The crowd welcomed Michael Eklund to his very first con this Friday at 5:30PM in the Hilton Grand East ballroom. “I think it’s a great way to start,” he said. During the hour, Author R. Alan Siler, and the crowd, served up questions on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and more from the actor’s 17-year career. (Dragon Con-friendly highlights include Battlestar Galactica, Blood Ties, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Smallville, Stargate SG-1, and newcomer Wynona Earp.)
On the BBC America original series, the Rowdy Three (which is actually four people, sometimes five), headed into season two in trouble. “If you liked season one,” Eklund said, “Season two is going to be weirder, wackier, crazier—season two is going to blow your mind.”
“We basically flipped it upside down,” he said. Crediting writer/showrunner Max Landis’ incredible imagination and energy, Eklund is looking forward to seeing where the character goes. “[The Rowdy Three] float in, destroy a bunch of stuff, and float out,” he said. The actors move together, as one bigger Rowdy, and credit the detailed choreography not only to Landis, but to the strength of the whole Rowdy team (Zak Santiago as Cross, Osric Chau as Vogle, and Viv Leacock as Gripps). “We kind of act like that now as friends,” he said.
Dirk is not explainable. Michael Eklund is very explainable: he’s cool. He’s almost insufferably cool. Before becoming an actor, Eklund was a painter. “I’m still a portrait artist, I just got a new medium,” he said. As a character actor, he explained, you can take all the things you enjoy from all the characters you play, and assimilate them right into your own personality.
“When a role is over, if there’s part of a character I like, I collect it,” he explained. “I make it part of Michael Eklund.” He explained a lot of his personal style came from his character Norman Bridewell in Blood Ties. And the collection isn’t just for personality traits. “I steal the clothes! I don’t even ask anymore,” he said. (Eagle-eyed fans will recognize some costume crossover this year between Wynona Earp’s Bobo Del Rey.)
In choosing roles, Eklund explained that story comes first. “I’ll play a weak character in a strong story,” he said. “I’ll take two lines.”
Eklund loves a good story so much, he explained, he ended up writing himself out of Battlestar Galactica. “I want to die a hero,” he told the showrunners. We’ve never had an actor ask to die, they said, but sure. “And then the show went on for six more years,” he said, shaking his head. “All so I could have an ending for my character.” He said he’s learned his lesson, and Martin won’t be writing himself off of Dirk anytime soon.
Eklund seemed to really enjoy the con experience, and thanked the crowd, explaining that often, by the time a show comes out, the actors have all moved on to something else. “It puts a face on the reason why we’re making projects,” he said. “I had no idea there were so many people excited, who watched what we did.”
It doesn’t seem like this will be Eklund’s last con appearance. “How long does this last?” he asked. Someone from the crowd called out “Always!”
“Every day is Dragon Con in Atlanta? If it is, I’m not going home,” he said.
Season two of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency will premiere on Saturday, October 14 at 9PM on BBC America.