Communicating non-verbally is a tough job for any actor, but watching Touch’s David Mazouz, you’d never believe it. As Jake, the son of Kiefer Sutherland’s Martin, Mazouz impressively commands our eyes (and our attention) each week without speaking a word of dialogue. In the midst of an explosive second season, we spoke exclusively with Mazouz about what’s coming up for Jake and what it’s like to play such an engaging and interesting character.
Acting without words is incredibly tough for anyone, much less a young actor. I commend you for impressively pulling it off. Do you find it difficult at times?
“Speaking with no words – or acting with no words – at times, it’s difficult. But it’s easier than speaking with words, because I have to show what I’m feeling and thinking with my facial expressions and actions and reactions. But I don’t have to memorize any lines, which is an upside. So it’s more difficult in some ways and easier in others.”
Has it been hard to develop the character of Jake, given your interaction with other members of the cast is primarily non-verbal?
“Not really. In the show, when Jake’s focusing on something, I’m focusing on what he’s focusing on. So Jake is still as human as anyone else.”
What is it like working with Kiefer as your father? Was there ever a point where you found yourself intimidated?
“Kiefer’s such a nice guy, I really couldn’t imagine being intimidated! [Laughs] “He’s always cracking a joke, and while we’re shooting and in between takes, everyone on set is telling jokes and stories.”
What response have you seen in regards to your character and the show itself?
“A lot of people who have relatives or who know someone like me, they always come up and say, ‘I know this person who is also disabled, and you play that really well.’ And the relationship between Jake and Martin is a relationship a lot of people have, so a lot of people can relate.*”
Without giving anything away, are you excited for the audience to see what’s in store for Jake and Martin this season?
“I really am. I think that the storyline becomes a lot more suspenseful, and there’s a lot more action. I’m really exited to see Jake evolve. He becomes closer with Martin, and he does a lot of things he would have never done the beginning of the first season so I’m really excited about that.”
Did the writers/showrunners give you any hints as to where your character will end up at the end of the season?
“I don’t really know much. I know the direction Jake is heading, but I don’t know where he’ll stand next season.”
Is it easier having already done a season of the show, now that you know what to expect?
“Definitely. Because I know the cast and crew and I already have a relationship with everyone. I already know who Jake is, and I developed physical behaviors over the course of the first season that have made the second season a lot easier.”
*David’s mother shared a story about a NY Times critic who recently wrote a review of the show. The critic sent a lovely letter about his daughter, who has a disease called Retts Syndrome, and talked about how Mazouz really captured the relationship he has with her.
Touch airs Fridays at 9/8c on FOX.