Almost Paradise: Christian Kane reflects on Episode 7’s family reunion

Almost Paradise (WGN America/Courtesy of JGPR).
Almost Paradise (WGN America/Courtesy of JGPR). /

Almost Paradise star Christian Kane gives Precinct TV the scoop on Alex Walker’s family reunion with his Uncle Danny in a hectic Episode 7.

Almost Paradise was a family affair this week, as the TV crime drama introduced “Uncle Danny,” played by the fantastic Richard Kind (Spin City). Danny was a huge influence on Alex Walker’s life, and Christian Kane returned to Precinct TV to break down their hilarious reunion.

How did the show snag Richard Kind to play the role of Uncle Danny? What were his thoughts on learning about Alex’s unconventional childhood? And what should we take away from the way the episode ended—could there possibly be more backstory left to unravel?

Learn more about “Uncle Danny” in our interview with Christian below, then tune in on Monday at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT to WGN America for Episode 7! If you haven’t seen Almost Paradise yet, watch episodes on Amazon Video or the Electric Now app.

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Precinct TV: You’re old friends with Richard Kind, so how did his guest spot on Almost Paradise come about? What was it like to work with him again?

Christian Kane: [Almost Paradise creators] Dean [Devlin] and Gary Rosen [are] very good friends with Richard. Dean had known him for a long, long time; Dean actually put him in Stargate. Gary is one of his dearest friends. And of course, Richard is one of my dearest friends and golf buddies.

We all went to lunch, about a couple of us, probably about six months before we left. Gary said, I’m going to write a role for Richard Kind and see if he’ll do it. And I said, Let me call him. We kind of bombarded him with phone calls and said listen, we’re getting ready to do this new show; we’d love to write a role for you. Richard said, do I get to golf with Christian in the Philippines? And they said yes, and so he goes, I’ll go.

And so when he said that, they said well, let’s just write an episode where they’re golfing. (laughs) That’s how that all came to fruition, which was very funny.

PTV: So part of this shoot was you getting to just enjoy golfing.

CK: And with one of my best friends, Richard Kind. It was fantastic. It was a tremendous episode. The golf course was at the resort, so my dressing room literally was my hotel room. That was fantastic.

PTV: But aside from all the fun, Almost Paradise uses this episode to reveal some big details about Alex’s past and how Danny was his surrogate father. Did you have this information from the start of the show, or did you find out during this episode?

CK: I knew that the situation with my daughter and some of the reasons why he has hypertension; all that was in the cards. What I didn’t know is they were going to make Richard my uncle, so that was a really great surprise. I didn’t know that he raised me, which was a really nice surprise to have, because that gives a whole story about where were his parents? Who are his parents?

That could be something that we touch on in season 2, season 3. That’s going to be fun to see. We haven’t given everything away about Alex’s backstory, but you did learn a lot of why he’s in the condition that he’s in through that episode.

PTV: Did learning more of this information change your perspective on Alex Walker? How did you process it from an acting standpoint?

CK: It did change the way that I played him, because it was all new information to me. I had my own backstory that I was working with, and then the backstory is given to you. You don’t make a lateral move, but you veer a little bit. And that was really fun.

What’s exciting about playing a character like this is the fact that you get to adapt to certain circumstances when you read scripts, instead of knowing everything right off the bat and just running forward. It’s very fun as an actor to be able to learn stuff as you go. Some people don’t like that. Some people like to have everything drawn out, so they know exactly who the character is. I am a little bit different, to where I like to learn about the character as I’m playing him.

I was very fortunate because we started talking about this character and the background of the character and where the character was going long before we got there…I lived with this character inside Dean’s head and inside Dean’s office for about a year. I got to hear where they were going with the character.

SPOILER ALERT: The remainder of this interview spoils the ending of this Almost Paradise episode. If you haven’t seen Episode 7 yet, watch here and come back when you’ve seen it!

PTV: Almost Paradise gives you an interesting balancing act in this episode. Alex, and viewers, know that Danny is up to something—so how do you play the comedy of Alex figuring it out without making him appear clueless?

CK: He knows right off the bat that he’s there for no good. [Danny] says I’ve come to the Philippines to make amends, and he’s like no, you didn’t. You wouldn’t have flown all the way to the Philippines to do something like that. He knows him.

Alex is usually the alpha wolf, and even if he’s not, he thinks he is. For the first time, we see that Uncle Danny is now the alpha wolf. He’s the big character. He’s the guy that comes in. And so Alex is not able to cover anything up with comedy. He just is annoyed the whole time. Usually Alex thinks that he can play people like a puppet master. There’s this whole thing where he’s kind of in control. In this one, he was never in control.

That was what was so fun to play, was the vulnerability of this character. You see that he’s still just a real guy that could be stomped on by someone with a bigger attitude.

PTV: There’s the scene where they’re fake fighting about their relationship, and it turns into a real back-and-forth. How are we supposed to feel about Alex and Danny’s relationship at the end of this Almost Paradise episode? Did they work through anything at all?

CK: When you have someone like Richard Kind come in to play a role, you don’t want to bookend it. You really don’t. You want to keep it open, and especially we kept it open with animosity. If we just solved everything and wrapped it up in a sweet little birthday present, then he comes back and it’s just normal stuff. But now it starts over from square one when he gets back, because he’s still the same person; he never changed.

And that was all Richard Kind and, of course, the writing of Gary Rosen. It really allows Richard to come back and play again, which we want him to. Richard’s already said he would do it.

PTV: Alex doesn’t spend a lot of time with Kai or Ernesto in this episode, but now there’s this part of his past that they learn, and that he wasn’t immediately forthcoming with. How do the events of “Uncle Danny” affect their relationship?

CK: The fact is, it was just us and Nonie [Buencamino] as Ocampo. It was getting to the point where we were starting to work together really well. We were starting to trust each other a lot…We’ve shown again that they really can’t trust Alex. He’s got a little bit of Uncle Danny in him and he shoots from the hip. And so now we have to start all back over with that relationship and the trust issues.

I don’t think we should ever get too comfortable, because then we don’t have a show. It knocked everybody off of their comfortable pedestal and we all have to scramble to get back to trust each other. They have to get back to trusting Alex, which is nice because that gives us another mountain to climb instead of being at the top of the mountain. I really love that about the writing of this episode.

PTV: We’ve got three episodes left in Almost Paradise season 1, so where does Alex go from here? How does he move forward after this step back into his past?

CK: It’s all leading up to episode 10, which was directed by Dean Devlin. All these people who have been so kind to us, tuned in and seen episode after episode, it really, really pays off on episode 10. It’s just this huge episode. He does this beautiful season wrap up and I can’t give too much away, but you’re going to get paid off so well at the end of this season, which is so nice.

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Almost Paradise airs Mondays at 10:00 p.m. on WGN America. If you’ve missed any of the episodes so far, you can watch them online via Amazon Video or on the Electric Now app.