Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Samaritan's Pilou Asbæk Reveals The Different Creative Spin He Gave To His Villain Character - Exclusive

Actor Pilou Asbæk has gained notoriety for playing some wicked roles in recent years, including his recurring turn as the murderous Euron Greyjoy in "Game of Thrones." Most recently, Asbæk was teased in the post-credits scene of "Uncharted" as the snarling, eye patch-wearing Gage, a new villain whom Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) and Victor Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) encounter.

Now, Asbæk is continuing his menacing ways as the ruthless gang leader Cyrus in the gritty superhero adventure "Samaritan." The film stars Sylvester Stallone as Joe Smith, a reclusive garbage man who goes largely unnoticed by the citizens of the crime-infested metropolis of Granite City. A few people have their eye on Joe, however, including 13-year-old Sam (Javon "Wanna" Walton), who is all but certain that the sanitation hauler is actually Samaritan — a superhero who is thought to have died in a fire along with his brother-turned-adversary Nemesis 25 years earlier.

Once Sam discovers that Joe does indeed have superpowers, Joe mentors him to become a good person — but all of the positive influence may have come too late. Having fallen in with a street gang, Sam is indebted to Cyrus, who is searching for the lethal weapons that once belonged to Nemesis. With the threat of Cyrus taking over Granite City looming and Sam's life in peril, Joe has no choice but to try to save the young teen and the city's innocent residents before it's too late.

Adapted from Mythos Comics graphic novel of the same name, "Samaritan" has the benefit of being an original work in a superhero movie culture dominated by the Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Extended Universe. As such, Asbæk was tasked with creating a bad guy that would stand apart from already established screen villains to help make "Samaritan" memorable.

Cyrus is a mix between 'The Techno Viking,' Oldman, and Sutherland

In an exclusive interview with Looper, Pilou Asbæk said while the idea of becoming a completely original screen villain is an unattainable goal, it didn't mean that he and "Samaritan" director Julius Avery couldn't get creative in shaping Joe Smith's ferocious counterpart. "You want to stand on the shoulders of other villains," Asbæk said about his initial approach to playing Cyrus. "This film is very much his own original story, but it's also got this action [and] '80s authenticity rock vibe to it. It's always difficult [to] say, 'I want to be original,' because you're never going to be original."

From there, Avery — who also directed Asbæk in the 2018 horror thriller "Overlord" — used the actor's Danish heritage to establish Cyrus' foundation. After that, Asbæk added the influence of a pair of iconic film stars to make the villain complete.

"I thought to myself, 'Okay, Julius, what do you want?' I did this Nazi zombie in 'Overlord,' and he said, 'I've seen this clip online with a guy dancing techno in the streets of Berlin.' He Googled it, and it's called 'The Techno Viking,' and he said, 'I want that.' I'm like, 'But that's a guy dancing in streets ...' and he said, 'No, no, no. Don't do dancing. I want the look. I like the look, and you're from Scandinavia. You're the only Viking I know,'" Asbæk recalled. "I was like, 'Okay, cool. If you want that, I want a little bit of Gary Oldman and a little bit of Kiefer Sutherland in 'The Lost Boys.' Then we made a pact. It's that simple."

Produced by Sylvester Stallone and also starring Dascha Polanco, "Samaritan" is streaming exclusively on Prime Video.