Last month, while at FedCon in Bonn, Germany, we had the immense pleasure of sitting down for a fun, goofy interview with Wes Chatham and Steven Strait where we tried to hit them with some of the questions we don’t think they’ve been asked before, we got some very interesting answers and had a great time. The interview is best watched in video form but if you want to read it instead, the transcript is down below.
***WARNING: This interview contains spoilers for the movie Harry and the Hendersons**
Shannon: Wes, while researching a role, what was the deepest Wikipedia hole you fell down, and what was the weirdest, useless fact or page that you found down said Wikipedia hole?
Wes: Well, I mean, I live in Wikipedia holes. The reality is when I’m researching a character or doing anything like that and I’m going into Wikipedia, I get side-tracked so easily and then I go into other things. So the reality is that I probably did more Wikipedia-ing about other subjects than I did the actual character that I’m researching. And so, to be honest, I actually remember my kids just saw Harry and the Hendersons and I was on Wikipedia and I was thinking about Amos and I wanted to do certain things. But then I was like “When did the Bigfoot start? What was the first thing that-” and I started going down Wikipedia and looking at YouTube videos and everything, so I guess Bigfoot is probably the biggest hole that I went down.
Shannon: What did you learn about Bigfoot?
Wes: I learned that Bigfoot lives in Seattle.
Steven: *Oh’s like he just learned a cool new factoid*
*Frankie shows up for a hot second, check out the video if you want to see this*
Wes: So I learned that they live in Seattle and that they uhhh…. That’s all.
Shannon: I mean, that’s enough. Cause now you know where you can go find them and you can ask them yourself.
Steven: Is it one Bigfoot or is there Bigfoots?
Wes: Well, in Harry and the Hendersons there’s a lot of Bigfoots.
Steven: Oh, there’s more of them.
Wes: And he speaks English.
Wes: Yeah, at the end. That was the joke of the movie, there’s been this big whole movie and Bigfoot’s leaving and he goes “bye”. And then it’s like “Oh, Bigfoot speaks!”. And then, when he’s walking through the forest, all these camouflaged lumps and trees turn into Bigfoots and you realise that they’re just really good at being camouflaged and that’s why we never knew about Bigfoot.
Shannon: Alright, this one’s gonna take a second. So, Steven, there you are, you’re on stage, you’re looking great – your best ever. You’re there with your competitors in your best dress, what color is the dress?
Shannon: Okay, excellent. So, here’s the thing: It’s Miss America, you want that crown. You wanna put that crown on your head, you have sixty seconds to solve world hunger, your time starts now.
Steven: Oh god, ummmmm… Solve world hunger…uhhhhh-
Shannon: Your time’s up.
Steven: Shit. I failed, I failed to solve world hunger. I failed, it’s okay, it’s okay.
Wes: You know, these questions, we haven’t been sleeping much. So that blank expression you see on our faces is cause we’re on different timezones.
Steven: I think I’m not the first one who didn’t solve world hunger. I’m okay with that.
Wes: No you should feel bad about that.
Steven: I feel terrible.
Wes: You should definitely have a theory on how to solve world hunger.
Steven: I definitely do feel slightly guilty but that’s just my normal conscience.
Wes: You non-contribute.
Shannon: You have to do your part.
Steven: I know.
Shannon: Alright, Wes, if you could recommend a book that you’ve read to your sons to yourself. And I mean literally go back in time, see little Wes Chatham and recommend him a book that you’ve read your sons, what book would that be?
Wes: Well, I am currently reading the first Harry Potter book, and it has pulled me in and I wanna speed up cause obviously they’re younger and they’re into it and I started reading it to them. They’re like “okay, it’s time for bed” and I’m like “are you sure it’s time for bed? We got another chapter to go here.” Harry Potter wasn’t around when I was a kid but I definitely would wish that those books were cause it would have started me reading a lot sooner.
Shannon: So, what’s your morning Starbucks order, Steven?
Steven: I don’t go to Starbucks.
Wes: Rage against the man.
Steven: That’s right, that’s right. I have a wonderful espresso machine, I make my own espresso. But La Colombe beans are my jam.
Shannon: What would Holden’s be? If he went to Starbucks?
Steven: If he went to Starbucks? A red eye.
Shannon: That’s what I expected. That’s exactly what I expected.
Wes: What is a red eye?
Steven: It’s coffee with espresso in it.
Steven: Yeah, black.
Wes: That would be good right now.
Shannon: That would be good right now wouldn’t it? I lost my other question, so I’ll just stay with Steven for a second. Would you rather fight a book-sized dragon that breathes fire, or a dragon made out of books that breathes papercuts?
Shannon: This is a very important question.
Steven: Ooooh, yeah I think I’d go with the book-sized dragon… I think, yeah I’ll do that, papercuts suck.
Shannon: So you’ll deal with the fire?
