The sirens have rung and for Ben, this particular Purge will change the course of this life.
The season two premiere of The Purge found Ben out with his frat brother out on Purge night. A quick journey to Suicide Bridge to snap a picture for initiation goes awry when Ben decides to help a woman tied up inside a building. Ben quickly finds himself trapped with the woman as an attacker attempts to take both of their lives. Ben manages to kill his captor, but his freedom comes with a great mental toll.
At New York Comic-Con, I was able to sit down with Joel Allen to discuss his journey of playing Ben and what we could expect from his character’s upcoming journey.
The journey for playing Ben was dark for Allen. What happened to Ben on Purge night, will not stay contained to Purge night. Ben’s mental state will spiral. “You have to dance with the devil a bit for a character like this,” Allen remarked.
“Ben is really an average dude with really average grades,” Allen says. “There’s nothing that stands out about him. This is his first Purge, it wasn’t explicitly stated in the episode, but it is his first Purge and he is pretty anti-Purge as are most of the people in his life. It’s kind of an initiation thing for being a part of this fraternity that you need to go out and take a picture at Suicide Bridge.”
Allen finds Ben to be a focal point for the audience. “The whole point of the character to me was to be a surrogate, a conduit for the audience because he is such a broad stroke of a paintbrush that we all kind of relate to the character so much. You really feel like, “Well, what would I do if I was in that situation on my first Purge.”
Ben’s relationship with his frat brother, who left him behind on Purge night, will continue to develop over the season. “That storyline with the two of us is the most compelling throughout the show, at least within my storyline,” said Allen. “All the other relationships I have with other characters, they are a little more brief or don’t dig in quite as much. He is kind of the bad guy. Ben is a guy who is a victim of circumstance. Turner, he’s the villain, but we’re going to see a different side of him very soon in a few episodes. He’s also sympathetic and that was something important for all of us involved. You want to be able to sympathize with all these characters instead of villainizing everybody or a few. It makes him more compelling than unsettling if you could understand someone’s actions instead of just ‘here’s this gore porn.’”
The Purge Season 2 premieres on USA October 15 at 9/8c.