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Gethin Anthony – Aquarius

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Gethin Anthony – Aquarius

Post by sir on Tue 26 May - 10:52

Q) What was it about the premise of the show in general and about your character in particular that turns you on? Why do you want to be part of it?

A) I think my first and strongest was – reaction was to reading the script from a Saturday morning back in London last year was I got really strong reactions to the authenticity of the dialogue that had been written for the Manson character and the characters around him in that world. I was aware somewhat of that era of history in U.S. history, but it felt – (John’s) dialogue was really authentic for me and so it made me want to dig deeper into understanding the late 60s. And, yes, I think that excitement they could have the courage to make a show about sort of such sensitive subject matter with authenticity excites me.

Q) I’m curious kind of how much research and preparation you did into Manson before you took on the role?

A) When I first got the script I was aware that the process of being cast would probably be about a month or maybe a bit longer so all the while I started to read the biographies that are available. One of the useful things about playing such a notorious man is that there’s a wealth of information out there and I am – so I could have almost got sort of snowed under with reading and watching, but it really became about listening to his voice was a very helpful thing that I did. There’s an interview that he did with a studio engineer in 1967 before he was a part of the crimes and imprisons. That I found very useful to take me back to the point in the story – of the history rather that we – that our stories take place. So, yes, it was close listening to his voice. And, also we got once I was into the role we got like a college reading list from our show manager John McNamara. It was a big old list of books and films and music to listen to which is probably the most fun bit. Actually all of it was fascinating, but the music of the era is just fantastic if you haven’t do so. Yes.

Q) I was wondering after playing him do you have an explanation why people gravitated to him so much?

A) I think that having done the research that I did there – increasingly I understood why that might have been the case. I don’t claim to know if there was, you know, the silver bullet of understanding why these young women were drawn to him, but I think there are a few key factors. One of the few books that mentioned and said he has read is how to make friends and influence people. That is something he read in prison. He claims to have listened to pimps in prison as a way of understanding how they got their way with presumably mostly women, but basically control people from there on end. He describes in (Berkeley) in his own word is his kind of schooling in a way. And so he obviously was actively sort of engaging in how to influence other people. It’s way before any of the crimes took place. And he was a man who was out of prison at a time when there were a lot of – there was a lot of liberation in the air with around young people and a lot of young impressionable minds out and about meeting new people with this feeling of liberation. So, yes, I think it was kind of a perfect cocktail of circumstance really.

Q) What do you say to the critics who feel that Aquarius is glorifying the Manson family murder?

A) Well, the first thing I would say about that is we’re not – certainly not in this season we’re not depicting that. That is not the story that – it should be clear that Aquarius is really about a policemen in the late 60s. It’s not about Charles Manson. The story is about David’s character and a lot of the – and everything else that was going on in Los Angeles and the United States in the late 60s. There’s huge story lines about civil rights. I mean, about – the sort of (a way of) the feminism that was coming at that time. Young people. There’s a theme with this young person’s curfew right going on in LA. So there’s a lot going on. And as in history Manson sort of pulled himself to the attention of people by his actions and similarly in our story that is necessarily the case. The extremity of his actions pulls himself into the – in that way the character pulls himself into the spotlight. And I think we’ve been very careful about not glamorizing (him).

Q) Beyond the intrigue of the Mason Family, like you said Aquarius is really about a look at the life styles and the struggles of the 1960s. Now obviously as an 80s child how was it to sort of immerse yourself in that decade? And do you think that you would have liked to have lived through that time having played the character of it?

A) That’s a great question. I do wonder that. I can tell you very easily that I’m not a big fan of flared trousers. It was really – yes, I mean, music is such a useful thing. I mean, you know, (rich kids) talks about using music to get into certain kind of mood when you write. I started listening. I actually bought a – yes, I bought a vinyl (set) in my trailer and vinyl from a beauty shop so kind of like – so I was listening to the Beatles in vinyl. And actually I’m a big fan of (Afro) music anyway. Yes, so, doing things like that and then – and also, you know, it’s like with any period drama is you got fantastic costumes in the set working which we absolutely did, it really helps you do that. This is beyond what’s sort of the reading around the kind of – even just reading off topic books like studio and sort of that studio system back then which is just fascinating to those looking for LA at the time. And watching a couple of movies it’s also like building enough material around it. But it was a challenge to reset some or trying to get into a – some of the attitudes and perspectives and that was a learning experience. It’s something I’m – I hope to continue to do to try deepen that understanding. And just the end question, would I have liked to live through it. Yes, probably I would have actually. I think I actually would have. Just a bit right (somewhat).

