Post Mortems
Justin Theroux The Leftovers

Justin Theroux on Killer Leftovers Twist: The Script Said, 'Kevin's Really Dead'

The Leftovers served up a side dish of WTF?! last Sunday when, in the final moments of the episode, the HBO drama seemingly killed off Justin Theroux‘s Kevin. But is he really dead? We rang up Theroux himself to help us unravel that twist ending, deconstruct his grisly death scene and get the latest intel on a possible third season.

TVLINE | So… that was some episode.
[Laughs] Yeah, that was something. That happened.

TVLINE | Did you watch the episode?
Yes. I saw it on Sunday night.

TVLINE | What’s it like to watch your own death scene? More importantly, what’s it like for your wife Jennifer to watch it?
I don’t know what she thought. She was upset, clearly. [Laughs]

TVLINE | How far in advance of shooting the episode did you know what was going to happen in the episode?
I knew it was going to happen when I read that script.

TVLINE | Really? Damon Lindelof didn’t give you a heads-up that, “Oh, by the way, you die on Page 58.”
Nope. That’s by design. We have an understanding that I don’t really want to know anything in advance. I prefer to just read the scripts and be surprised like everyone else watching at home.

TVLINE | What was your reaction when you read it?
I was gutted. And then I was like, “This is so depressing.” [Laughs]

TVLINE | Did you immediately call Damon for some kind of explanation?
He obviously wasn’t going to spoil anything for me. But he said it’s possible Kevin could come back in some iteration. But in the script I remember it saying, “Kevin is dead — really, really dead.”

TVLINE | Was there any part of you that read that and thought, “Phew, thank God.”
[Laughs] Kevin finally got put out of his misery! Thinking in terms of the story, there was a part of me that thought that at least he did due diligence in terms of bringing Laurie back into the household with Jill, and at least he was able to get some sort of promise from Nora should he get rid of Patti. In a really hasty way, as suicidal people do, he tried to make things right before he went on this adventure.

TVLINE | How does one prepare for that kind of death scene?
It felt a lot longer when we shot it, not that I was trying to milk it or anything. [Laughs] I searched through YouTube for a bunch of seizure [videos]. We had to sort of invent what this poison was. We knew it stopped his respiratory system. I looked at people suffering from snake bites. More than anything, it was just having to fall on the floor over and over again. [Laughs]

TVLINE | What did you have to put in your mouth to give the appearance of foam?
Human bile. [Laughs] No, it was a combination of Alka-Seltzer and Gaviscon. [Laughs] My stomach was in great shape.

TVLINE | What vague tease can you give me about this Sunday’s episode? As a fan of the show, it’s kind of exciting having no clue what that first frame is going to be — and who’s going to be in it.
I love that you have no idea. That’s the real fun. The show just takes another crazy turn. There are whole new characters.

TVLINE | Are you in it?
It’s possible I’m in it in some iteration or form, that’s all I’ll say.

TVLINE | Did it surprise you that Nora would leave Kevin after he made this heartbreaking confession that he’s basically suffering from some form of mental illness? Yes, he concealed this from her, but that’s not what she seemed upset about.
Yeah! I’m still confused why she would do that. They know each other but they don’t know each other. It’s still a riddle to me. But her whole quest is her stability. Oftentimes, fractured families want to recreate families and leave the shattered one behind. And maybe there’s some kind of inclination for her to do that. She, in truth, had one of the most traumatic departures of all; she lost her entire family. And she has her own mental issues, frankly. [Laughs] I’m not the only crazy one here. I’m not the one throwing rocks through people’s windows and stealing files.

TVLINE | Do you think Kevin loves Nora? Or does he love that she represents “normalcy”?
I think she represents some form of normalcy. And he’s looking for intimacy. But there’s this wall that goes up in front of him, preventing him from [connecting with her]. Their fingers are always about two inches apart from touching, literally and figuratively. Even in bed, and the fact that there’s a handcuff holding half his body in one direction when they sleep is telling.

TVLINE | What are you hearing about a third season? After this past episode, it’s hard not to think we’re heading for some type of finish line.
Anything’s possible. I love our show. I hope we do a third season. I think there’s more places to go, but I have no crystal ball. I have no wire tap over at HBO.

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37 Comments
  1. Tom says:

    *Wife Jennifer

  2. I don’t see any reference to this in social media, so clearly people don’t care as much as they do about Glenn in Walking Dead.

    • Tim says:

      I know and it’s such a shame. The Leftovers is a very special show.

      • Bryan Devianza says:

        Game of Thrones and TWD both have solid actors, a solid story, and tons of action, and they both have characters a lot of people feel connected to, so its no shock both shows trend like nuts on social media sites. The Leftovers is a good show with interesting characters but it doesn’t have the action like the other two shows, I feel nothing for any of the characters, and there’s very little action, so its not a shock it doesn’t do as well.

