EXCLUSIVE : AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Scoop: Daz Crawford Interview

Currently playing Kebo, one of the mysterious henchmen recruited by Ward (Brett Dalton) in his attempt to resurrect Hydra, Daz Crawford is have a ball being part of the Marvel’s AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D’s murky universe of villains and heroes.  From action heroes to men of mysterious motives, Daz is no stranger to playing a wide array of characters and he would not have it any other way.  His versatility has allowed him to venture from film roles to television appearances and across the spectrum of comedy and dramas.  It also means he gets to play more and have more fun. 

Talking about his more recent roles and dabbling in the top secret realm of Marvel’s AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., Daz Crawford provides a preview into his lucky streak which allows him to weave and out of film and television roles with ease.

Are you even allowed to talk about your role on S.H.I.E.L.D.?
DAZ:  [Laughs] A tiny bit.  Only a tiny bit.

What initially drew you to the role of Kebo?
DAZ:  That is easy.  My agent called and said, “I have an audition for you on S.H.I.E.L.D.”  I didn’t know what the character was. So I didn’t know anything about it. My agent had set up the audition, but they wouldn’t even give me the script ’til 15 minutes before the audition.  Fortunately, I knew the show.

Is that stressful as an actor getting so little time to prepare?
DAZ:  It is.  As a professional, the longer you have the material, the more comfortable you feel.  But 15 minutes is not a lot of time.  I’ve had some great teachers and acting coaches in the past and they give you tips on how to deal with a situation like that and, obviously, it payed off.  

Are you finding that more common that you are going out for auditions and they don’t even want to tell you what the role is until you show up?
DAZ:  It’s very common with the big productions.  The smaller projects, independents and some of the movies, no — they are okay with it.  Then sometimes what they will do is you’ll get the sides and you’ll read, and yet those sides won’t have anything to do with that particular project.  They just want to see you and see how you deal with material.  

How do you describe Kebo? 
DAZ:  From the last episode, you can see from there what his job is with regards to Ward and that Ward is his boss.  At that point, I thought it was just one episode.  Then I went off to the U.K. to see some friends and while I was there my agent called me and said, “You’re back on the show.  Can you come back?”  So it was all very, very secretive.  All I knew is that Kebo had been on a mission for Ward and he was coming back to give him information about that particular mission.  It’s really cool.  The character is really cool.  It’s going to be interesting.  I’m hoping the fans get into him.  

For you, what was the funnest part of working on S.H.I.E.L.D.?
DAZ:  I’ve done a Marvel movie before and growing up as a kid, Marvel was Number One for me.  So actually being on the show was brilliant.  Meeting all the cast and crew — it’s a brilliant team.  They are just really friendly.  Everybody wants to help everybody.  There’s like this underlying buzz.  Maybe it was just me.  Maybe I was just really excited — just like a kid — but actually working on a show that I have grown up with and now getting to be a part of it, the whole experience.  I wish I could talk more freely because there are some great moments.  The people are great.  We have a different director for each episode, which is really interesting.  That definitely brings in more color.  So just meeting everybody and getting to know everybody was really nice.

Did you find the role to be physically challenging?  You are someone of great physique  who has done a lot of physical work.  Maybe that is one of the reasons they thought you would be a great addition for them.
DAZ:  There’s definitely some things where I do need to use my physique.  So it did come handy.  I have been a high level sportsman in the past and it definitely came in handy in that you don’t get tired.  It’s things I like to do.  So it really wasn’t a problem.  

What kinds of stunt work do you like to do?
DAZ:  There was a show called AMERICAN GLADIATORS, which was hugely successful across the world.  I was obviously in the U.K. then and the show came to the U.K. and I became the gladiator for the last two seasons in 2000 and 2001, and on that show you are using harnesses and throwing yourself around 20-30 feet in the air.  So I’ve got the guts to do that kind of thing and the confidence and the trust in the equipment, and that’s something I’m used to.  That kind of thing just kind of breaks up the day.  If you’re delivering dialogue all day, and that is a great part of the job, but the action just breaks it up.  It can, obviously, be dangerous but having done that and having done sword work in previous projects.  But, for me, it is just part of the job.  It’s great fun.  

Are there any stunts that you are not as comfortable and more leery of doing?
DAZ:  [Laughs] No, I will do everything.  I am definitely the type of person that will want to give everything a go.  Sometimes some production companies don’t like it because in case you do get injured, there is only one of you and that can cost a lot of money.  But there is nothing really.  Like the underwater stuff, I like that a lot.  So, no, I’m just good to go. Give me the harder the better.

