Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Misfits: Nathan Out, Rudy In...

So I've been getting back into the whole Misfits thing. Sure, it's a bit pointless, given that I've got about a thousand things to get done and shouldn't really be arguing on IMDB for any purpose, let alone a show that doesn't start up again for like, what? seven months?!

But despite that, there be news, in the shape of confirmation that Robert Sheehan will not be obligingly continuing the role of Nathan, the slightly wrong in the head idiot with a major compensatory complex. No, it would seem he's to make an exiting appearance on a web episode, and then he shall disappear to bigger and brighter things. Unless of course he carries on making terrible role choices and ends up like Caruso did; wishin he hadn't let his giant ego get in the way of level judgement, and instead waited to definitely be a huge film star before leaving the TV show that got him famous, before returning to TV with a slightly smaller and more door friendly ego. I'm not saying Sheehan is as meglomanical as Caruso was, and he's obviously far more talented that the ginger nut, but still... completely leaving a great show to go do the voice of a turtle that looks uncannily like a fish made famous by Pixar doesn't seem like moving on to greener pastures. He made Nathan great though, and we all love him for that.

image by

I have been finding it irresistable to start arguing with those out there who seem obsessed with the concept that Sheehan IS Misfits, and without him, the show is nothing, and will be now be nothing more than tarnished sloppy seconds. Most of these people don't seem to notice the fact that the character was written, that Sheehan had been working before the role of Nathan came along, and that he appeared to be no more spectacular in other things he had done than thousands of other actors in this country, or any other for that matter. And many of them seem completely incapable of accepting that the logical progression of that thought is that there are thousands of incredible actors out there who haven't had the chance to showcase their spectacular talents, but if given a role as well written as Nathan, they could become the new favourite comedic performer, the new Sheehan, so vibrant and delightful they will mourn even the concept of the loss of that character. Some of the characters that were even killed off in one episode I thought were great, could have been expanded on and had loads of potential, felt disappointed when so many died.

Which also obviously illustrates how quickly the Misfits team breathe life into characters in a short space of time, not just the reliably ridiculous Nathan.

Maybe the problem is that people have lost perspective on how much detail has been gained over the two seasons for the character compared with those only guest appearing. Maybe a lot of people compare Nathan to the other characters who've appeared for one episode and think, X must be crappier than Nathan / Sheehan because I've got all these examples in my head of why Nathan is great, but only like, one or two good scenes, one or two hilarious moments for X, that character didn't impress in the half hour he was on Misfits. Therefore thinking they fell madly in love with him and acting like he's such a massive star in such a unique way that it couldn't possibly be the writers and crew who also built the foundations of the character that he so beautifully brought to life in a matter of hours.

But of course it's easy to take the character that has been given all the funniest stuff to do and say for two seasons and say that its the actor who is better than all the other people with more normal continuing characters, and the other stand out one time characters. In fact, it's ironic that this argument is in place about Nathan, the talk of how he is irreplacable, always has been the heart of the show, no-one has ever mastered a character so amazingly and from the first episode blah blah blah - I remember the online arguments when the show first came out, amongst the fans out there who like me, ahem, obsess so much that they are willing to go on the internet and find other kindred spirits who also want to spend time just talking about it - for the first three episodes, at least half of the fresh devotees were actually arguing that Nathan is the weakest link! Mostly citing that he is unbearably annoying, a fucking cliche and creepily arrogant :p Plenty of fans actively hoped that he would be the character who got fazed out by the end of the series.

But there's only so much you can comment, argue, or berate other people in conversation about an actor no longer doing a role. Eventually you have to move on to discussing the future; then I started thinking I had to bring a new dimension to my obsession, so I returned to one of my transient hobbies - bigging up the underappreciated talents of Joseph Dempsie.

For a little background, I'm big on actors. I'm an actors' person. I've been told that my enthusiasm can be cringeworthy and stalkerish, to the point of alienating any chance of someone wanting to work on the project being discussed and instead wanting to drug me, fit a gps into my skull so they can check I'm no closer to them than 120 miles at any given time, so I control it. With people I want to remain friends with I try to temper it, try  not to come off too strong. With people I really admire, it can come off a little bit fangirl, but still a vast improvement on my natural disposition on the subject. Under the surface, it's a big deal for me. I LOVE good acting, I can spend hours talking about someone's performance, and then sure as you're born I will get the urge a couple of weeks later to spend hours talking about it some more. And that applies to thousands of people. If I like someone as a performer, it's not unusual for me to be able to reel off several films or tv shows where they only had a bit part, maybe only a funny expression or one well delivered bit of dialogue, something no other layman would remember unless said person had become a huge star and it had become popular for the average viewer to rewatch everything they had ever done. And when I was a kid, I had an uncanny ability to pick out, from normal TV shows, normal films, or even really bad films and tv, one person doing an average performance with terrible material and say they were going to be a huge star in the future. For years it looked like there was no pattern but by the time I'd hit my teens everyone I'd mentioned was famous. My mother's favourite win was Bill Pullman - I'd seen him in this terrible Bette Midler film, where he played an idiot lover being controlled in a heist. It was terrible, he was terrible, everything was terrible but I told my mother there was something about him people would take to if he got better roles, and a couple of years later he was playing the President of the United States. My favourite is probably Casey Affleck, from his tiny performance in his brother's breakout film. All my friends thought I was weird when I started following his career after he wanked with his brother's baseball glove, but I'm the one who got to do the 'In Yo Face!!!' dance.

