As Dr. Will Zimmerman in “Sanctuary,” Robin Dunne has been turned into a bug, submerged for long hours in a tank of freezing water, made to do an Indian dance and knocked around too many times to count.
So it’s no surprise that when Dunne directed his first episode, show boss Damian Kindler would give him a difficult assignment.
“Before the season started Damian said, 'I know what episode you're going to get. Don't worry; It's going to be great,’” Dunne said at San Diego Comic-Con in July.
“And it was a phenomenal episode, but it was huge. Huge! I'm in a lot of it. I'm playing myself [at different times]. I'm playing myself when I'm 21. There are flashbacks to Season 1. There are gunfights and all kinds of stuff. It’s enormous.”
The episode, called “Homecoming,” debuts at 9 p.m. Nov. 11 on Syfy. In it, a pair of flying abnormals comes to the Sanctuary to try to trick Magnus, Henry and Bigfoot into helping them on a shady scheme. Meanwhile, Will heads to the Liberian Sanctuary in Monrovia, where he is attacked. Temporarily blinded, Will is haunted by memories of his father (Al Sapienza).
Dunne said fans will learn more about Will’s background, which gave the actor a chance to do some deeper character work. But he couldn’t just worry about his acting this time around.
As director, he was involved in every aspect of the episode, which was written by Kindler and James Thorpe. It was daunting, but completely fulfilling. He said it was honor to have his bosses—Kindler, Martin Wood and Amanda Tapping—put that much trust in him.
“I feel like my eyes have been opened up to an amazing aspect of the business that I want to do to the end of my career,” he said, “Directing was amazing. It was such a phenomenal experience and so much fun.”