I’m curious about is last season with Patch, obviously that ended very tragically for Diego. How did that story from last season affect your performance and Diego’s attitude towards potential romance in this season?
David: Well I think that in episode 10 Season 1 Diego has a moment of clarity when he’s fighting with Cha Cha where he decides to not kill her, and a lot of that comes from Patch’s philosophy and her idea of prosecuting people through the law rather than physically wanting to hurt them. So I think that Diego, you know, in the beginning of Season 2 he’s really trying to honor that and keep her alive. Also you have this other person who comes along, which, I won’t say much, that organically kind of allows Diego to be himself because this person that’s coming in to the second season doesn’t see things that way, so in all aspects that person’s not trying to change Diego, they’re almost just trying to make him flourish which I think that’s when it happens kind of organically, it’s not forced. If Diego is to fall in love again it should never be forced because of the trauma that he’s had, it’s more about finding closure.
Diana: Speaking of this potential person though, so Patch was a very by the books cop and you were kind of this vigilante who grated on her, but now your love interest is a little bit more of a wild card. Do you think Diego’s kind of getting a little taste of his own medicine with this new character?
David: Yeah, exactly. It’s the exact same medicine because even if you look at the person’s upbringing, it’s very similar to [Diego’s] upbringing and there are certain traumas that this new person carried, I think, that parallels everyone from the Umbrella Academy. And so I think that’s an immediate connection of Diego seeing someone that could be somewhat of a hassle and realizing that, oh shit, I’ve been much of a hassle my entire life too with all of my siblings.
Diana: So Diego’s made some realizations?
David: Yeah, you know, he meets his match but stronger, you know.
Andrew: There are other, maybe less deep, changes to Diego this season, like your signature look. We’re not seeing as much of the old knife-chest harness, the S&M look this season. Did you miss the signature look or was it nice to be able to change it up and wear a few new things this season?
David: A part of it was really nice. So, two things. One was, Chris Haragon who was the costume designer, who was coming up with all these amazing looks for us, really made me feel in Season 2 that I was more of a person. Cause in Season 1 it was kind of you just walked around like you were a hero, a superhero, and it was kind of a joke. And now it’s kind of grounding Diego even more by being able to just have a style, but obviously the style wasn’t even that specific cause Diego was just getting clothes from Eliot’s closet, so it was more of Eliot’s clothes that he was taking from him.
Diana: Also clothes from a clothesline just grabbing whatever you could – but you always had a knife somewhere.
David: Yeah, I mean especially in the boot or the back pocket. I mean the orange shirt to me was my favorite, that orange shirt was pretty fly.
Andrew: It’s a crisp look. And I know last season you had mentioned that you were actually holding real knives for a lot of the scenes. Was that true again this season? Did they trust you with actual sharp things?
David: Yeah. Oh yeah yeah yeah they did. I mean, obviously, I had to prove myself that I wasn’t going to get anyone hurt but it was nice. Even the kid that plays Sissy’s son – I would let him borrow the knives and he’d walk around, but obviously he would use the rubber knife. It just depends, they switch them out, like if I was in a very crowded spot in the middle of a fight or something where I would have to use a knife it would just vary of when I was allowed to wear a real one or a fake one. But it was almost to our discretion to make sure that everyone kind of felt safe. But in all honesty I think there was like this one move that I practiced for about a year which was twirling the knife over and over and over and over again that in Season 1 I wasn’t even able to do, and in Season 2 I felt completely comfortable with the knife in my hand. So I think they told me, when you need the fake knives let us know and that was kind of how we played it out throughout the whole season.
Andrew: I think I remember the scene that you’re referencing this season, there’s one moment where it’s not even the focal point you’re just in the background of a scene just twisting, spinning and twirling a knife and I’m like, oh he got good at this, huh? This isn’t even for us, the audience. This is for David. That’s not Diego back there.
David: No, no, not at all, that was just for me. I was just like, I had to prove myself man. In Season 1 I tried to do that in one scene and I was dropping the knife everywhere and I was like, man, I gotta get better at this, it’s embarrassing, so I would get knives at home while I was cooking and I would just twirl it. No accidents, thank god.
Diana: You’re not just knives though, you also do tons of fight scenes, probably the most next to maybe Five, so probably the most for an adult man in this show. Do you enjoy the physical stuff or are you ever looking at your cast mates like, oh, you’re just rumoring people and talking to ghosts and I’m over here learning choreography and getting punched.
David: No, I love it. I mean, to each his own I think. I love it because it kind of allows me to seep into the reality of Diego if I can actually do some physical work. Now, only because Diego needs it. If Diego didn’t need it, by all means I’m not going to be trying to learn any kind of stunts or anything for a character that didn’t need it, but Diego needs it I think in order to do him justice for the story and for the viewers. I really love it.
Andrew: Do you have a scene or a moment you’re most proud of for this season? Is there one thing you’re really excited for people to see this upcoming season?
David: Oh man there’s so many. So many. I love the Dad scene, I love the opening sequence with all of us together when we’re fighting the communist side of the army, I love that one, but if you were to say one simple one I think the elevator scene going up to see Dad, that moment – even off screen – kind of summed up the relationship that we had as characters and as cast mates when Luther was farting, that was funny.
Andrew: Was there an actual fart in that elevator?
David: No, no, no, [Luther] was kind enough to not fart in there, but imagining it and seeing like, for example, Allison who is played by Emmy, her reaction in the scene, I couldn’t keep a straight face.
Andrew: Well that’s all the time we have for you today David, thank you so much for your time and your terrific answers. And you gave a phenomenal performance this season, we’re excited for everyone to see it.
David: Thank you guys, I really appreciate it.
The Umbrella Academy Season 2 comes out on Netflix July 31, 2020.