Apex Star Neal McDonough on What Makes Him a Great Villain

Neal McDonough is well-known in Hollywood for basically two things: he's a deeply spiritual Christian, a family man with an ever-present broad smile...and he plays some of the meanest, most sinister villains you'll find. McDonough is aware of the contradiction, telling ComicBook during a recent interview that he thinks it's what gave Damien Darhk (McDonough) and Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) such great chemistry onscreen: they're two sides of the same coin in some ways, especially since Routh is also known as a friendly, kind, family-oriented guy offscreen. McDonough also says it helps him get work, because it's so hard to pin him down.

After all, villains rarely get to play the same role for years at a time (Damien notwithstanding), and that means McDonough has to regularly reinvent himself for the next project. Currently, he's appearing in Apex, a twist on the classic concept of "The Most Dangerous Game," which sees him squaring off against Bruce Willis.

You can check out a trailer here:

"So many people ask me that," McDonough said with a laugh. "'You play such fantastic, delicious villains, but you're such a nice Christian dad type of guy in real life.' And it's pretty simple. It's because I wouldn't do sex scenes, as everyone knows, so I had to create a career for myself and it worked. As hard as it was at times, to become the villain du jour has been so fantastic. And also for my career. I get to be kind of like a shark. I get to go in and feed on Yellowstone for a while, and then jump back out, and then go feed on something else for a while, then jump back out, then go feed on Apex for a while. It keeps the ball moving. I'd like to say it's a career move. Everyone's like, 'Well, it's a stroke of genius because no one can pin you as anything.' I just think that's the way that I like to create. I've never been really attracted to playing the same character for a very long time." 

"I've tried to a couple of times," McDonough quickly corrected himself. "Damien Darhk might be different, because he's just such a fun character to play on Arrow, Flash, and Legends. And I've got two more Flash episodes coming up, I think next week, on Flash with Damien. But I love working and I love finding different bits about different characters that I can make come to fruition or finding out more about myself and how blessed I am in my life to not be like the guys that I genuinely or generally play. So for me, it's a psychological test also. How far can I change? If you notice, I try never to change my look. I try to have the same look in everything I do, whether I'm a good guy or a bad guy. I generally have short hair, simple, but I let the action do the business instead of a different look. And I think that's also worked in my favor. But I don't like to overthink it."

Directed by Edward Drake (Cosmic SinBreach), he co-wrote the film with Corey Large (The Ninth Passenger).  The film stars Neal McDonough ("Yellowstone," Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City), Bruce Willis (Die HardThe Sixth Sense), Lochlyn Munro ("Riverdale"), Megan Peta Hill (Open Water 3) and Trevor Gretzky (Spiral).  

Serving a life sentence for a crime he didn't commit, ex-cop Thomas Malone is offered a chance at freedom if he can survive a deadly game of Apex. Six hunters pay for the pleasure of hunting another human on a remote island, but once Malone arrives all hell breaks loose. Laying traps and playing mind games, Malone tries to turn the tables and fight for his life and his future.

You can get the movie to buy or rent on Digital today.