The Following Exculsive: Nico Tortorella on a Tantalizing Trio, Jacob's Dark Side

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If you haven't gotten into the suspense filled ride that is The Following, now is the perfect time.

I recently spoke to Nico Tortorella, who plays Jacob, one of Joe Carroll's cult followers, about his character's dark side; his relationship with Emma and Paul; and how to keep things light and fun on set.

Read on to find out what's in store for Jacob this season.


How did you come about finding The Following?

This was the first pilot I read last year and it was just a star studded project from the beginning: Kevin Williamson, Marcos Siega, Kevin Bacon, and James Purefoy, which you know is a dream come true in terms of getting the pilot.

I knew that I was going to be on the bad side of things, and I auditioned a few times and the rest is history.

How do you prepare to get into your character of Jacob?

I did all my research in terms of Bundy and Dommer, the Georgetown followers and the Manson family, but you know, I think if I treat Jacob like a psychopath then you kind of get stuck in playing the cliche. I tried to bring as much of myself to the role as creepy as that sounds.

How far in advance do you get to know the story or what your character is going to do?

We don't know anything really. We get our script a few days before shooting an episode, and we have nine days to shoot the episode and then we get another script. It's kind of surprise, surprise every week and a half which is awesome.

We've seen Paul and Emma more violent, but does Jacob have a darker side?

Yeah, he absolutely does. He wouldn't be running around with this band of characters if he didn't. I think that we'll find out through the season of how he gets there and manipulates, and why he has the darker side through flashbacks and family issues.

What do you find the most interesting about the Paul, Jacob and Emma dynamic?

It's kind of something that's never really been seen on television, you know? I mean, it's basic love and appreciation and how these three found each other, and how they're fostering each other's behaviors and quirks. To see it all unravel is pretty awesome.

Episode four is key for this trio. Can you talk about shooting the scene with the girl Paul brings back? [Small Spoiler]

Yeah, he knows that I've never killed anyone before this point and she keeps telling me I got to do the deed. This is the first time I've really faced it dead on and there's all that going on, but I also know Ryan Hardy is chasing us looking for Joey. Joe is back in prison, and we have the kid, and then on top of that, the love triangle that's coming out between the three of us, it's like being hit at every end of the spectrum.

I totally empathize with these characters. I think that's what makes this show so interesting, the audience is going to find themselves empathizing with them as well and almost sometimes wanting the bad guy to win and wanting the good guy get letdown. It's a totally interesting take on it all.

Do you think Jacob likes being the Emma and Paul sandwich of attention?

Oh, yeah, absolutely, but at the same time he's been dealing with his relationship one on one with each one of them for so long, and this mediator between the two of them that all of it finally comes together at the end of [episode] four, this family unit that totally shocks the hell out of them. It's like how is this going to work?

What's surprised you the most about working on this show?

Just really how easy it is to play in this world, and I think that it's bound to come home with us on a subconscious level and affect us somehow, but just in terms of a surface level, you just keep going with your life. You go to work and you play with fake blood and knives and guns all the time and then you're supposed to come home and have a normal life and existence. That's just been the most surprising, how easy it is.

How do you guys keep it light on set?

We're all a bunch of goofballs to be honest with you. We have quite the band over here. It's super easy. We became best friends really quick and it's a really light atmosphere at work. The crew has been working together for such a long time, and it's easy.

Is there anything you want to see happen on the Following or are you along for the ride?

I'm along for the ride. There's certain things that I would love to see happen, but at the same time, I get a script and it's something totally different then what I thought would happen and I love it ten times more than what was in my mind. When you have Kevin Williamson writing for you, you know you're in for an adventure.

Anything you can tease on what's to come for Jacob and what's in store for the show itself?

There is a huge arc in all of our characters and how we fit into this bigger picture. What Joe's final picture he has in his head, and how the relationships change with each other, and is Ryan Hardy going to prevail in the end?

Check out Nico Tortorella and the rest of the cast to discover the mystery behind Joe Carroll's master plan on an all new episode of The Following at 9/8c on Fox.

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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