For a young, upcoming actor working on one hot TV show is the dream – but getting to work on six within one year is an abundance of riches. So actor Jarod Joseph is having a hell of a year having had the pleasure of working on ARROW, ROGUE, ONCE UPON A TIME, FRINGE, THE L.A. COMPLEX and the CBS pilot BACKSTROM. In an exclusive interview, Jarod talked about getting his first real break as a series regular in the DirecTV drama series ROGUE and some of his favorite memories from working on ARROW and FRINGE.
This past year looks to have been a busy year for you. What are you currently working on?
JAROD: I finished ROGUE last November and started work on ARROW, of which I’ve done 3 episodes of at this point and the finale for that airs this next Thursday. I also shot a pilot with Rainn Wilson from THE OFFICE called BACKSTROM, which is hopefully going to get picked up by CBS. Though I did a guest appearance on BACKSTROM and I probably wouldn’t be back, but you never know. It’s a strong show and I think it should be on TV.
On ROGUE, you played Detective Nicholas Fleming. What did you like about portraying that character?
JAROD: It’s cool. He starts out as a young, excitable, spunky detective in the Oakland P.D. He’s really by-the-book in a traditional sense and he wants more responsibility but the higher ups are reluctant to give it to him. But as you watch as the season unfolds, he gets a little bit more over his head. It was nice to play that because of the growth. The character is not really defined by the first or last episode, so there was a lot of room to grow, which I enjoyed doing; and it was cool for me to get more responsibility script-wise.
ROGUE certainly is dark and twisty. You just never know where it’s going to go.
JAROD: Absolutely. It’s darker that’s for sure. There’s no rules on that show. It’s one of the few that doesn’t have any rules.
Did you find it inspiring to work with other actors like Thandie Newton and Marton Csokas?
JAROD: It’s crazy. I’ve always said that Thandie is a huge inspiration to me as an actor of color and as someone who has sustained a career as long as she has. She’s someone I’ve watched my whole life, so to be on an even playing field for a bit was cool. And Marton is going to stay a friend of mine, as is most of the cast. He and Ian Hart and everyone I worked with was awesome.
One of the things that surprised me about ROGUE is that it is very cinematic. Did you have any idea when you were working on it that it would turn out so visually strong?
JAROD: I did. Our DP Kieran McGuigan was brought on because of the specific style that he had and the knack that he has for color. He just has an out of the norm way of shooting things. So we all pretty much trusted that it was going to look great. I think it is the only show that has the tone that it has. It has a very interesting tone and I think that they covered Vancouver very well.
It looks like they painted some of the episodes. It just looks very visually like its art. It has to be something to work on a show that wants to be more than just a procedural, it wants to be art.
JAROD: Absolutely. I knew that from the get-go it was going to be in the same vein as the darker procedural shows of the past and I knew it was going to be stylistic. Just from the storyboards they had up before the characters were put in front of the camera and the outfits that they chose. Everything was pretty meticulous.
Were you surprised by any of the twists in the ROGUE storyline?
JAROD: Definitely. I got stuff that involved me that I had no idea was coming and I’d read it and think, “Really?! That’s what you’re doing to me?!” It’s pretty cool. I liked the unpredictability.
Like after the episode where they beheaded a couple of people and you probably started thinking, “That’s not going to happen to me, is it?!”
JAROD: (Laughs) Exactly. Matthew Parkhill was very private. He would say, “Here’s the script. Here’s what we’re doing” and it was like, “Okay, cool.”
hat can you tease about what’s upcoming for the last couple episodes of the season of ROGUE?
JAROD: Everything will be answered. I’ll say that much. It’s not really one of those shows that is going to leave you hanging until an entirely new season. It’s going to be positioned in a way that it’s going to have new people in the forefront and some people sent down, I guess you could say.
What’s going on with ARROW? What was the most recent episode you worked on?
JAROD: Episode 22 and 23, the finale. There’s some closure to come.
This last episode (Episode 22) was off the hook and we’ve heard it gets even more intense. What role did you play in the finale?
JAROD: You can kind of see where it is going with my position. I played a hostage in Episode 15 and it was revealed that by Oliver not releasing me that he made the correct decision because I turn out to be a bad guy. I work with fires. And we’re going to just continue where we left off in terms of the flashbacks and we’ll see who makes it out alive.
We’re a little worried that there’s going to be a bulls-eye on some familiar faces in the finale.
JAROD: (Laughs) People have got to go down – and people are going down.
What has it been like for you to work on ARROW?
JAROD: It’s like any other show that has been on where it has a rapport and a kind of system that they work on. You just kind of want to show up and blend in. Everyone was very gracious. But there’s designated roles and a procedure to follow. It’s not that militant as it sounds, but overall it was very neat.
Between ROGUE and ARROW, those are intense shows with a lot of physicality. Did you get to participate in that and jump into the fray?
JAROD: Yeah. We did gun training at the beginning of ROGUE with Thandie and Marton and Josh [Sasse]. Thandie knocked us out of the park. We were terrible; she was great. But we did all terrains so that when we shoot that nothing is TV-cop. We wanted to hold the guns they way they really hold it and all that stuff. But in terms of the action, I had to recommend that I wanted to do a lot of my own stuff. So I definitely get into the mix there.
Is that a preference when you’re looking at a role? That you look for ones that a little more physical.
JAROD: Not necessarily. I like roles that are human. If it is a guy in a fight, then I like to do as much of it as possible. If it’s a guy that is spilling something, I want to spill it. So it is not necessarily the action aspect, but I definitely want to bring it to life as much as I can. I like storytelling and I like the human aspect of it.
You have done such a variety of roles in the past year. How do you choose your roles?
JAROD: The selection process for me at this point is once in a while you get something you really dig and you put it on tape and you cross your fingers. I just happen to be getting some cool roles. Most of them that I’ve crossed my fingers for I’ve been getting. So I’m just really fortunate to be this young and to be doing such diverse work. It doesn’t always happen that way, so I’m pretty lucky.
You have also been playing a recurring role on ONCE UPON A TIME. Are you going to do more in future?
JAROD: I have no idea. I never have any idea. I only find out days before. It was like that for FRINGE and pretty much everything I’ve ever done where I would only find out a few days before.
As fans would probably want to know, what was your favorite memory from working on FRINGE?
JAROD: Talking with Josh Jackson. We’d be talking between takes a little bit about making it as a Canadian actor. He had such great fortune at such a young age and he grinded it out. So I wanted his point of view since he is such a success story. Those were invaluable moments. They weren’t extensive, but I’ll take them with me. It’s great advice that you can’t get anywhere else. So talking with Josh was great.
Of your more recent work, what have you loved best? What made you think, “I just loved that and I can’t wait to do that again”?
JAROD: ROGUE. It as my first series regular position will always stick with me. The naiveté that I had coming on board and the discovery that I had as an actor towards the end. And the comfort that I got with each episode was probably the most valuable thing that I’ve experienced. So I’m proud of the season we have and I hope people like it.
Sounds like you’re on a real lucky-streak and you’re having a lot of fun.
JAROD: (Laughs) That’s exactly what’s going on. I couldn’t have written this better. This is crazy.
To see what is next for Jarod in the dark, twisty world of ROGUE, be sure to tune in for all new episodes on Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. on DirecTV. You can also catch him in the epic season finale of ARROW on Wednesday, May 15th at 8:00 p.m. on the CW. (And with a little more luck we’ll see a bit more of him as Billy on ONCE UPON A TIME in some fun flashbacks next season.)