‘The Walking Dead’ alum Tom Payne goes dark again in ‘Prodigal Son’

New Fox melodrama casts actor as a serial
killer’s offspring

Tom Payne of ‘Prodigal Son’ Monday on Fox

Q: What research have you done to play a criminal profiler with a serial-killer father in “Prodigal Son”?

A: There’s a wealth of material out there, fictional and true-to-life, to draw from. There are a few podcasts out there of people who are in the same position as me in the show. There’s one in particular called “Happy Face,” about the daughter of a serial killer, and it follows her and her journey to talk to people who were affected by her father — directly and indirectly — and (about) her relationship with her father, and the fears that she has and the intense pain that having a father who’s a serial killer caused.

It’s really hard to listen to, and it made me cry many times, because there’s a lot of pain and hurt there. The character in the show is in pretty much the same position and has a lot of walls up, but is intent on trying to understand his father and the similarities that may or may not exist between them.

Q: Having also been on “The Walking Dead” for several years, do you find that you bring your roles home with you?

A: That was like there were zombies everywhere when I got home. I actually did have zombie dreams after a few weeks on that. I’m super-scared I’m going to get serial-killer dreams on this.

I think you have to play a bit of a balancing act with how involved you get in the material you’re dealing with, but you can’t help it. I’ve been working all day every day on this show; I wake up in the morning, get in the car, go to work, work all day and come home, so it’s physically and mentally exhausting. I think my brain’s too tired to hold any more of that kind of stuff in it anyway.

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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