HAVEN: Adam Copeland Talks About His Badass Role as Dwight, The Cleaner (2012)

When a town has as many secrets as Haven does, there is a particular need for a resourceful man to clean up and help keep the secrets buried. In HAVEN, that man is Dwight Hendrickson, portrayed by former WWE wrestler Adam Copeland (also known as “Edge”). Bringing his strong presence to a multi-layered character, Adam conveys both a powerful physicality and emotional resonance to Dwight. Right away fans took notice of the character that suddenly felt like he had been living amongst the HAVEN world from the beginning. In a recent exclusive interview, Adam shared what he loves about playing Dwight and his unique “trouble.” He also hinted at a possible past romance in Dwight’s life that will stir things up again for Dwight this season.

Your character Dwight has been a fan favorite right from the start. It’s really great to see a character break out like that.
ADAM: It is an interesting character. There’s a lot of different ways to go with Dwight. How do I put it? There’s a bit of air of mystery, and he’s a good guy, but you don’t necessarily know for sure if he’s a good guy. I think that’s what they wanted, so I tried to play it understated, I guess.

That ambiguity, we want to believe he’s on the good side, but he does things that kind of make us wonder and we’re not certain.
ADAM: Yeah, but that’s pretty much the case for everybody in HAVEN. It’s like if push-comes-to-shove, they will do something that they need to do to get it done.

Maybe you could talk just a bit about what exactly is Dwight’s “trouble” and how you found out about it.
ADAM: His “trouble” is bullets are attracted to him. So he’s a bullet-magnet and he found out when he was in Afghanistan because he is an Army Ranger. His father never told him and his father knew because his father had the same “trouble.” So there’s obviously a fractured relationship there, which is the only reason that I think that Dwight and Duke actually connected in anyway whatsoever, because they both kind of have the alpha-male vibe to them. So it’s not the best “trouble” to have. And it’s certainly a “trouble” that when I first heard that, I was like, “oh, this character’s not going to be around very long. That ‘trouble’ doesn’t sound like he’s going to last awhile.” But Dwight’s lasted longer than I certainly thought he would. It’s kind of cool though because I think it’s one of those things where with that “trouble,” Dwight’s got to die at some point pretty soon yet he keeps getting by on the skin of his teeth. So I think that makes for another interesting element to the character too.

Have the producers explained if his “trouble” is limited to just bullets, or if it’s shrapnel or all kinds of metal things that could be flying at him?
ADAM: It’s bullets. But that’s still being fleshed out. There’s a flashback in a scene where Dwight says, “While I’m in Haven I’m fine. But as soon as I got out of Haven, then I had to start wearing the bulletproof vest and making sure I didn’t attract any bullets while outside of Haven.” Yet as we have seen that is not always the case, so Dwight wears that bulletproof vest even when in Haven.

I was just wondering if they were going to develop special bullets for Dwight for when he’s out and about.
ADAM: Yeah, right! [laughs] It would be interesting to see, but I have a feeling that he’ll keep wearing the bulletproof vest throughout this season.

Do you find it interesting that you’re probably the only character required to wear a bulletproof vest?
ADAM: Yeah, and it was funny because at one point I was wearing a t-shirt and a bulletproof vest and this flannel shirt over it, and it was summer in the forest in Chester, Nova Scotia and it was not like there was a massive breeze in the middle of the forest and I was just roasting. So I remember thinking, “How did I get the bulletproof vest gig?!” [Laughs]

Maybe you could talk a bit about how Duke [Eric Balfour] found out about his possible “trouble” after Dwight’s blood was spilled on him and the significance of that scene.
ADAM: I don’t think Dwight knew that once his blood spilled on Duke that was going to happen. I think in the scene with the fight on the boat, Dwight realized that something was going on, just not exactly what. Just that he got thrown into the ocean. But I think that will be a huge part of the series, the idea that if someone who is “troubled” and their blood ends up on Duke, he becomes super-powered. For how long, we don’t know. How powerful, we don’t know. But obviously powerful enough to throw an experienced Army Ranger 50 feet in the air.

