Colton Haynes stars in Lifetime’s Swindler Seduction in a dual role as two questionable twin brothers.
You can tell by the title that he’ll be up to no good, and the film follows how his character cozies up to a young woman named Louisa (Gabrielle Graham) and proceeds to turn her life upside down.
We caught up with him to chat about this exciting opportunity.
What about the dual role appealed to you?
They sent me the script when I was filming Teen Wolf, and I told my agent, I was like, “I have to do this because I haven’t really had an opportunity to play [anything like this].”
It’s twin brothers, but at the same time, they both, especially Mitch, take on different identities. So I think it was at least five different characters, one of which, I speak French, which I don’t sound French at all; I sound like Borat. So that’s going to be fun to watch.
But it was so much fun, and I don’t know if I’ve ever been treated as good as I was on set. Everyone was just so amazing to work with. It was a quick shoot because normally, they shoot around three weeks to a month. But at the same time, it was just such a great experience, and, gosh, I hope I get to do more.
You didn’t sound quite like Borat, but I think not having a good accent actually works better for the role.
Wow, you’ve seen it. I haven’t seen it.
I did. Yeah, I saw it last night. It just makes it more horrific how people can fall for people in these situations.
Oh, I know, and I don’t know the exact specifics of it. I know this is loosely based on a real story, and getting to play that and knowing it was a real story made it more special. And working with Gabrielle was great. She’s an absolute star, and working with her really helped elevate my performance as well.
And did you do any research into people with this kind of behavior to get into the roles? All five of them?
In many ways, I think my upbringing and things like that, I think I had some stuff to pull from, especially from working in this industry.
But at the same time, I knew that it was based on a very specific situation, but I didn’t actually know that until halfway going into the movie, so I’m kind of glad because I wouldn’t have wanted to pull from that specific story as that could have gotten in the way of it.
It was just so great to be a part of this, and I hope that it comes across that they’re different characters. I think they did a good job of disguising it with certain hair and makeup.
Well, the good thing is that we never really know which one is which for a good portion of the movie.
You’ve got two brothers that are identical, and they’re both swindling, and they’re both almost playing the same characters as each other, but they’re not each other or themselves. What kind of challenges does that pose for you as an actor?
When it comes to being an actor, I think I definitely have different personalities, I feel like. Not clinically, but at the same time, the director and I were trying to find something that would set them apart. And it was little things like jaw clenches or little eye twitches that we were playing with.
And yeah, I thought that I was going to go into it having either a full blonde wig or a very specific difference between the two characters, but I think it was better that we didn’t do that. Hopefully, it’ll trick the audience into being more on Gabrielle’s character’s side.
Hopefully, that plays. I really got to go there, and I really got to dive in, and it was just such a great experience for me because I think this is the first official lead of a project that I’ve done, and it was very interesting to have to play multiple characters in doing so.
No, you did a great job.
Oh, thank you. I can’t wait to see it.
You’re welcome. So how did you manage to stay focused on set without letting the content get you down?
My life has not directly mirrored this, but definitely, this content is a kind of a PG version based on my life.
So it definitely wasn’t too hard to tap into, in many ways, because I had a lot of people from past experiences to draw from.
And also, it helps when you’re doing things like this, knowing that it is a very safe environment whenever you’re on these projects. There were a lot of sexual situations, so we had a coordinator, and it was just really a safe set.
And it was also, behind the scenes, there were just really great people that we were working with. Yeah, so that definitely helped calm it all down a bit.
So going forward, if you get another one of these roles, would you like to play a good guy or a bad guy? You’ve played both.
Yeah, I definitely did. I tend to always play the bad guy. I always channel the high school bully, and then for some reason, that’s been my stick. And then I always just play those types of roles, either the bad guy or the bully or the jerk.
So that was one of the reasons why I really wanted to do this as well because I knew that I’d get not just to be the villain, but [laughs] Well, in the end, you find out that I’m not one villain, I’m multiple villains.
But it was nice to at least play different emotions on this. So hopefully, I get to play a good guy soon. You never know. Maybe Christmas will be on the way.
Oh, that’d be nice. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Yeah, in a musical or something, that’d be great.
And finally, what advice would you give someone to stay safe in social situations these days? You’re out there with the public a lot.
Yeah, there are subtle things that people can do to try to encroach on your personal information and your space, and just don’t give your personal information out there.
There’s been a lot of situations where people will talk to me, saying that they have a mutual friend, trying to get a way to get my cell phone number, or something like that.
But I think it’s just to be very, very direct in situations like this and tell people that you’re not going to give them that information, or just be really cautious about who you give it to.
Yeah. So, it can be a rough world, and it can be a beautiful world.
That is true. And hopefully more of the latter.
Swindler Seduction airs at 8/7c tonight on Lifetime.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.