For you as an actor, what do you find to be the key thing you are looking for?  What is the one thing that sparks your interest?
DAZ:  Difficulty.  The more difficult, the more of a challenge, the more I want to do it.  Obviously, Hollywood is very image-conscious.  So if you are a big guy or a little guy, they will put you in a box and put you somewhere.  So you do get stereotyped, not through choice and hopefully as your career goes up, you get to choose more.  ‘Cause people say to me, “Oh, you do villain stuff, you do this stuff.”  But that’s not my choice.  I have done comedy.  I did a great comedy movie opposite Katherine Heigl, where my character was on a blind date with her [“Caffeine”].  So it’s great when you can show other depths as an actor and I like that kind of opportunity.  Now it’s down to the producers and directors and writers and whoever — it’s down to them whether they want to give me an opportunity to do that.  It’s like imagining Guillermo del Toro, who is known as a director for horror and quite dark movies.  If he woke up one morning and said, “I want to do a comedy movie,” his agent would freak out.  So for me, if someone came to me and said, “We want you to do comedy” or a character where it is so opposite of me and my look, I would embrace that.  That would be my challenge and I work on that.  Doing easy stuff is great.  You can do it.  But for me, it’s like, “I’ve done this before.  Give me something more difficult.”  I want to show people that it is possible.

What has been a character or scene that you have done that you are most proud of?
DAZ:  It’s something that is not out there yet.  I was approached not long ago by a guy called Jay Silverman and he had an idea for a show.  He didn’t know any of my background.  But it is about a character who has not had a particularly great life who is ex-military and he was tested on by the military with certain drugs and as a result came to have these abilities.  So I shot that feature.  For me, personally, I had a big connection with the character.  Huge.  Once people have seen it, they have said to me that it gives them chills.   I am hoping that he is shopping it around now and see if he can get that going.  It’s really cool.  I was trying to think of a similar genre.  Do you remember years ago there was a show called BEAUTY AND THE BEAST with Ron Perlman?  The beast lived underground and hiding.  My character doesn’t hide, but he is very elusive and he helps people find people that have gone missing from their lives.  Let’s say, for example, that you have an unknown sister or aunt that you have never seen, but you know that they are there and you want to find them, then my character will help you find them.  It’s really cool.  

You have also done a couple of thriller projects that are coming out.  What has been satisfying and fun for you working on those projects?
DAZ:  I’ve got “Awaken,” which just came out.  It’s actually being screened right now. It’s a cool independent.  We went to Belize last year to shoot that.  It was a great ensemble cast.  It’s an action thriller about human body organs being stolen from people from around the world.  They were kidnapped and stuck on an island while the bad guys were on another nearby island. So when an order comes in for a heart or lung, they would come over and kill someone to get what they need, and my character and a few others manage to escape.  They team up and try to get off the island.  But before they can go, they have to collect one more person who is on the bad team. It was just really cool.  We shot that in L.A. and in Belize, which is just an amazing place.  We actually lived out in the jungle and at night you could hear the monkeys and there were spiders as big as your hand.  It was really, really cool.  I actually stayed when production finished and traveled around. That’s something I like to do — get to know the locals.  And then there’s the film “Vanquisher.”  We shot all that in L.A.  That should be in post-production and coming out soon.  It is a science fiction film and I play a character with superpowers, which is kind of cool, and can do some crazy things.  So I liked working on that one.  And there’s the film “Trust,” which is a comedy.  It’s great.  Actually, it’s a comedy-horror.  My character’s name is actually funny — it’s Iyan Steele and he changes it because he wants to be this hard man, but he is obviously not a hard man.  We are all in a house and it is a horror film, but there’s a lot of comedy in it.  I’m really looking forward to that one because it is different and it is something that I’ve never done before.  So it is going to be a bit of challenge and I’m looking forward to that.  Then there’s “Dawn Patrol” coming out — actually it may have just come out.  That was an indie that I shot in L.A. with Scott Eastwood.  That was another great project.  I like the stories and I like ready the scripts.  When you do a movie, you get to see the whole movie.  When you do TV, you just your sides.  While you do a table read, but you don’t get to see everything.  But back to “Dawn Patrol,” it is a story based on the beach with surfers and it has a backstory of Scott’s character who was in the military where someone was killed in Afghanistan.  It is a well-written project.  It’s only out in a couple of states and is not out in general release yet, but it is definitely worth watching.  I also worked on another sci-fi earlier this year in a story about Armageddon, which should be out maybe early next year. 

You have been busy!  It’s got to be great to be in demand.
DAZ:  [Laughs]  It is.  It’s up and down in this industry.  You work a lot, you don’t work a lot.  You have to be a realist in this job.  I believe it is a dream job.  But you don’t know when you are going to work again.  What I have noticed over my career is how it expands when you first start and you’ve got to take everything that comes you way.  Then hopefully you can pick and choose your work a bit more.  Also, what I have noticed is getting direct books.  Not having to audition.  So I feel I am in the middle right now where people will call me or call my agent and give me a job without an audition; and then there is other days where I have to go audition.  So I kind of know I am on the right path.  Then as you get further up the ladder, you don’t have to audition.  It’s all up to the actor at that point.  

We are going to be intrigued to see where Kebo’s story goes on S.H.I.E.L.D. in this next episode.
DAZ:  I want the fans to know that Kebo’s story is going to be exciting for them — to see where he goes and what he’s up to.  It’s very interesting.  

To find out where Kebo’s journey goes and if Hydra can successfully be resurrected, be sure to tune in for an all new episode of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 9:00 p.m. on ABC.