Q) How do you get into place mentally to portray the character? And in what aspects of what you learned about Charles Manson have you pulled in to influence your performance?

A) That’s a really good question. I think the main thing I did was to learn about his – how he was brought up and how he grew up. Actually what I mean with brought up, how he grew up in institutions around the country, at a prison-like institutions throughout his life and educating myself about how human being who, born as a human being can get to a position in their life where they are viewed so publicly as some kind of – almost a mythological villain really. So, for me, it was really important to go about and try and understand as much as possible about – and learn more facts factually or anecdotally what he had – what his life was like. And there are some surprises in there. I mean, anyone can read – I mean, there’s lots of information out there, but the biography is about his life up until the age of 21 I found fascinating. And no doubt helped me be able to justify the actions as any actors and (soldiers) are obliged to do. And then there’s sort of – we are telling a fictionalized version of the late 60s and of – indeed the story which is based in true events, but we fictionalized it for more specific reasons, which the show writers can explain, but then it was just about connecting to the stories that we were telling and the specificity of that. So, yes. So that was kind of a gullible response.

Q) With your role in Game of Thrones, the journey from that part all the way to this part, how did that happen? How do you run about the role for Aquarius coming from Game of Thrones?

A) That’s a really good question. I mean, obviously Game of Thrones was a huge privilege of – a thing to be a part of so I was very grateful for the opportunity and (Finn) and I are both are very excited about the story lines and sort of what actually we could bring to them. And beyond that – you start to get a few opportunities to get into a few different ones and I – one off the chart an Indie movie in Copenhagen. I went back to the role of Shakespeare Company to do a season there doing some Russian and German theater at the role of Shakespeare Company. And then along the way, you know, you’re going for a bunch of things and I have the opportunity to come out to the U.S. and meet people working here, work with me, and they brought thus opportunity to me. And, yes, I guess it was one of those situations where I was able – at that time was able to really engage in the material and process of bringing an audition tape. And I was very lucky to have very good friends and help me make kind of the best audition tape I could possibly imagine because I really thought that I wanted to engage in the challenges of playing this character. So, yes.

Q) Have you ever thought about and mixed or maybe toyed with the idea of actually corresponding with Charles Manson and have you contemplated whether or not you would ever hear from him after playing this role?

A) I can answer the second question very (seriously). No I haven’t really contemplated that, (pushing) people aside. I really haven’t thought about that. The first question I did. It’s something I – I very seriously thought through the implications and thoughts and very sage advice about that because as an actor (especially) I sort of aspire to, you know, being able to transform in my performances and be as authentic as I can. And with each opportunity you have to access the pros and cons. And this one I (turn) to the conclusion along with good advice from people. I think that – and in trying to contact him I don’t think it would serve either party. And not me because if I can meet him in 1966 or ’67 that would be useful. Meeting him at the end of his life when – and he’s been incarcerated for most of it, I don’t think it would serve me in any particular or rather performance for the show and I certainly don’t think it would serve him as an individual. So I, yeah that’s not something I pursued.

Q) I was just wondering if you’ve sort of, pondered the notion that all actors I think it’s their job to sort of convince viewers to come along for the ride, immerse themselves in this character and believe this character. And there’s kind of a connection in a way to Charles Manson’s ability to sort of influence people and get them to come along for the ride. Do you think there is like sort of an actor kind of actor buried somewhere in Charles Manson? And I don’t want to say that all actors are one step away from being Charles,Manson, but if you want to suggest that I’d be glad to listen.

