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Exclusive Interview: Maurice Dean Wint Talks SurrealEstate Season 2 & Beyond

Maurice Dean WintTonight, Syfy airs the season two finale of SurrealEstate, entitled "Letting Go." In the season finale, Susan (Sarah Levy) has returned to the Roman agency, but she's not the same Susan they all know and love. Luke (Tim Rozon), whose powers have returned, and the team, must figure out what's happening. Is Susan safe now or is the house still a problem they have to solve?

Maurice Dean Wint, who plays August Ripley, recently spoke to SciFi Vision about working on the series, including Auggie's new relationship with Rochelle (Joy Tanner), working with Savannah Basley, the season two finale, and more.

Read the transcript below, and be sure to catch the season two finale, tonight on Syfy.

SCIFI VISION:   Obviously, for most of the season, Luke didn't have his powers, and he's been kind of augmenting that with Auggie’s tech. Do you think that Auggie felt more more needed because of that…or more part of everything, because he was contributing in that way? 

Maurice Dean WintMAURICE DEAN WINT:   Well, I think August always felt quite included and always was quite aware how in high regard Luke held him and his contributions to the Roman Agency. I don't think it's much that he felt more needed. I felt that he thought maybe where Luke's abilities sort of fell off, he had to maybe amp up his level of participation and maybe sort of fill in the gaps. So, obviously, when we left the team at the end of season one, there was some doubt as to whether Luke could continue to function at the same level due to the to the loss of his gift. It was such a vital element to his character, and having that facet stripped away, it changed the dynamic of the agency somewhat. It makes some much larger demands of the remaining members of the team. And for his part, Auggie is called upon to up his game to such higher levels of technical innovation to confront the same spiritual forces, malevolent or benign. It is the perfect premise upon which to inject more intriguing, enjoyable, and occasionally humorous scientific creations from the workbench of August Ripley into the season. So, sometimes those creations are tested to the limits and proved to be a much more challenging way to make contact with paranormal forces. You know, I make a specific reference in the very first episode of the season. I say that things were much simpler when Luke could just talk to these things. So, I mean, August has an incredible facility for the scientific, for the technical, for the innovative, and so, I think, he probably realizes that he is needed more by Luke, and it probably just sort of amps his game up to a different level. He was always capable of it, but what was never required of him before is required on him now. So, I think just maybe you just see a more advanced form of the character of August Ripley, I guess. 

Your character obviously is pretty close with this with Zooey. I mean, Rochelle even says he thinks of her like a daughter…I'm just curious, was it hard to have that fight with her? Can you talk about that? 

You know, Savannah and I have always gotten along really well, and it wasn't really hard to develop a really sort of special bond between our characters. Obviously, as you could see in the first season, he cares about her very much. There's a sort of a big brother or uncle or certainly a warm paternal quality that he sort of exhibits toward her, so when they fall under the spell, that creates ill feelings with a residual dark energy emanating from the property in Episode 206, “Set Your Flag on Fire.” It becomes deeply impactful, a deeply emotional moment. And you can see in that moment how powerfully affected both of them are by those undesired hostile feelings, and the resolution of that scene is quite a touching reaffirmation of that bond between the two of them. You know, those scenes, the scenes between August and Zooey, for me were some of the some of the warmest, I guess, more poignant scenes for my character, aside from the scene in the episode where he revisits the memory of his past wife. I mean, I've had special moments with all the characters. And you know, we can talk about what happens in season two, because the one character who I really did not have major connections with on that level was Susan…but with the character of Zooey, it was that scene in season two, it became so powerful and so special, because we're privy to all of those wonderful sort of big brotherly moments that August and Zooey had in season one, and he only ever wants the best for her. He thinks that she certainly, you know, needs to value herself to a great degree. So, it really was quite a strange occurrence, and it was quite emotionally shocking, that particular scene for the characters, and as two actors preparing for it. You know, it wasn't a fun scene to prepare for, because our characters do have such warmth. We display such warmth towards each other. But that's sort of a great element that the writers sort of throw into the mix is they throw scenes at you that just sort of set you off balance. That's sort of true of this whole phenomenon that is SurrealEstate. It’s got you going in one direction, then it hits you with a poignant moment, and then you're into some scares, and that's why it's such, I think, a bit of a unique beast for the Syfy Channel. 

Yeah, it's always different. I was going to say, talking about Susan…do you think that maybe even though he didn't get a lot of time with her [this season], that the experience of what happens with her, and if they move through this, that it will still make them closer? 

