You said this project was the greatest experience and job of your life, what made it so special?
For so many reasons. Working with Stacy [Rukeyser] for starters who I’ve worked with in Unreal, I got the opportunity to work with her again. The story itself, the messages, the characters that are in it and the character of Brad. There's so much to it.
What attracted you to the character of Brad?
It was a challenge to play someone eight years in the past who meets this love of his life but the love that they have for each other brings up a lot of unresolved issues from his childhood so he’s presented with this fear and he pushes her away. That challenge of being in love but also feeling vulnerable and then getting to play the character in present day when he’s resolved his issues but he’s also living with the regret of losing the love of his life. How often do you get to do that as an actor?
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You can’t ignore the very sexy sex scenes but though they look hot on screen, is it true there’s a lot of choreography that goes on to create them? What was it like filming those?
It’s all about safety and people’s comfort level and making sure everyone’s safe – that’s the most important thing. We had a really incredible safe set; we had an intimacy coordinator who is there specifically for those scenes who we rehearse with. We talk about comfort levels, like ‘I’m ok with your hand being on this part of my thigh but not here.’ It’s down to the breath work and everything like that so when you get to set no one’s taken aback or feels intimidated or scared. Everyone has a voice, everyone’s comfortable and so they actually become a lot more structured, and a lot more planned out and choreographed than everyone thinks.
There’s a line in the show where one of the characters says, ‘Sex is rarely just about sex’. Would you agree with that?
Because of the fact that the sex scenes in this show drive the emotion of the story and it shows where the characters’ heads are at emotionally, yeah I do. I think that’s what the show does so well – it uses the sex scenes to help drive a lot of the storyline effectively.
With a female creator and directors, the sex scenes are very much shown from the female gaze.
Our showrunner Stacy was like ‘So many times in sex scenes it’s portrayed as the way men like to have sex or the camera lingers on the female body’ but she goes on to let the camera linger on the male body too because there are two sides to it. I just feel grateful that I got to be part of a story that’s from the female perspective because it doesn’t seem to be that common of a thing.
You share a lot of scenes with Sarah [Shahi] who you’re currently dating and Mike [Vogel] who play Billie and her husband Cooper. What was it like working with them?
The three of us, I think it was the first night, went out and had drinks and we just became mates straight away. No one was from Toronto so you just feel like you’re away on holidays a bit. We all related to the material so well, we had instant chemistry, the three of us, and then you respect each other’s work and work ethic.
It’s so enjoyable to do the greatest role that I’ve ever been lucky enough to do with some of the coolest people and some of the most talented actors I’ve ever met. We’re still extremely close friends still and that, I think, is pretty rare. We also experienced something so rare together, the show yes, but we started filming the show, had lockdown and then came back so for those five months we were sharing personal experiences and wondering ‘Are we coming back to work?’ so we bonded very solidly, all of us.
You filmed for two weeks and then the pandemic hit and you were off for five months before returning back to set. What was that like?
Yeah it was definitely different. You get there and everyone’s got masks, face shields, goggles and gowns on. The way the producers made it safe for everyone, they are phenomenal. But I was just beyond grateful because the crew do all of that – you’ve got camera guys holding a steady cam with an m95 mask, goggles and a face shield on and it’s steaming up but they’re doing all of that so us actors get to do a scene with no mask and feel comfortable and like it was normal. We were pretty in awe of them.
When you’re working with a good crew and good people you can’t see them smile but you can see it in their eyes – that’s how joyful these people were. I come from a construction background so I have the utmost respect for crew because the hours they work and then you put this on top, it’s like another level.
What would you love to see in a potential second season?
That’s a good one but my idea wouldn’t be good enough because these writers are way too creative and talented. I just want to be surprised with what they come up with. Even when I was reading the script and thought I knew what was going to happen, something else goes down so I want to be surprised just like the audience will be surprised. The way it ended, they’ve left it open so it could go anywhere now!
Do you have a particular line or scene that will stick with you forever?
The highlight for me really are those emotional scenes. The adrenaline that you get once you’ve hopefully pulled it off and the fear that you have going into it, that’s a highlight for me. To be able to do that, because it’s so exciting and scary at the same time, it’s not often that you get a chance to do that. But yeah, it was the emotional scenes that were more exciting for me.
More so than having a full-frontal naked scene?
Sex/Life is now streaming on Netflix