‘Legends of Tomorrow’ exclusive: Casper Crump on Vandal Savage’s motivations, villain team-ups, and more

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There is a new episode of DC’s “Legends of Tomorrow” coming on The CW Thursday night, but before that airs, we want to help introduce you further to the man behind our season 1 villain. We’ve come to learn a few things so far about Casper Crump, with the primary one being that he does a pretty terrifying portrayal of the notorious Vandal Savage. We would say that him obliterating all of Central City before Barry went back in time on “The Flash” is one of the scariest things that this DC Universe has presented so far, and after getting a small taste of him in the first part of the “Legends of Tomorrow” pilot, you’ll be seeing a lot more of Vandal tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

We spoke earlier today with Crump about what it’s like to join the DC Universe, how he takes on playing this character, and also whether or not he thinks that Savage would be satisfied even if he ever did get Kendra Saunders to fall in love with him.

CarterMatt – Playing Vandal has been a chance for many people in America to discover you who may not have seen [some of your work in Europe] before. What has the reaction been like for you so far?

Casper Crump – The reaction has overwhelming, I must say, just from when the casting was announced. I had no idea the magnitude of this project. I had just done an audition with David Rapaport for the part and got the part a week after. That was a shock, and a couple of weeks after it was revealed online. The fan base and the culture around these things was really just massive. Even before the show started, people were like looking at me from pictures and saying ‘look, he looks just like Vandal Savage. He’s the perfect casting for Vandal Savage.’ And I was just like ‘okay, guys!!’ (Laughs.)

…But then, the premiere last week was overwhelming. People have been so kind, even though I was in [just a small part of the episode]. Tonight is going to be the second part of the pilot, which there will be more storytelling and less of how you get these characters together. I think from now on it’s going to get better and better.

What has it been like for you to play a character who is basically thousands of years old? Do you try to think about little things that he has done and ways to play into some of that history?

Being a guy who’s been around thousands of years, how does that look? That’s been a challenge, but I’ve went with a sort of universal, timeless look. The timelessness is his way of relating to people, [the notion of] him being immortal. I do not have to worry about fear. I don’t have to be afraid that he’s going to die, and that gives him this feeling that he is above others in certain situations. That is something for me as an actor that is sort of helpful, because I can’t really feel how to play a guy who is thousands of years old, so I have to find small, specific things … All the other characters in the show help to explain that he is immortal and he has been around thousands of years, so that’s not really my job. It’s their responsibility in a way, and that’s great for me since I can just be in the moment.

There’s the notion that everyone loves to play the villain. There’s this sort of looseness to it, a lack of limitations as to what your character can and cannot do. Have you really enjoyed that?

I’m very much enjoying it. Who doesn’t want to play the bad guy? (Laughs.) It’s a thing that we all have incorporated in our minds, in our bodies. It’s not okay to be the bad guy in real life. Being able to go to work and just explore all of these things you’re really not allowed to in real life is such a pleasure. And he can actually be lovable, as well! He can’t all be bad, since that wouldn’t be as interesting to watch. I have to make him a real human being, even if he does do really cruel and savage stuff. It’s a challenge, but it’s something I really enjoy.

Sometimes it’s easier to be the bad guy because you have a contrast for what a hero should be. You know that you are a good guy in real life, so you can just think of what the opposite would be. That makes it very simple in my opinion.

You touch on something that is really interesting in there, since it’s something that ‘Arrow,’ ‘The Flash,’ and ‘Legends’ are all doing, and that is giving you moments where the bad guy is not completely evil. Can we expect to see some of that from Vandal this season?

Oh yeah. Totally. I think he’s twisted in his mind, but that’s us looking at him. He doesn’t know that he’s on the wrong side. He still has feelings, he’s in love with Kendra and has been since Ancient Egypt. That’s what sort of drives him. It’s a very complex situation, having to kill your love to gain power and to gain immortality. I think in many ways he’s suffering. He wants good in many ways; he thinks he’s done humanity a favor by taking over the world. He thinks he’s doing the best for his people, but that may not be the case. (Laughs.) This is something [I’ve explained in other interviews], but there are Vandal Savages all over the place, still, in great disguises all over the world thinking they know what’s going on and what to do, unfortunately.

Do you think that it is possible for a guy like Vandal to be happy, even if he finally got to be with Kendra? Has he been doing this for so long that he doesn’t know how to change?

I think he would sort of go for it with her, but I think sometimes as persons, the hunt is better than the conquer, and that may be the case here.

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Let’s move into the episode coming up, since you get to do some stuff with Neal McDonough’s Damien Darhk. Was it cool to get to spend a little bit of time with him doing a meeting of the villains?

Oh yeah, and I hope we get to have a lot more meetings of the villains! I think it was really great. There are all of these villains in this universe, and I hope that at some point it would be [great] to get everybody together and have a little fun. A villains show! It’d be fun.

[Neal] was great to work with. He was shooting ‘Arrow,’ I think, and so he [only had so much time with us], but Vandal and Damien Darhk kick some a**. (Laughs.)

I think the question everybody wants to know is if you’re going to be working with John Barrowman again after Malcolm Merlyn brought you back to life…

Did he bring me back to life, or did he just scoop up my ashes … I don’t know! (Laughs.) Totally! I would love to do that. The more villains to get together with other villains … It’d be crazy-fun. Now it’s just one guy versus eight heroes, come on, that’s pretty unfair. Let me gather my team!

Is there anything coming up that you are especially excited for people to see?

I think there’s a couple of different episodes where we see different sides of Vandal, and that’s something I’m looking forward to seeing myself. I haven’t seen it; I’m just in it. There are some episodes where he’s quite the opposite of [how you’ve seen him].

There’s always a fear that villains will only last a season on these shows, but is this a role you’d love to take on for some time moving forward?

I’m very privileged to be a part of it. Of course if I was a series regular that’d be great, but it’s also fun for me to pop in and out of the universe. I don’t know what’s happening next year, but Vandal’s hard to kill off. I have an idea that next season and maybe [the next] season they’ll have different villains, but I do hope that Vandal will pop in now and again and doing some crossover stuff. You can really do so much more with my character.

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