By Jacqueline Cucco | April 19, 2016 | People
After gaining notoriety for his role as psychopathic supernatural murderer Kai on The Vampire Diaries, Chris Wood is taking a turn at playing the good guy on The CW’s latest show, Containment. As police officer Jake Riley, he finds himself having to step up and take charge after a deadly virus ravages Atlanta. Originally from Ohio, Chris is trained in musical theater and splits his time between LA and Atlanta. When he’s not busy filming, he can be found getting buff for his new role, hanging out at Dodger’s Stadium, or playing with his puppy, Drift.
Here, we speak with Wood to find out why he loves to play someone dark and unpredictable, how he feels about being prepared for an outbreak, and why there’s always time for romance, even when the world is falling apart.
What was it about Containment that drew you to the show?
CHRIS WOOD: The character really drew me in because he seems like a nice and complicated kind of normal average Joe who has some demons and some issues that he has to work through. After talking to the producer and hearing where they wanted to take the character and where the season arc was going to be, I knew that I wanted to sink my teeth into that.
It seems like your character gets the dirty work. What can we expect from him this season?
CW: That’s absolutely accurate. He sort of gets stuck with all the worst responsibilities that you can get stuck with. He’s kind of a person who would prefer to be a follower rather than be a leader and he’s put in a circumstance where he’s challenged by his best friend, Lex, who’s also on the police force, to be the head of control inside the quarantine zone. He’s definitely getting a lot of the dirty jobs and is more in the face of the virus than anyone else in the show because he’s forced to go try to bring in people who are sick. He’s a cop so he’s given all these tasks of trying to maintain the peace inside. He sort of gets the short end of that stick.
How does Jake find the time for romance while the world is falling apart?
CW: These two people meet in very unfortunate and poor circumstances for romance to develop but I find that when they sort of have this spark kick in, it becomes some of the more important moments in their lives because they’re surrounded by darkness and sadness. They try to grip on to this positive feeling, this warmth that they find with each other even amid the chaos. And I think that’s why in this relationship, you see a spark right from the beginning. That’s why they both end up gravitating toward each other, is because this is the only life that they’re given in such a dark time.
Has Containment prepared you in case a deadly virus takes over the world? Would you survive?
CW: Absolutely not. I’ll be just as screwed as everyone else I think. [Laughs] If there’s one thing that show has taught me, it’s that there’s no way to predict how you would be able to handle yourself in these circumstances.
After talking with law enforcement officers as research for the role to make sure that what we were doing was accurate, it was easy to see that they’re sort of forced to use the training they have and adapt it into those circumstances. There’s not really a strict regimen, there’s not a checklist of outbreak protocol for police officers. They’re given other tools that are very useful in that situation but they sort of have to make it up as they go along. That’s scary. I would imagine if we had an outbreak situation, I would probably be a goner. No leg up on the competition.
Now that you’re playing the good guy, do you miss playing sociopath witch/vampire villain Kai in The Vampire Diaries?
CW: Of course I miss playing him; Kai was a fantastic character to get to portray. There’s something really exciting about getting to play someone who’s so unpredictable and also has an insanely dark sense of humor. That was very enjoyable but obviously the role I’m working on currently is always my favorite. It’s hard to miss something when you’re playing something new.
Who do you relate to more—the hero or the villain?
CW: I would like to think I relate more to the hero. At least that’s what I strive to be—the good guy. [Laughs]
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN TSIAVIS