Steven: I’ll deal with small burn as opposed to a lot of papercuts.
Wes: Woah, woah, but you didn’t- The dragon’s not against us, right?
Shannon: You have to fight it.
Steven: You gotta fight it.
Shannon: There’s no question, you have to fight this dragon.
Wes: Cause I would like to own the little dragon and become friends with it, I mean what better guard dog than a fire-breathing dragon?
Shannon: That’s true. That’s really, yeah that’s fair. So, here’s the thing: Everyone’s cosplaying here right?
Shannon: Everyone. We saw a dude dressed as Blade.
Wes: He’s amazing, yes!
Shannon: Did you see him? With the fade and everything.
Wes: I was like “Oh, Wesley Snipes is doing the convention!”
Shannon: That’s actually what we said. What’s your favorite cosplay – other than him, he doesn’t count now – what’s your favorite cosplay that you’ve seen?
Wes: We just saw R2-D2, an amazing R2-D2 out there.
Steven: Yeah, that was pretty cool.
Wes: And I was a Star Wars fan growing up, like as a kid. And seeing that I kinda got lost in the illusion of like, you know, this could be real and he could be in the back of my truck.
Shannon: Would you just take him home with you? Would you just grab him?
Wes: Oh I totally would take him home with me, I actually might. I’m thinking about it.
Shannon: I saw him trying to go through a door yesterday, it might not be worth it.
Wes: Oh really? But I mean it’s amazing, the beeps and lights and the detail and the scratches and everything. Yeah, that was really cool.
Knut: You are that droid.
Wes: You are that droid, yes.
Shannon: Go right up to him and say it.
Steven: I’ve actually never seen the movie, but there was a Transformers outfit that was so intricate-looking, I couldn’t believe that this person had made this at home. It must have cost thousands of dollars and I don’t even know how many hundreds of hours to put this thing together and it was seven feet tall, it was like, wild-looking.
Shannon: I think I saw that too.
Steven: It was unreal. Like, I’m blown away, blown away.
Shannon: Those ones are insane. Cause all the crafting is wild.
Wes: And I do love to see Expanse cosplays. Cause I just love that support and kinda community and everything. Seeing the Expanse shirts, cause Amazon just did the merchandising release and it’s so cool seeing like the Rocinante shirts and all that stuff.
Shannon: They’re really nice.
Knut: That’s a nice Pur’N’Kleen…
Wes: Yeah, Pur’N’Kleen.
Shannon: So, we’re in Europe, at Fedcon. What’s been the most rewarding thing about getting to meet these European fans, especially now that they have access to the whole show and going forward. Cause they didn’t have Season 3 for a really long time. I know we’ve talked about how a lot of people only just started watching it, but what – for you guys, here – what’s the most rewarding thing?
Wes: Well, we just did a panel and I just talked about this but what’s unique about The Expanse for me, in my experience of anything I’ve ever worked for is the show-fan connection. It’s special and I think maybe has to do with- in the beginning it was a small group of people that discovered it and they watched it and it kinda became this thing where they bonded together and then the whole situation with the fans saving The Expanse. They took a real ownership and a real connection with the show, and the fact that I’m a fan of the books and that I would be a fan of the show even if I wasn’t a part of the show and so it’s this kind of connection, this relationship. It was really neat to see it here in Europe and how wonderful the fans here [are]. Every time I meet a fan of The Expanse, they’re always great, sweet, really intelligent, we have these great conversations when they come up on the streets. That is different than anything else I’ve been a part of. I feel more supported, I feel like the show is more supported with the Expanse Fans than anything I’ve ever done.
Steven: Yeah, I’m gonna reiterate what Wes said. I think it’s such an unusual circumstance where we’re meeting people who we owe our show to. That’s so rare and it’s such an amazing place to be as an actor and as an artist. That the work has translated in a way that that kind of passion comes back and I think that you can’t ask for anything more than that as an actor and as an artist. There’s been certain times in the last couple of days like, they’ve said The Expanse has gotten them through a hard time and it really is moving, it’s a very moving thing so yeah, it’s been amazing here.
Wes: And what’s happened in the show, where we just finished our fourth season and it felt like our first season so the kind of energy and attention that the show is getting right now, it’s more than anything. You wanna remind people that we’ve been here for three years. But the fact that it’s getting all this energy and attention is kinda this really sweet moment between us and the fans because like we were there all along and then all of a sudden it’s just become this thing and it’s surreal to be a part of.
Shannon: So, for both of you, which of your works – pick something obviously – are you most proud of and which would you recommend to someone?
Steven: Outside of The Expanse?
Shannon: Oh yeah. Yeah that doesn’t count, sorry. You can’t cheat, no cheating.
Steven: I’m like “I think y’all have seen it already.”
Shannon: It’s too easy, Steven.
Steven: I would say… I did a movie years ago called City Island.
