Pop-Culturalist Chats with Beyond’s Burkely Duffield
Burkely Duffield was one of television’s breakout stars in 2017. He commanded the small screen with his boy-next-door charms and tremendous poise leading the cast of Freeform’s hit new series, Beyond. The show follows a young man who awakes from a twelve-year coma to discover that not only does he have abilities, but his subconscious has also been living in a mystical realm. It was the network’s first binge-from-the-start show and amassed millions of viewers across digital and traditional platforms, and it makes its epic return tonight on Freeform. Pop-Culturalist spoke with Burkely about the new threats in Holden’s life, his path this season, and the relationships he’s most excited to explore.
P-C: At the end of the first season, Holden’s younger self warns him about the consequences he’ll face as a result of destroying the bridge. How will that affect him going into season two?
Burkely: Exactly! He destroys the bridge in order to stop that immediate threat. As we pick up season two, you’ll see that the forces in The Realm aren’t so easily forted. Last season, Holden had to go to The Realm to fix things and to get answers, but this season, we’ll see The Realm and the evil from it bleed into Holden’s home, which is part of the real world that we all live in.
P-C: What was you most excited to explore this season?
Burkely: Oh, so many things! To name a few, I loved diving into Holden’s unanswered questions about life and continuing to build his character. It was a lot of fun to explore his emotions in day-to-day life and his struggle to figure out what it means to be an adult. Also, the relationships on the show are spectacularly written and they’re fun, as an actor, to play. We have the relationships between the brothers, father and son, mother and son, Willa and Charlie, and also all the friends Holden’s made. I was really excited to embody the character again.
P-C: Can you tell us about Holden’s relationship with Luke [his brother] and how it’ll change now that he’s discovered everything that Holden’s been dealing with?
Burkely: Absolutely! Holden woke up from this coma and discovered he has these abilities, and he’s been keeping this from Luke for most of the season last year, but now that they’re on the same page, they can talk more candidly about what Holden’s path will be going forward. I would say that the boys have different views as to where Holden should be going in his life. Holden sees these abilities as a burden and something that he has to keep secret, but Luke sees them as an opportunity to be special, to be someone that people can look up to, and also as a chance to save lives. They both really have good points, but it does lead to some heated arguments between the boys about how they have opinions on each other’s lives.
P-C: Which side would you lean towards?
Burkely: Good question! I think, in general, I’m with Holden in the fact that I don’t think he should call attention to himself, but at the same time, Luke brings up a lot of good points about embracing who he is. I feel like Holden would feel a lot more together if he didn’t feel like he had to keep everything a secret, whether that be talking about his abilities, life, girls, or people in general.
P-C: In the teaser that we saw at New York Comic-Con, we’re introduced to Edgar, a man who has similar abilities as Holden. What can you tell about that story arc and the dynamic between the two?
Burkely: As you’ve seen, we meet this character who’s gone through a very similar circumstance as Holden. He goes through a traumatic event and then the blinding lights seemingly taking him away. We’ve left it as a cliffhanger so far and it’ll raise a lot of questions, like what does it mean if they cross paths? Will Edgar be similar to Holden? Will they be able to bond over the relationship that they have with The Realm? Or perhaps, Edgar isn’t as level-headed as Holden and maybe he’s one of the strong foes or antagonist of the season. That’s something that I’m hoping audiences won’t know and it’ll be exciting to learn as the season progresses.
P-C: What can you tease about the love triangle between Holden, Willa, and Charlie?
Burkely: As you saw in season one, Holden has this really special relationship with each of these two women. He sees them in two very interesting, but different lights. With Willa, they try to find their own sense of normal without abilities. With Charlie, she’s so similar to Holden, where she’s been taken to this Realm and wants to embrace these powers and be spontaneous. You’ll see Holden struggle, once again, with which girl and which path is right for him. I can say that Charlie, played by Eden, will be back this year and she’ll put Holden in an interesting position as she pops back into his life. He’ll definitely be stuck in the fork in the road.
P-C: If you had to summarize season two in five words, what would they be?
Burkely: Hmm…okay five words, let’s go! I would say intense, friends (because he meets new friends), enemies (because he definitely meets new enemies), relationships, and more (because there’s a lot more than season one and it’s more amped up).
Pop-Culturalist Speed Round
P-C: What three things would you want with you on a deserted island?
Burkely: Pizza, my phone, and a television with cable.
P-C: Last show that you binge-watched?
Burkely: Stranger Things season two!
P-C: Last person you called or texted?
Burkely: My mom
P-C: Most used emoji?
Burkely: The thumbs up
P-C: Favorite place that you’ve traveled to?
Burkely: Somewhere hot with a beach. Recently, I went to Cancun and it was a real treat.
P-C: Person you’d like to meet—dead or alive?
Burkely: Any idol that I have in the acting world. I have a ton but off the top of my head, I would say Sean Penn.
Photo Credit: Freeform/Craig Sjodin