‘Soulmates’: David Costabile on the ‘Crossroad’ the Test Brings to His ‘Unbalanced’ Character
If you could find out who your soulmate is, would you? That’s the question for the AMC anthology series, which has already been renewed for a second season ahead of the premiere of the six-episode first.
But learning who your perfect match is sounds much easier (and perhaps better) than it actually is, especially for the characters introduced in each installment of Soulmates. For example, in the second, the married David (Billions‘ David Costabile) must figure out what to do when a woman, Alison (Lodge 49‘s Sonya Cassidy), shows him proof she’s his soulmate.
“In terms of the temperature of where we’re all at right now, I feel like a small binge like [this] is doable. You feel like you get a really chunky bite, but at the same time, you don’t feel like, ‘Oh, god, I’m so exhausted from having to follow what’s happening. What happened last week? I don’t remember,'” Costabile tells TV Insider of the anthology.
“And because they are brand-new characters every week, you’re meeting new people and in different situations, in different settings. I think that’s really fresh and really fun,” he continues. “Also, the writing of it is really compelling, and in my episode, the twists and turns of the psychology of what’s happening, it’s quite a roller coaster.”
Here, Costabile previews his episode and shares which of his previous TV characters would and wouldn’t take the soulmate test.
Introduce us to David. His life is pretty great when we first meet him, professionally and personally, right?
David Costabile: Yeah, he’s an art historian at a major college, and he’s on a track for tenure. He’s married well for himself. It seems that he’s moved up a station or maybe a station and a half, and I think that clearly that is something that he really enjoys. He enjoys having that kind of security and the nice things that come from it. He has a nice house and a really great wife, and I think he has deeply desired that.
We find out throughout the whole thing how we’re set up by somebody who we think actually has a deep sense of belonging may be missing that in his life. He is a little bit of a lost soul in that way, that for all the things he’s wanted to get and acquire in his life, not just in terms of marriage and money and standing as a professional, that his interior life is at sea a little. We see what happens to him and how he comes to this particular crossroad in the episode and you watch what happens to someone whose deep internal life is not on solid ground. We think he’s on solid ground, but in fact, he’s actually quite unmoored.
The way I looked at him, the way I wanted to play him or start playing him was to start from that sense, that it isn’t that he’s a bad person or he makes bad decisions in his life but that there is a craving that he can’t put his finger on. It struck me, because he’s an art historian, because he’s somebody who deals with art and life and the world and the world around him from an intellectual and critical place, it seems he has a great intellect and a great understanding and a great surety about that kind of life, a life of the mind, and less about a life of the heart. I guess the best way really is to think about it as he is unmoored with regard to his heart, and inexperienced. He’s not very good at it. Whereas the life of the mind, he’s actually quite accomplished at, and then we see when you have somebody who is that unbalanced what happens in this episode.
And how does that all inform his opinion on this soulmate test?
He has taken it earlier in his life than presently, and I think back then, he was really looking for surety, again, and I think he thought it would give him that. He has moved on and maybe he cares less for that. Maybe it’s less important, or maybe it’s less vital that he has that kind of surety in his life and that he makes a sense of belonging from lots of other things, rather than finding his soulmate or having the test answered.
How does meeting Alison, who has proof she’s his soulmate, change his perspective on the test, what it means, and life?
She brings this crossroad to him — he never really even thought he was standing at a crossroad — and I think it reveals something. It’s a deeply internal revelation for David that he thought he was fine and then he realizes, “Oh, hell, I’m really stuck at this place and what do I do and what should I do?” It comes from, again, a sense of, “Where do I fit? Do I fit here? Does this person I live with, this person I married fit with me?” And then when he is confronted with this test result, [we see] the decisions he makes.
What draws him to Alison? Is it because she’s his soulmate or because of what she represents?
I think on some level, maybe … That is certainly for an audience to decide, what really makes him do what he decides to do. I will say one thing. There is one moment in the beginning of their relationship that I think David has a remembrance of things past, and that by having this remembrance of things past, it opens a door for him to walk through. He goes back in time and he tastes what it was like to be younger again and to be in a different place than he is right now. That opens a door he didn’t know was there.
Which of your other TV characters do you think would take the soulmate test and which wouldn’t?
Gale [Boetticher] from Breaking Bad would take the soulmate test. He had a great curiosity about the world and the science of it would’ve intrigued him and I think that as a scientific and chemical ratio, he would’ve been totally fascinated to actually find who his soulmate could be. I also think he was alone and he wanted to also find someone.
[Billions‘] Wags would probably take the test and then meet his soulmate, divorce whoever he was married to and then probably within a year, divorce that soulmate.
[Suits‘] Daniel Hardman would really struggle. He would really, really want to take it, and he would really struggle because he knows that he shouldn’t take it because he probably also would recognize that it would shock his life. He would really want to take it, but I don’t know in the end whether he would or not. Probably earlier in his life he would have.
Soulmates, Series Premiere, Monday, October 5, 10/9c, AMC