Sky 1 is currently airing the USA smash drama Revolution and one of the leading actors in the series, which looks at life in a post-apocalyptic landscape devoid of electricity – where all technology has blacked out, is actor Billy Burke who talks about the series here.
Billy (pictured centre in the cast photo left), how does it feel to be a lead on such an exciting show?
This is honestly the greatest gig I’ve ever had.
Is it true you originally auditioned for David Lyons’ role as Monroe?
Yes and, not only that, they offered it to me. I actually ended up taking that role and we shot a scene from it for the pilot, but then I got the other role about a week later. I guess that was my audition for Miles.
What do you think they saw in you that was right for Miles?
They’re always looking for innate qualities in an individual actor that they hope will come out in the character.
I’ve never done the military thing, but the sarcastic smart-ass side of him I’m hopefully doing well with.
What happened to the actor who had the role of Miles before you?
There was no guy. They were looking and looking and looking for him.
So they began shooting before they even found their male lead?
That’s right. We started shooting the show before they had a Miles, yeah.
Revolution revolves around having no power and so, no technology, while many current TV shows use a lot of incredible technology and cool gadgets. This series is strictly story and character-driven and there is a lot of action – can you talk about the appeal of Revolution to the audience?
I think the premise is something that has been, in recent years and post 9/11, in collective consciousness of not just this country [America] but the entire world.
And there has always been this feeling of people waiting around for the other shoe to drop. Things are
moving so fast, technology is unstoppable at this point and people think about that a lot. This show puts you into one specific scenario of what may happen if this were to happen, and so – I’m guessing – I think that is one of the big appeals.
Beyond that, people want to watch shows about people they care about and can relate to so they can try to put themselves in those scenarios.
How much do you rely on technology? For instance, do you use Twitter to connect with your fans?
I don’t really know where I’m at with the whole Twitter thing. I started out using it back in the day when I was making the Twilight movies, and lo and behold, because of the success of the franchise, I suddenly got this whole bunch of followers that I didn’t know what to do with.
And at the time I was considering making what would be my first record after that. So I made that record and thought to myself, wow, what a great marketing tool that would be. So that’s what I used it for, and it worked really well.
Miles is a wildly different role compared to your character in Twlight, which many fans will probably remember you best for. Do you find people don’t immediately recognise you?
It happens all the time now. During the Charlie swan experience, because of the unfortunate moustache,
I was completely unrecognisable. But now, yeah, it’s weird for people to make the connection, because they don’t expect it.
You’re a successful musician as well as an actor, but there are a lot of actors turned musicians who have been poorly received. What has been different for you?
It’s going ok. I’ve been playing in bands since I was about 15 but I probably played my last show at 24 or 25 years old.
I’m from Seattle, and we had local success in the late 80s and early 90s. I subsequently got a solo demo deal with Warner Bros, but that sort of tanked out. I was in LA so started to read for everything that I could and began working as an actor, and that’s kind of the way it went.
But in terms of having a rock band or a pop or solo project as well as acting, it’s tough.
I avoid pressure, first of all, at all costs. I don’t put any pressure on myself about things like that.
I don’t have to worry about being chased around by motorcycles and cars with cameras in them, but I can’t imagine what it’s like for somebody who is 18 or 19.
Do you have any advice for the younger stars such as the cast of Twilight?
I don’t know how I would give them advice. It’s not my life, it’s not something that I’ve experienced. I think that most of those young people I have worked with have done a really admirable job of maintaining themselves
Revolution airs on Friday nights at 9pm on Sky 1 and Sky 1 HD