This month, we welcomed Josh Holloway back to our TV screens with open arms. The actor, who played sexy bad boy Sawyer on Lost until the series wrapped in 2010, stars in USA’s buzzy new dystopian drama, Colony (Thursdays, 10 p.m. ET). The show is dark—it takes place in a near-future Los Angeles that’s come under the rule of a mysterious authority. Holloway plays Will Bowman, a husband and father who’s determined to keep his family safe at all costs—even if it means collaborating with the forces that are trying to keep them suppressed.
“My favorite thing about Will is that he will do anything for his family,” Holloway told InStyle. “He is not moving forward without them, and he’s smart about it.” Still, Holloway’s character isn’t about to fully relinquish control to the bad guys anytime soon. “I feel like Will is the ultimate rebel,” he said. “He’s collaborating at the moment because he is being forced to, but also gathering information. I’m excited for that to unfold as the show goes on—it’s emotionally tough to be under that stress and embodying that.”
While it may be tough to portray such an intense character, Holloway respects—and relates to—his character’s decisions. “I would do exactly what Will is doing in that situation,” he said. “I could never send my family to a concentration camp if I was still breathing, so I would do what I needed to do to collect information, and I would sit down with the devil. I would kill him later, but I think you need to get the information first. I wouldn’t martyr my family for a cause, but I would be on the side of humanity.”
As dark as things get, the show has a sweet romance at its core—despite the fact that Holloway’s character is collaborating with the authority while his wife Katie (played by Sarah Wayne Callies) is secretly a member of the resistance. “I feel like this is a couple that has true love,” said Holloway. “They have lost a child, they have gone through a long-term relationship, and they still have that passion for each other and for life, even under the compression of this situation.” And that makes for some pretty sexy scenes. “It’s more of a desperation feeling of being alive more than a seductive sexy,” said Holloway. “It’s more animalistic, and I love that because it feels real.”
In fact, Holloway doesn’t think the entire concept of Colony is so far-fetched from reality. “We’re filming in all of these different pockets of Los Angeles, and there are so many different levels of financial securities and poverty,” he said. “At times, it’s scary to see the parallels that are in the world today, and you think, ‘Wow, we are really not that far off.’ The whole political climate we’re in is very current in our show in that it is posing questions about occupation and colonization, which are things that have been going on since the beginning of humanity. So it’s really one of the oldest stories in the book, but with a new enemy, unlike one we’ve ever faced before.”
It’s the way that story plays out onscreen that first drew Holloway to the role. “I love big storytelling, and that’s what Colony is,” he said. “It twists and turns so much as the season goes on, and each character unlocks another door to a whole other world.” In that sense, the show is similar to Lost—and there are even similarities between Holloway’s characters in both dramas. “They’re the same guy who is just coming from different ends of the spectrum in a way,” he said. “Will is a patriot. He is a good guy, he is a family guy—but he is also savvy. In order to catch criminals you have to be able to think like one, and he definitely has both sides to him, which will be explored as the show goes on.”
That’s not all you can expect as the season continues. “The action ramps up, the tensions of the cat-and-mouse dance between Will and Katie get deeper, and the finale will blow you away—it will turn a one-eighty on you,” said Holloway. “Slowly there’s a lot more action and tension, and all I can say is that the resistance and my investigation team get really close. This is just the tip of the iceberg.”