News

Beyond Star Burkely Duffield on Skipping School, Being a Superhuman

Plus: Watch an exclusive clip from the debut of 'Beyond'

by | December 14, 2016 | Comments

Imagine waking up with 12 years of your life missing, including the best parts of your teenage years, and oh yeah, you also have super powers. That’s what happens to Holden Matthews in Freeform’s new original series Beyond. Burkely Duffield plays Holden, now 25 and trying to put his life back together, while discovering telekinetic powers he needs to learn to control and evading some shady characters who have presumably nefarious plans for him.

Duffield is no stranger to supernatural mysteries. He joined the cast of Nickelodeon’s House of Anubis, in which boarding-school teens explore underground tunnels for a mask to prevent a ghost’s curse.

Duffield spoke to Rotten Tomatoes about the series, which also stars Romy Rosemont (Glee), Michael McGrady (Ray Donovan), Jonathan Whitesell (Once Upon a Time), Dilan Gwyn (Da Vinci’s Demons), and Jeff Pierre (Shameless) and debuts in early January.


Beyond (Freeform/Katie Yu) BURKELY DUFFIELD

Fred Topel for Rotten Tomatoes: Do you ever wish you could wake up with no knowledge of technology and social media like Holden does?

Burkeley Duffield: [Laughs] I think it would be an interesting time. I think sometimes there are so many updates that being blind and just learning one of them as opposed to being confused by all of them would be quite handy. But at the same time, week to week, once my phone gets updated, I don’t know how to survive so I don’t know if I could take not knowing 12 years’ worth of technology and trying to function in today’s society.

RT: Filming the rain scene in the pilot, did you feel powerful seeing stuntmen fly up in the air behind you?

Duffield: It was an amazing sequence and was really captured beautifully by our art director and cinematographer. It was really cool to be able to do. We loved it. Once you’re shooting in the rain and you’re doing all that sort of hard labor outside, it takes a toll, but once you get a product that looks action-based, and you throw ’em here and you see all this happening, it makes the entire scene work. So it was a very fun sequence.

RT: How much did you know about his powers at the beginning?

Duffield: In the pilot, I had talks with Adam [Nussdorf, creator] and our directors and our creative staff, so I had inklings. It’s been a very fun journey to see this character grow as well as see where these powers take him and where the boundaries to his abilities really lie. In the pilot, he really doesn’t know what they are or what they can do.


Beyond (Freeform/Katie Yu) BURKELY DUFFIELD, MICHAEL MCGRADY, ROMY ROSEMONT

RT: Does he go back to school? Holden isn’t really equipped for high school at this point.

Duffield: Once again, another one of the things he has missed being unfortunately in a coma for so long. There definitely is a school element to the show that Holden tries to re-immerse himself in. Whether or not that goes too well for him I will not say, but he does definitely try to put himself back in education.

RT: Can he jump back into high school at his age?

Duffield: He tries. He sort of goes in to see where his brain power is at. He takes an equivalency test to see what grade or possibly out of high school he would fit in mind and in body. So that’s sort of a way that he starts to go into exactly where to pick up, because Diane, his mom played by our very talented Romy in the show, is very keen on getting her son back in school. As any mom would.

RT: Sure, but he can’t very well go back where he left off and be an adult in middle school.

Duffield: Exactly, and he’s 25 so going back to anything is a little bit odd. He has to try to find for this very specific instance would exactly might be right. Would it be going back to high school, middle school, home school, a private school? It’s something we explore on the show.


Beyond (Freeform/Katie Yu) BURKELY DUFFIELD

RT: If you just woke up this year, looking back at the past 12 years in movies and TV shows you missed, what would be the ones you’d want to binge-watch?

Duffield: Star Wars would be the one that came to my head. Having watched throughout my childhood as they were all being released, I’d say that that would be a huge franchise that I’d want to see. Let alone, I’m still living that now having more movies come out. So that would be the first I’d go, “I need to watch all of those right now.”

RT: Yeah, imagine if you woke up and there was a new Star Wars movie.

Duffield: I know, right? And answered all the questions that I wondered as a kid. I’d be first in line.

RT: So many famous superheroes have their own show now. Is it fun to get to introduce a brand new superhero?

