In the run up to Hollyoaks Later actor Neil Newbon talks about his character Walker and his involvement in the late night spin-off.
How would you sum up this year’s Hollyoaks Later?
In the context of the Hollyoaks Universe this season’s Hollyoaks Later is truly unique- you’ll never see Hollyoaks in the same way again. It’s grittier, edgier, with a truly more immersive storyline, delving into the darker side of all the characters concerned.
Did you feel filming Hollyoaks Later was a different experience to the 6.30 show and if so why?
Well, the 6.30 show obviously has the confines of being a pre-watershed story and as such we are sometimes limited as to what we can and cannot show and portray due to compliance. With the late night version we can be freer in terms of our portrayal of real life – which I should add is often, infinitely more violent, graphic and terrifying than what we have shown and can show. It does lend itself as such to be able to allow myself and my fellow actors to reveal the more disturbing sides of our characters. Overall it is still fundamentally Hollyoaks just with more bite.
We also filmed it over a much longer period. Indeed sometimes in parallel to our normal shoot schedule – which was at times physically demanding but every day was a joy and a privilege to be able to tell not just one but two stories at the same time. It also allows us a longer time to setup and explore the story over 5 hours without drawing a reprieve from other story lines – making it a more involved and potentially unrelenting experience for the audience.
What have you most enjoyed about the filming?
Ultimately bonding and working alongside such a dedicated cast and crew. The crew are incredibly hard working and often unsung in terms of praise. It has been a joy to turn up to ‘work’ and get to have a wonderful time with people I like whilst at the same time playing alongside the same people as committed professionals who are amazing at their jobs whilst allowing you to get involved with yours.
On a personal level I have felt tremendously rewarded to be allowed to explore my character further, pushing his boundaries and sharing some of the more harrowing moments, the more human moments of him with the audience – I also got a real kick out of doing all my own stunts.
What would you say was your most challenging scene and why?
It’s the one I can’t talk about – let’s just say that it and scenes of the same ilk were only possible to find what I believe to be a brutally truthful and honest moments because I was supported and working with an actor I respect and trust – Emmett J. Scanlan. Knowing him as a friend and as a generous sparring partner means not only do I feel safe to push my limits but that time and time again I find I want to.
There is a lot of scenes that are physically demanding – did you manage to come away unscathed?
Just! We had a great stunt coordinator, Andy Smart, who helped us choreograph many of the stunts, I have a history as a martial artist and as a motion capture stunt performer as well as having performed many of my own stunts in my career in film, so I know how to take a hit and I know how important they are to get right and to do safely. I wore my bruises as badges of honour and every bump or cut simply served to remind me of what I already feel – that I have the best job in the world.
Are you anything like Walker in real life?
Dear God I hope not – he’s a monster; no I am kidding, I think there is a universal commonality that all human beings share – we can identify with most characters that we watch/ read about on some level and thus, I think that there are aspects of everyone in everyone that one can relate to, regardless of your contextual life experience.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?
Why the hell would I tell you that!
Before joining Hollyoaks, what were you doing?
Acting. I was performing in a motion capture computer game called ‘Castlevania’ for a month, for Mercury Steam captured by the awesome AudioMotion Studio.
What do you think of Emmett and your other cast in the Laters?
I have never had such great chemistry with anyone, as I have found working with Emmett – the man is gorgeous, as a human being as well as an actor. I am blessed to be surrounded by him and other generous actors – Bronaugh Waugh, Andrew Still are lovely people and again kind actors that simply wish to play, further their craft and their characters moments. The beautiful Jorgie Porter is one of the funniest creatures I have ever met and makes me laugh on a scene by scene basis! I joke about not wanting to leave set everyday but to be honest – I couldn’t think of a better place I would rather spend my days than with people like them and with such a fantastic crew as we have. Bliss.
Hollyoaks Later has been billed as one of the strongest series yet. Why do you think that is?
I couldn’t tell you that – I rarely see my own work to be honest and I prefer to get other people’s opinions anyway – I have had my experience of the story already in playing the role – it’s for the audience to tell us what they think.
How did an average day on set work? Did the shoot involve long hours and night scenes?
Emmett and I (both self-confessed workaholics) at one point were doing Laters, main Hollyoaks and the heist special (of which I am also hugely proud of!) simultaneously, and were often clocking up to 15 hours a day 6 -11 days without a break. I loved every second of it – it’s hard to call something this much fun work really.
Your character has been very busy since he arrived, would you say you’ve had the best storyline or do you think there is more for Walker?
As the cliché goes you are just gonna have to watch and find out….
What’s the best thing about being in Hollyoaks?
Playing an amazing gift of a role – working with fun, kind, committed cast and crew and going home knowing I spent my day doing the thing I know I was born to do – fulfilment truly.
Hollyoaks Later is on E4 week commencing 17th September for five nights at 10pm – www.e4.com/hollyoakslater.