Graceland's Aaron Tveit Talks Mike's Visions, Addiction Issues, & His Future With Paige
The 31-year-old actor stars on the USA Network drama as FBI agent Mike Warren, who was nearly killed after flat-lining for a good six minutes last year.
Not only did the experience change his outlook on life and work, but it’s been causing him to pop a few more pain meds than recommended.
How soon will this catch up to him? And where does this leave Mike with the rest of the house? JustJared.com caught up with Aaron about what we can expect coming up.
Graceland airs TONIGHT, July 9 @ 10PM on USA Network.
JustJared.com: So let’s talk about Mike’s big changes. He’s a new guy. He has facial hair, yes, but he also has a totally new demeanor.
Aaron Tveit: Jeff [Eastin, the creator] is always open to our input. He called me and kind of let me know what they were thinking for the season, and how I feel about it and if there’s anything I wanted to add. It’s a very open dialogue. So for this, the thing he pitched was the idea of this near-death experience. When that happens what it does to people. He did a bunch of research about real life-and-death experiences, and how people can really be changed by these things that they see. Whether or not it’s in their mind, their whole personality can change. And that’s where we started from. And also coming off of last year, Mike was kind of on a Shakespearean-eqsue ambition trip. I think we kind of wanted to see how this experience affected how he looked at himself previously.
So I think he comes out of this – and even though he’s dealing with all these visions and getting hooked on these meds – he recognizes that the way he was going about things wasn’t the best way, especially leading the people around him. So I think he is in the process of being a changed agent. And the thing we talked about that I thought was really interesting were these new qualities that he’s exhibiting, ultimately giving the people around him some room and not jamming things down their throats. That actually makes a great leader in the FBI and that’s something Mike doesn’t even know yet. So that was out general conversation about where it was all going to go, which I was very excited about.
In case you missed it, Aaron just landed the role of Danny Zuko in Fox’s upcoming live-action production of Grease!
Click inside to read the rest of our interview with Aaron Tveit…
JustJared.com Interview – Aaron Tveit
JJ: Even though this might make him a better agent, I can’t imagine taking pills won’t catch up to him or affect his work, right?
AT: That’s kind of the conundrum that happens. He has to pop these pills to get to work and how long is that going to work for him before it all kind of explodes in his face?
JJ: Is this the new Mike now? Is there going back to that other guy?
AT: I don’t think so. I don’t think he’ll ever be the same. That’s sort of the most compelling thing for me about working on the show, all these people who change. I think he should get back to the core of who he is. He wants to do good and affect positive change. I think he’s learned so much that I don’t think he’ll ever be this exactly-by-the-book, squeaky clean guy who came out of the FBI.
JJ: It’s interesting that now the roles are sort of reversed where Briggs is having to keep his eyes on Mike now…
AT: I just think the relationship between Mike and Briggs is great because it’s so complicated. It’s always flipping back and forth, of who is wary of who, and who has the power at any moment. This whole spirituality thing, with what I saw, I think that resonates with Briggs. Then the fact that I’m addicting myself to Opiates, that’s obviously something he can relate to. We have a lot of common ground now that we didn’t have before in a strange way.
JJ: This episode is titled “Sense Memory.” So will we learn more about Mike’s visions?
AT: Yeah, this episode I finally kind of open up a little bit about what I saw. It’s one of those things where…I don’t know if you ever had any kind of experience with a ghost or anything like that. But this is the best example I can kind of say…Say you’re a person who doesn’t believe in ghosts and when you talk about it, you realize how ridiculous it sounds. But you felt it. You saw it. I think it’s a similar with Mike. He’s such a pragmatic, logical guy. He knows what he saw is absolutely nuts, but he can’t get over the fact that he saw it. So I think he’s a little worried about telling people. But he does open up and Briggs is the one he goes to because he thinks he’s going to be the one who understands. That all starts to come out in this episode.
JJ: While there’s all this stuff still going on with Carlito, and now the Armenian mafia, it seems like this season is also very much about the internal struggles within these characters. Would you agree?
AT: Yeah, the thing I love about this season is that it’s much like the first season. Whereas last season, we kind of all got splintered out and away from each other a bit. But this year, all the action comes from the intra-relationships in the house. We’re all dealing with the fallout from before, and everyone is kind of dealing with their own demons and emotional state because of it. This season really does focus on that more than last season. And I think the play between the people in the house is really what the core of the show is, so I’m really happy to get back to that this year.
JJ: We have to talk about Mike and Paige. They shared a hug in the last episode and she seems to be staying at Graceland now. What can you tease about them going forward?
AT: That’s a really complicated one too. Obviously, what happened is a huge thing. But because Mike it seeing things through these new eyes, he realizes what he did may have gone a little bit too far. People say that he forgave her too quickly, but I think he’s trying to be there for the people around him, maybe for the first time ever instead of thinking about himself. But of course, they are never going to get back to what they were. There’s a lot of repair to be had there. As were shooting the end of the season now, you’ll be able to see that they’re ultimately able to function around each other. They were close and all that is still there, but just with what happened, it makes really tough to get back to anything that they had.
JJ: So any sort of romance is on the back burner for now?
AT: Yeah, I think that part is a little hard. Obviously, they have chemistry. But it wouldn’t really be honoring the circumstances if they all of a sudden romantically were back together. That would be crazy for both of them I think (laughs).
JJ: If you could give Mike any piece of advice right now, what would it be?
AT: I would say, “Dude, you just gotta stop taking these pills, man.” Just because I know what happens in the next four or five episodes…
JJ: So it’s safe to say, things are going to get worse before they get better?
AT: It’s going to get worse before it gets better, yes.
- Reporting by Sharon Tharp (@sharontharp)