Canadian actor Pablo Schreiber, who has appeared in The Wire and was nominated for an Emmy for his role in Orange is the New Black, plays United States Navy fighter pilot Zeke "Z-Pak" Tilson in his latest television series: dark HBO comedy The Brink, which also stars Jack Black and Tim Robbins.
How would you describe The Brink? "It's a geopolitical disaster comedy. There are three competing storylines, and the fact that it jumps around between the three can confuse viewers a bit in the early going, but I think once you get into the rhythm of the show, it becomes easier."
You have a wide range of acting credits. What's your favourite medium? "I don't have a favourite - I love them all equally. I love theatre because the opportunity to connect with a live audience is unparalleled. I love film because it's the medium I grew up with. And I love TV for the possibilities in telling a story over the course of many episodes and even seasons; the amount of depth you can go into and the story you can tell are just exponentially greater than the two hours you have in film."
If you were doing it for real, what would you fear most while at the controls of a fighter jet; human error - or taking the wrong type of drugs (as happened in episode one)? "[Laughs] Well, I don't think taking the wrong drugs would be too fun. Having had to imagine what being on morphine would be like when trying to operate an aircraft, that definitely isn't an experience I would want to [have for real]. Being puked on from behind [which also happened in episode one] would have to come in a close second. Ejecting being another one; I've heard that doesn't feel too good, either."
Why is it important to find humour in the ridiculous? "Interesting question. I think it's of the utmost importance because oftentimes, when things become overly serious, we give them too much credit. The world we live in today is not only complicated and scary, it's ridiculous as well. A lot of decisions in foreign policy can border on the ridiculous. And to look through that lens - not being disheartened by current events but allowing them to be fodder for humour - I hope can allow us to look at [such incidents] with a more critical eye."
The Brink airs every Monday (on HBO at 10.30am and 10.30pm). The show is also available on HBO GO and HBO On Demand.