When you first read that scene and read the part about flying into that cold water, did you look around and go, “uh, wait, where’s my stunt guy?”
ADAM: [Laughs] I actually didn’t think much about it. I assumed at some point that there was going to be a fight scene and I kind of had a feeling there might be a shirtless scene. Those were the two things that I kind of wrapped my head around right from the get-go, and both of them have now come to fruition. So I was right on those counts.

But have you now told them “no more flying into the cold water of Haven bay?”
ADAM: Well, thankfully, actually I didn’t even asked to do it, which is kind of nice. They had a rig harnessed up. I don’t know if anybody actually went into the water. The way they shot it, it was breaked to make it look like it.

Everybody lucked out in that situation.
ADAM: I know. The magic of Hollywood.

Now that you’ve gotten to know your character Dwight a bit more over these past two seasons, what do you really like about portraying about him?
ADAM: I think what comes to light this season is that he is a good father. He has a little bit of an internal struggle with what happens to his daughter. Huge internal struggle. I think he blames himself and he blames other people. There’s some anger, some regret. I think anyone can kind of relate to that ’cause at some point in someone’s life, they’ve done something or been involved in something where they take the blame and also blame other people. I guess for the lack of a better term, he seems real. He seems like the kind of guy that maybe an ex-Army Ranger, but he just seems like a cool guy that you could have a beer with or go mountain biking with — but if you cross him, he could tear your head off. But only with good provocation.

In the first couple episodes of season 3, Dwight and Duke seem to have an uneasy alliance. But it also seems like there is an undercurrent of humor going on in their scenes. Were those scenes a lot of fun for you to film?
ADAM: Yeah, it really is. Eric [Balfour] and I get along really great. I can say that for everybody on the cast, honestly. But there definitely is that underlying kind of feeling to Dwight and Duke’s relationship where they both know what they both can do and I kind of think that ruffles each other’s feathers. It’s like, “okay, I know you can fight but you’re a smart-ass too.” So I think there’s all those elements that play into it and there’s also a little bit of a competitive edge to it, which is a completely different dynamic than Dwight has with Nathan [Lucas Bryant]. That’s more of the brotherly, family kind of feel to it. Even the same with Audrey [Emily Rose]. I always perceived it as Dwight is almost like a big brother to her in a way. So it’s kind of the same with Nathan, like a little bit of the big brother aspect to. And then Duke is just the complete opposite. If he is part of the family, it’s the cousin that you don’t really like. [Laughs]

It must be really interesting for you to have this character expand and is now so integrally involved in the “troubles” and what is going on in Haven. Has it being a fun experience for you working on the show?
ADAM: Yeah, it really has. I get to fly up to Halifax and spend the summer up here, number one. That’s just a pretty amazing gig. We’ll often look at ourselves and go, “How did we get here? Like this is a pretty awesome way to make a living.” Then the way the character has expanded on the show, it was nice. Because this is all pretty new to me — the acting thing — at least in this context. So I didn’t know if what I was doing was right, wrong or this that or the other. So I took it as a little bit of validation, like “I guess, I’m doing okay with this thing.” It’s still obviously a work-in-progress, and I try to work with my eyes and ears completely wide open to any kind of constructive criticism I can get or any kind of direction I can get. But it’s nice to see the character kind of become a regular. I think as you look at it, there’s obviously Audrey and Nathan and Duke, and then Vince and Dave, but Dwight’s kind of right behind them. And that’s pretty nice, considering where it came from as quite possibly as a kind of one-off character.

Now there’s the new faces on the show, or rather the the new characters played by Bree Williamson, Dorian Missick and Kate Kelton. Are we going to be seeing Dwight interact with their characters or do they just have their own separate storyline?
ADAM: A little bit, especially with Kate’s character Jordan. I think there’s some history there, which gets touched on a little bit. But not too much. It’s classic HAVEN. You get a little bit at a time. But there’s definitely some history there. We also did some scenes where all of us were together. There’s a haunted house episode that was lot of fun and it had everybody. So that was a fun shoot.