A) No, no, no. Yes, no. So as it occur to me to what extent people manipulate their – I don’t know, their performances in life to what ends and I think actually that the further along in this game you go in – I still go to class and I’m still trying to learn something, I’ve been doing this for a lot longer than I have. There is an honesty – there’s a truth to be pursued by an honesty (in our space) which however you want to put that. But that said, Charles – yes, as an actor especially, you know, coming from a theatrical background and playing around and I think I got this game because I used to show off when I was a kid, you know, like I think there’s an element of a playfulness and I think actually quite useful from its connector because, again, we’re telling the story of him when he was at Liberty, he was out, he was in his element and so to connect with the playful nature of performance was very useful for me at some point in the series. And also, it’s to understand about him. He, again, in one of the biographies it talks about his adoption of a performance, basically playing crazy in certain prison situations in order to get himself out of violent situations because he wasn’t the biggest fellow in the world and so that was a part of his sort of toolbox of tricks, was to play crazy and talks about it. So, yes, and there’s – yes, so, yes, I suppose I’m not level but there is definitely performance element to it yes.

Q) What was the most surprising thing to you that you really didn’t anticipate going into this project that happened? It could be a scene, it could be a moment. Just something that really caught you off guard while you were in production.

A) I can tell you about the very first Monday I walked in the set and some – one of the producers – I think it was suggesting when the actors had organized for a (shaman) to – I guess I think the word would be bless, but I’m not sure, but to sort of clear my aura in my (term). And it’s not an experience I’ve had at all since – but the woman had performed – the (shaman) and it was very lovely and essentially just a very nice work so I appreciate that. But I saw (wonder) like this is great. I mean, it’s really sweet that someone thought to do this and apparently they’ve done it for the whole set and all the cast and crew and everyone. Just sort of remove any bad energy from our production which was a nice thing to do and I thought vary on topics. The only thing is, because no one mentioned it, what do we expect to get? And I thought of, what’s going to happen? Yes, I’m part in that. And there were some scenes later on in the series which I don’t really want to spoil, but – and there’s some interesting family relationship. And with family I don’t mean Mason family, but I mean real family for all the characters. There’s sort of true family drama for every character like kicks in at the end of the show and I think that was pretty challenging for all the actors to get involved in so (very exciting).

Q) How much interaction can we expect to see from your character and David’s character, Sam, in the first season and what’s your experience like working with David?

A) Great question. Obviously I don’t want to spoil it too much, but – and I don’t think it doesn’t spoil too much to say yes we have some interaction, but not – he’s got a whole of other stuff to be dealing with in his character, so – but there is some interaction in the first season. And having met David sort of not just working way of filming but also around the set and around the (bat), I mean, he’s – I hugely look up to him growing up and still do as an actor so – but he’s just a generous and lovely, very professional presence and a heck of a leader on the set so it’s kind of – yes, it’s very nice to be around. I think I’ve been very lucky in my work to sort of see the work with some fantastic professionals and from – and I definitely count him in the top sort of that league. So, yes.

Q) When you were first offering audition for the role, was there ever any hesitation or concern with stepping in to portray such a well-known and notorious individual such as Charles Manson?

A) I guess eight, nine months of where we at — maybe a year now — I guess I’d be lying if I say there wasn’t at some point at all like, oh, is this a weird place to be getting into, I guess. But, when I first said, when I first got the role I mean, what I did do was actually want to learn a little about the project and how it’s going to be executed from (John) the show runner and he is such a fantastic writer and, again, leader of the show. I guess that side of it never really came into my sort of presence at all. It was more about getting excited about how they were going to shoot it. So it looks like authentic (people) from the 60s and things like that. I haven’t in my mind haven’t sort of addressed it towards that, but yes, I mean, you do think about what went – his life pops up in the news because he really is present in a lot of people’s mind. And also it’s also very sensitive to those – I’m more concerned about the people who were affected by the crimes rather than the people who are committing them if you see what I mean.

Q) Since you’re playing Manson as he’s trying to be a rock star, will we get to hear you sing and will he be hanging around the Beach Boys at this point?

