Devin Ratray Is Ready to Know Who Killed Olivia Lake
HBO: What was your experience watching the final product for the first time?
Devin Ratray: I had pictured it in my head while filming, and it was almost exactly what I envisioned. It’s so remarkably simple. Yet, I guess the best ideas are. You think, why hasn’t this been done before? Of course, light bulb, it’s so obvious. I was tremendously excited to see the story from the other character’s perspectives. I wanted to know who the fuck the killer was, and I wanted to find out the rest of the damn plot!
HBO: With so many storylines in different silos, what was the dynamic like between actors on set?
Devin Ratray: Jennifer [Ferrin] and I would go from arguing on camera, me telling her to get away and stay away, and then off set we’re making videos with Garrett [Hedlund] to Adele songs. I had a blast sweating and crying. I never got to work with Sharon Stone, because in the story I’m only supposed to investigate her death. But Sharon Stone is this legendary actress, so investigating her character as this legendary author – there was very little acting involved in the mystique around her. Unfortunately, I had to work with Garrett. You know, I still have to deal with him and his phone calls late at night: “Where are you?” “You up?” “What you do?” It is rough.
This opportunity landed in my lap. It’s the phone call you never expect you’re going to get. This lottery phone call. I became steadfast friends with several people.
HBO: While filming, did you have a sense this was going to be different from other murder mysteries?
Devin Ratray: Steven was particularly protective, almost playfully secretive about it. There was a C-stand with two green screens that just appeared on set one day. And I said, “What’s this?” Steven rather playfully and coyly was like, “I don't know. What is it?” I figured it out: It was to capture when the camera pans down in the app and offers options for which character to follow. But Steven did not say anything about it. And during the take there’s a fucking C-stand in the room with two large pieces of green felt. And he’s rolling and I’m like, “I think the C-stand’s in the way, Steven. I think there’s something obstructing.” [Laughs]
HBO: Nate declares he’s responsible for ensuring “justice is served”— not merely that “security is maintained.” The thing is, he follows all the physical evidence, but it doesn’t lead to the truth.
Devin Ratray: I saw Nate as the moral compass of the film, without an ulterior motive, or at least with the least ulterior motive. He’s trying to justify himself in his new position as police chief and prove himself to Beau Bridges’ character, but he doesn’t have a lot to hide. Every other character does. Everybody has these secrets, and Nate lays everything out on the table. He doesn’t really know how to hide. He doesn’t even know how to wear flattering clothes to hide his excess girth. And he doesn’t know how to play politics. Ultimately, that blinds him. He sees one thing, one perspective. He has tunnel-vision for this one idea, and Mosaic is truly about being able seeing other people’s perspectives.
HBO: What makes Mosaic unique from other murder mysteries?
Devin Ratray: Well, I really do have to incorporate the app in this. The viewer is able to navigate perspectives and see other stories. Ed Solomon had to write a world that spans four years. And he had to write characters for four years. He encapsulated everything. Ed Solomon’s writing is something we have not seen. The viewer inhabits the characters’ lives. You’re not a spectator at a gore-fest. You are actively involved in the story. You are trying to figure it out as well, and you are frustrated at points and may not reach the right conclusions. Mosaic engages the will of the audience, rather than have them sit back and let a story spin out for them.