One thing is for sure, you just can’t kill The Killing…not if Netflix has anything to say about it! The popular series is back for one last hoorah, and its bringing some new faces along for the ride. Top of the class is Tyler Ross who plays military academy cadet, Kyle Stansbury, the sole survivor of his family’s murder and possibly the key detectives Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) need to crack the case. The Daily Quirk sat down with Ross to get the inside scoop on what fans can expect in the final season, how he got into character, and what he does with his time when he’s not busy holding his own among the star-studded cast. Read the full interview below!
The Daily Quirk: Can you tell us a bit about your character Kyle?
Tyler Ross: I play Kyle Stansbury, he’s sort of the black sheep of a wealthy, well-connected family out of Seattle. It’s his senior year in high school, he’s actually attending a military academy which is really, in my opinion, the last place he belongs. He’s kind of a broken guy, I would not call him a social butterfly. But on top of all that, he just lost his family. Everyone in his family was killed and he himself was shot in the head. When we meet him, he’s waking up in a hospital and doesn’t remember anything.
TDQ: What attracted you to the role?
TR: Well I really like the storytelling that they do on The Killing, particularly in season 3. Really I would have taken any role this season, but I’m very happy with the one I got. So yeah, I love the writing, I love the creative behind it, I love the acting especially and I really wanted a chance to work with people like Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman and of course Joan Allen this season. These are dreams that are literally coming true for me. And then the role, the specifics of it, were just a bonus on top of all that. To be a part of the show at all was awesome. I would have done anything on it [laughs].
TDQ: That’s great! So you were a fan of the show before joining the cast?
TR: I actually hadn’t seen a lot of it but I knew about it. That’s not because I didn’t like the show its simply because I didn’t watch a lot of television. But when you get the breakdown for it and you hear about the project, you decide whether or not you’re interested and you do your research. So it was at that point that I kind of fell for the whole thing…then I did end up watching all of it [laughs].
TDQ: How did you prepare and get into character?
TR: I would spend quite a bit of time thinking through the backstory. I talked with Veena Sud, the creator, briefly before we started, about the backstory. I also spent some time, not a lot but a little bit, trying to learn the military ways, standing at attention, doing push-ups in the rain, things like that. I don’t think Kyle is great at being a military student, I don’t think he was cut out for it. But that’s about it, it was mostly backstory building and a little physical activity.
TDQ: It sounds like Kyle may be the key to solving his family’s murder. Can we expect lots of twists and turns from your character
TR: Yeah, I’d say so. He doesn’t really remember anything and so obviously that can be frustrating for the detectives and for himself. But the twists and turns come not just from me, there’s a full ensemble here. There’s Levi Meaden who plays AJ Fielding who’s another cadet, you can expect some stuff from him. And you’ve got Sterling Beaumon who plays Lincoln Knopf, another cadet, and you can definitely expect some stuff from him. And then you’ve got Joan Allen’s character, Margaret Rayne. I wouldn’t say my character gets all the twists and turns but there are some of course!
TDQ: What other kind of surprises can fans of The Killing expect in Season 4?
TR: Well let’s see…because I can’t really give anything away. If you watch the season and focus more on trying to enjoy the ride then I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Now the plot is something else, we shot stuff I’ve never seen before on television. But I think the full experience comes from watching the characters go through it. I feel like it could have been anything but the way the show is written and performed, its very engaging, that’s the stuff I would focus on.
TDQ: I have to imagine you have some intense scenes with Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos. What was it like working with them?
TR: Mireille is such a wonderful, wonderful human being, not just an actress, but she’s an incredible human being. She’s one of those people who would take time to say ‘hello’ to you even if you showed up on set and she’s in the middle of a phone call. She would stop and wave and give you a genuine smile, she’s just an incredible person. She taught me a lot about what it was like to show up everyday and do the work. We were shooting hour long episodes every week, it was a lot going on, and just from watching her she taught me how to show up, do your work and do it well, give off that positive energy all day, how to stay open between different takes and things like that so you don’t get too tired or shut down. I learned quite a lot from her and loved working with her. I’d love to work with her again, anytime. And then Joel is also great, he’s so chill. He’s very chill, almost intimidatingly so. Not in the sense that he’s mean or anything but you’re almost afraid you’re going to disturb his inner peace [laughing] the zen that he’s got going on all the time which is really cool. He’s also a very smart guy and a very talented guy, he’s great.
TDQ: Netflix saved The Killing and brought it back for one final season. What’s it been like getting to be a part of that?
TR: It was amazing, I couldn’t have asked for a better first fourth season of a television show to be on. It was cool because they were already sort of a previously established family, but I never felt ostracized. It was really cool to walk on, be accepted and part of it and to feel like everyone actually cared about making this story as good as they possibly could. Also the fact that its on Netflix is awesome. I think this particular show is great for Netflix because you don’t have to wait a week and forget the nuances before you see the next episode. I love the idea that its like a book, you can read as much as you like and then put it down and come back to it. Its not like you have to wait a month for the magazine to come out, you can just get through the whole book at one time or do whatever, and I love that the show works that way. Its almost like a really long film or a miniseries and it was cool to be a part of something like that.
TDQ: How would you describe the final season in 5 words or less?
TR: Dark, intense, emotional and conclusive…That’s five words if you include the word ‘and’!
TDQ: Let’s talk about you. How do you like to spend your time when you’re not busy working?
TR: Oh, me! Well, I like to travel. I’ve missed Chicago a lot, even though I’m not from there, I’m actually from Florida so I’ll go there to visit family. I also like to get out of the city…I like to travel, I don’t know! I like to eat, I looove eating. LA has some great food. Those are the two big things, traveling and eating [laughs].
TDQ: That sounds like heaven!
TR: I know!
TDQ: Where’s your favorite place that you’ve traveled so far?
TR: Chicago is definitely my favorite city that I’ve been to. I love the people, the art scene and the theater scene especially. They also have great food here, and great beer. I want to go to Europe more, I’ve only visited it briefly. I was in a small town in Poland for a film festival, that was super fun though. The age of the architecture, I saw a city that was older than anything I’ve ever seen and that was pretty cool. I’ve traveled through a bit of the states, I want to go to Portland again, I was only there for a night but I really liked the vibe of the city.
TDQ: Do you have any other projects you can tells us about?
TR: Yes, I’d love to. Its called Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, it’s an independent film by a friend of mine, Stephen Cone. He’s actually based out of Chicago right now and wrote a film that I starred in which we filmed about four years ago called The Wise Kids which actually did pretty well. So Henry Gambles Birthday Party is sort of family drama but its cool because there’s twenty cast members, and none of them are really extras, everybody brings something to the table. Its set entirely at a pool party and focuses on Henry who’s turning 17. He’s a preachers kid who’s questioning his possible homosexuality so there’s plenty of drama but its also a very human movie. I’m a big fan of Stephen Cone’s work in the first place. The film’s got some really funny moments in it, and some really fun moments. We’ve been doing overnight shoots so swimming at three and four in the morning has been quite the experience [laughs]!
The Daily Quirk would like to thank Tyler Ross for taking the time to chat! To find out more about Ross, you can follow him on Twitter and WhoSay. Check out Season 4 of The Killing currently streaming in its entirety on Netflix.