Slasher: Ripper's Eric McCormack Dishes on Franchise's Deadly Trip to the Past

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The Slasher franchise has had a rabid fanbase since 2016 when the series launched.

The fifth chapter takes the franchise back to the late 19th century, with a killer stalking the streets.

Instead of targeting the poor and downtrodden like Jack the Ripper, a serial killer named The Widow is going after the rich and powerful.

Eric McCormack as Basil Garvey

Eric McCormack is one of the new faces on Slasher Ripper, taking on the role of Basil Garvey.

The actor told TV Fanatic ahead of the premiere that he wasn't familiar with the franchise before signing up, but he was intrigued by the setting.

Slasher: Ripper Poster

Horror is new to McCormack, but he was attracted to the show based on the character alone.

"What I loved was just how brutal this guy's language was," he said with a laugh.

"I couldn't wait to say those lines!"

After reading the first episode, the Will & Grace alum said he wanted to be on the show. The first script alone was enough for him to take this journey.

Basil Yells

While the draw for him was the character, he was also interested in playing in a 19th-century sandbox.

"I love playing period stuff," he shared, telling me that going to the past through acting is a real immersion for him. 

"I was like, 'I'm growing a beard, and I'm going to stay grey,'" he recalled of when he first accepted the role.

He said that when production was getting underway, the clothing was a little bit more modern than what he envisioned for Basil.

Looking into the Murder

Despite the setting, Eric felt the character was stuck in the late 1800s.

"He's more formality and collars. I couldn't wait to dive into the character, and like I said, the language particularly, but he's just absolutely ruthless."

When I asked whether he thought Basil was misunderstood or wicked, Eric said the character is "unapologetically brutal."

However, the star believes there will be some questions about whether, deep down, Basil is as bad as we're being led to believe.

Basil Complains

"I think there'll be some moments of confusion for the audience where it's like, I hated this guy, and now I'm feeling bad for him."

When asked how he approached playing a character whom other people perceive to be a villain, he likened it to a buffet.

"You just dive in," he said, adding that he would find it more challenging to play "some Republican politician that had an AK 47 on his Christmas card."

"That kind of modern-day evil person is tough for me to swallow," he said, countering that Basil is more akin to a villain from a superhero movie, and he believes viewers would start to see the humanity in him early.

Eric McCormack on Slasher: Ripper

However, McCormack notes that Basil enjoys power and "making you squirm."

"He's not apologetic about it. He doesn't worry about it. He doesn't look in the mirror at the end of the day and go, 'Was I too mean to them today?'"

"No, he loves being Basil. And so I approached it exactly the same way."

When speaking about The Widow, the killer at the center of the mystery, Eric wants fans to be surprised.

Gabriel Darku as Kenneth Rijkers and Lisa Berry as Dr. Melanda Israel

"At the heart of this, as always, it's not just people dying one by one. It's that we don't know who's doing it."

Eric credited his assistant for being able to call the resolution of scripts early into them, but she couldn't figure out who was behind the kills on Slasher: Ripper.

"She read all eight episodes and was as surprised as everybody. I think it's a great mystery."

Eric adds that there are many misdirections and many self-centered characters.

Death in a Dark Alley

"It could be anybody, but the Widow is great. She's scary," he promised.

The first two episodes of Slasher: Ripper are now available to stream on Shudder and AMC+.

Check out the trailer below.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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