I don't quite know why I'm so crazy about great acting. I guess on the one, more logical, hand, it's got to be the mix of two things. 1) the obviousness of how essential good acting is to a good production. It doesn't matter how much money you throw at a blockbuster film, if the acting is bad the audience won't be thinking anything other than how unbelievable the performances are, and equally no matter how cheap a production is if you have engaging content and actors able to make it involving and believable, you might not need anything else. And 2) I cannot act well, and I never will. I used to do improv groups and I was told I'm good, but they were mistaken - I'm good with ideas, not the execution. The full range of acting is hard, and anyone who says it isn't is either a fucking idiot or jealous that they think actors get too much praise for too little training and preparation. They are often people who, if you dare them to perform themselves and they agree but them embarrass themselves beyond all recognition, will still argue that there was mitigating circumstances and that if they had all the perks of an actor on set they would find it easy. Maybe it's partly because I'm a great liar, so I can glimpse the dividing line between performing intellectually and performing emotionally, and I admire anyone who can get across that line.

Of course I don't speak of the habit generally anymore; when you're a kid and you do something like that, it seems incredible, like an idiot savant move, but when you're an adult and you start talking about wanting to make movies some day, the writing side, the production side, it's like wanting a clap on the back cos you did the dishes - having that ability is no longer something outstanding but something essential, only comment if you're the best casting agent in the world, otherwise, treating as just another intrinsic part of the skillset you have to build and move on.

Still though, I have my favourites. When my favourites get all the recognition they deserve, I can keep it in check, just enjoy the show, bask in the sheer variety of stuff available to enjoy them in. When they don't though, that's a recipe for obsession.

Joe Dempsie for me is veering into that territory, and he's one of the few young British actors I've got on the list of favourites. Most are American, probably because so much more good American tv comes out and can be viewed all together in long series' in boxsets, containing many more characters and therefore actors to become fans of than in Britain. Either way, he's at the top of my favourites who are British and not migrated over to America for giant blockbusters after years in small parts. For the uninitiated, he played Chris on Skins for series 1 and 2. I only watched this stuff last year, primarily because it was being treated as a staple of quality British television, and I knew nothing about it. That might sound mental, but it's actually quite easy to get that way when you don't have a television yourself. Plus, I'd obviously gotten into Misfits and I knew Misfits was compared to Skins, thought I should look. Dempsie is why I bothered to get to the end of series 2. He had a massive following, he was much loved, and then... he didn't become the recognisable name of British performance he should have been. He got a couple of parts, but they didn't really require him to do much more than speak. He got some other parts that you can't even see now.

Point being, he should be a recognisable name in British performance. He just should, it didn't make any sense, I figured since I watched it so long after his stuff was aired and finished on the show, when I looked him up, he'd be busy. He's not. I see something in his performance, something that hints at so much more, but he not only hasn't been hired in the intervening years to take his skills to the next step, he hasn't been hired for much of anything at all.

So one of my sidelines is the mission to watch his career until he got where he deserves to be. I know, weird slightly stalkerish, probably revealing too much, but this is one of my excentricities I'm willing to put out there in the world, no matter how embarrassing. I'll even take it a step further - in my continuing big script (the one that is retardedly expansive for someone's hopefully first feature) the second male lead is written with him in mind. Dare I say, yes... I'm writing a role for him. Eeek, it's so wrong.

In the meantime though, I've suddenly realised I've just gone around several of the main sources of discussion re: Misfits and just promoted Dempsie for the role of Rudy. Not out of a belief the producers won't find a fantastic actor to play the part, but because my actor loyalty reared it's head and took over, and now I'm sitting here, wondering if it was strange and bad to do that or not. I imagine this is how it feels the minute you walk away from online poker after having a great time but realising you went all in with four times more than the limit you set for a reasonable game, as well as the promise of your sister's two month old baby.

Oh well, it's done now. I do feel a little stalkerish bigging up an actor I don't even know for a show that might have already cast the actor, but that'll pass.

Seriously though, I think he could rock the character, partly cos I read this description of the character online and even though it could have been another fangirls slightly satirical fantasy of the character, I really like the idea, I think it's so good I'll be genuinely disappointed if the character is totally different and they just made it up.

What I read was a press release style description of the character that he is really up, really positive, really funny and doesn't take no for an answer, but his power has polarised his personality and all aspects of negativity, depression, have split off into a dark doppleganger personality, he goes at him when he gets a blow to his ego and a temporary slump sets in.