Well, what I'll say is…I had such meaningful connections with most of the characters in season one, and I'm not sure whether it was you or somebody else who asked me asked me what was something you might hope for in season two, [but] one of the things that I hoped for was that I might have a few more really juicy interactions with the character of Susan, because that relationship, the August and Susan relationship, was not really explored in as much depth as the relationship between other characters. So, you're right, because Susan is somehow mysteriously returned [after] being sort of taken hostage, without spoiling it, has mysteriously been taken hostage somehow, for the majority of this season. But there are a couple of scenes that I do have, and the writers wrote some really beautiful scenes between my character and Sarah’s character this season. It was exactly what I was looking for, because, in the little time that my character had, or all of the characters had, to spend with Susan, for me, those scenes, those beautiful driving scenes, the moments where I talk about the regard that Zooey held, Susan and I talk about my experience with homeownership - because the arc of her character's journey this this season has to do with Susan pursuing homeownership herself. There are a couple of really beautiful scenes between August and Susan, and even a scene where Auggie and Susan are out on a paranormal stakeout at a house, which ends up being one of the funnier episodes this season, where they discovered the disturbed unresolved lovers that play at that house. But, you know, it was very strange. I mean, with Susan gone, it meant the rest of the team had a whole pile more dialogue to learn - Thanks, Sarah - But aside from the hours of text memorizing, the dynamics changed for the entire team in a sort of an interesting way, because there was an interesting, mysterious question hanging in the air. All of us love Susan. There are lots of opportunities for nuances of the relationship that each of us have that are explored. You know, for my part, like I say, I had the most wonderful time and a handful of terrific scenes with our two characters. And like I say, it was almost as if I sent out a message to George and the rest of the writers, or maybe they instinctively knew that the Auggie-Susan relationship was something that hadn't really fully been fleshed out. And when I arrived in Newfoundland, I arrived on the East Coast last year, and I started reading through the scripts. When I came across those scenes, it was just like a blessing, because it was just I couldn't have asked for a better way to sort of explore that relationship, and Sarah and I had a great time working on those scenes together. 

Can you talk about Auggie’s relationship with Rochelle, and would he maybe consider working with her again? And if he did, how would that affect his job at the Roman Agency?

So, Rochelle and August, we’re old friends, work colleagues, and also, you know, whispered mathematical equation into one another's ear, if you know what I mean. Many years ago, their relationship, which was quite multifaceted, came to an unresolved end due to differing views on how scientific exploration and discovery should be utilized in the real world. They both worked for a research organization called Astra, and during his time there, he was toiling on the cutting edge of research technology. Together they spent many hours laughing and learning and theorizing and debating. It was a quite a special work life interaction and had the potential for something even more lasting, but in the end, Auggie’s more pure scientific perspective, versus Rochelle’s side, you know, Rochelle’s science with open ended applications, which unfortunately included lethal military purposes, drove a bit of a wedge between them, and he chose to leave the highly lucrative position at Astra to pursue a different course while she stayed. So, what was a beautiful burgeoning relationship sort of ended because of scientific and philosophical differences. But when Auggie and Rochelle reconnect in season two, Episode Five, titled, “Art & Science,” it becomes clear very quickly that the romantic spark between them never really died and that the wonderful sort of cerebral interplay they had always made them ideally suited to one another. So, would they consider working together again? Well, that is a question that may very well be left floating in the ether as season two draws to a conclusion. Without spoiling it for those who are eager to watch the entire season from the beginning to the end, I will say this. August has spent most of his life since the death of his wife Darla consumed by his work. Now he's not really opened himself up to an emotional connection with another woman since that heartbreaking loss, and Rochelle awakened something in him, and their common interests, their passions, forced him to rethink the current direction of his life and career maybe. And as the final curtain falls this year, our viewers may be left to wonder what the implications of this reignited relationship will mean for Auggie, Auggie’s workshop, and the Roman Agency. 

Can you talk about working with Joy Tanner this season? 

Well, you know, Joy and I have known each other for quite a few years. And I think the first time that I heard from her about this, I knew that a new season was coming. I hadn't yet received any scripts, and I didn't know what what my character's journey was going to be through the season, but [obviously] she must have auditioned for a character that was very much connected to my character. She sent me a DM on Instagram saying something about, “It looks like you and I are going to get the opportunity to work together this season. It looks like I'm going to be coming up to play with you guys.” I said, “Oh, that's great. That's great. I hope you and I get to do some stuff together.” And she just had this very sort of cryptic response. “Oh, we will.” I think it was because I said to her, “Oh, that's great you’re coming out. I haven't read any of the scripts. So, I certainly hope you and I get a chance to work together.” And that's when she said, “Oh, we will.” She didn't let the cat out of the bag. But then when I received the scripts - because she didn't say what her character was, then I started reading the scripts, and just I all of a sudden [was] clued in that she was sort of telling me without telling me that she'd gotten that character. But like I say, we've known each other for many years. And when they cast her in the part, it was fun, because I had always gotten along with her really, really well and the type of energy that she brings to that character is just so ideal. She's got this wonderful sort of subtle sense of humor, and she's a very smart bright lady. When she arrived in Newfoundland, we had a couple of days. She'd been doing her work at home, and I've been doing my work as well. And I suggested “Well, why don't we just get together and just go out and grab some breakfast and spend the day hanging out together and just go through all our scenes?” And she was just sort of overjoyed with that…It was just our big episode together. We were in from the beginning of the day to the end of the day. It was us all day long doing these these big juicy scenes. So, it was great, because it wasn't a matter of two actors who basically had to sort of feel each other out and get to know [each other]. We knew each other already. So, it was, let's just dig into this material and just make this stuff the best we can, and it was a great experience. And I think the the show was blessed to have her to cast her in this part. She was just terrific. 

