At the 2019 Montreal Comiccon, two members of the hit Netflix series The Umbrella Academy graced the big hall on the fifth floor to talk about what it’s like playing dysfunctional superheroes. Those two actors were, of course, local actor Cameron Brodeur, who plays Young Luther and the Irish native Robert Sheehan, who plays Klaus.
Sheehan in real life isn’t too far off his superhero counterpart. He was reminiscent of 2003 Jack Sparrow in a way, with a styled goat and stash and oozed flamboyancy, much like his character on screen. Klaus, otherwise known as Number Four, is the junkie of the family and a lot of his substance abuse comes from his ability to commune with the dead and lots of personal baggage. So he masks his issues with a mask of sarcasm, wit and lots of sass.
Sheehan did confirm something fans of the show will be very pleased to hear about: the music budget for the second season, which was renewed in April 2019, will be more or less doubled. Fans agreed that the music in the first season was a huge positive so to hear that we’ll have that much more music and perhaps more recognizable tunes, will be a crowd-pleaser. No word on whether The Umbrella Academy co-creator, Gerard Way, will be supplying more music to the show but the pair did talk about working with Way, a man Sheehan describes as very busy but would still come in from time to time and offer tips and insights to the characters while also staying relatively hands-off as he knew the show was an adaptation of the graphic novel he created with Gabriel Ba and as such, the on-screen interpretations and variations were up to the writers and producers of the show. The writers in question were very relaxed and encouraged the cast to develop the characters in ways that seemed natural.
To help get into the characters though, Brodeur and Sheehan had two different methods to help bring their characters to life. Brodeur, seeing Young Luther as a beacon of hope, saw Chris Evan’s Captain America playing a big role in the subtle mannerisms to bring Number One to life. When waving to the press, Young Luther waves heroicly and that motion was specifically based off something Brodeur believed Cap would’ve done. Sheehan got a bit more hands-on to get into Klaus’ head. He kept a visual diary with him whenever possible and wrote notes as Klaus, he meditated and filmed himself to get into the zone-all while on set in Spain while working on the second season of Genius, which focused on Pablo Picasso and saw him co-star was Carlos Casagemas. He really had to dive into self-hatred and used psychological shadowing to help bring Klaus to life.
Some may say that Sheehan is a bit typecast, due to his largest roles being flamboyant and outgoing superpowered individuals. Many fans of Misfits will have remembered Sheehan on that show as Nathan Young and Klaus feels like a natural continuation in many ways. But Sheehan was quick to point out that it had been 10 years between Misfits and The Umbrella Academy and he did plenty in that decade that furthest away from being Misfits.
When he saw the role of Klaus, he was initially hesitant to take the role due to the flamboyancy and the fear of being typecast in another super-powered television show, but realized that the further the scripts got into the series, the more we see that Klaus’ behaviour is largely all a facade and saw that as a wonderful opportunity to explore this character, who is actually quite fragile emotionally. Klaus has a “deep emptional pendulum” and endures his pain with humour and something about that dynamic was eventually quite appealing. Sheehan was also a big fan of Klaus getting tortured and tied up and told us that it was an accidental discovery about himself, which he admitted with an impish grin. For Brodeur, an actor who spent less time on screen than the older versions of the characters, he simply loved doing the bank robbery scene as it gave him the chance to be a superhero.
We have some more chats from the Montreal Comiccon, including a rather bizarre yet entertaining one from Darth Maul himself and a deep dive into the career of Elijah Wood. Stay tuned for one more article in the coming days from Comiccon but until then, we also have a new piece on the evolution of Stranger Things!