Haley Joel Osment might not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking of actors to play villains, but somehow he fits perfectly in the world of IFC’s new miniseries “The Spoils of Babylon.” In the comedy event, he plays Winston Morehouse, the troublesome son of Kristen Wiig‘s Cynthia Morehouse.
“It’s tough to find villainous characters like this at my age, so I look forward to it getting older,” Osment tells Zap2it at the “Spoils of Babylon” premiere of what made this project such an obvious “yes.” “The people involved made it a big enough draw. It’s the opportunity to play a villain, to play a crazy over-the-top character that you don’t really get the opportunity to play very often.”
From the get-go, “The Spoils of Babylon” has all the making of comedic gold. Styled after the epic miniseries events like “The Thorn Birds” and “Rich Man, Poor Man,” the new series deals with subjects like incest, war and murder with the sense of humor places like Funny or Die and IFC have become known for. For Osment, the series strikes just the right chords to resonate with audiences.
“I guess ‘Arrested Development’ had incest as a punchline like 10 years ago, so we’re not the first to do that, but yeah, just the sort of taboo topics and the non sequiturs and the sort of strange tone I think was sort of a perfect union of the sensibilities of [executive producers] Will Ferrell and Adam McKay and [creators] Matt Piedmont and Andrew Steele and Funny or Die and IFC,” he says. “It really seemed like a project right in everybody’s wheelhouse.”
A good portion of “The Spoils of Babylon” required improvisation, and Osment recalls incidents where co-creator Matt Piedmont would surprise him and Wiig in a scene to get a reaction.
“The way that Matt directs is really cool because he has a great vision. He’s such a great visual stylist; he had a great vision for the project, but also would also have surprises come and get you during the take,” Osment explains. “There’s a scene where me and Kristen are driving in this little car, and he brought in a taxidermy crow on a pole and was like ‘Look out for the crow!’ and has it dive bombing us throughout the thing. Things like that were nice to have pop up from time to time.”
“The Spoils of Babylon” isn’t the only big project Osment has coming up. He also is slated to voice the main character of Sora in the long-anticipated video game “Kingdom Hearts 3.” The project was announced on June 10, 2013 at E3, and Osment says he hasn’t gone into the studio for it yet.
“I saw the announcement and then talked with them a little on the phone. I started doing ‘Kingdom Hearts’ in 2001, and we’ve done the main series and then the Game Boy one. I feel like I’ve done seven or eight installments, which is awesome but with this, they’re making it now and the recording of the dialogue is one of the last parts of the process. Probably this summer or later,” he says.
As for whether or not he’ll for sure be voicing Sora, he says, “That’s what I hear. Sometimes Sora goes back to being a child or goes to another universe or changes into somebody else so I can never say for sure, but hopefully I’ll be back.”
“The Spoils of Babylon” premieres on IFC at 10 p.m. ET Thursday (Jan. 9).