“Haven’s” resident bad boy with a heart of gold, Eric Balfour, sat down and chatted with the media in a conference call Tuesday afternoon to talk about the new season of the Syfy series. As they go into Season 4, his character, Duke, finds himself joining forces with his romantic rival Nathan, trying to track down Audrey, who had disappeared in the mysterious barn in the Season 3 finale.
If you haven’t watched the show before, the “mysterious barn” may sound a bit strange, but trust me, if you go back and watch from the beginning it makes perfect sense. Or if you’re a big fan of David Lynch, that won’t phase you a bit.
One of the central themes in the show since the pilot has been the ongoing tension between police officer Nathan (Lucas Bryant) and rogue loner, Duke, competing for the affections of new girl in town Audrey (Emily Rose.)
Well, kind of new, but you have to watch the show to know what I mean.
That may sound like a typical love triangle plot, but Balfour assured us that this triangle is a lot more complex than the cliched soap opera version. And what appears to be a rivalry between him and Nathan on the show masks feelings that run a bit deeper between all of them.
“This triangle that exists between Duke and Nathan and Audrey… it’s pretty magical. Lots of shows try to create love triangles, try to create these things between characters, but ours sort of happened in some ways organically and it was very sincere. So at the beginning of the season the questions of destiny and true love really become a huge factor in the show.
“I think one of the greatest love stories of the show is actually between Nathan and Duke. And although its not a romantic relationship and not a romantic love — it’s almost like a brotherhood and a familial relationship in some ways — there is this question that I think we all ask ourselves about Duke… If he even could have a relationship with Audrey, could he handle it? Would he really want it? Is he meant to be in a relationship? There are people in this world who are meant to be alone… But that’s something I think that Duke struggles with. And so I think there’s an element to it where as much as he may not want to admit it, Duke truly does care about Nathan and wants him to be okay and to be happy. But that may come at a price.”
Balfour emphasized this “one true love” concept plays a major role in the overriding theme this season, and may not be quite the interpretation we usually associate with it. As Audrey has never chosen one of the two main men in her life, is that an indication that the bond between them is not as simple as romantic love, or even familial love, but much deeper: a love that encompasses all kinds of love, and is, in fact, the “one true love” the characters are striving for?
“Absolutely. That’s actually a beautiful way of putting it. Yeah, there’s the idea of the greatest good. What is the greatest good? And that’s the question that all three of our heroes or main characters are going to have to answer. They’re constantly battling their own desires with that of this family, as it were. So yeah, it’s so not simple and I think that’s what makes the show so fascinating and so compelling.”
The relationship between Duke and Nathan alone has taken many twists and turns in the last three seasons, and Balfour loves the dynamic tension of the two, working on opposite ends of the personality spectrum.
“The beauty of Nathan and Duke as characters and the way they work together is Nathan is very earnest and bound by his inherent trust of the law. And Duke is completely the opposite. Duke is, you know… he’s a magician… It’s always fun to be the voice of unreason.”
And to further distill the complexity down to just Duke’s character and how he would change and grow this season, “Haven’s” bad boy — on the surface anyway — struggles with doing the right thing and trying to be the good guy.
“He is going to be pushed harder than ever to a decision. And he is going to be pushed to choose sides in a battle that is almost Shakespearean in nature. They are impossible choices to make, so watching that journey has been really exciting the season.”
Some fans may not be surprised to see the changes in Duke (surely y’all knew he was a good guy deep down all along, right?), but there are a few curves the writers have thrown in for the season.
“There are two really huge changes that Duke is going to make this season, unfortunately I can’t actually say what they are because it would be giving away too much. But I will tell you that it’s going to leave fans either really happy or really frustrated. Duke is going to have to completely redefine himself in many ways, and that rebooting of sorts or redefining of his entire life is really going to affect who is. And, actually, thinking about it, I don’t know that it’s going to change who he is… I think we know who Duke is, I think we understand who Duke is in his heart. But it is going to change his place in this world. And his choices in his life, so that really to me is going to be what fans are going to be most excited about.”
Lest you think that all sounds too heavy, Lucas Bryant had already dished last week on a special episode where all the characters get to go a little crazy, and especially Duke. This episode gave Balfour a chance to cut loose a little more than usual.
“It was a really fun episode… Duke, he’s forced to sort of juggle a lot of balls in that episode. One of my favorite things about Duke is getting to see him be the dancing bear in a way or be the court jester almost so that episode is just a really good opportunity to play on some of that stuff, so it was a lot of fun.”
Some new guests are coming on board this season, including Colin Ferguson, Emma Lahana and Christian Camargo, and Balfour talked about how surprised newcomers are at the tight bond between cast members: They’ve commented to him that on many shows they have been on, by Season 4 no one is even talking to each other because of the tension on set. But the “Haven” cast lean on each other and remain friendly during non-working hours.
Balfour was headed out one weekend morning to get brunch at a local cafe in the Nova Scotia town where they film, and saw several of his co-stars already there. He confessed that for a moment, he felt hurt that he hadn’t been invited, but then he realized they had probably just shown up spontaneously as he did, which they confirmed.
“We just figured you’d show up, too. Of course, you are not not invited!”
Sounds like playing the third wheel for four seasons can affect your personal feelings if you aren’t careful. Don’t worry, they love you, bro. As we do.
Check out the video clip, an audio excerpt from the interview, to hear Balfour talk about the “epic” bromance he has with Bryant. Season 4 of “Haven” premieres Friday, September 13 on Syfy.