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Actor Romaine Waite talks underlying themes of hit horror series ‘The Mist’

Acting, for Romaine Waite, is a release. When learning about his character and their experiences, the experience is rather cathartic for the actor. He finds that his craft is the ideal form of communication. Like most art, film inspires its audience to have conversations they may not normally have, or even be exposed to something they have never seen, and Waite loves being such an artist.

With an impressive resume, Waite finds himself at the forefront of Canada’s entertainment industry. Having worked on acclaimed films such as Antisocial and 52 Words for Love and hit television shows like Frankie Drake Mysteries and Star Trek: Discovery, Waite has a well-earned reputation amongst his peers.

“I enjoy working with Romaine. He takes direction really well. He can deliver the script exactly as written with a solid interpretation. He's also happy trying alternatives, experimenting and improvising, so that's a lot of fun for me as a director. We can have a really flexible approach to the material. Romaine is very relaxed and in-the-moment, so that makes for a really natural performance. And the camera loves him,” said Andrea Moodie, Writer and Director of 52 Words for Love.

Last year, Waite once again graced the small screen in the Spike TV horror series The Mist. Based off the Stephen King novel, The Mist centers around a small-town family that is torn apart by a brutal crime. As they deal with the fallout an eerie mist rolls in, suddenly cutting them off from the rest of the world, and in some cases, each other. Family, friends and adversaries become strange bedfellows, battling the mysterious mist and its threats, fighting to maintain morality and sanity as the rules of society break down.

“On the surface one could look at the series for the gore and the scary stuff. Which is fine, because there is lots of it, and if you’re a fan of Stephen King — well, its expected. However, I like that you don’t have to look far to get some of the underlying messages of the show, like religion and spirituality versus nature, sexuality, justice, and corrupt leadership. There are so many motifs within the series that we could talk about it for a long time. I admire when a script takes a stand on a subject and opens the conversation about it. I think that’s the only way we’ll resolve the issues we’re having is with open and honest conversation. The one that stood out for me was the importance of leadership and how a leader truly has to have the best interest of the people in mind. If not, you only end up bringing yourself down along with everyone else around you,” Waite described.

Waite plays Kyle in the show, the mall's security guard. In the initial breakdown of the character, it says he is rather uncaring and harsh. He stands with the survivors who want to take action, no matter how gruesome. His tone often borders on aggression. Waite however initially saw him as someone who actually cared about what happened to people. Even though some of the decisions he made seemed harsh, it was for the benefit of the entire group. There were also times when he showed a softer side and that he could care deeply for someone.

Playing Kyle meant exploring what people do in extreme situations. How they might change or even stay the same. Kyle was the representation of someone truly scared, and was trying hard to keep things status quo. Because his job was a mall security guard in a small town, Waite decided that Kyle had never truly experienced a high stress situation, and this shows in his portrayal of the character. He was scared to lose control, which is how he is seen by the audience, a man trying to keep control of a fairly uncontrollable situation. Through Waite’s portrayal, viewers can see Kyle’s character development as each episode progresses, showing the transition of someone who may not have had a lot of power to someone in full control of a situation, representing radical ascension and the dangers of that.

“I think it can be easy for this story to be simplified into a horror/thriller, but I think as actors in this series it was our responsibility to maintain the humanity of characters, which was essential for the project’s success,” said Waite.

As a seasoned horror and science fiction veteran, Waite knew how to represent the genre. Filming in Halifax, he found it easy to get away from himself and feel displaced, being from Toronto, something that was beneficial when filming, as there is a constant thread of uncertainty in the story. Also, as they were filming long days in a mall, Waite says it was easy to feel like he was truly stuck in the building. Within such a setting, it was easy to make decisions as his character, because it was life and death every thought and action came from a primal place. In situation like that, it's really about survival, by any means necessary.

“During the process of filming, we did not get all the scripts, we would receive them an episode at a time. This made for some really interesting conversations on set. We’d spend our lunch time trying to figure out what would happen next, and more importantly to who. Because of the nature of the show, anyone could be gone at any time, it was almost like survivor. It also helped me with the character, if that situation were real you wouldn’t know what would happen to you until it did,” said Waite.

Bringing such iconic literature to life was a highlight for Waite, and seeing the show go on to be a success was just the silver lining.

Written by Sara Fowler

Actor Romaine Waite talks underlying themes of hit horror series ‘The Mist’ Reviewed by JaamZIN on 5:35:00 PM Rating: 5
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