With the new NBC series “The Cape,” actor James Frain is starting off the new year in villainy — but that’s a familiar mode for the 42-year-old British actor after his leering bloodsucker work on “True Blood” and digital henchman duty in “Tron: Legacy.”

Frain was a scene-stealer on “True Blood” as the depraved, unhinged vampire Franklin Mott and he brought a sinister, sycophantic vibe to the “Tron”sequel as Jarvis, the evil underling who tries to curry favor with the film’s bad guy, CLU, even as he plots his own path to power. Now, with the Sunday night premiere of “The Cape,” the actor takes on a full-blown super-villain as Chess — a billionaire by day, psychotic killer by night.

“It’s a sophisticated idea of someone who doesn’t have superpowers but has a very focused strategy,” Frain said of Chess, who is a master strategist and manipulator and, like a grandmaster, is continually searching for his next great opponent.

Frain’s character and his machinations are the starting point of the show’s new superhero mythology — it’s Chess who plots to frame police detective Vince Faraday (played by Aussie actor David Lyons) as a murderer, leading to the cop’s disgrace, “death” and decision to become the mysterious vigilante known as the Cape. The Cape has (you guessed it) a memorable and multi-functional cape while Chess wears a body-suit costume as well as some creepy contact lenses with pupils shaped like chess pieces. Frain got a kick out of the reaction his look got from cast and crew on the set.


James Frain will be starring in a new show tonight on NBC named”The Cape.” It is a 2-hour episode and will begin at 9:00 pm EST.

This TV Guide article is a few weeks old, but it cracks me up to see our Franklin dressed up as a cowboy.


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