Shannon: I love that movie actually.
Steven: Thank you, yeah it’s really dear to my heart and it’s very much a New York movie, it’s a love letter to the city and it was a very unique and transformative experience for me, so that would probably be it.
Wes: I would say it’s a movie called In The Valley of Elah. It’s one of the most powerful things that I’ve ever been a part of and getting to work with Tommy Lee Jones, Susan Sarandon and Charlize Theron. It being a true story and the subject matter it was dealing with and the character that I got to play in that being a real person, that was definitely one of the most important jobs that I’ve had.
Shannon: So, before I go into the one last lightning round: Today is actually Philly pride, it is pride month, we were wondering if there’s anything you guys – we have a huge LGBT community in the fandom, for one reason or another, this show connects with people. I came out after I got into The Expanse, it’s important to a lot of people so we were wondering if there’s anything you guys would like to say cause it’s June, it’s pride month.
Wes: Well, I think one of the things that I really love about the show is that it’s representative of every face, every color, every gender, within our show, is all represented. I think that I love how things are opening up and being more inclusive and people are feeling more at home and being more comfortable being who they are and expressing that thing. I love how pride celebrates that and I love being a part of that and I’m glad that our show makes people feel represented and so it’s an honor to be a part of that.
Steven: It’s really important for our show that we have that kind of representation and show the diversity of the future that we see as progress. It’s to me, probably the thing I’m most proud of about the show. Happy pride month.
Wes: Yeah, happy pride.
Shannon: Happy pride, best time of year. We do have a lightning round, but I wanna ask you guys if you could shill anything, it can be anything, it doesn’t have to be anything you do. It can be a book, movie, show, whatever you’re into right now, what would it be? Just shill us something, sell us something right now.
Shannon: It’s harder than I thought it would be, actually.
Steven: Yeah, I just want it to be good.
Wes: So we could shill anything…
Shannon: Literally anything, could be a chocolate if you want it to.
Steven: I’ve been revisiting Fitzgerald recently – I know it’s kind of a nerdy thing to sell – but from here we’re going to Monte Carlo and Monaco and we’re going through Europe and I’ve been rereading Tender as the Night which is all through Europe and stuff. It’s been really kind of fun and nice to be in that world while we’ve been here. Just, kind of a nostalgic thing to do but it’s been nice for me.
Wes: I’m actually currently reading a book called The Second Mountain that David Brooks wrote. His first book, The Road to Character, this is kind of his follow-up with Second Mountain and it’s about the experience and the joy of giving back and self-forgetfulness and I think it’s a book of wisdom that I’m in line with, that I believe in so i think that would be a great thing… Also, I’m rewatching the old-school Twilight Zones, and I love The Twilight Zone, I have every Twilight Zone that was ever made and I wanted to revisit it cause there’s the new Twilight Zone, it just came out. I just revisited it and I think they’re brilliant, I think Rod Serling is brilliant, Richard Matheson, some of these great things. The things that they were talking about and dealing with and knowing where we are now it’s just brilliant. I think that if you go back a lot of their themes and things they’re dealing with, it all holds up, it all stands up. So I wish everybody would go back and watch the old Twilight Zones so then I’d have somebody to talk to about it.
Shannon: Ready? Quick-fire round: Star Wars or Star Trek?
Wes: Star Wars.
Steven: Star Wars.
Shannon: Original BSG or the new one?
Wes: The new one.
Steven: Old one.
Shannon: Blade Runner or Blade Runner 2049?
Steven: Blade Runner.
Wes: Blade Runner.
Shannon: Rocky or Rocky IV?
Shannon: Rocky IV needs some more love.
Wes: Woah, we can talk about that. Like if you’re asking straight out what…
Shannon: I don’t know what it is with Philedelphians and Rocky IV I’m gonna be completely honest with you, we just love it.
Wes: I’m obsessed with Rocky IV. But Rocky’s a better movie, but Rocky IV is great.
Shannon: True. We wouldn’t have Rocky IV without Rocky. Umm… Alien or Aliens?
Wes: Oh, that’s hard.
Shannon: That’s why we saved it for almost last.
Steven: Alien, I’m gonna go with the first one. That’s a hard one.
Wes: That’s a hard one.
Steven: They’re different genres too.
Wes: Yes, it’s different genre, you got straight up horror and then you’ve got Aliens. I guess I would have to go with Ridley Scott and Alien because it started the whole thing but James Cameron and Aliens was just- Bill Paxton in Aliens.
Wes: That’s tough. I’m gonna have to go with Alien.
Shannon: Wes Chatham or Steven Strait?
Wes: Steven Strait.
Steven: Wes Chatham.
Shannon: Thank you guys so much. We had a lot of fun, I hope you guys did too.
Wes: Yeah, that was great!
Anson Mount (In the background): Star Wars!?