LOS ANGELES | When Stark Sands looks at the convulsions he had in the first episode of “Minority Report,” he’s quick to pick them apart.
“They were way too big,” he says, months after filming. “I didn’t know what they looked like, so it didn’t work.”
Since pared back, those galvanizing moments are supposed to help his character see into the future and solve crimes.
“I was asked to do one of them in an audition,” Sands explains. “I decided it was a convulsion like I couldn’t breathe. I got a little encouragement (from the producers) and, now, the little mini-ones are akin to a blink.”
That learning curve, the Tony nominee says, is essential to a series set in the future and based on a Steven Spielberg film. Initially, Sands was going to play both Dash and his twin brother Arthur. But doing so was such a logistical nightmare, “it wasn’t feasible. I’m so happy the decision was made because it gives me a little break.” Now played by Nick Zano, Arthur is a bigger contrast to Dash.
In real life, it’s the same way. Originally from Dallas, the 37-year-old Sands has a twin brother who, in many ways, is his opposite.
“My twin was a football star in high school and I was in theater,” he says. “He got married right out of college and has four kids. My wife and I just had our first. He’s like my older brother now.”
In the series, Dash has been brought from hiding to help identify and eliminate criminals. That “pre-cog” ability to see in the future is his calling card. Arthur, meanwhile, has been a part of this future world, using his power to build an empire. “Dash’s drive is to save lives,” Sands says.
With the help of a detective, he “becomes more of a fully realized human being.”
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Reading the book upon which “Minority Report” was based, Sands noted a much different approach. “The pre-cogs are not fully mentally capable. They’re blithering idiots, as people describe them. So this is really a different look at that story.”
The film it inspired – directed by Steven Spielberg – focused on the “pre-crime” chief who was told he was going to commit a crime and how he used the pre-cogs to clear his name. Shifting the focus, the TV show’s producers want to dig a bit more deeply into the idea of seeing the future.
Sands says there could be something to the psychic ability. When he was about 6, he and his twin were in different places but his arm started hurting. When his mom arrived to pick him up, “she apologized profusely and said, ‘I’m so sorry but Stark’s twin brother broke his arm in gymnastics class.’ I looked at her and I was like, ‘Where did he hurt it?’” Mom pointed to the same place where Sands was hurting.
“I believe that we are connected by a web of energy and those tiny little psychic moments are definitely real.”
For the Broadway star, “Minority Report” represents a new challenge.
A Tony nominee and Grammy winner for his work in “Kinky Boots,” Sands had been in several big shows before deciding to take the leap to Hollywood.
“When I finished doing ‘Kinky Boots,’ which was one of the greatest experiences of my life, I realized it was time to find a new job. Pilot season came around and I got very lucky to do this.” Of the seven pilots he has been a part of, three have gone to series. “Minority Report,” he says, could be the one that pulls him away from theater indefinitely.
“If this is a job that lasts many years, I’ll return to Broadway when it’s over. And if it doesn’t, I’ll be back soon,” he says with a smile.
Already, he says, he’s learning how to adapt to the different acting demands. A tough action scene, for example, might not involve lots of preparation. “Acting is just dropping into it and allowing the imaginary circumstances to become real.”