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Derek de Lint, aka Derek Rayne of Poltergeist: The Legacy,
shares some ghostbusting secrets with Simon Bacal.
DUTCH actor Derek de Lint snapped up the opportunity to play Derek Rayne, the head of a group of ghostbusters in Showtime's Poltergeist: The Legacy. Created by Richard B Lewis and produced by Trilogy Entertainment, the syndicated series claims that The Legacy, an organization with chapters throughout the world, has been waging an ongoing battle against devils, demons, evil spirits and dark forces of all shapes and sizes since long before the birth of Christ.
Down through the ages, each generation has accepted the burden of fighting Hell's crack troops - a tradition solemnly upheld by Winston Rayne, Derek's father. During the early moment's of the show's two-hour pilot, a young Derek Rayne watches helplessly as his father is killed by a demon during a visit to Peru. "During early childhood, Derek had been very aware of his father's dedication to wipe out the forces of evil, but, when he's finally old enough to accompany his father on a mission, the man is killed," de Lint says. "Then, he completely ignores The Legacy, travels around the world, goes back to school, earns degrees re-enters The Legacy on an intellectual level and takes command of the San Francisco chapter.
"As a child, Derek had always believed that his father would live forever because his father won the battle on so many occasions that he simply seemed indestructible. However, now that Derek is older, wiser and educated, he understands that he can be killed at any moment - just like his father. But, that doesn't have any bearing on his dedication to continue the fight full force."
De Lint, whose character lives with fellow Legacy members Rachel Corrigan (Helen Shaver), Nick Boyle (Martin Cummins), and Alex Moreau (Robbi Chong) in the organization's West Coast pad, has seen the occult manifest in many freaky forms since the show's debut early last year. The Substitute stars Ben Cross as a demon who raises hell in a small town; The Sins of the Father involves a spirit which threatens the son of Derek's close friend; Man in the Mist revolves around a spectral 'John Doe' who emerges from a heavy waterfront mist; The Tenement conjures up a red haired female spirit who haunts a decaying tenement building; Town Without Pity concerns a strange town held in thrall by a mesmerizing preacher who allows his congregation to exist upon the Earth for a few days every fifty years; and Revelations visits a girls' school where witchcraft is the norm.
Going head to head with such a variety of ghosts and scores of other horrible beasts calls for a lot of work from de Lint and his co-stars. All episodes, shot in Vancouver, Canada over a seven and a half day period, often require the ensemble cast to work fourteen hour days.
"It's definitely rough going when you're on a smoke filled soundstage for the entire day, but when you shoot outside, you obviously welcome the change in environments with open arms," de Lint says. "The second season episode. Life is a Balance, one of my favorite tales, is about a 20-year-old boy who unexpectedly shows up at the Legacy house a few weeks after Derek receives the ashes of an old friend who he hasn't seen in 20 years. During the episode we decide to embark on a river rafting trip. We shot the entire story outside about one week after a major snowstorm hit Vancouver, so every branch of every tree was filled with snow. I felt that I was in the middle of a fairytale because the scenery was so beautiful."
The show's upcoming second season of supernatural romping introduces of a new recurring character, William Sloan, *precept of the Ruling Legacy House in London, played by Hill Street Blues veteran Daniel J Travanti. Rayne's long-time buddy and colleague, Sloan, who will keep a close watch on the San Francisco house to make certain that everyone is spookhunting by the book, makes his debut in the episode The New Guard.
"The teaser opens with Nick and Alex on the road looking for Derek," de Lint explains. "He's late meeting them, so they're pretty worried. Well, they finally find him walking in the middle of this country road, but when they get out of the car and approach him, he shoots out both windows and puts the gun in his mouth. At the last moment, Nick jumps at him, so, instead of blowing his brains out, Derek shoots himself through the lung. We see a very different Derek Rayne because he's usually this calm and collected individual who almost never loses his temper and who would normally never dream of putting a gun to his head. When he sees Sloan for the first time in twenty years, he's lying in a hospital bed with tubes emerging from his mouth. It's a terrific episode."
As Rayne reacquaints himself with his long-time demon busting friend, de Lint offers up some ideas about the future direction of his ghoul busting character.
"He doesn't have to get married and have children, but there should be a woman in his life," the actor opines. "As I said earlier, Derek is always very cool headed, so it would be really interesting to see him exhibit opposite emotions in a romantic relationship. That could potentially create a fascinating B story since today's audience really likes character driven tales."
Poltergeist: The Legacy marks de Lint's first venture into the supernatural universe. Born in The Hague, Holland, he originally wanted to be a stand-up comedian but a successful audition for a stage play marked the first chapter in a long and productive acting career. Later, he made his feature film debut in director Paul Verhoeven's Soldier of Orange and appeared in The Assault, a title which grabbed up an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Other feature film credits include The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Stealing Heaven, Mascara and Bastille, while the British miniseries The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous and a guest starring role on NYPD Blue, form just part of his television portfolio.
"After playing Derek Rayne in Poltergeist, I would love to play a real villain," de Lint reveals. "I don't have any specific projects lined up yet, but I can say that such a character would have to be a very sleazy,
nasty and charming scumbag. I think that would be a lot of fun."
* this line was corrected and not part of the original article.