The Purge series (currently a trilogy) has had an interesting life. Its central concept follows a fictional American society where one night a year, crime is entirely legal. Now, that alone is utterly horrifying to most. And even though the series’ first installment wasn’t hugely successful, that unsettling concept seemed to keep many intrigued. The sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, hit theaters a year later in 2014, and luckily struck a cord with an even bigger audience. And just recently the third film, Election Year, is currently terrifying audiences everywhere.
Besides the series’ big picture, there’s also some strong performers involved. One of the few recurring actors is Edwin Hodge, playing the character of Dante Bishop. We were first introduced to Bishop in the first film as he was being hunted by a violent purging group. Since then, the character has risen to become a revolutionary figure during the big annual event. The development that Bishop takes is definitely one of the strongest parts of the series, particularly because of Hodge’s strong performance. In a phone interview with Collider, the actor discussed the evolution of both his character and the entire series. He was first asked about what it was like taking the role back in 2013. Even though it wasn’t clear if it would be more than just one film at first, it was nevertheless a wonderful part to play.
…To be honest with you, when I signed on for this role, I was just so intrigued by this character, in the sense that, in the first film, he has so much strength, but he didn’t really have to say anything. A lot of it was done through his eyes and his actions. For me, that showed a certain strength and quality within him that I feel a lot of people need to have. You don’t have to be the guy who is reckless and dangerous and who causes turmoil for other people. You can find a way and a solution to help those who need it. The situation in the first film turned quickly for the family. This guy who they were once trying to put back on the street became the guy who was trying to protect them. We can choose to protect one another.
Even if the series hasn’t ever received universal praise, it still has a lot more hidden underneath than many of its counterparts. Considering that the United States is in a state of severe confusion and worry, The Purge: Election Year adds a unique spin on the political world. Hodge went on to describe his view on how the series has integrated real-world situations into its wild stories.
Yes and no. The optimistic side of me hopes that the majority of people look at what’s going on in politics today and in the world, in general, and just say, ‘We’ve had enough.’ We have to stop all of the fighting and talking without listening and find a sense of compromise. It’s very evident that it could possibly happen. No matter what your political views are, we’re in a very dangerous state of politics. The more we preach hatred, division and putting up a wall, the less we progress. That’s just my opinion.
Some may not agree with how The Purge series shows its colors, but it’s no doubt an important one in the big scheme of things. And a strong character like Dante Bishop is one that could help influence Hollywood’s future ventures in doing more vividly realistic stories like what this series possesses. And lastly, remember to enjoy the purge, everyone.
The Purge: Election Year is currently playing in theaters.