In the latest series, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, one year after the fatal car accident that haunted their graduation night, a group of teenagers finds themselves bound together by a dark secret and stalked by a brutal killer. As they try to piece together who’s after them, they reveal the dark side of their seemingly perfect town—and themselves. Everyone is hiding something, and uncovering the wrong secret could be deadly.
Ahead of the release of the I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER series on Prime Video, Shannon spoke with actor Ezekiel Goodman, where they chatted about making his big break with the role of Dylan in IKWYDLS, exploring the black and white mindset of the character, and whether or not he thinks he would survive until the end of a slasher movie if he played himself.
You play one of my favorite characters in the show. So I’m very excited to talk about this. How excited were you when you found out that you were going to be part of this?
Ezekiel Goodman: I couldn’t ask for a better break. To not only be in a show, okay? That’s the first thing and plays such a large part in it. To be in a show that has that is such an astute adaptation and iteration of a classic and one that really plays with its tropes and turns them on its head, I think that it does that on a story level and on a character level, and the characters also have such multiplicity. Really, I said it. You couldn’t ask for a better break. So it’s one of the happiest days of my life was when I got that call.
Aw! Had you watched the originals at all? Or did you watch it to get prepared for this?
Ezekiel Goodman: I had not seen the original. I was aware of it as a cultural icon. But I watched it after I got the part. I think it prepared me to know about the legacy and the tradition that the show’s a part of, and clued me in on the nods and how evocative we are of the original, but it’s not…it’s such a different tone and different characters. But I definitely love the original. I have such an appreciation for it.
Well, what I love about your character is, I don’t want to say shifty. You’re mysterious. We don’t know a whole lot about what you’re thinking, whereas other people might wear their emotions on their sleeve. You’re kind of more guarded a bit. So how did you approach your character?
Ezekiel Goodman: It’s so interesting you say that, because I think that Dylan in many ways does show his emotions on his sleeve.
Yes, he does. But I feel like I can’t read him as well as the others.
Ezekiel Goodman: Right. Yeah, I think that what’s so funny is, I don’t think you ever know what Dylan’s thinking but I would hope you know what he’s feeling. How did I approach him? I mean, you do stuff like, you try to find the parts of yourself that you want to delve into to discover who this guy is. And the gaps in your knowledge you fill in with research and information to let your imagination kind of run free. So I got to talk to some people like Dylan. It was really exciting for me, because there are a lot of things I share with Dylan. But in many ways, he and I see the world very differently. I kind of live in gray, which is kind of necessary for an actor and Dylan sees the world very much in binary, in open and closed channels, and I kind of got that idea because it made sense, he’s very good. He adheres to that there’s a right and wrong and a good and a bad and you either are or you aren’t one of those things, right? And that started to crystallize for me. A very good friend of mine, Neil, is getting his doctorate in computer science specializing in machine learning, and I talked to him for a long time, just to get a way of thinking. So that was really informative. And I talked to other people who have similar life experiences to Dylan that I don’t have. And then, you get to discover a whole person and all that. It’s great.
Did you actually get to work on a goat farm?
Ezekiel Goodman: Oh, yeah. We were like on a ranch. There wasn’t really a goat farm. One day, hopefully, I’ll have the time and space to really go in with my research and hang out with a bunch of goats. I created this whole thing that Dylan originally wants to be a computer scientist or a computer linguist. And then, after Allison’s death, he’s like, I’m gonna go be a nature conservationist and just live with the feral goats in the hills of Hawaii. I would have done that for a little while [laughs].
But I loved it. It was so random. Like, I work with goats? Not random, but you know…
Ezekiel Goodman: it’s random. And then had to think like, well, what’s the justification? Then I think the justification is that animals are kind of incorruptible. Hmm. And he feels so corrupted by himself and what he’s done, right?
Yeah. And, this is a very serious question, but if you were playing yourself in a slasher, what role would you be?
Ezekiel Goodman: Whoever dies first. We were just talking about this earlier with the rest of the cast and I said yeah, I would be the one who’d be like, oh, there’s a noise in the basement [laughs]. Cause I’m just curious by nature. And also, I’ve had spills before in my life. I can be a little…I’m not risk-averse.
And, are you a horror fan? Is that a genre that you’ve enjoyed exploring?
Ezekiel Goodman: I’m not a…I see all your posters.
It’s literally one character everywhere. [laughs]
Ezekiel Goodman: Oh, really?
Yeah, his name is Sam. He’s from this movie called Trick R Treat.
Ezekiel Goodman: Oh, yeah! I’ve heard of that!
Yeah, I’m a little obsessed.
Ezekiel Goodman: I’ll have to watch it and I’m talking with Nightmarish Conjurings. I wouldn’t say that like I’m not a horror head, but I’m definitely a horror fan. I keep saying it, and maybe I’m just trying to manifest something, that I really love David Cronenberg’s work. The first time I saw Videodrome blew my mind.
I actually haven’t seen that.
Ezekiel Goodman: Oh, it’s so good. James Woods was excellent in it. But I love that. Ashley Moore talks about The Exorcist a lot, which I really like. The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I just watched this movie called The Innocence which is a ghost story. It’s one of my dad’s favorite movies. I like ghost stories a lot. Guillermo del Toro. Get Out. You know, what I like about horror a lot is that you kind of can’t necessarily always divorce horror…sometimes you can. I guess slashers you sort of can. But, there’s a magical realist element of horror, and I think that’s a part of the genre that I really love.
To kind of wrap everything up, what are you excited the most about people discovering about the character? And is there anything that you hope they’ll take away from it?
Ezekiel Goodman: I’m so happy that you like the character because I think that I have an apprehension about…he’s not an easy person.
And that’s why I love it
Ezekiel Goodman: Thank you so much. I feel so seen. I guess what, I hope that they can take away some empathy for him, and I think that knowing that his severity and intensity comes from a very genuine and pure place. I mean, we all want to be good people. It’s very rare that anyone really wants to be a bad person and I think what Dylan offers the show is weirdly, how we can be too hard on ourselves about being good people. We can really imprison ourselves with certain kinds of moral codes. So I hope they have some empathy, or I wouldn’t say pity but sympathy.
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