We spoke with Shawn Hatosy for the lowdown on his Animal Kingdom character, working with legendary Ellen Barkin, and making his way behind the camera.
Shawn Hatosy has completely accepted getting comfortable with being uncomfortable for his role on TNT’s Animal Kingdom as Andrew ‘Pope’ Cody. Playing a brute ex-con in an unhealthy relationship with his matriarch mother Smurf, portrayed by Ellen Barkin, he and his brothers soon find a new independence in their scheming and heists in Season 2, which premieres May 30.
So, you’re playing a criminal. How are you enjoying this guy, Pope? Shawn Hatosy: He’s a great challenge and enjoyable because he’s unpredictable. He has so many dimensions. I learn something new about him every episode. I knew going into this project, especially with somebody like Pope, that they were going to throw things at me that I might not be comfortable with. I just said that I'm going to say yes to everything no matter how messed up it is. I don’t want to limit these writers. I want them to have freedom to see what they can create whatever they want. Whatever monster they’re going to build, we’re going to build it together. I’m never going to say no. And I feel like that has freed [Pope] up and made a very complex character.
Do we see him gain a little more independence in the next season? SH: Yea, I think the transition from last season into Season 2, we saw him trying to start to push away from Smurf. One of the main things for him in Season 2 is this idea of normalizing and it starts with removing himself from Smurf’s influence, putting himself out in the world and seeing if he can avoid being viewed as a monster.
What’s it like working with Ellen Barkin? She’s a legend. SH: She is. The whole cast is committed to these characters in a way that’s exciting. It makes me wake up every morning really jazzed to go to work. Ellen, she’s always showing integrity in her character and bringing honesty to it, so it’s my kind of actor.
All the brothers are pretty fit and hunky. Did you have to bulk up for the role? SH: I always knew with a show called Animal Kingdom that the physical attributes of the character Pope were going to be the foundation for the character. I needed him to be animalistic, just by looking at him, the way he walks. Ben [Robson] and I go to the same gym so we see each other frequently. And, I’m into tennis. I’m kind of obsessed. It’s nearly broken up my marriage several times.
Do you have any ambitions of getting behind the camera someday? SH: I really do. I’ve been shadowing some directors. So hopefully in Season 3, I’ll get my chance.
You’ve worked with so many people. Who’s left on your bucket list? SH: I love great directors and there’s many that I’d kill to work with. Paul Thomas Anderson, David O. Russell, Gus Van Sant, Darren Aronofsky. Kathryn Bigelow. I met her for The Hurt Locker. I think the stuff she’s making, it really resonates with me.