While I was pondering all that, I thought I'd go check out some of my favourite clips, but most of them are off youtube, unless you go to 4od and watch entire episodes. Although there is still a clip from skins season 2 with one of my other favourite people Josie Long, where she tries to get Chris to swear less. Adorable. And I came across this, with not just dempsie but several other of my favourite actors doing some more publicity for the Robin Hood campaign building steam - also adorable:

And this is one of the adverts; obviously a great campaign to get involved in:

In completely other news, I've decided to start a second blog. As in me, Helen, not necessarily Ant. Reason being now this blog is listed on the fabulous LAMB (total YAY for that!) I figured it probably would be best to keep this one film, movie, soundtrack and other media related. The other blog will be more specifically for Transplant related stuff, and in tandem with that I'm plowing more time into renal related research and production on the transplant related documentary. So over on that one (when I build it, haven't started yet) it'll be about kidney experiences, networking and research for both the documentary and the script, meeting relevant people, the purpose of the documentary, other people's experiances, the odd bit of editorial on representation in the media, as well as uploading anything made for the documentary.

From now on, I'll only be mentioning all that renal shit on here if it's really media or production relevent : D


  1. I've only just found the whole "Nathan leaving Misfits" thing this week due to having my head buried in my script writing for the lasd three months, so It came as a massive shock. Not because I didn't expect someone of Robert Sheehan's brilliance to be lured away from the series that made his name to begin with (Ben Chaplin and Game On, anyone?) but because his commitment for series 3 of Misfits had been confirmed a couple of months ago, so we all breathed a sigh of relief...
    And now we're told he's not even doing an appearance in the actual show, just a shitty little web episode - rumours are he's not even doing this either - which can only mean a complete disregard for his fanbase. I mean, the first 60 seconds of series 3 could have shown the prick dying as he got his new power: no more talk of Nathan returning and Sheehan's then off to live the Hollywood dream!
    But no, we're given a new character called Rudy or something who the other Misfits meet in Las Vegas. Sweet Jesus Christ, it just appears to be an excuse to squeeze in an American actor(hope I'm wrong) in order to cross-pollinate the whole Misfits universe for the US market.
    I have to state I'm in the camp of 'Nathan made Misfits' and though the other characters were strongly acted, he was the glue that held them together. I know Overman's words brought ham to life but Sheehan was Nathan and with this presence leaving the show, I for one am devasted at having to leave the Misfits universe as well: nothing will capture that feeling of developing week after week with the ORIGINAL characters anymore, so that's me gone!

  2. Well, to be fair on the awareness front, it's sort of confirmed totally this week, so you're not, like, out of touch :p

    Other than that, I couldn't disagree with you more; Dude, you're a writer, surely you of all people should be on the side waiting to see what character Overman writes before claiming it's all doomed; if anything, I'm excited about the opportunity to see what the casting decision will be on this point, and on every other character they bring in. I have never been more impressed with casting that relied on finding almost entirely new talent, or at least no safety net of including a major established star for a lead role. To get your lead cast right is impressive when most of them didn't have any professional experience to show they are versatile in TV, but to never get a bad egg in any supporting role or guest part is almost unheard of in a show like this. It's not like Eastenders where the attention is spread across so many characters that a subpar or bad actor can coast along blending in to the background for at least a few months before being kicked off. If someone is terrible in Misfits, it would be obvious pretty quick, and the exact opposite is the fact.

    It seems retarded to me that people seem to think that if Nathan is gone there will be no more hilarious ridiculous stuff focusing on a charismatic funny character - what, if Nathan can't be written will it magically create a vacuum in Overman's head where funny dialogue and bizarre behaviour used to be? He'll still have the ideas, he'll come up with a character that fills the fun void but isn't just a Nathan replacement, the character could take off just as much as Nathan did. I enjoyed the Jesus guy, I enjoyed Ollie; I was genuinely disappointed he was killed in like, five minutes. Why did I like them? Because just like Nathan, they were a good character that I had not been attached to before I saw him on screen, I was entertained, the performance was excellent, and I felt confident that between performance and the potential of the character, I could enjoy them being a continuing part of the show. I was unimpressed with only two guest characters, that's pretty good for two series. And added to that, how can you write off the fun factor of Kelly? She been underused but she is just as funny as Nathan...

    I am shaking my head at you dude - when your stuff gets on TV I hope you don't find yourself reading all your fans saying they'll stop watching the show because one actor is not going to play one character anymore that YOU wrote in the first place...

  3. I do hope that they are able to write in another character and find a charismatic actor. I've only recently discovered this show, as its not played in the U.S., but many of us have been able to watch both seasons online. This situation reminds me of when David Duchovny decided to leave the X-files. They decided to write in the character of Agent John Doggett (Robert Patrick). The show continued for a few seasons, but I felt that Gillian Anderson (Dana Skully) didn't have the same chemistry with Patrick as she did with Duchovny.

  4. Yeah, I get where you're coming from. Patrick can be great in the right role and the right project but you can't ignore when a blantant substituting just doesn't work. Much better to not draw attention to it for the audience by setting up the same sort of dynamic. Either completely change the character relationships altogether or cut your losses.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...