There’s no business like the oil business, at least in Rock Spring, North Dakota. That’s the boomtown where the new ABC drama Blood & Oil takes place, and when viewers first see the town it’s through the eyes of a young couple that, like so many others, have made the pilgrimage there to build a fortune.
Halt and Catch Fire alum Scott Michael Foster plays Wick Briggs, the son of a local billionaire and the show’s resident bad boy. In the pilot alone, he tangles with his dad (a slick Don Johnson), conspires with a local loan shark and commits at least a few obvious felonies—and really things are just getting started. Here, Foster explains why oil has been more problematic for him than blood, and why playing bad feels so good.
This show is called Blood & Oil, and in the pilot your character ends up sloshing around in the latter. What is that stuff that they had you covered in?
Well, in the pilot, that wasn’t necessarily me rolling around in the oil—we did have some stunt doubles. But in episode two, we do roll around in some “oil,” and it’s made of this vegetable glycerin that has green dye in it to make it look black—and it sticks to your skin. I had it all over me, and it wouldn’t come off with just soap and a washcloth. It took a good couple days to get it fully taken off the skin. I definitely looked like I was hulking out for a bit.
Isn’t that problematic when you have to film other scenes and you’re green?
They wanted to do this scene where they would spray it on all of us, and they just never really thought about that. I was like, “Guys, that dyed our skin” and everybody was like “Oh, it’ll be fine.” So I said, “Let’s just do a test, before we spray it on everybody,” and one of the guys put in on his hands and his hair and let it sit for five minutes and it didn’t come out, so we ended up going with something else. But yeah, that oil is a topic of dissent because there’s not really anything else you can use.
Oil might be the least of your character’s problems. Really, he doesn’t seem to have a lot of redeeming qualities.
That’s kind of why I wanted to play him. I have more often than not played somebody with a lot of redeeming qualities, and as nice as that is, I was ready to do something else. That’s kind of what turned me on to this role in the first place: He’s messing up with his family, he’s messing up in his own life, he doesn’t know what he wants to do or what he wants to be. It’s been interesting for me to play someone who didn’t have everything together.
The series has a big cast. How are you acclimating to working with such a large ensemble?
The cast we have is one of the strongest I’ve ever worked with, and one of the nicest too. I’ve said jokingly, or maybe not so jokingly, that we sit down at cast meetings and I’ve looked around and been like, “I am the ugliest person in this room!” Everyone is so beautiful that it’s sickening! But they’re also so talented and nice, and you never get that.
And you’re filming in Park City, Utah, which must be nice.
So far, we’ve gone bobsledding at Olympic Park, we’ve all gone on hiking and camping trips and we’ve taken boats out on the lake and gone wakeboarding. There’s tons to do out here and there’s even more we want to do. I’ve never done any snow sport in my life, but I’ve had many friends tell me that they are going to come do me the honor of teaching me. So I don’t know if the studio and network would like that but I’ll probably start on the bunny slope or something.
Maybe stick to sledding until you’re done with the season?
Yeah, that’s right. I’ve been on a sled before, that’s about the only sport I’ve done.