Derek Luke Teases a ‘Purge’ Halloween, Possible ’13 Reasons Why’ Return

The Purge - Season 2
Skip Bolen/USA Network

Derek Luke has been gracing television screens for a while now with shows such as 13 Reasons Why, The Americans, Empire and more, but now he’s delving into the world of horror with USA’s The Purge.

The actor portrays Marcus Moore — a successful medical professional whose world is flipped upside down when an assassin enters his home on Purge night. Marcus also has a loving wife and a son with whom he has some tension, which makes his situation from the most recent Purge all the more complicated.

Below, Luke fills us in on what’s to come with the show’s Halloween-timed episode, the rest of the season and more. Plus, he teases whether or not Mr. Porter will return for the final season of 13 Reasons Why.

The Purge is such an intense series and concept. What do you think draws viewers into a show like this?

Derek Luke: It was my first time at Comic-Con this year, and I learned a lot from James DeMonaco, the creator, and the fans. The fans at Comic-Con are committed, they are thoughtful, and one of the things I pulled from hearing discussions and questions from them was how the Purge is this fictitious universe. But what’s interesting is that there’s so many elements that you can pull from our reality.

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Season 2 delves deeper into the aftermath of single Purge night, all inevitably leading up to the next Purge.

One of the reasons why I like Purge is because of the messaging. I have an interest in horror, but I thought The Purge has a lot of parallels that you can draw from in it’s world that you can connect to our present time. So, I believe that’s one of the reasons why I connect and perhaps other people do as well.

Your character Marcus has a lot going on, from nearly being killed on Purge night to discovering there’s a bounty on his head. Will fans learn more about the reasons behind the target on his back?

Oh yeah [Laughs]. I’m laughing cause I’m excited cause I love how you phrase it— that’s how James DeMonaco, phrased it. And that’s why I’m excited because every episode was something new. I did not ask the writers about the conclusion of Marcus Moore or who did it. It was like every episode as I’m experiencing it, so are everyone that’s watching it. So I’m excited for people to unravel the clues with me.

(Credit: Skip Bolen/USA Network)

He’s definitely not the guy you’d expect to have a bounty on his head.

Yeah. The messaging is that you can’t really live your life for people, you’ve got to live it for you. And so I think Marcus has lived his life trying to pull himself up with his own bootstraps. And I think of the mental paranoia that he’s going through… And so I think that begins to eat at him. And so that’s why I love this character.

Prior to joining the series, were you familiar with the films? Were you a fan?

No, I didn’t see the film until about a week or so prior to signing on. I remember the trailers. I was a fan of the horror thriller audience and I had been sort of, pondering in my mind or thinking about it for like the last couple of years about horror, about suspense, about thriller, becoming more of a fan of like the John Wick [movies].

(Credit: Skip Bolen/USA Network)

And I’m like, what kind of story could I tell in this space as an actor that would be interesting to me? And one of the interesting things, again for me, was the messaging, the backdrop to The Purge.

Even though each episode is already thrilling, is there anything special fans should look out for in the Halloween-timed episode?

I don’t think it’s accidental that The Purge Episode 3 is coming out around Halloween. I would say all of our 10 episodes are crafted around Halloween. So if you are a thriller junkie, this is [a show] for those that don’t get enough Halloween on Halloween. The Purge, this is the marathon for those that are straight-up Halloween fans.

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Plus, watch an exclusive sneak peek of the family debating this year's Halloween costumes.

Michelle (Rochelle Aytes) and Darren (Denzel Whitaker) are the key players in Marcus’s story. What can you tease about the family dynamic? It seems like there’s some underlying tension.

Yeah, on the note of the backdrop, purging in the purge world is so personal, and this is Marcus’s second try at marriage. He and his wife Michelle, they’ve been talking about [having a baby]. And so we open up on Purge night with that discussion and I’m finding out as we were shooting this is that, Marcus also has an estranged relationship with his son Darren.

And they are the least expected to be involved in the purge, but they say in law enforcement that usually when someone is being targeted, the first person they look at is the spouse. So it’s a very complicated Purge night for him because when you watch The Purge, the intruder gets in — you can only get into the house if the alarm is set off from inside.

(Credit: Skip Bolen/USA Network)

Marcus and Michelle locked themselves in for the night during the Purge. Would you stay indoors or venture outside on Purge night?

Oh, heck no. I would not venture out on a Purge night. Shoot. I barely go out on New Year’s Eve. So I definitely wouldn’t go out on Purge night. I am not a thrill-seeking junkie on that level. I would want to secure myself so I can enjoy the rest of the year. I would look for a safe place, a bunker.

Final season of 13 Reasons Why is on the horizon – will we see Mr. Porter return?

I don’t know, to be honest, but I can say that I have traded emails with the showrunner, Brian Yorkey, in the last couple of weeks. So, we’ll see. We’ll stay tuned for that one.

The Purge, Tuesdays, 9/8c, USA Network