Interviews

Robert Sheehan & David Castañeda spill "The Umbrella Academy" secrets

Writer: Naseem Randhawa


Robert Sheehan and David Castañeda were in Singapore recently to talk about their show.

One of the more anticipated, if not eccentric, shows to hit our screens in 2019 is "The Umbrella Academy".

If that sounds remotely familiar to you, the upcoming Netflix 8-episoder releasing today (15 February 2019) is based on the Dark Horse Comics series by My Chemical Romance's frontman, Gerard Way.

If you were a fan of the band, then you'd surely know how melancholic Way can get. The fan in you would've also lapped up the comics that came out not long after the disbandment of My Chemical Romance.


An initial glimpse of "The Umbrella Academy's" plot might draw some similarities to Marvel's "X-Men" - what with it being about a group of people with powers - but upon delving deeper into the source, "The Umbrella Academy" has very peculiar tones.

It's not exactly easy to define, but what we can confirm is that in the world of Marvel and DC entries, it has its own style for which we'll describe as; a quirky little steampunk dark comedy with a dash of superhero sauce.

To get an idea what Netflix's "The Umbrella Academy" is about, read the following:

"On the same day in 1989, forty-three infants are inexplicably born to random, unconnected women who showed no signs of pregnancy the day before. Seven are adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreeves, a billionaire industrialist, who creates The Umbrella Academy and prepares his "children" to save the world. But not everything went according to plan. In their teenage years, the family fractured and the team disbanded. Now, the six surviving thirty-something members reunite upon the news of Hargreeves' passing. Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus, Vanya and Number Five work together to solve a mystery surrounding their father's death. But the estranged family once again begins to come apart due to their divergent personalities and abilities, not to mention the imminent threat of a global apocalypse."

We were lucky enough to meet with two of the young stars of the show, Robert Sheehan and David Castañeda at a recent Netflix panel. So obviously, we chatted with them about being part of the show and here's what they have to say...


Robert Sheehan is Number 4 aka. Klaus Hargreeves. Has the ability to
communicate with the dead when under the influence.

Cinema Online: What was it about "The Umbrella Academy" that made you want to take on the role?

Robert Sheehan: It was 10 years since I did something that was comedy-drama-chaos... also the show is leaps and bounds unique enough that it felt like a very natural move taking on Klaus. As the series progresses, Klaus, who is 30-years-old becomes a wildly different creation. He has a whole different set of problems.

Was there any musical process or any sort of musical inspiration involved on set when filming?

David: Certain songs that were going to be used was already in the script. Steve Black did have a very specific score that he was going to use in the pilot and he showed it to us to kinda get the feel of it. There wasn't really music on set, except for that one instance where it was blasted and we had to dance!


David Castañeda is Number 2 aka. Diego Hargreeves. Has kickass combat and weaponry skills.

Since Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance wrote "The Umbrella Academy" comics, was there any more input from him for this adaptation and did he come to set often as a consultant?

Robert: Gerard was present at the begin, and he was around at that time, but he was also very respectful of the adaptation. The main thing he provided us was great approval and support.

Robert, for Klaus, we already know that his ability to communicate with dead people under the influence has made his entire persona quite eccentric, so aside from the comics, was there an added edge to the character that was improv from your end?

Robert: We all had this sense of Klaus being this somewhat androgynous character. He took shape a lot when we were doing costumes and stuff. I just said that the place we should begin from in terms of inventing Klaus' look is that he has no style at all. None whatsoever. He wears anything which makes for a very expressive character!

David, your character is sort of like that big badass of the group. He's really good with his weapons and also combat, so I was wondering, did you have to do any of your own stunts?

David: Yes, I did. In one of the episodes later in the season, I had to actually grab a rope and cut it, and it would pull me three stories up. I did it more than 5 or 6 times. At first the crew was kind of uneasy about me doing it, but throughout the months that we were shooting, I tried to be prepared as possible to do all my stunts. I'm very proud to say that I was able to learn more than a few skills in terms of using knives, martial arts.

David, you've been in "Sicario: Day of the Soldado" and Robert you were in "Mortal Engines", was there any pressure handling roles in those big films with big names?

Robert: "Mortal Engines" definitely presents a new era for me. The huge wave of press. I don't think I have the full sense of the magnitude I'm in for in terms for that. It's a very proud moment for me to be able to work with that stable of people.

David: Thankfully, this is my first experience doing press. In "Sicario" I was just a supporting player, so I didn't have that responsibility. The experience of being in a big budget production with actors that I admire was something that was priceless for me.

Cinema Online, 15 February 2019



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