Is Challenged By Role In 'Carnivale'
by William LaRue, The Post-Standard - Syracuse,
New York (January 9, 2005)
The Le Moyne College graduate returns for a
second season of the HBO series.
HBO's supernatural drama, "Carnivale,"
ended last season with actor Tim DeKay racing
into a burning building to save two women.
Things heat up even more
in the show's 12-episode second season, which
premieres at 9 p.m. today. As DeKay notes, new
scripts inject a faster pace and clearer direction
to this one-hour weekly series about a Midwest
traveling carnival in the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
He's also pleased with
the development of his character, Clayton "Jonesy"
Jones, head of the carnival workers. DeKay found
himself last season in some racy scenes as part
of an odd love triangle involving Jonesy and
"Well, not to give
anything away, the next relationship Jonesy
gets into, I hope, will be as surprising to
the audience as it was to me when I got the
call from the producers," says DeKay, 41,
a Tompkins County native and a 1985 graduate
of Le Moyne College.
The first season of "Carnivale"
was awash in graphic scenes of murder, arson,
sexual exhibitionism, psychic abilities, romance
and spiritual healing in a battle of good versus
evil during the Great Depression.
This season, the battle
goes epic as it becomes clear the entire world
is at stake as it sits on the verge of World
War II and the nuclear age.
At the center of these
story lines are two characters - Ben Hawkins
(Nick Stahl), a teen fugitive with powers to
heal, and Brother Justin (Clancy Brown), a charismatic
evangelist with dark motives and menacing powers
of his own.
struggled in the Nielsen ratings last season,
HBO and the producers decided the show needed
to have more action and to explain more clearly
why Ben and Justin have emerged as earthly representatives
of God and Satan, DeKay says.
"I think the audience
won't feel so much in the dark as to some of
the questions they might have had from last
season. Nobody will be led down a path that
puts them into nowhere. They'll get answers,"
he says, speaking by telephone recently from
his home in Los Angeles.
Although he's not one
of the two lead characters, Jonesy is a meaty
challenge for DeKay in his first full-time role
on a television series.
Jonesy is a former professional
baseball player whose right knee was shattered
years ago. But like so many things on "Carnivale,"
exactly why he got hurt wasn't made clear to
A quick flashback scene
showed Jonesy being struck by a group of men
off the field. Only HBO publicity materials
explained it was a mob attack in retaliation
for Jonesy refusing to lose a game deliberately.
Last season, Jonesy emerged
as a soft-spoken and hardworking employee in
love with young tarot-card reader Sofie (Clea
Duvall), although events got in the way of them
pursuing a romantic relationship.
As he struggled with
a drinking problem and loneliness, Jonesy got
caught in an affair with carnival stripper Rita
Sue (Cynthia Ettinger), who also happens to
"I would say that
he's a good guy, but he's human," DeKay
says of Jonesy. "He is the one person who
does not have super powers who is trying to
do the right thing. And I think that balances
well with the rest of the show."
Because of the show's
large cast, with 17 major roles last season,
DeKay and most of his fellow actors disappeared
from the screen for long stretches.
DeKay says he knows the
show's writers feel bad about that. Some have
even shown him scenes with Jonesy that were
cut because there wasn't enough time.
"They've all got
great ideas, but you can't fit them all into
60 minutes. Our job (as actors) is to deliver
what they have written, so we can inspire them
to write more," he says.