Damien Thorn was a bad, bad little boy. There was nothing pretty about that kid, well, until he grew up. The 1976 horror film The Omen provides the backstory to A&E’s new series Damien, airing Mondays at 10pmET/9pmCT. The series picks up 25 years later following a handsome Damien — courtesy of sexy Brit Bradley James — who is now a war photojournalist on assignment in a hot zone in the Middle East.
Glen Mazzara serves as the series creator and executive producer and brings the same level of suspense and gore as he did to his former series The Walking Dead. Starring in the thriller along with Bradley James is Scott Wilson (also from The Walking Dead, R.I.P. Hershel) and Beaches’ great Barbara Hershey.
“The approach here is you want to see Damien’s humanity, and what we’ve done is he’s an Antichrist. So if you say Christ is all God and all human, the Antichrist would be all human and all devil. That’s an interesting character to root for,” Mazzara says. We agree, so we tracked down the 666-scarred man himself for some answers.
When did you watch The Omen for the first time?
Bradley James: I think I watched it at a ridiculously young age without really any comprehension of what was going on. I then rewatched it as this all came about and understood its legacy quite early on. It’s a much-loved film, and it doesn’t take a genius or a film buff to understand why it’s a very good film. What I think Glen has done in terms of taking the story from that movie … when I read that first script it really grabbed me and gave me a lot of passion for this character.
The original film had some pretty shocking and worst-way-to-die moments; it feels like we might be seeing more of that?
They’ve managed to find interesting ways to deal with people, let’s put it that way. I would say it’s an aspect of the show, which fans of The Omen will be able to take note of as part of the background of the film, but I wouldn’t say the show is reliant on those shocking death moments. People will be satisfied with the way certain people go.
I’m conflicted. Are we going to be loving Damien or hating this man?
Conflicted is a good word. The answer is hopefully, yes, you will be conflicted, conflicted in the sense that you will have moments where you ask questions. You’ll make judgments of Damien’s decisions, and then ask questions of yourself, hopefully, as to what you would do in that situation. I think that is where the confliction will come from.
What’s the story with the creepy-eyed lady from Damascus?
A scene like that is a little bit of an opportunity to mess around with your own head a little bit because you have to. It’s not every day that somebody digs out some old photos that they’ve seen a million times and then discover they’ve been altered slightly by God knows what. You have to be in a head space where you can create that level of craziness for you. Thankfully the whole of the first episode was shepherded by Shekhar Kapur and you couldn’t really ask for a better director in terms of setting up all those initial things you have to set up when doing a show and creating a character. The environment that was on the set was one that induced that kind of craziness that was required.
Several signs tell Damien “It’s all for you,” so what exactly does that mean?
Therein lies the first [season]. It’s difficult to break that down. The fun in the show was that journey of discovery. That is the point of the show — the audience going on that journey with him.
Credit: Art Streiber
Credit: Ben Mark Holberg