        What surprises me is that True Blood seemed to do better than Leftovers, True Blood was just the Anne Rice thing re-done with a Southern spin.

  3. Concerned says:

    Yeah I haven’t heard a peep about this show (Or Homeland, for that matter) at all this season. Kinda sad

  4. Alex says:

    Wouldn’t it be amazing if you guys didn’t post the biggest spoiler in the show’s history as the name of an article? Yeah, it would be pretty amazing.

  5. N says:

    Love this show!

  6. Anthony says:

    Spoiler much ?!?!?!

    Jesus…

  7. I love everything about this show, each scene builds until I’m sitting up out of my chair. Nora’s acting is amazing, very subtle, and the scene where she was asked if she remembered her children’s last words, incredible.

  8. Bill says:

    Of course he will be back “in some iteration” – he’s the star of the show.

  9. TVLINE… I love this site. It’s one of my first stops of the day, but using a major spoiler in the article title on the main page 4 days after the episode aired?!? Please fix this so no more people get spoiled.

    • Gospino says:

      Lmao, you call the title a spoiler and then mention that the episode aired four days ago. News flash, it’s not a spoiler just because you didn’t watch the episode in all that time yet still come wandering over to an obvious tv news/recap site and then yelp that you saw something you could easily have avoided. If it’s already aired, it’s not a spoiler!

      • Alex says:

        Sorry. These articles show up on IMDB without searching for them. I got this spoiled for me and I wasn’t trolling for recaps. But since your motto is if it’s already aired it’s not a spoiler, we can spoil your shows for you 10 minutes after they premiered. I mean, after all, they already aired so it’s not a spoiler right?

    • Bryan Devianza says:

      Gospino is right. After four days it just isn’t a spoiler anymore, its old news. HBO has re-broadcast the episode numerous times since Sunday night, and you can pull it up on HBO Demand about an hour after it airs the first time, so if you haven’t watched it yet, that’s on you not this site or the writer.

  10. Et al. says:

    One of the best shows on television. Thanks for the interview!

  11. jakis says:

    SUCH a good show. I suppose Kevin could be a ghost like Patty for the rest of the series, but I certainly hope there’s some kind of resurrection happening instead.

  12. M!zel says:

    Please HBO keep this show going. If this show is dropped I’m dropping HBO to go.

  13. cindy says:

    I LOVE this show. All the actors are doing an amazing job. Love it…. I seriously watch TWD after The Leftovers and I was a die hard fan of TWD but The leftovers is something else. HBO you have them competing with TWD, is a hard spot to be in. Hope the show continues for many seasons to come…
    Brilliant show now HBO change the air time so more people watch it!!!!!!!

  14. lynn says:

    YES PLEASE WR NEED A SEASON3!!! Dare I say the show is better than the book? Or maybe the book was just a starting point…

  15. Tessa says:

    I must say I rather underestimated this show last year. I watched it, but only in a superficial way. It puzzled me at times. I was surprised when it was renewed. This year, the first episode totally changed my point of view. Suddenly, last year made sense. I have loved every episode this season and look forward to each new week’s skillful storytelling. I hope it is renewed. I have a feeling there is a lot more story to tell…

  16. Sierra Davis says:

    Love this show. Do you think they will bring back the guy in the tux that fought Matt Jamison? What a great scene! Not to mention he’s super hot!! He’s probably Australian or British in real life.

  17. Larry Sherman says:

    This is the best show on TV. I hope there are many more seasons. It takes some shows several years to hit it big ie breaking bad…..

    • Agreed. Best show on TV. Storylines and characters are interesting.The writing and directing, dynamite. I rarely notice TV music/soundtracks, and I bought this one. I’m a huge fan and want to see a 3rd season.

  18. Suzanne says:

    How come Patty said to Kevin in one episode that if he trusts his family, he’d tell them about her. And then when he tells Nora about Patty, he says that she (Patty) told him he just made a mistake and shouldn’t have told her (Nora). Help me understand this weirdness. And bring Kevin back to life. I don’t care how. Just do it. Justin is way too hot to die on someone’s kitchen floor like that. :)

  19. mike says:

    Kevin will live, remember patti says that he must have some type of divine intervention refering to his plunge in miracle springs. I think he will meet alot of the departed in some sort of limbo and go to battle with patti before being brought back by “divine intervention”

  20. Gina says:

    I hope Kevin is not dead. His character really makes the show. He is a good man with genuine heart but just seems to have dibacles all around him. Great show!

  21. Laura says:

    Best show on tv. I hope there will be season 3. It’s a great show that is raw without violence. Justin Theroux was real and the show really made you think something like this could happen. Come on HBO keep the series going!