“It pushes the envelope, but it’s the kind of thing you can watch with your family,” Austin Butlertold HollywoodLife.com when describing MTV’s next addicting series, The Shannara Chronicles. The actor, 24, takes on the role of Wil Ohmsford in the new fantasy series, where he must lead a group to save the post-apocalyptic world. Think Star Wars on Earth… his words, not mine.
People describe it as a Fantasy show, but author Terry Brooks said he didn’t want the comparison to Game of Thrones. What do you think about that?
AB: I can see the comparison because of the landscape, and the fantasy elements. I know that (producers) Al [Gough] and Miles [Millar], and Jon Favreau, from the beginning, saw the energy of the show being more in tune to Star Wars in the sense of it being in space, but fantasy. It’s similar in a way. But it’s hard to relate this show to anything. It feels so different from anything else. It’s on Earth, not on middle Earth, and it’s thousands of year in the future so you have this post-apocalyptic sense to the show. It puts a spin on fantasy, because the gnomes and the trolls in our story are deformed human beings. They’re part of the aftermath of nuclear apocalypse.
Did you read the books?
I hadn’t read them before I got the part! My dentist had, and my acting coach had, and a lot of people I talked to had, so I quickly ran down to the book store and devoured them.
Do you feel the pressure to live up to the character people imagined?
I know how when I read a book, I have a certain person in my mind. That’s the beauty of reading — we have our imaginations, and we get to create every detail with our minds. So yeah, there is that sense of wanting to do the best job possible for the fans who have been fans for a long time. I want to do well by them!
How would you sum up your character?
I wanted to say zero to hero because he starts out naive, [and] he doesn’t know what he’s doing, and then he grows into a hero.
Obviously I need to know about romance in this show?
There’s definitely romance in this show! The stakes are about as high as they can get because they’re trying to save the world from being ripped apart by evil forces. And on top of that, I’m surrounded by two very strong women, who at one point or another, I have romantic feelings for. So yes, there is a love triangle.
Would you ever want the show to end in a movie franchise?
I would be open to it. I love the process of making movies. I love going to a theater and watching a cinematic experience so I’d love to be part of something like that.