Post Mortems

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

Justin Theroux The Leftovers

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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