On The Hub’s new five-part, live-action mini-series Clue, actor Zach Mills (Super 8) plays Lucas, aka Professor Plum. A brainiac who is passionate about puzzles, the proud member of the prestigious yet mysterious Plum Institute is confident in his abilities, but often feels alone in his methods. Like many smart guys his age, Lucas struggles with getting girls to see him as anything other than nice.
During a recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, Zach Mills talked about how he’d always played as Professor Plum on family game night, being drawn to his character’s intelligence and how fun it is to play someone so smart, how this version of Clue is a very cool mystery that viewers are going to enjoy trying to figure out with the cast, that he would love to do more episodes and explore more mysterious, and how he’d love to work with his idol, Tom Hanks. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
ZACH MILLS: It was just an audition. I got the script for the first episode and I loved it. I wanted to get the part, if only to see what happens next. So, I was really happy that I actually got it.
Is it fun to do this kind of a project, where you are so excited to read the scripts and see what’s going to happen?
MILLS: Oh, yeah. It’s really cool, not knowing what happens next. It helps you get into character because the character doesn’t really know what happens next. Every day, I looked forward to seeing what would happen next, in the script. It was really cool.
What was it about Lucas/Professor Plum, out of all the characters on the show, that most appealed to you, or that you felt you could identify with?
MILLS: Well, I played Clue, when I was younger. My family would have family game night, and we still do, and I always play as Professor Plum, even before I knew about this. So, it was really cool to me that I actually got to be Professor Plum. I guess you could say that I’ve been practicing for the role for quite awhile.
What was it about Professor Plum that drew you to that character, in particular?
MILLS: I guess his intelligence. Lucas is very hyper-intelligent, and there’s no puzzle he can’t solve. I just really loved that about the character.
How is this Clue different from what people familiar with the board game and the original movie are used to? What can you say about what this mini-series is about and how these characters fit into this story?
MILLS: The show is very different from the board game. Six kids meet by happenstance and they witness something they shouldn’t see, and no one believes them. So, they decide to prove that they saw what they saw. It’s a very cool mystery that I think the audience is going to enjoy trying to figure out with the cast.
MILLS: I think Lucas is definitely better at puzzles than he is with people. Socializing is the one puzzle he can’t solve, so he’s very socially awkward.
Is it fun to play a character that’s such a genius?
MILLS: Oh, it’s very fun to play someone so smart. I would learn stuff, doing this. My character mentions one puzzle that I had never heard of before. It was a Japanese puzzle that I actually haven’t played, and I still don’t understand it. It was really cool.
What was it like to work with this ensemble of young actors? Did you guys have any time to get to know each other, prior to shooting?
MILLS: We bonded on set. We were always hanging out, off set. It was just a lot of fun. We were all friends. Everyone was a lot of fun to hang out with. I got really lucky to basically be able to hang out with friends for two months.
Who would you say that Lucas is the closest friends with, out of this group, and is there a girl that he’s got his eye on?
MILLS: Lucas likes Whitney (Sarah Desjardins), who is Mrs. White. He’s not very good at socialization. She’s a puzzle that he can’t solve. He likes her and he doesn’t know if she likes him, and all that. He’s not very good with any of that. He doesn’t like Seamus (Sterling Beaumon), who’s Mr. Green, all that much. He’s enemies with him. Mr. Green is the wise-cracker and smart aleck. He keeps calling him names. They don’t like each other, very much.
Is this a character that you’d like to get to explore more, for more episodes?
MILLS: Yeah, I would really like to play this character more. I connect with this character. I think it would be a lot of fun to go deeper into this character.
Is there anything you’d like to see him get to do?
MILLS: Well, I haven’t thought about that too much. I’m just really excited to see what he does get to do, in the next eight episodes, if they happen.
Are you working on anything along with Clue? Do you hope to continue to balance film and TV work?
Do you have a dream role, or a filmmaker that you’d love to work with, at some point in your career?
MILLS: I’ve always idolized Tom Hanks, and I think it would be amazing to work with him. I just like comedy, in general. I’d like to do that genre.