Jesse Hutch discussed his experience playing Russell Tavaroff on The CW’s Batwoman, as well as his previous experiences in the sci-fi/fantasy genres.
Canadian-born actor Jesse Hutch currently has a recurring role on The CW’s hit series Batwoman for the second season. He plays Russell Tavaroff, a former high-ranking agent of Crows Security, led by Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott). He chatted with us all about the experience, as you will see below.
Prior to landing this role, however, Jesse has appeared in a number of other fantasy-based television series, including Arrowverse sister show Arrow. Some of the other series range from Smallville, Once Upon A Time, Kyle XY and The 4400.
This interview has been condensed for length and clarity. You can listen to the full conversation on YouTube, linked below.
Welcome, Jesse and thank you for taking the time to speak with us!
Jesse Hutch (JH): Thank you for having me, good to see you.
Congratulations on landing the role of Russell Tavaroff on Batwoman. Had you seen any of Season 1 before being cast?
JH: I’d only seen a little bit of it. Did I see every episode? No. There’s so much to watch. To be honest, I have three kids and they’re quite young. If my wife and I schedule time to watch something, it’s usually quite specific and last moment.
As your character debuted in the same season as the new Batwoman, did it feel like you were stepping into a first-season show? Or was there any element of catching up?
JH: No, not at all from my perspective. It felt like the crew and cast were working together for years, they gelled quite nicely. By the time I arrived, they were already into the season as well. It felt quite natural.
Although the series now has a new Batwoman, Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie), your character has ties to the Kane family. How would you describe Tavaroff’s role in Season 2?
JH: Well, Agent Tavaroff is a Crows agent. I’m not sure where viewers are in the scope of watching the series, but things have happened. I won’t mention any of those, you’ll watch the show and catch on. He’s a Crows agent, married to his job, extremely insensitive, doesn’t really care what people think or feel. I think he’s more focused on what he believes is the right thing to do in his job. If you get in his way, he will find another way around.
It’s fairly common knowledge that comic book projects operate with a lot of secrecy. To what extent did you know about the character while in the audition process?
JH: I had a very small idea. I Googled it, of course, saw things that came up and was like, “Is this actually me? Is this real? Is this where we’re going?” I had no idea. I was intrigued by the prospect of going where the comics take this character. As far as the TV series goes, I didn’t really know what. It’s still very fluid, you just read the scripts as they come in, take that dialogue to the table and do your best work.
Batwoman isn’t your first experience in the wider Arrowverse franchise – you previously appeared on Arrow between 2013-2014. Despite sharing a continuity, have the two experiences been similar or different to each other?
JH: It feels new to me. It is a different character, I’m in a different point in my life. The last time I worked on Arrow… how many kids did I have? There was definitely less than what I have now. I’m at a totally different age and stage, as I recall of that, in my personal life. Everything feels new and different anyway. My kids are older now, my wife and I have different dreams and goals in our life.
So, now to join Batwoman and bring that into our life… we get to bring our life into Gotham City, so to speak. It’s pretty cool.
You have also worked extensively in the science-fiction/fantasy genre in shows such as Kyle XY, Smallville and Once Upon A Time. Do any of those experiences or others that weren’t mentioned stand out in your mind?
JH: I have always been so thankful. I see these different jobs and I think about them… it’s just been a really great trip. I think you always need to enjoy where you are. Be content. That’s different than not achieving your goals. I still have career goals, marital goals, goals for my children. All those things aside, I think there is something amazing about being present where you’re at.
Right now, it’s Batwoman. Being present, showing up, doing my best work and really enjoying the people that are a part of that rather than trying to think of what’s next so quick. You still have that in the back of your mind, right? I think you need to just rest in where you are, work hard.
For me, reflecting back on my career… some of those names you mentioned, I haven’t thought of those projects in a while. You sit and go, “Ah! Smallville, wow, what a time in my career that was.” It was a great experience and I was at a different level of understanding myself and the business. I had less experience so there was always room for growth. That was a stepping stone to where I am now. I’m very appreciative of it. Could I have been here without it? I don’t know.
You get into this crazy, sci-fi gamer… it’s almost like The Butterfly Effect movie, which I was in. What affects your career? What did you learn? If you were to remove one experience or memory from your life, would everything get messed up?
What would be some advice that you think more young actors should know when starting their careers?
JH: I’ve probably given up a thousand times in this business, but I’ve never quit. I do like to tell people: “You know what? You’re going to go through seasons in your life and experiences… you might give up one-hundred times, six-hundred, seven thousand, but don’t quit.” There’s a difference there, right? If you give up, that means something’s hitting you, there’s some kind of pressure. An outside circumstance that’s causing an inward emotion, or feeling. You need to deal with that.
Then, I find if you ever push through the hard stuff, there’s always something better on the other side. There’s varying degrees of hard stuff in people’s lives. Whatever is hard for you right now: maybe it’s career, maybe you lost a loved one, maybe you’re just having financial troubles, your health, I don’t know. There’s a lot of options, of course.
I guarantee, if you don’t give up, then you’ll come through it. There will be something for you to learn. You will be different. I’ve never seen anyone go through anything hard and come out the other side exactly the same. Something will change.
Outside of Batwoman, is there anything else coming up that you are able to talk about?
JH: As we say in the business, there’s some irons in the fire. Nothing has been signed on the line yet, so it’s not anything that I could announce per se. I’m sort of enjoying a rest right now. Season 2 of Batwoman, we are completed. Season 3, we’ll start soon. So, still in kind of talks and discussions about what the potential is moving forward. I do have a few other projects that are potential.
Even today, waiting for my agent to get back to me and let me know some more details of a potential job. There’s always something happening, even if nothing’s happening. There’s something happening or there’s something you can do.
Looking ahead to the rest of Batwoman Season 2, what can you tease?
JH: If anyone’s looked at the actual comic books, there’s already a bit of a tease there of what it could be. This season’s not done airing yet, so you’ve still got to watch it play out and see where it goes. I don’t know if you’ve seen any trailers for this coming weekend’s episode, I believe we are on number 17. You can see some of the pictures… there’s a photo with Agent Tavaroff in the same room as Black Mask. What does that mean? What is that gonna bring about? I’m interested to see what the viewers think of what’s coming next.
Professionally or personally, what do you hope to accomplish with the rest of 2021?
JH: I feel like there’s a lot of year left yet. And so, for me as I mentioned earlier, I’m really working on being present where I am. When I’m with my kids, really be with my kids. When I’m with my wife, really be with my wife. I can get caught up mentally, like, “Okay, I’ve got to work on this audition. Maybe this job’s going to happen or not happen.” I can kind of mentally remove myself from where I am physically. It just sucks, you know what I mean?
I really just want to be where I am and enjoy where I am. I’m realising that time and moments are very precious. Our goal as a family is to be with each other, enjoy each other. We like to create experiences as a family. We’re working on that and if we can bring that into my career as well, which is extremely important because I don’t want my family to see me like, “Oh, there’s Dad over here at work and we have no idea what that’s about.” When he’s at home, we know him here.
You can have two different personas which is not cool. I really want to have the same, I want them to know Dad. It doesn’t matter where Dad is or what Dad’s doing, I think my family should know. I hope that answers your question… more family and just loving people along the way.
Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us, Jesse. Take care and stay safe!
JH: Thank you, I really appreciate it.