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Gethin Anthony Talks Playing Charles Manson on NBC’s AQUARIUS

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Gethin Anthony Talks Playing Charles Manson on NBC’s AQUARIUS

Post by jade1013 on Fri 29 May - 10:33

Gethin Anthony Talks Playing Charles Manson on NBC’s AQUARIUS

5/28/15 4:18 PM by Derek Anderson



In NBC's 1960s-set thriller, Aquarius, Gethin Anthony (Game of Thrones) plays Charles Manson, and with Aquarius premiering tonight, we participated in an interview call with Anthony, who discussed portraying Manson, working with David Duchovny, and more.

Anthony on what drew him to the series and the role of Charles Manson:

Gethin Anthony: My first and strongest reaction 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 [John McNamara's] dialogue was really authentic and it made me want to dig deeper into understanding the late ’60s. [That] they could have the courage to make a show about such sensitive subject matter with authenticity excites me.

On the research he did prior to playing Manson:

Gethin Anthony: 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, so I could have almost got sort of snowed under with reading and watching, but it really became about listening to his voice, [that] 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 in prisons that I found very useful to take me back to the point in the story - of the history rather - that our stories take place [in].

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.

On why he thinks people gravitated towards Manson in real life:

Gethin Anthony: Having done the research that I did, 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.

How to Win Friends and Influence People 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 [of] people.

He was a man who was out of prison at a time when there was a lot of liberation in the air with 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.

On the show's avoidance of glamorizing the Manson family murders

Gethin Anthony: Well, the first thing I would say about that is we're not - certainly not in this season - depicting that. It should be clear that Aquarius is really about a policeman in the late ’60s. It's not about Charles Manson. The story is about David [Duchovny's] character and everything else that was going on in Los Angeles and the United States in the late ’60s. There are huge story lines about civil rights, about the feminism that was coming at that time. Young people. There's a theme with this, you know, young person's curfew going on in L.A. 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 the case. The extremity of his actions pulls himself into the spotlight. And I think we've been very careful about not glamorizing [him].

On immersing himself in the culture of the late ’60s and whether or not he would want to live in that era:

Gethin Anthony: I can tell you that I'm not a big fan of flared trousers. I actually bought a vinyl [set] in my trailer and so I was listening to the Beatles on vinyl. Doing things like that and like with any period drama, you've got fantastic costumes in the set, which we absolutely did, it really helps you do that

It was a challenge to get into some of the attitudes and perspectives and that was a learning experience. It's something I hope to continue to do, you know, to try to deepen that understanding.

Would I have liked to live through it? Yes, probably, I would have, actually. Just a bit.

On what he learned about Manson that influenced his performance:

Gethin Anthony: I think the main thing I did was to learn about 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 prison-like institutions throughout his life and educating myself about how a human being can get to a position in their life where they are viewed so publicly as almost a mythological villain, really.

So, for me, it was really important to try and understand as much as possible about what his life was like. And there are some surprises in there. I mean, anyone can read [about it], there's lots of information out there, but the biography about his life up until the age of 21, I found fascinating. And [it] no doubt helped me be able to justify the actions as any actors are obliged to do.

We are telling a fictionalized version of the late ’60s. Indeed, the story is based on 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.

On whether or not he contacted Manson in real life prior to playing him on Aquarius:

Gethin Anthony: I very seriously thought through the implications [of doing that] and sought some very sage advice about that, because as an actor I sort of aspire 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 [came] to the conclusion along with good advice from people that 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 he's been incarcerated for most of it, I don't think it would serve me in any performance for the show and I certainly don't think it would serve him as an individual. So that’s not something I pursued.

On how much interaction we can expect to see between Manson and David Duchovny's character, Sam, in the first season and what it was like working with Duchovny: 

Gethin Anthony: Obviously I don't want to spoil it too much, but yes, we have some interaction, but he's got a whole lot of other stuff to be dealing with in his character, but there is some interaction in the first season.

I hugely looked up to him growing up and still do as an actor. He's just a generous and lovely, very professional presence and a heck of a leader on the set so [he's] very nice to be around. I've been very lucky to work with some fantastic professionals and I definitely count him in the top of that league.

Anthony on singing as Manson in the first season and whether or not we'll see Manson hanging around the Beach Boys in the show:

Gethin Anthony: Yes, you will hear Charles sing because 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 was probably unfair on the neighbors, but I can sort of throw a few chords together now, so I’m getting a bit better.

In history, we're sort of not quite near where he was interacting with any famous pop stars yet. So not in this series.

On filming a key fight scene with Duchovny:

Gethin Anthony: That was extraordinary. It's a nice shoot. You know, the good thing is, [Justin and the rest of the] staff were so fantastic and give you confidence that, you know, it was kind of just fun. I really enjoy anything physical that you get [to do on camera] because it's kind of cathartic. You know, 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 to work with, so it was allowing myself to be a rag doll and just kind of going with the writer.

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 hair.

Photo Credit: Vivian Zink / NBC

---------------

Aquarius premieres tonight on NBC at 9:00pm EST:

"Los Angeles. 1967.

Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny, "Californication," "The X-Files"), a decorated World War II vet and homicide detective, barely recognizes the city he's now policing. Long hair, cheap drugs, rising crime, protests, free love, police brutality, Black Power and the Vietnam War are radically remaking the world he and the Greatest Generation saved from fascism 20 years ago.

So when Emma Karn (Emma Dumont, "Salvation," "Bunheads"), the 16-year-old daughter of an old girlfriend, goes missing in a sea of hippies and Hodiak agrees to find her, he faces only hostility, distrust and silence. He enlists the help of Brian Shafe (Grey Damon, "True Blood," "Friday Night Lights") - a young, idealistic undercover vice cop who's been allowed to grow his hair out - to infiltrate this new counterculture and find her.

The generational conflict between the two is immediate and heated, yet they're both dedicated officers and soon realize the need to bring Emma home is more urgent than they foresaw. The immediacy arises because she has joined a small but growing band of drifters under the sway of a career criminal who now dreams of being a rock star: Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony, "Game of Thrones").

Ringing with the unparalleled music of the era, "Aquarius" is a sprawling work of historical fiction that begins two years before the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders. It's a shocking thriller, a nuanced character drama and, in the end, the story of how we became who we are today.

Writer John McNamara ("In Plain Sight") serves as executive producer with Marty Adelstein ("Prison Break"), David Duchovny and Melanie Greene. "Aquarius" is a production of Tomorrow Studios, a joint partnership between Marty Adelstein and ITV Studios."


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Re: Gethin Anthony Talks Playing Charles Manson on NBC’s AQUARIUS

Post by sir on Fri 29 May - 10:42

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