Best known for his roles in Trollied, Babylon and Marvel’s Agents of Shield. I had the pleasure to catch up with English actor Nick Blood to discuss his latest channel 4 series Close to Me. It was a wonderful opportunity to find a little more about his journey to stardom and a little insight into his future projects.
Um, tell me, you’re born in Aylesbury, England. And at the age of seven, you join your local drama club. When was the moment you realized you wanted to become an actor?
NB – Straightaway really, because it as a thing that my older brother and older kids would go to. We wanted to go, you know, because the older kids got to go. Nick goes on to explain that after he and a friend obtained a script his brother had been given to work on with a week to prepare, they came up with a crazy idea, especially because they did not understand. As they thought each character had to be each different and defined the play set on a spaceship with a tennis and a football player was a success and the welcoming reaction from the crowed, was an unforgettable buzz for young Nick. He then adds I just assumed everybody wanting to be an actor. The best thing ever! Obviously, that is what everyone would want to do.
You are best known for your role in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD series regular Lance Hunter, but you also appeared in Trollied, BBC’s Misfits, Babylon, not forgetting HBO hit series Euphoria. Out of so many great roles report performed as an actor, which one was your favorite? And why?
NB – It’s hard to say really because of varied reasons for each one. Sometimes it is due to the environment you are in, which is what you love about the job. I certainly enjoyed doing Agents of Shield, living in LA and enjoying that side of things is great fun. But as far as the roles go, I mean, it is always fun when you are playing something a bit further away from yourself or a bit more to the extreme side of things. So, you know, Close to Me was fun, because I got to have, fun with this character and be mischievous and it had that “Him & Her element, like he was just a bit of a bastard and that it was fun to play. It gives each scene something because you’re genuinely in conflict with people. It kind of gives you a little mountain to climb and that’s always fun. But then Babylon was such a wonderful thing to be part of, I really loved that as a show and it was it was a cool role to play. I felt incredibly lucky with that role. I think, certainly as of you spent more time working professionally you get you get a bit bolder. So yes, it is hard to pick one.
Um, you have made your professional stage debut at the Priory at the Royal Court Theater as Adam and performed in Women Beware Women, The National Theater, the Dutchess of Amalfi Royal and Derngate, theater, the boy on the swing, to name a few. What do you find more challenging screen or stage
NB – It is difficult to compare as they’re like kind of two different jobs really. A different discipline. When you are doing screen, there is the time factor. You do not get much time to rehearse and work out nuances; you must bring a lot to the table already. And work quickly regardless of how big the budget is, you don’t get weeks and weeks of rehearsals to explore the character. But then that can kind of be quite freeing in a way because you get the one day to try this thing out. Or you can be intensely focusing on one tiny, little section. But when you stare at an audience, like in theatre I would not say it is different challenge, it is just a different experience. Getting that visceral response from an audience can be sort of fuel. So is it like doing two different jobs, I cannot really compare them directly a lot of the time. Like the experience of being in that company, if you are spending weeks and weeks with the same people rehearsing. You know, it does create a real bond you hope. But when you are on screen stuff, you get that there could be other characters doing just as bigger roles in the project you are doing, but you just do not cross paths. So, you never meet each other. So as far as I can say, yes, they are just quite different jobs.
I think is the togetherness of working in a theater set, I concluded…
NB – Yes, you are so dependent on each other in that moment because it is like, all the balls are up in the air kind of thing, when you are on stage, and any little kind of slip, you’ve all got to be there to kind of work your way through it. Whereas on screen, you are relying on a huge kind of team of people that are there to make you look as good as possible, I do not mean, literally, but you know, kind of make your performance pop as much as possible. And you can always cut and go again. Whereas you do not get a chance on stage.
Thank you. Every industry, including the entertainment industry is full of competition. What do you do to stand out amidst the competition?
NB – I mean, the thing is, I think if you start thinking about competition, then you’re going to go nuts, because there’s so many different variables that you’re not in control of as an actor, that it would be crazy to see it as a competition. Nick elaborates there’s only one of me, and it’s so specific to you each kind of performance, that you can’t really see yourself as in competition with somebody else. I mean, if you think of it like a competition, then you go okay, well, who is it? Who am I competing against? How do I sort of study my opponent? You just cannot do that. You must actively fight against that urge. Because, you know, it is obvious why it is there particularly with a job that’s so kind of public facing, very apparent. I think that’s good advice for any kind of job, really, but particularly acting, because like I say, you are out of control of so many variables.
Yes, of course. Thank you so much for your answer, Nick. Um, you have a six-part drama series Close to Me. Coming soon, starring opposite the lovely Connie Nielsen and Christopher Eccleston to name a few. How does it feel to work with such a diverse group of people?
NB – You mean, how it was working with that group of actors? Yes, they are good bunch. I mean, everyone brings their own thing to it.
I am a Connie Nielsen fan. She is super.
