Almost Paradise: Christian Kane on Episode 8’s musical mayhem

Christian Kane (right) in Almost Paradise. Photo Credit: Courtesy of J. Goldstein PR)
Christian Kane (right) in Almost Paradise. Photo Credit: Courtesy of J. Goldstein PR) /

Almost Paradise star Christian Kane takes Precinct TV behind the scenes of Lone Wolf.

The latest Almost Paradise was particularly fun for Christian Kane fans, as it got to draw upon his talents as a musician. But that was just one highlight that the TV crime drama had in store.

“Lone Wolf” involved Alex Walker tasked with protecting country music star August Crowe (guest star Billy Ray Gallion). But what could have been just another adventure was actually a memorable story about adversity and overcoming it.

Christian returned to Precinct TV to discuss where the idea of a music-themed episode came from, getting to sing in the episode (twice!) and the importance of including a more serious theme in the middle of the case.

Learn more about “Lone Wolf” in our interview with Christian below, then tune in on Monday at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT to WGN America for Episode 9! If you haven’t seen Almost Paradise yet, watch episodes on Amazon Video or the Electric Now app.

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Precinct TV: Was it planned for Almost Paradise to have a music-themed story, since you’re a musician, or was that a fun coincidence?

Christian Kane: Dean wanted to do a music episode…They knew they were going to do music, however I didn’t know exactly how it was going to work out. I knew the premise, so it was a lot of fun.

A lot of people think that was kind of a play on what went on with my career, which—absolutely not. It has nothing to do with my real story. I still play music very much, and I don’t do drugs.

PTV: Presumably it was a given that you were going to perform in this episode, and they told you that ahead of time.

CK: They did. I knew I was going to sing. I just didn’t know how I was going to sing. That was the biggest problem they had—they wanted me to sing, but Alex is not a musician. We haven’t established that at all, so how do you do it and have me sing?

They did a spectacular job of actually having a country star there, and then he kind of forced me to sing. I thought that was really well done, because if I just pick up the guitar and start singing, it comes out of nowhere and it’s more Christian Kane than it would be Alex Walker. And this way they actually did make it Alex Walker who was singing.

A lot of times it’s just Christian Kane who’s singing, no matter what character I’m playing, but this one I felt like it was the character. So I thought it was really well done.

PTV: It’s another episode where Alex has to be the straight man to someone else’s reckless or crazy behavior. Almost Paradise has had him do that a few times already this season. Why do you think he fits into that role so easily?

CK: [It’s] fun to play off of because he’s absolutely the crazy pill [in] the whole police station’s down to earth situation. It’s funny that that role reversal happens whenever he’s actually watching someone else.

When [“Lone Wolf”] originally came out, they really had me fanboying a lot and I was like guys, you can’t do that, because we’ve established that this guy’s got problems in his character and we’re still building this character. You can’t have someone come in and this guy lose his mind. There was a whole bunch of little things in there that I didn’t agree with. Fortunately we got around it, and I found a way to still sort of fanboy with the guy.

He wanted to take care of this guy. This was a hero of his, and you find out that one of the guy’s songs really helped him through tough times. He wanted to really be around this guy. He thought it was just going to be a walk in the park and he was going to get to hang out with one of his idols, one of his buddies, somebody that got him through a rough time. Then of course it takes a 180-degree turn, especially with the whole drug situation.

PTV: Which is a difficult subject to broach and something that really sets Alex off.

CK: I guarantee you Alex has taken as many drugs as August Crowe, because he was undercover. He had to; he had to look the part. So Alex Walker has done a lot of drugs because he simply had to be undercover. And that what’s what makes him mad; he never wanted to do it.

In this episode and when stuff like that happens, I always think of the great performance that Tom Sizemore did in Point Break, where he was sitting there having to do drugs with these guys because he’s undercover for six months, and he’s mad at Keanu Reeves because he’s like I’ve got a family, man, and I haven’t taken a shower in three months, whatever it is. It’s kind of like that.

So when Alex finally sees the drugs, it doesn’t matter if he’s a hero or not, he’s upset, because he knows what drugs can do. And that’s one thing he does not tolerate. Alex would be taking [prescription] drugs for his condition, but you never see him taking drugs.

SPOILER ALERT: The remainder of this interview spoils the ending of this Almost Paradise episode. If you haven’t seen Episode 8 yet, watch here and come back when you’ve seen it!

PTV: That’s what sets Almost Paradise apart. The most important scene in the episode is Alex talking to August about his drug issues. What were the discussions you had about putting that very serious storyline into what could’ve been a comedic episode?

CK: A lot of that came from Billy Ray Gallion. He really, honestly was in the character. He would start getting into character way early and he would start taking on this walk and taking on this messed up form of being intoxicated, and he was on set and he would carry that into the scene. And I thought, wow, this guy’s going for it.

So it was a lot of his acting that really, really helped out, because then I get to play off of him. If we’d had somebody in there that didn’t do the job or just wanted to play it a little bit less than he did, it’s going to be a problem for me because I’ve got to interact with him. You have to see Alex literally upset about this thing…You have to feel for this guy instead of just being mad at him, and that’s kind of what I channeled.

PTV: This episode was important in a big-picture sense as well. First, when Ocampo (Nonie Buencamino) specifically requests Alex to protect August, that was a great way into the story and also felt like a benchmark in that relationship.

CK: It was really fun for him to do that, and then also just stand behind me when things went bad; it was fun to see Ocampo do that. And I’ll involve Sam [Richelle]’s character, Kai, as well. If you notice, when I lose the guy, now there’s a guy’s life at stake, now the stakes are high and there’s no back and forth with me and Sam. There’s no comedy in it, there’s no me trying to get under her skin, because it was serious time. It was time to go. There was a man’s life at stake.

I love the fact that when the high stakes come in, which this episode had, [the characters] all go back into cop mode…Even though Alex has retired, he still turns into and goes back to the cop mode. Everyone was in cop mode at that point, and I thought that that was a really cool thing to show. So we have camaraderie, we have funny moments in that we try to get up under each other’s skin, but when it’s time to go, we go.

PTV: As a musician, was it awesome or heartbreaking for you when Alex smashed that guitar in taking down August’s manager Shelton Dwaid?

CK: I’ve broken many a guitar just out of anger and then also sometimes out of fun. I would never do it to a guitar that really earned it. But it was a double—it had been split and spliced and stuff like that. Michael [Saccente], who played Shelton, wanted to do it, so we padded him up and put a back pad on him and I broke it over his back. But it was scored and stuff, so the guitar was already ruined. I didn’t feel that bad.

PTV: There’s also some really cool technical stuff that went into the final scene where Alex attends August’s comeback concert. Because that was not in an actual arena.

CK: That was all CGI. Mark Franco, Dean’s right hand man—he’s been with him since Independence Day, Stargate—is very, very good at special effects. We did that scene with a blue screen and just imagined the people out there. Franco did such a good job, and it’s a fun little fact that when you watch it again, you go, wow, that wasn’t real.

With the COVID-19 thing going on, it’s really tough to do ADR, which is Additional Dialogue Recording. I think Billy Ray is still in the Philippines, and we’re having a lot of trouble trying to get the ADR because there’s no studios, and obviously we can’t bring someone in with another person to do a soundstage-type situation. So I didn’t fool anybody, but because I had to do it here in Los Angeles, that was actually me singing at the end, for Billy Ray Gallion [as] August Crowe.

It’s funny because I’m literally standing on the side of the stage, but that was actually me singing and Fred tweaked my voice a little bit to make it sound like somebody else.

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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.