Yeah, I know. Somebody sent me a Twitter question asking if she'd be in next season. I know you can't tell me that anyway, but I do hope that if you do get to season three that she comes back, I assume she would, but I assume you probably don't have any any news on season three yet? 

Well, you know, I don't have any bad news. All I have is positive news base based on the way that season two is being received by folks, and the Syfy Channel and CTV SciFi and the streamers, Hulu and Crave Canada. [They’re] all quite excited about what they're seeing in season two. So, I mean, I’ll keep my fingers crossed. I'd be surprised if they didn't jump on board and take us for another ride in season three. And obviously, I know, and I won't spoil it for those who don't know, the way things sort of end up at the end of the season. Joy’s character is very much in the mix. And like I say, I don't have any information as to what the future is for our two characters, but I think she brings a really interesting dynamic to the show, and certainly an interesting dynamic to my character. It brings it brings him out of his shell in a certain way that we haven't seen before. 

So, when I was talking to Elena [Juatco], the other day I had asked her this, so I'll ask you the same thing. Do you believe in this kind of stuff, like paranormal ghosts, demons, that kind of stuff? Have you ever had any experiences or anything like that that's made you believe or not believe in it? 

I probably like most other people have had those strange sort of deja vu moments or feelings that I’ve been in a place before and all of a sudden just sort of getting this feeling and I’m stopped cold in my tracks, feeling this familiarity with everything around me and every second of every moment that unfolds tells me that I've been in that place in that moment, having the discussion, the exact words coming out of my mouth, and it ends up being a very strange sort of experience. As far as the experience of ghosts and haunting and, you know, paranormal and spiritual, extra normal activity, I think the world, the universe, is in a constant state of energy transfer. And I believe that that transfer happens on many levels, or planes of existence. So, to suggest that death all of a sudden brings to an absolute end, every kind of energy seems counter to this idea of perpetual energy flow. So, unknown entities, paranormal phenomena and ghosts, specters, in my opinion, are certainly an option with these thoughts in mind. So, I think that rather than seeing it as some sort of strange abnormal thing, if you sort of put it into in perspective and just think that, you know, death comes - human matter, plant matter, animal matter, decomposes, goes into the earth and as a process of, you know, reinvigoration - My take on it is almost the sort of process of reincarnation through the natural process of decomposition and restructuring. So, I don't know that I call it ghostly activity, I just basically call it activity that comes from the fact that a specific piece of matter, a specific entity, at one time existed, may have passed on into the ether into the earth or whatever restructures itself and comes back. So, if that's haunting, well, yeah, I guess we will be perpetually haunted if that's the way things go. 

Do you have a favorite scene from this season? You talked about I know about that house that you and Susan went to, was that was that your favorite? 

I mean, if I break it down, the beautiful episode between my character and Joy's character when he goes on to this incredible journey back into the past, there's this whole episode - it's just about reconnecting with her on a human level and on a scientific level. That episode was just sort of built to sort of seduce me as an actor, and I loved all of the stuff that happened in that episode, but I had a lot of fun. In the episode with Susan, when we went to explore the restless lovers, that's an example of how when you delve into this sort of element of the surreal or the paranormal, that it doesn't have to be all, like malevolent, spooky. That one ended up being quite titillating and quite funny. And the ghosts, the haunt factor in that was actually a pair of restless lovers who basically just had not had enough. And they basically had more hunkajunk in them. It was quite a funny episode, and the stuff that we had together was quite whimsical. You know, if I went through all the scripts, I could find some little sort of gems in all the episodes. One of the really fun moments that I had was a driving scene that I had with Sarah's character, where he goes on misty, sort of poignant trip down memory lane and talk about the first house that he ever owned, because it's sort of relevant, because Susan has now bought a piece of property. It's just one of those beautiful moments that I had hoped that George and the rest of the writers would sort of pen for August. So, yeah, those are a couple of the favorite scenes, favorite moments that I had this season.

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