Duffield: It’s sort of a spin on taking a boy who is granted these superhuman abilities. He really is just a normal kid who was given these abilities and unfortunately had all this time in a coma. It’s sort of a fun story to live and say what if these unbelievable abilities were given to a small town everyday kid and how would he learn to use them? It’s a very cool spin on a traditional story that’s been told a lot, and I think we’ve got a fun side to be able to explore.

RT: Do they let you do a lot of the action yourself?

Duffield: They do. I try as much as I can. I’m like, “Get me in there.” I love doing stunts. I love doing action sequences so as long as it’s safe and they think that I can do it, I love jumping in there. If it’s not and they’re pulling me back, I had a very talented double, Brennan, who would jump in and help me out and get that done. Being such an action-based pilot, I took it upon myself as well as after, before we shot the first season, to make sure that I was physically able to perform any trials or physical demands that the show would throw at me. I’ve always tried to stay fit whether it be for sports or just for my own pleasure. It’s also a social thing. I go to the gym with my friends. It’s nice. It’s fun.


BEYOND - DILAN GWYN, BURKELY DUFFIELD (Freeform/Katie Yu)

RT: Do you still hear from your Nickelodeon fans?

Duffield: I do. I sure do. They’re great and it’s a great fan base that I have always enjoyed. It was a great time. I look back at my career and I have loved everything that I’ve had the privilege to be able to portray. So I love my fans no matter where they come from. The Nickelodeon fan base is something that stayed strong with me so far. I foresee them sticking with me ’til whenever because I think they’re great and they always pop up to support me and I love that. There’s fans that have watched it when it was airing and there’s fans that are newcomers to the show. It’s a cool place to be where people remember me coming on to the show or people go, “Oh my gosh I saw you in this and I watched you in something else.” The social media aspect of it and the internet itself has really allowed for not only fans of any show, but really of any movie or any actor ever to be able to look back at their past and see what else they’ve been in.

RT: Who do you still keep in touch with from Anubis?

Duffield: Still quite a few of the cast that I know. They’re either primarily in England still. Some of them come down to L.A. England’s a bit more of a trek to come out to, but I always try whenever I’m in L.A. or if they’re down there, I try to make a point to see a lot of them. I made a lot of great friends, as I have on Beyond. I try to keep in touch with them as much as I can.

Beyond debuts January 2 at 9 p.m. with a two-hour premiere on Freeform. The entire first season will be available on the Freeform app, Freeform.com, On Demand, and Hulu.


