Set in a fictional town called Palm City, California, new superhero drama series The Cape follows all-round good guy and former cop Vince Faraday as he leaves the police after witnessing the murder of his commander. He joins a security firm, but discovers the owner is the one who murdered his old boss. Vince is soon framed for the murder, caught in an explosion and left for dead.
With his family believing he perished, Vince is rescued by a bunch of strange travellers, who present him with a black cape made out of spider silk – stronger than Kevlar but thinner than filament – that will help him fight the corrupt powers trying to bring down the city.
The Cape’s cast includes a few familiar faces: rent-a-thug Vinnie Jones plays a bad-guy action man, and Keith David Williams from There’s Something about Mary stars as the leader of the circus troupe that rescues Vince. We met leading man David Lyons, aka Vince Faraday, to get the lowdown on the show…
How does The Cape strike a balance between realism and comic-book fantasy? The emotions are really grounded. They come from a very real place, but the circumstances can often be surreal. That’s not too dissimilar from life. Essentially, the character I’m playing is an ordinary man; he’s the everyman, so it’s grounded in that emotional truth. The part is a pleasure for me to play: when you’re in a world of carnivals, super-villains and so on, it brings you back down to Earth.
What interested you in playing this character? I think, for me, Vince Faraday is the everyman. What was really interesting is playing a man that has such an unwavering moral and ethical core, which is somewhat dissimilar from me. He’s very much human, and, being human, you’re in a grey zone. He lives in a world of black and white, and is forced to see grey. That’s what makes it interesting. He goes from being the one good cop on the force to being this one good guy in a world that’s upside down. He’s trying desperately to keep his feet on the ground and stand upright when everything else is spinning and turning around it.
Does it feel surreal to be playing a real-life superhero? It does feel surreal. But what’s beautiful about it is that Vince knows it feels surreal. He takes on his son’s favourite comic-book [persona] because that’s his last resort. He’s taking it on to create this symbol for his son, but he’s really awkward in that suit. When he starts out, he’s making a lot of mistakes. When he starts on that journey, he’s as awkward as any man would be, putting on a cape and a mask.
Do you think having a costumed hero at its centre differentiates The Cape from shows such as Heroes? Absolutely. The main difference is that he has no superpowers, so the concept of the superhero comes from his ability to push through extraordinary circumstances. The world that [creator] Tom Wheeler has created is so rich and colourful that the fact that Vince is wearing a costume makes sense. Within that, it differentiates itself from anything else on television at the moment, because it’s a superhero who’s essentially a family man. It feels like a real world and it’s kind of this immaculate blend of all things. I honestly don’t think there’s anything like it on TV at the moment, which is a beautiful thing.
Did you have to do much physical training for the role? Yes. Every day is a fight. When I first started on our journey, I learned a lot of fight choreography, martial arts techniques and so on, to find the balance for the world in which this guy fights. He’s military-trained, he’s an ex-cop, so he knows how to fight and he knows how to move, but so do other people in this world. Vinnie Jones’s character, Scales, is just beating down on people the whole time [and is] very heavy-handed, whereas there’s a lot more finesse in everything that Vince does. It’s a very physical world.
Do you think the show will appeal to people who aren’t necessarily fans of comic books? I think so. As soon as I read the script, I could see the world. I wasn’t a comic book fan as a child, but the emotional reality [of the show] lets you in and takes you on this incredibly colourful ride. Because it’s grounded in that reality and in real emotions, real people and real situations, we’ve got something to grab on to. It has the hallmarks of a comic book, but the heart of a drama, so it’s combining those two worlds really well. The Cape premieres on March 9 at 9pm on OSN, with subsequent shows screened every Wednesday at 9pm