Given last winter’s post-Super Bowl episode, and now a 90-minute airing after the “Supergirl” premiere, Elyes Gabel knows how much CBS is behind “Scorpion.”
The top-billed actor on the Monday adventure-drama series is pleased about the expanded Oct. 26 story that locks genius Walter O’Brien (Gabel) and his comrades inside a “smart” building that becomes a potential death trap. “I suppose the hope is for it to be translated past the 90-minute special as a two-parter,” Gabel tells Zap2it, “so we’ve filmed enough footage for it to be cut into two [hour-long] episodes.”
A big factor in the ratings success “Scorpion” has found since its premiere last year, Gabel believes, is the humor that underscores the action.
“In another world, this would be a comedy,” the native Englishman reasons. “With things like, ‘Are they going to get out of that cruise ship?,’ there are so many possible comic story lines … but the audience likes the jeopardy plus the slight wink that’s trying to be a trademark of the show. The energy is always up, but there’s always some kind of funny bit they might expect. And often, they get it.”
The real Walter O’Brien is among the executive producers of “Scorpion,” and Gabel consults with him often on portraying him. “Rudimentarily, it’s his story,” the actor notes, “but I suppose the thing the producers try to instill in me, in having a relationship and dialogue with him, is that this is a hybrid. We’re creating a fictionalized interpretation of his life.”
Among Gabel’s main joys in making “Scorpion” are the Walter-and-Paige scenes with co-star Katharine McPhee, with whom he’s reportedly involved with off-camera.
“You shoot a lot of scenes just because they’re there,” he says, “and that doesn’t mean you’re not trying your hardest to imbue them with character and meet your objectives — but certain things are just easier to shoot, and that’s definitely what I experience with Katharine. She does a very good job with me about keeping a natural tone to it.”
As popular as ‘Scorpion” is, Gabel also gets recognized still for his tenure on HBO’s “Game of Thrones” as Dothraki Rakharo the first two seasons.
“The show is a huge beast,” he reflects, “and as peripheral a character as I was on it, there’s still a huge attachment. [Viewers] have been in a relationship with it for so long, it doesn’t matter where you were in the show, you’re always a part of it. I’ll get, ‘I know you, man! I saw you once, man!’ It’s a great feeling.”