Aussie actor Murray Bartlett has left his reputation as a womaniser in many US series like Sex and the City, to take up the starring role of a gay man searching for the love of his life in a new DVD release August. In it he’s sexy, manly but not altogether aware of what he wants or needs to be. Bent caught up with the hunky star and asked him to explain what his character Troy is all about.
Troy left the U.S. and his home town of L.A. a few years ago with the idea that he would find some kind of an ideal life somewhere out in the world. Now he is nostalgic for home and for his ex and is returning to L.A. with the idea that maybe these things are the Holy Grail he’s been looking for. He’s searching for meaning in his life, and sometimes gets so caught up in his search that he’s not fully aware of how it affects the people around him. He can be reckless and selfish, but from his perspective, he is just trying to find his way.
Is Troy a character you have a connection with?
Having literally moved to the opposite side of the earth (I’m originally from Australia and now live in New York), there are many aspects of Troy’s life I can relate to. The feeling of wanting to see what’s out in the world, wondering what kind of life is possible in other places and having fantasies about that. Then having nostalgia for home and wondering at times if I’d done the right thing and/or if life might have been simpler if I’d stayed in Australia. So, it’s easy to put myself in that similar headspace of nostalgia both for a place and for past relationships in that place. I like to think I’ve outgrown his kind of recklessness in relationships but I certainly remember being in situations where I’ve acted similarly.
Your list of credits is quite extensive… how did you get that first job?
I went to NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art) straight from high school and so that gave me a good springboard into professional work as an actor in Australia. In the U.S., it was a little different. I came to New York to do some acting workshops and fell in love with the city. I met a bunch of people doing classes, play readings etc. and one of those people had a good friend who was good friends with one of the producers of Sex and The City, who happened to be looking to cast someone like me. So, my friend suggested me to his friend who suggested me to the producer, and that became my first job in the U.S. Good synchronicity and generous friends. I was very fortunate.
You’ve moved on from Neighbours but is the series a training ground for Australian actors?
It seems to be! It can be a great way, especially for young actors, to have experience working on camera and getting comfortable with it.
Do you meet up with any of the cast now that you’ve all gone on to better/other things?
Occasionally some of our paths cross or we find each other on Facebook.
You have appeared in a number of American series, which was your favourite to work on.
“Flight of the Conchords” was really fun because those guys are so down to earth and hilarious, and I really enjoyed “White Collar” because the role was fun to play.
Is there a part or a character that you’d love to play?
I just love a good story. In addition, I like to be surprised and inspired by characters in a really strong story. I just played Stanley Kowalski in a work-shopped version of “A Streetcar Named Desire” and I’d love to do a full production of it.
Is there anyone you would kill to work with?
I’m going to have to list a few: Andrea Arnold, Lars Von Trier, Susanne Bier, Andrew Haigh, Faith Akin, and Meryl Streep and I’d love to work with Eldar Rappaport (Director of August) again of course.
Your next movie, ‘Imogene’ is a comedy with Matt Dillon, what can you tell us about that.
Kristen Wiig stars as the title role and is hilarious. Annette Benning also stars in the film and although we didn’t have scenes together, I sat next to her at the table read, which was a thrill because I think she’s amazing. And she was… and is. It’ll hopefully be released early/mid 2012.
Are you’re a beach boy or city boy at heart?
At heart, I’m a beach boy but I love the city.
Is there anyone special in your life right now?
This Iris Prize Feature Film winner – August is released on 13th February by Peccadillo Pictures
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In which country was Murray born?
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