Eric Dane on Exploring Tragedy in Emotional Drama

ComingSoon spoke with The ravine Star Eric Dane on his new release thriller based on true events, his acting career and the success of euphoria.

“When an unspeakable crime rocks a peaceful community, family and friends must wonder if they’ve overlooked the killer beneath them or if there could be more to the story,” reads the film’s official synopsis. “Inspired by true events, this haunting thriller stars Eric Dane, Teri Polo, Peter Facinelli and Leslie Uggams.”

Tyler Treese: The Ravine is such an emotional story and it all begins with a harrowing tragedy. You are no stranger to dramatic scenes and you do your best. So can you explain to me how you prepare for such heavy subjects and scenes in this film?

Eric Dane: Well I mean there are a couple of ways you can get there. You can draw on your personal experiences. You can do your best to inhabit the character and given the circumstances, try to stay present and be a part of it and get involved and see where that takes you. Each actor has its own process. For me I just try to stay as present as possible because it gives me a lot of room to react and helps me to listen a lot more,

The novel was written by Robert Pascuzzi and I know you both became friends after working on this film. How did your conversations with Robert help shape your portrayal here?

You know, they didn’t necessarily inform my character, the work I did on it, but it was nice, kind of… You cover so little of the story when you turn a book into a movie. You don’t really know what details you’re going to bring up. So the gaps that weren’t in the script were nice, and obviously it happened to Bob, and he was very articulate in the way he told me what happened. Just understanding the world you work in is a big help.

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The film deals with many complicated issues, especially in relation to faith. Her character has this great line, “If God cares about grief, why shouldn’t He prevent it?” And I think that’s something almost everyone has asked themselves at some point. So what about the script that really connects with you?

I think the general themes are forgiveness, hope and acceptance. I thought it was a great story. Although at its core it is such a tragic event. As you said, Bob Pascuzzi is a dear friend of mine at the moment and great to work with. It’s even better when you work with your friends.

The Ravine Interview with Eric Dane

Teri Polo, who stars opposite you, also does a great job here. How did it hurt her in those really emotional scenes?

Well she gives so much and she delivers so much of this stuff so sincerely. It’s really easy to act on when you have someone who is so generous with what they offer. Teri was just great working with, by the way, she is a phenomenal actress and was a lot of fun hanging out with her.

There’s this interesting question of whether you really ever know someone who commits this murder-suicide as a friend of your character. I know you have played many characters in the past who have mysterious pasts. What did you enjoy most about being on the other side in The Ravine? You try to figure things out. You’re not really a detective, but you still have that element of mystery and you unveil things.

Teri was really great at portraying the Kelly stuff [Pascuzzi], passed, but Bob approached it like a detective. I don’t want to say he was aloof, but he had sort of an aerial view of the circumstances and viewed them from about 10,000 feet, which I think kept him from really feeling the weight of it all. That’s pretty much how I approached it. I approached it by looking at things from the air, trying to piece the situation together rather than delving into the actual details and circumstances. My approach was to try to figure it out for myself and figure it out for everyone else too.

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In the past you’ve talked about taking a year off from acting after The Last Ship as you didn’t really enjoy it. Did you find that joy again with Euphoria and The Ravine?

Absolutely, and it was a great relief to feel that again. I didn’t know if that feeling would ever come back, you know? It was super refreshing to be able to find a new love and passion for the craft.

Early on, when you first entered the industry, you appeared on many iconic sitcoms. Saved by the Bell, The Miracle Years, Married… With Children, Roseanne. When you came in and did these guest spots on these really popular shows, what really stood out about that time?

I was a struggling actor just trying to work and it’s great to work on jobs and TV shows that are so visible, with so much attention and so much love. It’s great to be an actor. It’s even better when people actually show up to see your work.

How about Euphoria where the fans just scream oohs and ahhs with every twist and turn? I have to imagine it’s so satisfying to see it from your perspective.

It’s gratifying to see that we have such a large audience, spanning more than a few generations, who appreciate our work. I think it exceeded all expectations, but we knew we had something we were all proud of and worthy of that kind of exposure, but the 17 million weekly viewers are fun. It’s nice.

You get to work with so many young talents on this show too. Some of the great scenes were with you and Javon Walton in Season 2. How rewarding is it to work with these younger actors who are still honing their craft and are so passionate about it?

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Yes, it’s fun to see the spark. It’s fun to see them dig deeper and try to understand that acting isn’t just about memorizing your lines, hitting a mark and spitting out words. So it’s very rewarding to see young actors discovering love for the craft in real time as they do it. It’s enjoyable and a lot of fun to watch.

The big cliffhanger, of course, is Cal getting arrested, but your season 2 arc came to a head when you fulfilled your role as a father on the show. How important was showing that arc and seeing Cal act as the father?

I think some of it had to close and, you know, Cal just can’t be thrown. After all, he is a family man. The circumstances are a bit extraordinary, but as far as the dynamic between him and Nate goes, it’s father and son. That was important to me to convey. I know it was important to Sam, and it adds another dimension to Cal, which is always nice.

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