The main villain of “The Following” has always been Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), but Season 2 introduced a duo even more frightening than the serial killer/cult leader — identical “psychotic twins” Luke and Mark, both impressively played by Sam Underwood.
When Underwood auditioned for “The Following,” he didn’t know he was actually auditioning for two completely different characters, though he did have an idea how juicy the role would be.
“I could tell from the audition material that I had that they were developing a very interesting and complex character,” Underwood tells Zap2it. “I had no idea of the scale of where the character was going to go. But I could tell from the get go that it would be a really fascinating individual that they were developing.”
Underwood has enjoyed playing up the differences in personality between Luke and Mark. “I think Luke is very self-assured. He knows his identity and has a strong sense of self. He enjoys being seen, heard and celebrated for how good he is at what he’s doing. He has a vanity about himself as well — he’s narcissistic,” Underwood says. “Whereas Mark is more reserved, he’s bookish, he’s the quietly confident one. So they’re very, very different in terms of their confidence and how they like to be seen and heard by people.”
But don’t mistake Mark’s quieter demeanor as being less dangerous than Luke. “The quieter ones are always the ones you should be more nervous about,” Underwood says with a laugh.
So far in Season 2, we’ve seen Luke and Mark operating as a well-oiled machine when it comes to making decisions (and committing gruesome murders), but they won’t always work that way. “The real story development is their brotherly relationship, without giving too much away,” Underwood teases. “You’ll see both parts of that — their really strong brotherly connection and a little bit of tension this season as well.”
Underwood reveals that we’ll also find out more about their past, as well, which will help the audience understand who the twins are.
That means we’ll start to understand why they make themselves so at home in their victim’s homes, playing their music, cooking their food, even (shudder) dancing and eating a meal with their victims’ corpses. “We’re going to dig much more into where they came from, where their roots are, and you’ll find out all this interesting information about where they came from,” Underwood says. “It made total sense to me but it’s also going to be something nice to look into and ground all of their mad moments and all of the things they get into. It will definitely explain a lot about them.”
“We’ll get into this more. They think family time is important,” Underwood says. “These guys truly believe that one of the fundamental things in life is family and having a strong unity with family. You’ll find out more later this season how that plays out but they completely believe in making their fantasies more realistic. It enables them to do their job much better.”
According to Underwood, right now their “job” is to make contact with Joe. “Their motivation behind everything they’re doing right now is to lure Joe out of hiding,” Underwood says. “So really that’s their motivation and mission. But I think their enjoyment in their work is something that they take pride in, but the main focus in what they do is for Joe.”
However, Joe has been laying low for the past year, so making contact is going to be harder than they thought. Before they meet up with Joe, they’ll meet his No. 1 follower Emma for the first time.
“Oh, I think there will be a little bit of tension as Emma enters the group,” Underwood says with a laughs. “There’s a brand new group of people that she’s never met before and they seem to have their own sense of entitlement towards Joe. It’s going to be a little rocky at first.”
Luke will also be dealing with his gunshot wound, thanks to a quick-thinking Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) in last week’s episode, but Underwood says that won’t slow the twin down. “I think that Luke is the kind of guy that doesn’t get how dangerous something really is,” Underwood says. “So you’ll see in the next episode that it’s really not a life-threatening injury.”
Underwood is really excited for the audience to learn more about where Luke and Mark came from so they can get a better understanding of these two new villains.
“Luke and Mark are going to get up to a lot more mischief as they always do, but you’re going to start to see now where these two boys came from,” Underwood says. “I think that’s the most important thing coming up next for these characters and the audience so they don’t just see two, as they’re being described, ‘psychotic twins.’ You’re going to find out who they really are.”
Playing two different roles on the same show is a daunting task, but Underwood has enjoyed the opportunity immensely. “It’s been twice the amount of delight for me as an actor,” Underwood says. “These are two very, very interesting individuals and they both have very fascinating individual story lines as the season goes on.”
He continues, “It’s been an absolute joy and very humbling to have the opportunity to play identical twins that have a very unique relationship. I’ve never felt like it’s double the work. We crave this kind of work as actors and as artists in this industry. I guess that double the work load doubles the amount of time that I get to do what I love to do.”
And when he was asked to pick a favorite twin — Luke or Mark — he didn’t have an answer readily available.
“Oh, gosh, I love them both individually. They are both absolutely fascinating to me in different ways,” Underwood says. “I think certain aspects of Luke’s personality I’ve never had the opportunity to explore before as a character. So purely on the idea of what’s suited me and what’s been fun to explore, Luke has been very, very interesting. But I love them both. This whole experience has just been amazing.”
“The Following” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on FOX.