We are delighted to be able to connect Nathan with his fans, and he has very kindly taken time away from preparation for the 39 Steps in Adelaide, agreeing to answer some of your questions in an exclusive online interview.
Our community has suggested a myriad of plot lines for an MFMM movie, most of which include Jack crossing the globe in pursuit of Phryne. If you could choose any country to which you have not yet travelled as a filming location, which would you choose and why?
We had this discussion at a production meeting once and I threw in Vietnam. I think it’s in keeping with the novels but a little to the left of centre.
What influences you the most when you take on a role?
A combination of what I can offer, who the creative team are and does it scare me.
Latte or Corretto?
From @FoxSpirit1928 :
We know that you are multi-talented (cycling, acting, voice acting, singing, dancing, gardening, raising chooks…). Is there anything you tried but had to admit that you were just not particularly good at?
I can cook too….! I’m no good at being idle. You’ll never catch me at a shopping mall (verging on phobia) so I’ve limited shopping capabilities.And my multi tasking leaves much to be desired.
Through your interviews, we learned that you had been to many countries during your cycling days. Is there a country/place you really would like to visit someday (for professional or personal reasons)?
I’d like to spend time exploring South East Asia/India with my family at some point.
From your posts on Instagram, you love to read. What literary character would you like to bring to life from any time or genres?
There are so many wonderful novels being written that it’s hard to choose. In that sense I don’t feel obliged to classics or the past. I do love a thriller though and the Bourne series would’ve been my recent choice (Damon does it brilliantly).
If you could have any job in the world what would you like to do, and what job would you hate to do?
I’ve always had a quiet place in my heart for understanding and observing nature. And I love the remoteness so in that sense gardening on some level works for me. Form has always sparked my interest and I love looking at buildings of all sorts including interiors so there’s that architectural element. I always, since a young boy, wanted to be a sniper but Bradley Cooper nailed that character so perfectly. Worst job….Definitely ambulance. There’s a reason the suicide rate in ambo’s is 4x higher than any other profession. They see what you shouldn’t see and there’s no coming back from that.
When you get a role like Richard Hannay or Jack Robinson or Vinnie in The Distance, what sorts of things do you do to prepare for the role?
Firstly I remind myself to be brave when I’m scared and to be receptive when I want to shut down emotionally. A positive mantra goes a long way when self doubt creeps in.
Secondly I keep myself very fit at all times so as to approach the role from a neutral physical platform. To me physical presence is a primary colour on the palette and I want to exploit this as much or as little as is required.
Then it’s all about the story and how to contribute to its unique voice.
Was the Jack lean something you created for the character or something that just evolved as the filming process continued?
I wanted to find classic shapes, montages for his postures. I wanted to find a relaxed physicality to a more rigid personality.
How do you think Jack sees Phryne?
In three words: intelligent, impulsive, untameable.
Of all the characters you’ve played, on stage or screen, who has resonated with you the most? Are there any that have stayed with you longer than others?
The residue of some characters, stories linger longer than others but they all tend to evaporate relatively rapidly. So there’s no single stand out. It feels more of a constantly transient landscape.
Can you describe the challenges of working in theatre versus the challenges of TV?
TV is fast, start/stop like in nature and with loads of downtime. But when you’re on you’re on. Locations present challenges not always in your control. Rehearsal is relatively non-existent. The team is big and there are many hands on deck striving for cohesion. Scenes are more often than not shot out of sequence and the brain has to process information at a faster rate. In the end there’s an editor to make you look less like a prat.
Theatre has a 3- to 4-week rehearsal, the first of those usually at the table dissecting the story. The process is usually more gradual and sequential….usually. In the end there’s no safety net.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries has been lauded as a feminist, woman-led program, and Essie’s Phryne Fisher is everything that a male lead has been in so many programs in the past. How does it feel to be a part of a dynamic like that?
It’s about bloody time women characters take the lead roles. I just hope I live to see the day when they take over politics entirely.
You appear to be an avid reader—if you could pick a book to bring to the screen, for yourself or for your family, what would it be and what role would you want to play in its creation?
Hard one but I’ll never forget my mum reading my brother and me ‘The Faraway Tree’ while we were tucked up in bed. Hard to beat that. If I can do 10% of what mum did for us with my own lads I’ll die a happy man.
From The PirArt Girls of Collingwood:
Pablo Picasso or Jackson Pollack – Whose art would you hang in your own home, and why?
Caravaggio for his use of chiaroscuro (which I love exploring within my own art form) and Giacometti for the fragile aura that courses around his subjects.
Acting involves locations and periods of time away from home, away from family, away from your young boys. How do prioritise what’s important? (How do you balance the personal and professional?)
Most actors struggle with the crippling effects of unemployment and I’m certainly no exception. If that’s not hard enough, just add a young family to the mix. As opportunistic as I have to be in my career, so too in my family life.
I guess it’s about making the most of any downtime, with loved ones, in the knowledge that things can change drastically and usually at short notice.
How would your best friend/partner describe you?
Like a dog that needs to be walked often.
Photo © Sam McAdam-Cooper.