NB – Yes. She is kind of open, relaxed, down to earth and focused on what it is she is doing. Was very much in dialogue with the director to kind of ensure that that story was being told in the right way and so on. And then so Chris is great to have on set, he’s very generous as an actor and kind of is always kind of thinking, how do we make the scene better and kind of throwing things in to help the scene. So, it is nice to watch someone like that. Rosie is just a lovely and smart actor and, and good crack. So, it is always nice, like with every job, it is the people that you work with that, whether in an office or whether it is on a on a set, it is just the people you work with that make it really the director, the crew, lovely bunch of people to work with. It is quite rare that you’re surrounded by people you don’t like.
Thank you. Um, what attracted you to the Thomas character?
NB – Just that he doesn’t care or at least he, he very much nurtures the impression that he doesn’t care what people think. So, he doesn’t really have too much of a filter, I think he makes a real effort to not have a filter and say whatever is on his mind, which we all want to do sometimes. Oh, yes. It’s kind of liberating. And I just knew it was a character I could have fun with, he could be a little bit more flamboyant, too strong a word, but he’s on the edge of that. And is he was a nice contrast to the other characters who are very much kind of playing out this kind of middle-class existence. Thomas is a level disruptor within that. So, to be the disruptor, it is always fun.
Okay, thank you. What can the audience expect from Thomas?
NB – Because that story can be quite dark and mysterious at times can be quite dark at times that he’s this little kind of mischievous presence in the corner. You know, like I said, just disrupting everything… “he pauses” it’ll be interesting to see whether people just think he’s a complete prick or, or whatever, they’ll like him, I think he is one of those people you love to hate a bit because “you wouldn’t want him going out with your kids. He is one of those people that at a party, either makes it fun or just ruins the fun for everyone.
Okay, well I look forward to it. After graduating from LAMDA you co-founded this company, we buy gold in which you co-wrote and starred in the debut show inches apart. Earning the Old Vic new voices theater 503 Award. How do you feel to receive an award for something you wrote and starred in?
NB – I mean when you create something is always far more satisfying. That was created with a bunch of friends from drama school, we all created it together. It’s like when people ask you what makes you want to be an actor? What do you love about acting? Most people say I am storyteller, it’s about storytelling. I’ve probably given that answer before because I didn’t really know how to answer that question.
But after careful thinking, I feel it’s more about communication. Going back to what I said earlier It’s like hearing that laughter when you’re on stage, is communicating with somebody, there’s a connection, we’re both understanding the world in the same way. The situation, the character, there’s something we recognize about this behavior that tickles us, and we’re all kind of in that together. So, when you have created or written something, something you come up with it yourself, it just enhances that feeling of connection with people. And, you know, it’s a bit of a buzz getting people to see things through you your perspective, and hopefully going along with that, that ride and when things work is because the perspective that you’re bringing could can be like a unique perspective that surprises people, and they engage with it, or it’s something that they kind of recognize and maybe haven’t articulated themselves, but getting reassurance from the way that you’re presenting it. And I was just proud of everybody as well. A good bunch of talented people. So, I think all the other entrants were probably more traditionally written scripts that they handed in, while we went and performed like a mini-15-minute version of this. This idea was quite different as well as inventive with lots of kind of physical theater in it. And it was great fun too. Unfortunately, I had to step back a bit from it, as I got a part in the BBC series, but got to go back at the end and perform a role. So yes, we are immensely proud of it.
Thank you. Which of the fictional characters you have played as an actor would you be most excited to meet in real life?
NB – That’s interesting I think for all the different characters I mean; I think Thomas-Close to Me would do my head in; I’d stay well clear of him. I think my character in Agents of Shield is quite fun and chilled. there’s probably like smaller little roles that I’ve done or like smaller projects where they’re quite fun characters but as far as like being friends with any of them there’s I think the answer to that question is: “no one pops out there’s no one I am missing too much. I met them already. I got to play the role.”
How do you split your time between acting and directing your projects?
NB – I have only directed a couple of things but writing wise I have always got something on the go. The thing with actors is not conventional workday you know, so even if you’re busy on a project, you generally will have random days off here and there, so I get on and write most days when I am not working with other people and so on. I’m fairly disciplined about getting my head down and working on things when I’m not when I’m not acting.
Lovely. Anything in the works that you can talk about any exciting new projects?
NB – Yes, got a couple of films coming out. That will come out next year that they’ve got release dates for them yet. A film called Abyzou, which I am really intrigued see that seeing some of the footage doing ADR sessions and stuff with their various film companies out here in LA they’re extremely excited about that. I have just completed a film called Lovely Dark and Deep with Georgina Campbell out in Portugal, which was fun. There is a personal project I have been working on which we have shot, like teaser trailer for which we will go out to pitch on that next year. So that there is a kind of editing process that we must go through with that. Hopefully, we will have a rough cut of that before Christmas. And then we will be going out in the new year. Chopping that around.
Yes. And so, you tell our audience, where can we expect to see you next?
NB – Well, Close to Me comes out in a couple of weeks, I think, that will be on Channel Four. And then probably on other platforms across the world. Next year a couple of films and TV things will come out. So, you know, all the usual places, and there is a website called Google. You can find my stuff on there. We both laugh and say our goodbyes.