We’re celebrating the latest events on For All Mankind Season 3 with an exclusive interview with Casey W. Johnson.
Johnson plays Danny, the troubled oldest son of heroes, Gordo and Tracy Stevens. Going to Mars hasn’t done Danny any favors.
We jumped on the phone with Johnson to talk all about FAM’s baddest boy. Enjoy.
Casey, Danny has been a really bad boy.
First of all, he had an affair with Karen, and he can’t let her go, even after getting married himself. How has that been haunting him?
Yeah, I think Karen’s Danny’s first love, and it’s such a pivotal moment in his life. He not only experiences a heartbreak, but he experiences a tragedy of losing his parents. And there’s also losing Shane at such a young age.
I think there’s just so much confusion and build up of just not knowing what to do.
And he’s just still drawn to Karen. So I don’t know if he knows how to understand why he is. And I think that leads to the things that are happening.
He’s been floundering all season, and it seems like he got the substance abuse gene from his parents. After getting kicked off the NASA mission, he got a second chance with Ed.
And I’m wondering, from your perspective, what has his relationship with Ed been like before this mission, and in the wake of his parents death?
Yeah, in my mind, I imagine that it’s just been, he stays away. Danny stays away from that. I don’t think there’s any sort of real resentment until things start to build up and emotions get heavy and Danny starts to feel the isolation and all of these things start to pick up.
But I think beforehand, he’s sort of always had some sort of resentment towards Ed. Just personally because of Shane and maybe blaming a little bit of Ed’s strong hand or strictness on playing a part in Shane’s tragic accident.
So I think there’s always sort of been that in his mind. But I think, for the most part, they get along, and he’s someone in his life and sort of a part of his family.
And you mentioned that could be the isolation that gets to him once they’re on Mars. Is that it? What drove him to the edge from what you can see?
From my perspective, there’s so much. And Danny’s dealt with so many tragedies in his life. And again, at the pivotal moment in his life, he’s dealt with these things.
As a young child, he dealt with Shane and then as a young adult, he’s now dealt with the loss of his parents and not knowing where to go and not really having parents to be able to ask and be like, “Hey, I’m struggling”.
And so, maybe he just has all this pent-up sadness and confusion in his life that [has made it] very difficult for Danny over the last decade, not to mention the last two decades. Life has weighed quite heavy on him.
I think the isolation adds to it, and then there’s his addictive personality adding to a bit of it. So there’s just a lot of complexity that led Danny to do the things that end up happening.
I have to tell you crushing that mechanical puppy was heartbreaking.
Yeah. Yeah, that was sad.
The look on Nick’s face was just heartbreaking. I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like to film that. It’s just so symbolic of where Danny’s at. And right after that, he kind of abandons the controls when they really need him the most.
Is that because of the massive handful of pills that he took, or do you think that was bubbling under the surface and going to come out eventually anyway?
It’s hard. It’s hard to say. I became so close to Danny, and I can only imagine in my own life, hopefully, I’d never do something like that. But he’s so lost and confused. And then, on top of that, the opioids are taking over.
In my mind, his brain just sort of malfunctions and just is idling on not knowing anything. And it’s just there. And then something terrible happens as a result of his bad behavior.
But yeah, Danny’s not an evil guy or anything like that. I just think so much is happening, and it’s all happening so fast. It’s a very fast paced show. So, yeah.
Danny and Ed got to hash things out while they were waiting to be rescued. And like you said, there’s almost two decades worth of pent-up frustration that Danny got to get off of his chest.
How do you think that will help him going forward as he has to deal with the repercussions of what he’s done, whether he’s discovered or whether he just has to live with it internally?
It’s going to be exciting to see. He’s going to have to deal with all of the consequences that are caused as a result of his actions. So it’ll definitely be an exciting thing to see how Danny’s going to deal with all of it.
What can you tease about the final two episodes. What’s his state of mind?
I think it’s finally he’s going to have to deal with all of the consequences that are coming towards him, which will lead to a lot of sadness and guilt and all the emotions that he’s already been feeling. And now he’s really going to have to face them.
For All Mankind Season 3 continues on Apple TV+ with a new episode this Friday.
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.