ATLANTIS WEEK: We Meet Jack Donnelly AKA Jason

Atlantis-BBC-poster-smallThe new BBC show Atlantis starts this weekend and Geek Syndicate managed to catch up with some of its stars during a visit to the set in Wales. Today its the turn of Jack Donnelly who plays Jason who talks about his character,tans, stunts and scars, both fake and real. “I play Jason and he’s a young guy like me. He’s the nicest guy really. He’s very nice, he’s very kind, he has a very strong moral compass. I think he’s got very clear ideas of what is right and wrong and he’s constantly trying to do the right things, but I think sometimes as a result of that, he does see things in black and white.” Declares Jack about his character on Atlantis. “He’s a bit of an outsider when he comes into Atlantis, when we find him in this world. I think there are two sides to him; there’s the heroic side, he does some great things, he fights monsters and has epic battles, but at the same time he’s a bit socially awkward. He’s not the coolest guy in the world, he’s a bit goofy. He’s not quite a man but he’s just older than a boy and in the scenes with Ariadne, the princess who is his love interest, he tries to be cool but he’s really not. I think because of his past and stuff he’s not great socially. He’s never really had close relationships with people and then when we find him in this world it’s the first time he makes real friends in the characters of Hercules and Pythagoras. It helps him grow as a person and he learns more about himself through that and it changes his perceptions of things.”     atlantis-erster-trailer-zum-53145_big   After walking around the set of Atlantis, we had to chance to ask Jack some more questions: GS: There are a lot of tans going around! Are these leftovers from Morocco or are they fake? JD: No these are proper fake! The Morocco ones lasted a while but then I got sprayed last night so this is as tanned as I get! This is Chepstow tan! You can see a massive difference between the Moroccan extras and the Chepstow extras! GS: Is it fair to say because everyone is already in Atlantis, that as the audience we take that journey with you as you discover Atlantis the island? JD: Absolutely yes! I think at least in the beginning, especially in episode one, well in the first few episodes, I mean the character Jason is discovering everything for the first time. He’s meeting these people, he’s discovering Atlantis and it’s all new. I certainly think the audience go with him on that journey and discover through his eyes everything. It’s all new experiences. GS: We’ve had a tour around the sets this morning. Which has been your favourite set here, and also in Morocco? JD: Good question! Here, the street. I like all the sets here but I’ve got to do some of the most fun stuff on the street. A lot of the stunt work and fight sequences have been done on various parts of the street; running up walls and flying off wires, so I’ve loved that. In Morocco, funnily enough we were on some great sets; we visited the Kingdom of Heaven set, the Ben-Hur set, they had these huge temples but I think I prefer the desert. Despite it being unbelievably hot and windy, because we were on horses, and I’d do every scene I could on a horse if I was allowed. So the desert because it came with all the horse riding.

A shot of Jason for the ladies out there.

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GS: I think one of the things we see on TV shows these days is where it switches from stuntman so you don’t see the face, so are you saying you do most of your own stunts? JD: Yeah, I’d say I do pretty much all of my own stunts. The only times I haven’t are when we have two units working at the same time filming stuff. If I’m on one unit and they need me for the other they’ll use a stuntman but as far as I know there are two stunts they wouldn’t let me do. They wouldn’t let me jump off a fifty-foot building into a load of cardboard boxes even though I asked until I saw it done and I went “nah it’s good, let him do it!” and I think I do a somersault in one that is me but then they turned it into a double somersault, so you see me take off into the somersault, then a guy does two, and then you see me land out of the somersault. As far as I know, I think I’ve done everything else. GS: They say one of the main selling points of this series is the bromance between the three leads. What do you reckon is the secret to that relationship and why are we going to enjoy it so much? JD: The secret to that relationship? Humour. I’d met Rob once before, only briefly on a night out about a year before the audition so we didn’t really know each other. It was in Soho after his War Horse premiere, just through mutual friends and that was great. Then when I heard we were doing a chemistry read together I just prayed that he still remembered me. I have friends that have worked with Mark in the past and everyone I spoke to said “Mark Addy? Nicest guy you’ll ever meet” and it totally adds up. He just is so easy going. But the two of them are just funny, funny guys and I think that helps. We spent so much time together and we all live in the same apartment block now. We’ve been to dinner every night pretty much since we started shooting, and it’s great that they’re so nice and we get on. I hope that you see that in the characters, but also in the writing. What I liked about it so much is they’re not stock characters. You don’t have the funny guy, the action guy and the serious one. It runs much deeper than that and I think you discover that straight away in episode one. As I said earlier, Jason has a tendency to see things in black and white; what’s right, what’s wrong, and in the first episode he’s faced with something and it’s not until he sees this really hard moment between Hercules and Pythagoras who are such good friends before, and he can see them struggling with something, and it really opens his eyes because he doesn’t see things from such a personal point of view of how it can affect people really. It’s the first time he grows with that, when he sees how emotional it can be for people. I think that runs through all of the characters. They’re multi-layered through the writing and I hope that’s what people will lock into because I think it’s what makes it more interesting when you can put them in different situations and you want to go with them on their journeys and follow it a lot more. GS: What about stunt work and wire-work, we know there’s been an episode with wind and stuff. Was there lots of wire-work involved in that? JD: We’re doing that episode right now. That’s the scene that’s going on downstairs. There will be some wire-work I think for Rob and another actor, called Will Merrick. They’ll be doing a lot of wire-work. They’ve got some massive wind machines downstairs which I’m trying to get in front of on a skateboard. But yeah, we’ve done wire-work certainly in episode three. There’s a lot of being thrown of stuff and leaping off stuff. A lot of stuff off trampettes; flipping, and that’s all good stuff. I love that part of it. GS: You mentioned you were using a real knife and got stabbed, but any other weapons you’ve been using? Any favourite weapon you’ve used on the show so far? JD: A sword is what I use mostly. It’s quite cool because Jason’s never held a sword before, but you kind of expect him to be brilliant straight off the back and there’s an epic swordfight and he’s pants! He gets better as he goes on but a sword is mostly what I’ve had. I have used other stuff. I used a washing line stick and anything to hand. We did a stunt scene the other day, I don’t envy the stunt guys, a big stunt sequence and I had to hit a guy in the face with a watermelon. A proper watermelon! We did it from sixteen different angles. They were cutting into it so broke easily but I think on one of the takes it hadn’t been cut enough and you just heard this massive crack. The first three takes it was funny but after that “are you ok?” Everyone laughed after the first one then it sort of died down. By the third it was just me going “this is so funny!” and then I started to feel bad. He said it was like getting punched in the face. It looked great but I don’t envy those guys. The stunt sequence I think it was just a bamboo knife, but I think in the way that I blocked it, I just did it wrong with the stunt person and put my elbow in front of it and it managed to go through. That wasn’t great. _70119850_4645141-low-atlantis Atlantis premieres this Saturday at 8:25PM on BBC1 and in the US on November 23rd on BBC America. Listen to a special GS podcast in which we talk about the set visit and give a spolier free review of episode 1. Source: BBC Atlantis Reporter: Montoya

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