Are we going to be seeing Dwight going off for some therapy now that Bree’s character is the town therapist?
ADAM: [Laughs] I think out of everybody it seems like Dwight maybe needs it the least, honestly.

So he just rolls with it. He’s like, “I’m seen it all. I’ve done it all. I’m cool.”
ADAM: Yeah, yeah. He doesn’t get too flustered and he has everything kind of dialed in, which is part of the job of being “The Cleaner,” I guess.

How did you feel when you found out that Dwight had the nickname as “The Cleaner”? It can be taken so many different ways.
ADAM: I really like it. I like the fact that when things breakdown or before it can get too out-of-hand, before anyone from the outside world can see what is happening that Dwight’s there to sweep it up. I pictured Harvey Keitel in “Pulp Fiction,” but with a supernatural element to it — and a creepy element to it. I thought that was kind of fun. And then as you delve into it more, you find out that he’s an Army Ranger too and then he’s a badass dude. That’s pretty cool. But then, like I said, this season you get to see a little bit of his human side, which was easier actually for me to be able to relate to the character more. He was actually a loving father. He’s actually a good guy. You start to see that more and more.

Do you love just digging a bit deeper into the character like that?
ADAM: Yeah, I found that stuff actually easier. That’s actually closer to me and I found that more relatable to me. I’m not an Army Ranger and I’m not going around throwing people around anymore. So it was nice to kind of play a human being with a softer side. It was nice. Then I’ll have the scenes with Duke where you see the more caustic, sarcastic side that Duke definitely has and Dwight kind of has as well.

What’s the story behind the difference in hair length. Between seasons it seems like Dwight underwent a dramatic change. Was that something you initiated?
ADAM: I was just tired of having long hair. I just chopped it off before I got inducted in the Hall of Fame for WWE in April. The day before, I just thought, “Why not come out on stage with a new haircut?” So I did. And I thought if Dwight’s an ex-Army Ranger, at some point he’s had short hair so it’s not that far a stretch that he would have short hair again. Then in the context of timeline-wise, you can get your hair cut any day and look different. I don’t know. I just wanted to do it.

It looks good and very professional. It’s not like he’s just everyone’s buddy anymore, and that he’s actually in Haven to do a job.
ADAM: It’s funny ’cause I actually wore a suit the other day for the first time and I was like, “whoa.” It’s like I’m a proper businessman now ’cause the tattoos were covered up. It was kind of fun actually.

Sounds like they’re changing the character because you’re changing.
ADAM: [Laughs]

What would you like to tease that fans should look forward to as far as Dwight and the “troubles”?
ADAM: There’s definitely more of the aspect of Dwight coming in to clean some stuff up. But you’ll also start to learn more about what makes Dwight tick. More of his backstory. More of his history. Definitely some more interaction with The Guard and what his role is there. How he’s been involved. What’s happened. Is there bad blood there and why. Then, as I mentioned, a little bit of history with Jordan. Were they a couple, possibly? Maybe they were. Okay. So there’s that aspect to it, which all ties into The Guard as well. Then, as always, there’s his relationship with Nathan and Dwight’s relationship with Nathan’s father. There’s also more interaction with Vince and Dave this year too, which has been really enjoyable. Not only for me, but as a character, they are easy to play off of.

Finally, how would you describe the upcoming season of HAVEN?
ADAM: I will say that a lot questions will get answered. A lot of hanging strings get knots tied in them. But then I think even bigger questions will left after that. That’s all I can say — some stuff’s going to get answer. So that will be interesting for everybody to see.

To see more of Dwight’s murky history exposed and what lies ahead in this season of HAVEN, be sure to tune in for the third season premiere on Friday, September 21st at 10:00 p.m. on Syfy. And remember, there is a good reason Dwight wears that bulletproof vest!

“The Cleaner” video:

“We Are The Guard” video:

“Are You Troubled?” video:

“The Soldider” video:

“The Recruit” video:

“The Father” video:

“Haven Season 3 Preview” video:

Fan video “125 Reasons You Should Be Watching Syfy’s HAVEN” (credit: uponatime1)

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