A) Very good question. A really good question. So, yes, you will hear Charles sing because that – in our story that’s basically what he’s done. He’s just trying to get record deals. Just a guy who spent some time in prison and is looking for a record deal and he goes about that particular quest with some very unconventional methods. But yes, you will hear the character sing. And I had to learn to play guitar to play the role as well which is – yes, initially a bit of a – probably unfair on the neighbors, but I can sort of throw a few chords together now, so I’m getting a bit better. But, yes, you’ll absolutely hear him sing and that. In history we’re sort of not quite near where he was interacting with any famous pop stars yet. So not in this series. But he’s absolutely doing the things that was recorded in old biographies that he was communicating and we’ve record executives and meeting them to sort of (by ways), but not yet.

Q) . I was just curious. Is it your voice? You talked about playing the guitar. Are you singing?

A) Yes. It’s me singing. And me playing some of it.

Q) I want to ask you about a specific scene, you’d say stunt work involved in. I want to say the fight scene between you and David, but it’s more one-sided, but can you talk about that at all?

A) Yes. That was extraordinary. And I think it’s a nice shoot. The good thing is, (Justin and the rest of the) staff was so fantastic and gives you confidence that it was kind of just fun. I kind of really enjoy anything physical that you get (to do on camera) because it’s kind of (cathartic). A lot of time you’re in close up and your body doesn’t get to express it very much. In that case, I mean, David is an absolute (partner) and to work with so we’re just kind of, yes, it was allowing myself to be a rag doll and just kind of going with the writer. I guess I was that kid like in high school – second year school as we call it back in U.K. when we did like any kind of fight, you’ll be the one making all the noises. And that for (a little bit of) reason by actually getting to speak it might actually get you to speak those noises is kind of fun. I don’t know why I like that, but I think the hit noise. And so, that’s why I really have to do with those huge, (just be) trying authentic to be, would be really harmed. And the cool thing about that was getting off the prosthetic. Steve Bell did some of the prosthetic work on that. The main piece I think he did it 23 minutes flat. From like just me looking like me to the end of that (scene) was – a piece of prosthetics is genius. And so, that was a fun evening, but it was a long night. And I think I showered five times to get all the gunk and dust out of my (bodily hair).

Q) Like you said Aquarius sort of takes place a couple of years before the crime you said Manson is best known for. If the series does so well and they bring it back, do you think that they’ll eventually take on the Tate-LaBianca murders or do you think they’ll be more continuing to stay in Los Angeles of the 60s type of thing?

A) Well I think if we continue to make the show over say a few years, let’s say, that we have that kind of response from our audience which we really hope it will, then I think it would be impossible to get through to the end of the 60s like through to the 70s if you’re at least considered within the story line. Whether that’s detailed how that would be if that would be depicted is definite but not necessarily a necessary thing because part of – especially my – having come here from London I’m struck by how vivid that atmosphere is in the memories of people who live throughout the city. And the story is about LA. It doesn’t necessarily mean we have to be (one thing) on that evening necessarily visually, but we can – the response to everything around it could very well be a part of our story later on. its strange how we get that.

Q) I was curious, going into kind of such a character that is kind of bad that we think – for lack of a better way to put it, was it hard kind of moving away from that darkness after you’re done filming the scenes like was there something you did to kind of step back from that?

A) Watch Disney movies. No. Funny enough that was actually the real challenge with this, was figuring out how to let go of it a little bit. And mainly because it was a performance that I had to sustain over an extended period of time where it wasn’t – I was sort of working seven – six days a week. I was working a few days a week and so I had to figure out a way of sort of balancing it, I guess. But I mean, I didn’t do that very well. I think I was probably the only person in LA who is on their own on Halloween this year. Like I just wasn’t that interested in going out being (spooked) or spooking because (I get enough of that) work. But, yes, I mean, I just sort of kept playing guitar and trying to find less intense elements and immersing myself in that world and listening to the kind of my style of the music and getting stuff like that. But, yes, apart from that, I mean yes, I think (I did employ) Finding Nemo went to play.


Thank you Maria!
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Re: Gethin Anthony – Aquarius

Post by jade1013 on Tue 26 May - 11:18

Credit to original photographer, poster, scanner, site & anyone I may have missed in between

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