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Q&A: Mark Valley of ‘Human Target’

Posted 1:30pm on Monday, Feb. 07, 2011

Mark Valley, the star of Fox's Human Target, enjoys doing an emotionally charged, character-driven scene just as much as the next actor. The guy's got some range and some depth of feeling, so it's nice to flex those acting muscles now and again. That said, nothing is quite as exhilarating, he says, as a good old-fashioned, kick-butt action sequence. "I can only stand around and talk so long before I start feeling really antsy," says Valley, who plays Christopher Chance, a specialist in personal protection. "Every once in a while, I just start to feel like I should be running or shooting or running away from someone or going after someone. It jolts me into character." It has been a fun second season for Chance and his mismatched team. Too soon to say goodbye. But the season finale, in which Chance investigates the murder of new boss Ilsa Pucci's husband, airs at 8 p.m. CT Wednesday. Here's hoping Chance will be back for more next year.

The focus of Season 1 was trying to figure out who Chance is. The focus of Season 2 has been about figuring out the other characters, especially Guerrero and Winston. Which approach do you prefer?

"I don't know about you, but 13 hours of introspection can get to be a little heavy. It's been a lot of fun getting to know these other characters and the other actors playing them as well. I've enjoyed having a role where I'm possibly doing a little more reacting to everything, as opposed to creating a kind of mystery. The more the merrier, as far as I'm concerned."

What do you think the addition of two female cast members, Indira Varma as Mrs. Pucci and Janet Montgomery as Ames, has brought to the show?

"I think it's brought a little more humor to the show. When we had three guys, yeah, there was an aspect to the show that was potentially a little edgier. But I think having the women has opened up the possibilities in terms of stories. We get to see other sides of the relationships between the characters. I think it's made the show a little funnier. There are also hints of possible romance, which is fun."

Will Season 2 end with a cliffhanger?

"It won't be a cliffhanger in terms of the way last season was, but it does sort of complete the second season while leaving a lot of uncertainties in terms of relationships. I guess nobody is really in physical peril. It's more that we don't really know where some relationships are going. But it also feels like this is a team that's going to be able to stay together and keep working."

Who are your favorite Human Target villains?

"There's just something great about a Russian bad guy. Because Russians, in general — if I was going to make any kind of sweeping behavioral statements — they have a tendency to be a little less demonstrative facially. You don't really see what's going on and I think that's kind of classic Russian deadpan. It's fun to kind of figure out what's going on or maybe crack the veneer with some humor or something like that. So Russian spies are great. Anna Chapman notwithstanding — because I still don't really get how breaking into Facebook makes you that famous — but Russian spies are fun to go against."

Chance seems to be skilled at everything. How difficult is it to learn it all for each episode?

"It's fascinating to play somebody who is so much more interesting than I am. It's one of the things about acting that I really like, that I can really explore this fascination with things I don't understand or don't know. We've had a Tai Chi instructor come in for one episode and we always have a weapons expert there and our stunt coordinators who have an awful lot of experience. My stunt double is really an accomplished martial artist and it's just been really fun to learn these things."

What's the most outrageous piece of physical acting that you've found yourself doing on the show, something that boggles your mind now when you think back that you did it?

"I realized the other day as I was hanging off a building that at one point in my life I used to be afraid of heights. Maybe it's just because I've developed a good trust in our stunt people, but now I don't have any problem hanging off things, no matter how high it is. That's definitely due to the experiences on the show."

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