Them Star Luke James Talks ‘The Scare’ Demon Origins – Edmund’s Trauma & More

Them Star Luke James Talks ‘The Scare’ Demon Origins – Edmund’s Trauma & More

Them Star Luke James Talks ‘The Scare’ Demon Origins – Edmund’s Trauma & More





The actor behind Them Season 2’s titular monster, The Scare, discussed how he understands what the supernatural entity is, the traumatic life of Edmund Gaones, and more.

The Amazon Prime Video show was billed as an anthology series, with The Scare jumping to 1991 (Season 1 took place in 1953) and following two key stories.

The first was of Deborah Ayorinde’s Dawn Reeve, an LAPD detective who finds herself at the forefront of a terrifying and gruesome string of murders.

Then, there is Luke James’ Edmund Gaines, a failed actor who experienced more trauma in his lifetime than most ever will. He is the one who eventually comes face-to-face with the titular entity, The Scare, who takes over the poor, broken soul and wreaks havoc.

Luke James on The Scare and Edmund Gaines’ Trauma

Them Star Luke James Talks 'The Scare' Demon Origins - Edmund's Trauma & More
Them Star Luke James Talks ‘The Scare’ Demon Origins – Edmund’s Trauma & More

Them Season 2 actor Luke James, who portrays Edmund Gaines, spoke exclusively with The Direct’s Russ Milheim, where he helped explain what precisely the titular horrifying demon is.

James described The Scare as “a manifestation of [Edmund Gaines’] rage:”

“It’s a manifestation of his rage in the sense it’s a demon that feeds on that loneliness, that despair, that anger, that pain, that heartache, and to think, if you’ve been conjuring these feelings, these notions since you were three, four years old, I mean, constantly thinking about all of the pain and the things that you could inflict, but also there’s a part of you, that’s like, no, we don’t… and just constantly that for years. I think Edmund is on the spectrum, on a wide spectrum… He definitely needed a whole lot of guidance. But I think The Scare is a manifestation of all his pain and rage. In a sense, right? Just coming to him. His whole world is caving in on him, desperation.”

But did The Scare exist before Edmund’s fall from grace? James thinks so:

“I think it was something that existed before Edmund. I think it’s just, you know, generational trauma in it makes his way. It’s interesting how that happens. Like, you can have no Cognizant lines to your past… He doesn’t know his mother; he doesn’t know their history. But how is that in the blood somehow? How is that awkwardness, even to Dawn’s own child, you know, Edmund’s nephew, how he’s a little awkward and a little spectrum of some sort…”

“The reason for that is all traumatic,” the actor elaborated, adding how he also thinks there might be “something within the blood:”

“And the reason for that is all traumatic. He’s that way from traumatic events. His mom and father splitting, and the things that can do to the mind, and I think it’s just something within the blood. After watching, it’s interesting to go down that road and think about how that occurs in our lives in. I thought it was really well written. This anthology is really well written in the sense of creating that particular dialogue to think about our past ancestors, what they’ve done and what they’ve been through, and how that was passed down, possibly… I think this demon always existed, though.”

James posed the idea that with the big Da Tap Dance Man reveal, which sees the Season 1 villain show himself to Dawn Reeves in the final moments of Season 2, it seems some sort of demon or evil spirit has “embedded itself within this family’s blood:”

“But then you get to the end and then Da Tap Dance Man comes back. And you begin to wonder if this particular type of demon, I don’t know, has embedded itself within this family’s blood. And there’s some reconciliation that needs to happen. But there has to be deeper, then; I mean, if both characters have been deceived, it’s hard for them to go and look back and say, ‘Oh, wow, this is what our parents went through. And this is why I have these dreams, etc.’ I don’t know. It’s just an interesting, spooky experienced scenario.”

When it came to The Scare’s signature, horrifying look, James was quick to praise “Andre [Freitas] [and] the guys at AFX Studios” who “really came together with Little Marvin” to create an idea “based off of the Raggedy Anne Dolls.”

“It did look different before I got there,” James admitted, explaining how his involvement helped push the design toward “a beefed-up Raggedy Anne doll:”

“Now I will say it did look different before I got there. I remember seeing a picture of the idea of what he would look like, and he favored a very demonic; it’s as if Edward Scissorhands were to meet Hellraiser, maybe ‘Labyrinth’ in that sense. As the shoot went on, I think Little Marvin and Andre just really started to think about, along with me being there with my ideas of how I thought of Edmund, and so on and so forth. They came up with this idea of just a beefed-up Raggedy Anne doll.”

James shared how he thinks The Scare became “this beefed up idea that Edmund had of himself:”

“But when you think about it, he’s a manifestation of Edmund’s fears and wants and his rage and whatnot. Edmund wants to be seen as—It’s the eighties, so, think of all the most popular people. You think of Arnold Schwarzenegger, you think of Carl Weathers, you think of all of these big giant movie stars. Edmund’s not a big dude. But he’s auditioning for parts that want him to be a big guy, want him to be, you know, an aggressive-looking kind of guy. And I think that plays into what The Scare became, this beefed-up idea that Edmund had of himself. But also with all of his skin, like his body made of all of these different pieces of skin that he’s taken for people.”

“I thought it was gonna be a stunt double,” the actor admitted, but Them: The Scare showrunner Little Marvin was adamant that James himself do it:

“And, you know, I thought it was gonna be a stunt double. The entire time, for me, I was like, ‘Man, who’s gonna do the voices? Who’s gonna do’—Because the way it’s written, it’s just this giant towering figure. And in the middle of filming, I asked the question, and Little Marvin looked to me and said, ‘You’re gonna do it. You can do this.’ I was like, ‘Really? Because I would love to.’ The kid in me that’s watched all of these movies and all the behind-the-scenes and aspire to like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t wait to sit six hours in a chair, getting goofed up to become a superhero or demon of some sort.'”

James was thankful he was not “claustrophobic,” reiterating how the whole experience was “far out:”

“So yeah, it was far out when he told me that. And the next day, I’m sitting in a chair. Like, thank God, I’m not claustrophobic. It was far out, bro. It was really far out to them creating it, including how you walked, how he talked, the teeth, and everything. It was bizarre.”

Some of the imagery in the series, particularly in Edmund’s storyline before encountering The Scare, is very reminiscent of the hugely popular horror franchise Five Nights at Freddy‘s.

When asked if any of that was intentional, James admitted how it was “all happenstance:”

“It’s all happenstance. So we filmed this two years ago… I saw ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s,’ I think shortly after. Really enjoyed it; creepy as hell. And that is a thought that came to my mind that folks would see this and think ‘Dahmer,’ think ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s,’ but we were filming all of these things [before]. I think ‘Dahmer’ was [already] out, and everybody was having the experience of watching that brilliant work. I haven’t yet watched it.”

James went on to explain how he avoided watching many things while working on Them: The Scare so that he wouldn’t get “any weird influence” while crafting his performance: 

“I definitely couldn’t watch it. I couldn’t watch anything. The only things I could watch were cartoons like dark cartoons like Adult Swim. ‘Primal.’ That was what I went to sleep with, because it was just–One, I didn’t want to see anything that would motivate me to not do something or to do something. I just didn’t want to have any weird influence and just be as original as possible. So all it’s happenstance.”

Them: The Scare is now streaming on Amazon’s Prime Video.

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