Rogue’s creator, Mark Parkhill, may have dreamed up this new DIRECTV exclusive crime series, but he didn’t base it on his own life. Considering Rogue is about a double agent who thinks she may have caused her son’s death, we’re guessing that’s a good thing. Find out what else Parkhill has to say about Rogue in this exclusive interview with our Rogue insider Ira Parker.
Ira Parker: Which character do you identify with most?
Matthew Parkhill: In all honesty, I don’t really think about it like that. To a certain extent they all have something of me in them. Different facets. It’s quite a dark show, there’s a lot of dark stuff in it, and I like to think of myself as a relatively stable human being, relatively happy.
There are certain moments in the show that I know where they come from. Like that moment at the end comes from my daughter, when she says, “What happens next?” I can identify those moments when they come from other people I know, but the bits that come from me, I don’t analyze that. I don’t think about that.
IP: How much did the writers’ room change your vision of the story and the characters?
MP: I always knew where the story went and, because I had that structure, it allowed me to be free with the writers. In the beginning it was tough to let go, but after the first week I wasn’t so protective about the material anymore. It became about what the best idea in the room was. The writers’ room produced amazing ideas, challenged the ideas, stretched the ideas, and made them better. It’s a terrific process. I don’t think it changed the story radically, but I think it enriched it immeasurably. It became a much better show as a result of the writers.
IP: You kill a lot of people this season. Have any of the actors approached you, nervous that they’ll be next? And does that help keep them in line?
MP: Haha. Some of them, yeah. Some of them get nervous and they don’t really tell me, but I’ve heard it from other people.
I like the boldness of a show where you kill some major characters. I think it’s unexpected and it’s interesting. I think it keeps the audience on their toes. But are there characters I wish I hadn’t killed? Yeah, absolutely.
IP: You’ve written a lot of strong female characters like Grace, Cathy, Hernandez, and even Evie to a certain extent. Did you have a strong female influence in your life growing up?
MP: Hmm…well, my mom, I suppose. And I think you’re right, there are really no weak female characters in this show. Hernandez is strong, Evie is strong, Cathy is strong, and Grace is strong. And if anything, the men are sort of the fucked up characters. Obviously, female characters will have certain attitudes towards experiences that they may not if they were men, but I don’t really think about the characters as male or female. I mean it sounds weird, but I just think of them as characters.
IP: What is the best part of having your own TV series?
MP: Creating a TV show is like being the director of a film. It’s your world, and it’s immensely, immensely satisfying. You get to play with over ten hours, so you get to explore all kinds of things that you couldn’t in the time span of a film. Being on a cable channel or a premium channel means you can go to dark places and tell interesting stories that you couldn’t on network television.
I feel very lucky. I’ve really enjoyed, really loved all the experiences that I’ve had. I think it’s one of my favorite projects because it’s the world that you create for ten hours. Ten hours of that world and those characters and dealing with all the creative issues. I’m not such a fan of practical issues, on the production side, but dealing with some creative issues I find that immensely satisfying and rewarding.
IP: What’s on your playlist right now?
MP: I’m listening to Mumford and Sons right now actually. As you know, because I play it endlessly in the car.
IP: Mmm hmm.
MP: I like his lyrics. I think he’s got some very beautiful imagery in his lyrics and very heart rendering stuff. I’m listening to Eddie Vedder right now and then some bands that I found on the radio up here in Vancouver. The Lumineers, Wintersleep, and Imagine Dragons. I just listened to The Polyphonic Spree before starting this interview.
Tune into Rogue Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on AUDIENCE™. Premieres April 3rd.