Tag Cloud

richard e. Grant franchise IMDb TV Awards Tour Ghostbusters hidden camera prank indiana jones streaming police drama spinoff true crime Dark Horse Comics Television Critics Association 21st Century Fox blaxploitation FOX movies toronto children's TV blockbusters transformers doctor who TCA Awards hispanic heritage month 24 frames emmy awards Comic-Con@Home 2021 Esquire vampires Teen documentary The Arrangement politics 99% cancelled TV series SundanceTV Disney+ Disney Plus mockumentary TV movies Avengers scary movies Tarantino 20th Century Fox Spring TV Podcast Polls and Games based on movie 2018 Red Carpet ABC Netflix Christmas movies Hear Us Out Comedy Central rotten movies we love Marvel Studios toy story TCM wonder woman slasher feel good medical drama serial killer adenture Rock BBC DGA high school Film Festival MCU The Purge DC Comics popular Mary Poppins Returns Interview Musicals Television Academy Fantasy WGN psychological thriller olympics Hallmark Christmas movies Trailer live action rt labs ABC Signature Video Games comic book movie TCA Winter 2020 remakes dragons Arrowverse The CW TV Land worst chucky TruTV USA Network Starz HBO Max zombie award winner Superheroes obituary OWN dexter Brie Larson king kong cults cartoon dceu Fox News latino aliens target ViacomCBS spanish language Year in Review canceled art house Calendar DirecTV Mary poppins cars Emmy Nominations pirates of the caribbean Ellie Kemper TBS Amazon Studios President 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Super Bowl disaster Anna Paquin scary The Witch Universal VICE cooking witnail thriller Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Action Valentine's Day Star Trek robots Musical Drama Apple adaptation Emmys Infographic Lucasfilm video on demand black comedy mission: impossible Women's History Month monster movies Captain marvel Peacock 2021 Black History Month criterion Grammys Star Wars Photos scorecard spy thriller political drama french Trophy Talk TV mob sequels Thanksgiving sag awards singing competition Elton John crossover batman Image Comics Amazon japanese Apple TV Plus venice YouTube Legendary films science fiction documentaries Hallmark cops Disney 2019 cancelled television Best and Worst Pop CNN DC streaming service biography Western miniseries rotten critics australia Bravo Discovery Channel Adult Swim new zealand foreign RT21 international slashers zero dark thirty revenge Superheroe casting Character Guide war Disney Plus CBS All Access NBC docuseries trailers crime 45 Cosplay Kids & Family A24 TV One YouTube Premium Certified Fresh BET Awards Nominations black Exclusive Video basketball 73rd Emmy Awards Netflix Tomatazos Lifetime Christmas movies theme song Amazon Prime Video Pop TV The Walt Disney Company Acorn TV Shondaland screen actors guild facebook scene in color Schedule sequel OneApp debate First Look See It Skip It critic resources MTV rom-coms reviews reboot jurassic park what to watch zombies Marvel Television Tubi dreamworks vs. Winners 72 Emmy Awards TLC The Academy GLAAD worst movies comic books Mary Tyler Moore New York Comic Con spanish gangster ghosts Ovation Funimation natural history Epix kong animated space green book superhero Britbox technology Mystery stoner Endgame mcc Film live event historical drama razzies new york parents finale universal monsters Chernobyl teaser book adaptation PaleyFest Rocketman discovery cancelled TV shows posters james bond boxoffice AMC Fox Searchlight Nat Geo ESPN Showtime italian screenings dc HBO Go sports 71st Emmy Awards Warner Bros. marvel cinematic universe YA comics book 93rd Oscars adventure ITV Vudu elevated horror Heroines CW Seed Hulu kaiju legend telelvision GoT japan Crunchyroll Christmas IFC Walt Disney Pictures VOD comiccon halloween tv sitcom Trivia 2020 game show Marvel Turner ratings festivals all-time PBS Apple TV+ Disney streaming service kids heist movie San Diego Comic-Con women Pet Sematary LGBT BBC America Disney Channel SXSW Baby Yoda DC Universe Writers Guild of America spider-verse Winter TV Travel Channel Watching Series Sneak Peek Freeform CMT godzilla Family PlayStation The Walking Dead Premiere Dates Holiday saw HBO 4/20 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina movie talk show deadpool young adult comic comedies golden globe awards TCA 2017 binge versus Paramount Plus crime thriller WarnerMedia Set visit news nature Amazon Prime Tumblr nfl anime TNT composers supernatural FX cancelled 1990s LGBTQ CBS Paramount Pirates christmas movies aapi twilight new star wars movies name the review E3 APB rt labs critics edition stand-up comedy E! Instagram Live Country Toys Awards ABC Family Masterpiece Spectrum Originals ID Spike USA National Geographic Cartoon Network boxing Crackle 2015 nbcuniversal spider-man football Sundance TV History harry potter 007 comic book movies GIFs Animation dogs FXX fresh south america know your critic superman IFC Films canceled TV shows Stephen King NBA Shudder suspense king arthur Universal Pictures Sony Pictures a nightmare on elm street Mindy Kaling streaming movies concert unscripted Rom-Com Fall TV strong female leads Extras Binge Guide Countdown Black Mirror VH1 hollywood halloween First Reviews RT History biopic period drama Syfy BET social media psycho AMC Plus Columbia Pictures Holidays Turner Classic Movies Reality Competition MSNBC action-comedy best indie Rocky dramedy Nickelodeon Election die hard cats diversity cinemax video Comic Book Marathons sopranos Sci-Fi fast and furious game of thrones Martial Arts werewolf Quiz Reality festival Fargo mutant YouTube Red TV renewals joker Sundance Classic Film asian-american tv talk crime drama Creative Arts Emmys lord of the rings renewed TV shows Horror X-Men travel archives Biopics Alien Tokyo Olympics breaking bad TCA Oscars royal family A&E Academy Awards stop motion Opinion 2016 90s BAFTA Sundance Now television Broadway Food Network Song of Ice and Fire FX on Hulu Comedy Mudbound SDCC Pride Month Cannes romance Summer golden globes classics TIFF spain satire laika Paramount Network docudrama Wes Anderson Lionsgate Pixar El Rey rt archives anthology dark BBC One marvel comics 2017 genre American Society of Cinematographers Comics on TV child's play free movies Music hispanic quibi NYCC directors Neflix series romantic comedy independent hist Logo blockbuster jamie lee curtis justice league Pacific Islander Lifetime Box Office